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World Series of Drag
Racing at Cordova


Words and photos by Jeff Leonard

Cordova (IL) Dragway Park may constitute Undiscovered Country to most drag racing fans around the country, but to thousands of Midwest-based quarter mile fans and racers, the venerable track by the Mississippi represents nothing less than hallowed ground. And once a year they trek to the Quad Cities area to take in Cordova’s annual World Series of
Drag Racing. This year’s edition carried the number fifty-one, which makes the World Series of Drag Racing the longest continuous running drag racing event on the planet.

One could argue that the World Series isn’t a “true” national event, but that point is moot to those who have adopted the World Series as their event of choice. To fans and racers who make the annual pilgrimage, a chance to be at the World Series supersedes the need to be at other, more “relevant” drag racing events. It truly is a unique event, blending nostalgia cars (and people), current stars, beer by the six-pack, thrill ride track food, and small town good neighbor manners to pull off a “good time was had by all” weekend of the first order. Track owner Scott Gardner and the extended Cordova Dragway Park family are to be congratulated on keeping the World Series tradition alive and flourishing. A streak of any kind can be a burden, but Gardner and company continue to defy the odds and keep the World Series in play, and in good health.

The theme this year was funny cars, funny cars and more funny cars.

Thirty-two were advertised, thirty-four showed, and the fans loved them for it. Where else but the World Series could you find a jet funny car eliminator? Throw in an eight-car nitro FC show, ten nostalgia floppers (eight raced, two displayed), seven jets and nine alky funny cars, and you have the proverbial wall-to-wall plastic fantastic barn burner.

It all would have been a fantastic show at night, under the lights. But day-long rains forced the postponement of the traditional Saturday night show until Sunday afternoon. Now in the past, that would have spelled disaster, financially speaking, for the World Series. But this event has turned the corner, becoming the kind of event that can draw a crowd, no matter what difficulties occur. Let’s hope it stays that way for many years to come.

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