Winners, Losers, Carnage: Drag Week 2018
Winners, Losers, and Carnage From HOT ROD Drag Week 2018 HOT ROD Drag Week 2018, Powered by Dodge and Brought to You by Gear Vendors Overdrive
We were lost, but somehow, Tom Bailey wasn’t. We had followed our map off the grid in the dark and hammering rain and suffered the spinning arrow of an also-lost GPS. Just before we called for help, we passed Tom Bailey and enginebuilder/co-pilot Steve Morris, stopped in a Dollar General parking lot with wet cardboard covering the engine compartment of his 6-second Camaro. Not only was Bailey not lost, he was on his way to winning his third HOT ROD Drag Week™ in the fastest class.
Mother Nature threw us a curveball in this, the 14th year of Drag Week™. As Hurricane Florence lumbered toward the Florida coastline, we ducked and weaved around the bands of heavy rain that preceded it. Our route, planned nearly a year ago, was concentrated in the Southeast: Atlanta Dragway was the first and last track, with stops in Darlington, Charlotte, and Bristol in between.
The format is the same as it’s always been: race at one track in the morning and drive to the next track along a predetermined route with checkpoints on the way to ensure no one shortened the drive. The average distance between each track was about 200 miles, making the drive as much of a determining factor to the outcome of the event than track times, if not more. Traditionally, the drive between the tracks causes more attrition on Drag Week™ than does breakage on the dragstrip. The approaching hurricane only ramped up the drama that much more this year, as there was some speculation early in the week that the event may have to be cut short because of the weather.
In the end, though, we skirted the worst of the storms and successfully completed the event with minimal interference from the weather. Out of the 400 cars that had originally registered for Drag Week™, 373 cars started in Atlanta and 288 made it to the end. Truly an international event, we had competitors from Australia, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, and a caravan of guys from the UK.