SPIRIT OF DRAG WEEK
The Spirit of Drag Week™ award is given to the individual who best exhibits the unstoppable resolve and gumption necessary to finish this weeklong torture test. Whether it be a heroic act to fix his or her broken steed in the final hour, or perhaps the willingness to assist others who fell victim to carnage along the way, this award has nothing to do with how fast a participant’s car is but rather how substantial the person’s heart is. Much to his surprise, first-time participant David Newbern took home the coveted award at this year’s event after pulling off some legendary fixes throughout the week.
Newbern brought out his 1971 Nova, aptly dubbed the “Attempted Murder Nova,” that had been boldly put together using a leftover engine from Roadkill’s
El Camino. Despite this handicap, Newbern made it to the fourth day of competition averaging in the 11s with only minimal charging issues, but that all changed when an all-out nitrous pass melted his carburetor and broke nearly all eight pistons in his Chevrolet smallblock. Resourceful to the last, Newbern placed a call to a local auto-parts store in the off chance it had a rebuilt long-block in stock. It did not, but somehow Newbern was able to cajole the store manager into selling him the engine from his personal project car: a third-gen F-body that had been sitting for a while. Better yet, the store manager actually went home and removed the engine from his car and delivered it to Newbern and his friends waiting patiently outside Thunder Valley Raceway. Newbern—assisted by Brandon Wise,
Craig Carruth, Mike Cotton, Daniel Boshears, and Mike Finnegan—swapped the engine overnight in the parking lot before driving straight to Atlanta Dragway for the final day of competition.
To say the old small-block was tired would be putting it nicely, so Newbern treated the engine like a ticking time bomb, keeping the nitrous as far away from it as possible. As a result, he ran 24.73-second pass at under 44 miles an hour on the next pass. While this might sound like a boring pass to everyone else, to Newbern it was one of the most exciting ever because it meant he had officially finished Drag Week™! Newbern and crew packed up and headed home to get some much-needed rest after the run and therefore missed the awards ceremony, so Finnegan accepted the award in his absence, with an incredulous Newbern on speakerphone.