Today kicks off Day 1 of the 2016 Hot Rod Drag week in the small little town of Hebron, Ohio. This is without a doubt the super bowl of drag racing featuring some of the fastest cars in the country. It’s a week long event held over the course of five days where drivers have to race at 5 different tracks, well 4 tracks because they start and finish at the same track. Thanks to the MotorTrend YouTube Channel we get to watch the whole thing live.
One of the best things about the Hot Rod Drag Week is that each car must be driven from one location to the next under its own power. That means these cars have to be street legal because they are driving on regular old roads to get to each track. The only trailers you will see here are the ones being towed behind the 2000+hp vehicles competing in the event.
There are over 300 cars competing at this year’s event and there are multiple different classes of vehicles. You’ll see everything from the wicked fast pro-mods running high 6’s in the 1/4 mile at over 240mph in the unlimited class down to the Stree Machine Eliminator class that can’t run faster than 10 seconds. Plus just about everything in between.
The winners are determined by their average E.T over the course of the 5 race days. So going out with one or two solid runs won’t cut it. The point here is not only to find the fastest cars in the country but to find the best built and most reliable as well.
Today is Day 1 of the event, held at the National Trail Raceway in Hebron, Ohio. The cars will run till about 4pm when the track will close and then it’s on to the next location. Day 2 is scheduled to take place at the Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio that is only a short 94 miles away according to Google Maps. However, I’ve just learned that one fo the rules requires the cars to drive along a given route to the next track, avoiding major highways. That means it’s likely going to be a littler further than what’s showing up on GPS.
Day 3 kicks off on Wednesday at the US 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan, 238 miles away. That means after the racers finish up on day 2 in Norwalk they have to get into their dreadfully uncomfortable race cars and drive over 200 miles before they can go to sleep before waking up and doing it all over again. Day 4 will be at the Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Indiana which I believe is the longest leg of the event at 248 miles. Again, those numbers are from Google maps based on the shortest route using major highways.
On day 5 the racers head back to the National Trail Raceway wich is roughly 215 miles away where they will make their final runs. This is when you will see most racers give the car everything it has. The previous days you had to find a happy medium between running your car hard enough to stay competitive, but not hard enough to cause problems with the car and potentially break something.
Speaking of which, we mentioned that there aren’t any trailers for the cars, other than the ones being towed behind the race car itself. That’s because one of the main rules of the event, aside from having to drive each car the entire way, is that there can be no planned support teams. Meaning you can’t have teams waiting along the way to help with spare parts and such. The racers can receive help from outside sources if they run into problems, they just can’t have pre-planned support stops.
Some of you that follow the Street Outlaws television show may recognize the name Jeff Lutz, and if you’re heavily involved in the sport of Drag Racing you will most definitely know his name. He is considered to be one of the best in the business when it comes to turbocharged drag cars. he made that very clear when he ran the fastest time of the event during the 2015 Drag Week with a ridiculously fast 6.05 @ 251mph! Again mind you, that’s in a car that is street legal!
To give you an idea of just how fast these Unlimited cars can be, last year’s winner was Tom Baily and his “Sick Second 2.0” ProMod 1969 Camaro after Lutz had some issues that required him to pull out of the event. Baily’s Camaro is no slouch by any means. He used the Sick Second 1.0 to win the 2013 Drag Week and then brought back a new and improved 2.0 car to win in 2015. He averaged over the five days a 6.78 E.T. @ 219.6mph thanks to a 615 cubic inch motor built by Steve Morris Engines and Sonny’s Racing Components and twin 94mm Precision Turbos. It’s said to produce as much as 4,000hp if its turned all the way up. On Bailey’s first run he pulled a 6.24 @ 224mph so it’s looking like the Lutz-Bailey battle is going to be strong this year.
I happened to be watching the live broadcast when Jeff Lutz made his first pass at this year’s event. He brought back his ProMod Camaro named “Mad Max” that he used to run that stupid fast 6.05 last year and he didn’t disappoint. Even though it was his first pass he still managed to pull a 6.19 E.T. @ 240mph! It’s looking like it will be another shootout between Lutz and Bailey this year wich should be quite the competition between these cars. We will bring you the results on Friday, but in the meantime, you can watch every day of the event live on YouTube.