Hot Rod - - Drag Week 2018 -

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.

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