For all they have accomplished and been a part of over a long and successful drag racing career, Doug and Justin Kirk have never raced separately on the same weekend.
That is, until this weekend.
Doug, a former two-time IHRA Pro Stock world champion, will be running his Extreme Pro Stock Mustang at the ADRL’s U.S. Drags V at Virginia Motorsports Park, trying to build on the momentum from the last two events.
Meanwhile, his son, Justin, will be close to home, racing at a massive 3-day dragster event, The Ultimate 64 Shootout, at Mountain Park Dragway in Clay City, Ky.
Kirk will be racing a dragster on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with the main attraction being Saturday’s Ultimate 64 Shootout, pitting 64 cars in a winner-take-all bracket race that nets the winner an incredible $50,000.
“It’s going to be a whole different experience,” Doug said. “Justin takes on a lot on the Pro Stock car, but I guess we will have everybody else fill in here and there. I’m sure we will be texting back and forth all weekend.”
It will obviously be a major adjustment for both father and son, but Justin also brought up another important scenario.
“He said what are you going to do if I win and you’re not there. I said, ‘What are you going to do if I win $50,000 and you’re not here?’ They didn’t have anything to say about that,” Justin said with a laugh.
Countered Doug: “I want him to win, but I would never hear the end of it. I guess I will take the repercussions from that if he’s winning $50,000.”
The close-knit family racing team has a long history of success, partly because of a strong competitive nature that drives all of them.
That competitiveness even carries over to the occasional father-son matchup like the one that took place at Mountain Park Dragway in the finals of a local dragster race last year.
“As long as one of us wins, it doesn’t matter, but when he beats me, it gets bad. He still lets me know about that race,” Justin said.
A year ago, Justin also raced in the Ultimate 64 Shootout, losing in the second round to Jeg Coughlin Jr. – yes, that Jeg Coughlin Jr. – of the massive event.
It attracts some major names, with all 64 putting up $1,500 – with no buy backs – to try and win $50,000.
The Ultimate 64 Showdown – pitting 32 dragster against 32 door cars – takes place on Friday as part of the huge 3-day weekend and hands out $12,000 to the winner, while the Ultimate 32 Dragster Shootout on Sunday gives away another $5,000 to the winner.
“I’m excited, but I’m nervous. A prize of $50,000 to win is a lot. There’s no second chances, so you have to be ready,” Justin said. “We’ve won a lot of races at this track and this is pretty much where dad started, so hopefully this will be a good weekend.”
Said Doug: “We’re a very competitive family. We work together, play together and race together. If this is what (Justin) wants to do, I just want him to be good at it.”
Miles away, Doug will be trying to find the perfect combination for a Pro Stock car that has proven finicky thus far in 2012.
Kirk is currently 12th in points after falling in the first round to close friend Brian Gahm earlier this month in St. Louis.
That halted the momentum he built at Maple Grove in May when he advanced to the semifinals before Gahm also took him out there.
In St. Louis, Kirk’s motor broke early in the event, which had the team scrambling and then going home earlier than they had hoped.
But a new motor just arrived to their shop in time for the U.S. Drags and it could be the answer to getting Kirk going this weekend in the stout XPS class.
“We’re working on things and we’re coming with it,” Doug said. “With the new motor, it all just depends on how it dynos. If it does well, we might put it in and start with it.
“It just depends on the weather and all those things. I think with the hotter weather, it evens things up a whole lot more. The hotter the weather, the better the racing gets.”
For the Kirk family, the better the racing, the more memorable this weekend could be.
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