NEW XDRL LEADER UNDERSTANDS CHALLENGES HIS GROUP FACES

Written by Bobby Bennett; Photo by Roger Richards.

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Keith Goolsby understands his name might not be the most recognized in drag racing circles, which is fine. The new group the former drag racer and sales specialist represents could be even lesser known, a status he hopes to change.

Goolsby represents a “group out of Texas”, also known as the upstart Xtreme Drag Racing League [XDRL]. His hope and goal is to shoot for a fair share of the doorslammer racing marketplace most recently covered by the American Drag Racing League [ADRL].

Goolsby represents the interests of Texas businessmen Jeff Mitchell and David Hubbard, fans of extreme doorslammer racing and the driving force behind the XDRL.

Their challenge to Goolsby is to creatge a start-up race series which would be a viable option for many of the doorslammer racers who have made the ADRL home for the last seven years.

Goolsby has accepted their challenge which appears monumental in the midst of a challenging economic climate. What kind of person accepts this kind of challenge?

“I’ve been asked that same thing a few times, especially by Tim McAmis. I’ve drag raced my whole life and I love it. I worked my dream job all of last year [for the ADRL]. I just want to see what we started continue.”

Goolsby leads a team comprised mainly of ADRL team members under the Tim McAmis administration, onto the battlefield. He was one of the team members working in the sales arena for the doorslammer-oriented series.

“We had a real nice family atmosphere with our racers, sponsors. I just want to maintain that and put on a professional event for doorslammers.”

Goolsby understands there’s a natural tendency for some to feel as if they are forced to choose between the two but cautions this is not the case. He believes there is room for both the now Kenny Nowling-led ADRL and the XDRL to co-exist, providing doorslammer racers with more opportunities to race.

“I feel like there is,” said Goolsby. “I’ve probably fielded 300 or so calls in the last week. We are going to try and set our dates where racers can race. I’m going to try my best for no conflicting dates with the ADRL. I think I can get it done. We also have to consider the NHRA Pro Modified.”

Scheduling will be a challenge, Goolsby admits. His group is expected to release their schedule soon which could feature dates at Tulsa Motorsports Park, Bristol Dragway and zMax Dragway just to name a few. He’s planning to take into consideration the recently revealed ADRL schedule as well as the NHRA Pro Modified series, which some of his Pro Mod-legal competitors plan to race.

Goolsby estimates an eight to ten race series with a similar line-up to the last year’s ADRL menu. The only significant change might be trading the declining support Outlaw 10.5 division for a new Pro Turbo division.

While it might appear the XDRL is splitting the community, Goolsby denies this charge. His group was one of the unsuccessful bidders for the ADRL.

“I was contacted by a group to help guide them through that [bidding process],” Goolsby confirmed. “That’s how this developed. When we were unsuccessful they wanted to go to Plan B and this is Plan B.”

While Goolsby understands the XDRL faces challenges, just putting the team together has been a positive experience.

“We’ve got a good start,” said Goolsby. “Most of last year’s employees are back and on board. We are still trying to finalize some of that.”

Goolsby confirmed early sponsorship presentations have yielded positive support. And, with the particulars of whether this will be a pay or free ticket event, there is a large level of optimism.

“Still working on the official format,” Goolsby added. “We will do what is financially best for the series; we will do what is financially best for the association. We are thinking long term.”

The long term approach leaves Goolsby understanding he will learn many lessons along the way and he’s fine with this. His passion might just be the greatest attribute he brings to the post.

“I have passion for this and back in the day, it’s what I did. I loved it,” Goolsby said.

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