Do not think for one second that “winners” and “broken stuff” are mutually exclusive. There is a large overlap in the parts pile to trophy ratio. We celebrate both in this, the last post from Drag Week 2017, presented by Gear Vendors.
First, congratulations to Dave Schroeder and John Ens. They took their blue and white 1966 Corvette to the overall win and it was beautiful and emotional and well-deserved. Dave came into the last day in a good spot, and only had to run a low 8 to lock in the win, which he did. He didn’t like the final average that gave him though so he went back out and ran a 7.082 to end up with an average of 6.81, third fastest ever and more than respectable. It earned him a champagne shower from Jeff Lutz.
Matt Blasco in his Dirty Drag Week Dart ran 7.61 at 189 mph to finish Drag Week with an average ET of 7.81 which was good enough to claim not only his class of Pro Street Power Adder, but quickest Mopar. That got him an extra prize from Drag Week sponsor Dodge.
A cool new addition to Drag Week is the Stick Shift Shootout. Richard Guido won that in his gear jammin’ black GTO and gets to hold onto a neat welded trophy made by Frank Romano.
Finally, Dan Nissen won the racer-voted Spirit of Drag Week. He had some serious competition, as many participants overcame serious challenges to make it to the final day of Drag Week. Special shoutout goes to Shawn Brumley, who went from “You might not walk again,” in the beginning of the year to “Finished Drag Week, what’s up beeyotch?” at the end. Nicky Taylor was also in the running for changing not one, but two engines to make it through the week. After the dust settled, Dan took the prize for not only wrenching on his own junk every day, but helping numerous other racers get theirs to the finish line. That’s the spirit.
But you know what? Enough about results. You can get all of that right here at HOTROD.com. Let’s talk about something more Roadkill, like who didn’t win but had a good time. (Addie, above, got Second in Ultimate Iron. Joe Barry in the Creamsicle ’56 took the top spot.)
Dianne and Brian Jensen took their 1977 Holden Torana to a 9.67 weekly average. That did not win them the Street Race Big Block Naturally Aspirated Class in any way, but they were just stoked to be still running on the final day, and to have survived a chunked front tire at 142mph. “Brian didn’t even notice it,” Dianne told us. “Another racer pointed at it and said, ‘I can’t believe that thing is still holding air!'”
In the pits we met Mike and Tom Plaza. They were racing a silver Z28, and were all grins about making it to the final day. “Hold on, hold on, I want to show you something,” said Mike. He held up a nitrous-fried piston. “This is what took us out on day 1 in 2016. This year we made it, made a pass, and are driving it home.” Engraved in the center of the burnt slug was “Drag Week 2016.”
We’ve talked about Team 260 numerous times here on Roadkill. The gang from Indiana is known for their cheap LS-swaps and their never quit attitudes. Drag Week was a test, with multiple engine swaps along with minor mechanical needs. “It’s been the hardest one we’ve ever done,” said ringleader Adam Hodson. “But the most fun one we’ve ever done!” added Nicky Taylor. They ended up winning an award for their dedication and LS consumption.
There are more than mechanical incidents that happen on Drag Week. Sure Scott Klepinger and his wife Heather had to change alternators six times, but what had Heather hiding in the back of their Camaro was a mistaken identity. “I thought it was you guys in the van next to us,” she said, eyes down and voice full of shame, “so I flipped you off, but it wasn’t you, it was a mom and a little girl! I feel so bad! What must she think of me?! I don’t even swear!” Van mom, if you’re reading this, Heather is very sorry she gave the bird to your child.
We never caught Jason Tabscott at his car, but we caught up with his daughters, both of whom were riding behind the crossbar in the back. “It was fine until we broke a header pipe,” said Ashley. Was her dad grouchy? “Nah,” she said. “We got it fixed.”
Speaking of getting it fixed, Joe Barstow solved a launch problem by stuffing a half-inflated football in his coil spring. Did it work? “Yes it did! A lot!”
Nobody, and we mean nobody deserves more Roadkill praise for getting it fixed (and breaking it in the first place) than the Plymouth VIP Finns. Coming all the way from Finland with a car as big as the carrier that shipped it, the Finns turned a very impressive Mopar wedge engine into tinfoil balls, more than once! Driver Janne also busted his ankle and got metal in his eye. They ran away from the hospital and fixed the car and not only ran the 1967 VIP on the last day at Drag Week, but also at the Roadkill Zip-Tie Drags. Lacking first gear they made multiple burnouts and still ran the second quickest e.t. of anyone at ZTD. We love them and want to live in the trunk of the Plymouth.
Drag Week 2017 drew to a close in the best way possible- hot pizza and cold beer held in busted knuckle, greasy, hard working hands. Everyone headed home to write mushy love notes on the internet or complain about not winning. Eh, racers, whatever they say, they all can’t wait for 2018.
Here’s a big gallery of good stuff.