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TWO DRAG STRIPS CANCEL THEIR 2020 SEASON

 

At least two drag strips have publicly thrown in the towel for the 2020 season.

Motor Mile Dragway, the multi-purpose facility owned by the Hagan Family, and Saskatchewan International Dragway both announced on Friday there will be no 2020 season for them due to local regulations related to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Motor Mile Dragway is located in Radford, Va., where the state is on a stay at home mandate through June 10, 2020.

VIDEO - INTRODUCING NITRO PRO COMP

ENCORE PRESENTATION - REMEMBERING PRO COMP

12-04procomp.jpgThe Pro Comp concept had all the makings of a great concept on paper, but in reality the classification is one that became antiquated the moment the 1974 season began.

Pro Comp was a star destined to shine, a bridge covering the colossal gap which existed between sportsman racing and the nitro-burning division.

The semi-professional division was actually a salve to ease the sting of losing Top Gas eliminator earlier in the season while elevating many of the “overqualified” Comp eliminator entries.

Pro Comp featured a mix of the “everything to everybody” nature of sportsman drag racing with the cutthroat nature of professional racing’s heads up pro-tree format. Maybe cutthroat didn’t describe the nature of its followers, but it described the level of competition to a tee.

TALKING WITH THE SNAKE: AN INTERVIEW WITH DON "THE SNAKE" PRUDHOMME

 

Don “The Snake” Prudhomme’s birthday is next week, April 6

Like everyone else in California, Prudhomme’s under a stay-at-home order during the coronavirus pandemic -- “the damndest thing I’ve ever seen out here” -- but the winner of 49 NHRA national events and four titles is far from inactive. 

The San Diego resident, ranked No. 3 on the list of NHRA’s top all-time drivers, is wrapping up a new biography with author Elana Scheer called “Don Prudhomme: My Life Beyond the 1320.” And he’s eager, like everyone else involved in drag racing, to get back to the track for a faceful of nitromethane fumes as part of the John Force Racing operation.

“We’ve been kind of busy. We’ve got the writing part of the book done, which is about a year and a half’s work, and now we’re selecting the pictures,” he said. “I’m turning 79, I might as well tell the truth. 

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - STRIP OWNER BILL BADER JR. DISCUSSES THE PERILOUS TIMES DRAG RACING FACES

 

It's in the nature of a drag strip operator. Prepare to get slapped in the face by calamity, and once you make it through the tempest, there'll be another waiting for you. They are all too often gluttons for punishment as some would assume.

However, there are those such as second-generation drag strip owner Bill Bader Jr., who understand their destiny in giving fans a show worthy of their hard-earned entertainment dollars.

Almost a year ago, overwhelming rainstorms in the area did a convincing job of sinking his season. And now today, an ever-expanding pandemic of the Coronavirus threatens a second whammy.

CompetitionPlus.com Editor Bobby Bennett in his first assignment back on the job caught up with the straight-shooting Bader for a discussion of today's drag racing landscape, primarily from a track owner's point of view.

JEG COUGHLIN JR. REFLECTS ON 'BOBSLED CHALLENGE' AS FULL-TIME DRIVING CAREER WANES

Six-time drag racing world champion Jeg Coughlin Jr. will always pick the familiar confines of his JEGS.com Elite Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro as his preferred mode of go-fast transportation. But for three years, from 2008-2010, Coughlin enjoyed the unique experience of hitting breakneck speeds driving an Olympic bobsled as part of the Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge.
 
"As I think back on those three events, that was actually pretty crazy," said Coughlin, who will pullback from full-time racing at the end of the year. "At the time, the competitor in you comes out and the way they set it up was NASCAR versus NHRA so we just kind of dove into the fight. It probably was a bit insane but it was also a lot of fun.

DRAG RACING LOSES ANOTHER FRIEND - BILLY “BONES” MILLER

 

In the modern annals of auto racing, there are a handful of people, who, behind-the-scenes, played pivotal roles in the Sport. Billy “Bones” Miller was one of those individuals. When referring to Billy as an angel, it’s not in the heavenly sense of halos and wings but as a person of great generosity. Sadly, on the 28th of March, he did earn those wings.

First a bit of background information. A So-Cal kid, Billy started attending the drags at Santa Ana in the mid ’50s and then other local tracks especially Lions. He made fast friends with many of the area’s racers including Tom “The Mongoo$e” McEwen and Don “The Snake” Prudhomme. While his friends developed their racing careers, Billy focused his time and intellect on the restaurant industry. He started out at a Jack-In-the-Box drive-in and ended up owning twelve very lucrative Sizzler Family Steakhouses throughout the Los Angeles area.

In preparation for this piece, some of those who had been very close to Billy were contacted: Pat Galvin, Donnie Couch, Skip Hess, Lynn Rose, Tom Prock, Roland Leong and Don “The Snake” Prudhomme. To a person, they spoke at length and very fondly of Billy’s extreme kindness, generosity, loyalty and friendship, sharing stories which exemplified those traits.

ENCORE - THE ENERGY CRISIS OF THE MID-70S FORCED THE NHRA INTO ACTION

1_6_2009_economic_crisis.jpgDon Schumacher was still an active Funny Car driver when the energy crisis of the mid-70s hit the United States with the force of a Category 5 hurricane. Thirty-five years later the owner of a multi-car drag racing operation has a front-row seat for a crisis of another nature.

Schumacher admitted his age and single-minded interest in racing kept him from taking the energy crisis too seriously, but now, as a seasoned race team owner, the nation’s economic situation, which bears some similarities to that long-ago energy crisis, has his full attention.

“In the early ‘70s, I was young and carefree to the point that I couldn’t say I truthfully identified enough with the energy crisis,” Schumacher admitted. “We found ways to get around it and continue to get on down the road.”

UPDATED - TIME TRAVELING - INSIDE THE COMPETITIONPLUS.COM PHOTO ARCHIVES

For 20 years CompetitionPlus.com has covered drag racing worldwide, but because of server space, we've had to remove those galleries from the magazine. 

Since there are no races to cover presently, Roger Richards has opened up the vault to visit those days gone by. We will put up a new one each day, but for now, let's catch up on what we've rediscovered. 

MILLICAN, DEJORIA HEADLINE ARP THUNDER AT THE DOME VIRTUAL REALITY WINNERS

 

Someone finally did it, and Clay Millican is happy it was him.

Terry McMillen has been invincible in Virtual Reality Hot Rod Association competition, scoring two No. 1 qualifiers in as many races, and up until 10 minutes before the 7 PM voting finish on Tuesday, was poised to maintain his dominance. Ten minutes left into their fan-vote determined race, Millican and McMillen were in a dead tie with hundreds of votes cast.

Then Millican inched a little ahead, and at the stripe won by only seven votes, the equivalent of a race determined by two inches.

"You can call it being on a roll," Millican said with a laugh. "I have to be honest; I am bouncing off the walls from the experience of it all. It's really cool being a part of this. Let me tell you this; Terry is a bad dude.

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