Ronnie Davis is heading back to where it all started for him nearly 23 years ago as he prepares for the American Drag Racing Leagueâ€™s (ADRLâ€™s) inaugural visit to Bristol Dragway this weekend. Davis will be competing Friday and Saturday at the ADRL Spring Drags III in Summit Racing Equipment Top Sportsman, added late last year as an official class to the seriesâ€™ all-eighth-mile show.
â€œBristol is where I made my very first IHRA Top Sportsman start in October of 1989, where I redlighted in the final and lost to Ron Miller,â€ Davis recalled. â€œBristol is also the site of the first everâ€”everâ€”NHRA Top Sportsman race in July of 2002, which I helped get started.
â€œI donâ€™t know how many races Iâ€™ve won up there since then, but itâ€™s been a lot so Iâ€™m looking forward to getting up there again and going for my first ADRL win.â€
Last month at the ADRL season opener in Baytown, Texas, Davis qualified second in his Tommy Mauney-built â€™63 Corvette and said he was encouraged by the performance of his nitrous oxide-injected, 822-cubic-inch engine from Roush Yates Performance Engine Group.
â€œI canâ€™t say enough about those Roush Yates engines. They stay together and never give me any trouble and they produce just a ton of horsepower,â€ he stated. â€œUnfortunately, our third qualifying round (on Friday night) got cancelled and thatâ€™s when I usually try to go fast. After that I just turned it back to one stage (of nitrous, instead of four for qualifying), and got ready to go racing.â€
Unfortunately, Davis fell to the dreaded redlight start in the opening round of eliminations.
â€œThat shouldnâ€™t have happened; I really donâ€™t know how it happened because I had taken precautions for it not to,â€ said Davis, who is a five-time IHRA Top Sportsman world champion with a pair of NHRA Division 2 championships to his credit, too. â€œBut it did and you canâ€™t argue about it after the fact so you just forget about it and move on.â€
Plus, the trip to Texas wasnâ€™t a total loss as Davisâ€™ daughters, Bridget and Michelle, who grew up racing and traveling with their dad, came out to cheer him on, along with grandchildren Lillie, 10, her four-year-old brother Samuel, and sons in law Omar Medina and Mark Seger.
â€œAny time I get to see my girls and my grandkids is a good time. It was nice to be able to spend some good family time with them at the track again,â€ Davis said.
(Photos by ADRL/Richards)