This week, the drivers of the American Drag Racing League (ADRL) will take to zMAX Dragway and put on a show featuring some of the quickest and fastest doorslammers in the country. Die hard drag racing fans will flood zMAX Dragway Aug. 3-4 for ADRL Dragstock IX, which will continue a decades-old tradition of eighth-mile drag racing in the Carolinas.
The ADRL is the premier sanctioning body for eighth-mile drag racing and features door cars or doorslammers, which are racing machines that have functional doors and resemble production vehicles, running speeds of more than 200 mph. The ADRL includes seven all-professional, eighth-mile drag racing classes.
ADRL: Fast and Wild
It has been said that the eighth-mile racing of the ADRL is some of the most exciting drag racing in the world.
â€œYou can get more out of these cars because the motors will live running the eighth mile,â€ said doorslammer legend, and King, N.C.-native Rickie Smith, who has had a successful career in both NHRA and ADRL competition. â€œThis makes them a little wilder because weâ€™re trying to do more than we should do with them. NHRA is a quarter-mile, so you canâ€™t have a motor quite as hot as you can in eighth-mile racing. You have to be a little calmer with it.
â€œThese Pro Extreme cars are the fastest doorslammers in the world. Theyâ€™re just way over-powered from the wheelbase to the car. Theyâ€™re kind of like the Funny Cars were 25-30 years ago. These things are mean handling race cars.â€
The first Dragstock event was held in 2004 at Carolina Dragway in Jackson, S.C. as a one-off event to showcase eighth-mile drag racing and door cars. The event was so successful that organizers not only brought it back for a second year, but they began a racing series around the event in 2005.
Dragstock outgrew Carolina Dragway and was then moved to Rockingham (N.C.) Dragway for the third season where it remained until this year. To continue the evolution of the event, it has a new home at the state-of-the-art zMAX Dragway.
â€œItâ€™s awesome,â€ said Jeff Fortune, executive vice president of ADRL. â€œDragstock was the first real blowout event for the ADRL and has become our signature event. Weâ€™ve had eight tremendous Dragstocks in the past. Itâ€™s only fitting that it moves to the number one drag strip in the country.â€
Doorslammer History in the Carolinas
The door cars have a deep history in the Carolinas, starting at tracks like Shuffletown Dragway, a now defunct track in Charlotte, Spartanburg in South Carolina and Farmington, located near Winston-Salem. Cars similar to todayâ€™s Pro Stock and Pro Modified classes raced throughout the area. A driver could race at a different track each night of the weekend and take home winnings of around $300 for a good weekend of racing.
Doorslammer legends such as Smith, Quain Stott, Charles Carpenter, Gene Fulton and many others honed their skills on tracks throughout the piedmont of North and South Carolina.
â€œWe have a lot of racers from that area,â€ said Fortune. â€œThe amount of tracks in the area has really contributed to the growth of eighth-mile drag racing.â€
Veteran driver Stott believes that door cars are popular in the Carolinas because of their resemblance to factory vehicles.
â€œDoorslammers are really popular because theyâ€™re cars,â€ said Stott, who hails from Columbus, N.C. â€œA doorslammer car still has the driver sitting on the left where theyâ€™re supposed to be with the engine where itâ€™s supposed to be, and it still has to resemble a car. Thatâ€™s the reason itâ€™s popular around the Carolinas. Everybody is crazy about doorslammers. Fans can relate to a doorslammer because itâ€™s something familiar. They can open a door and get in like their own hot rods.â€
Affordable Family Fun
â€œItâ€™s exciting to host the ADRL at zMAX Dragway because these cars are always just short of out of control,â€ said Christian Byrd, general manager of zMAX Dragway. â€œThey put on a great show. The action is fast-paced and thrilling to watch. Itâ€™s probably a good thing that they donâ€™t go the entire quarter mile, because Iâ€™m not sure theyâ€™d make it that far.â€
The event will include a midway area with more than 20 sponsor displays and the Charlotte Motor Speedway Fan Van. Jet car exhibitions will be featured in between competition runs. On Friday and Saturday night, there will be a cruise-in for car clubs and individuals.
Tickets for ADRL Dragstock IX are $15 each day or $25 for a two-day pass. Children 12 and under are admitted free. Parking for this event is $10 each day.
Spectator gates open at 10 a.m. on Friday, with qualifying runs beginning at noon. On Saturday, gates open at 10 a.m., with the final round of qualifying scheduled for noon and pre-race ceremonies scheduled for 3:15 p.m., followed by eliminations.
Tickets for all 2012 events at zMAX Dragway are available by calling the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267). Interest-free payment plans are available.