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QUAD CITIES DRAG RACING LEGEND BOB BARTEL PASSES

Robert J. “Bob” Bartel will forever be known by some as the man who built Quad City Drag Strip in the tiny hamlet of Cordova, Illinois. To others, he was the creator of what would become the sport’s oldest event, the World Series of Drag Racing. History shows, however, Bob Bartel was one of the sport’s founding fathers and, in fact, was responsible for the early growth of a global sport and its superstars.
 
Bartel’s involvement in motorsports, (and drag racing in particular), began long before the gates opened at his quarter-mile strip along the Mississippi River. The Moline, Illinois, native was integral in the creation of a drag racing association with truly national scope. In 1953, as the fledgling, (and strictly regional), National Hot Rod Association staged its first drag race. Also in 1953, 31 year-old Bartel and Jim Lamona began hosting races with their Automobile Timing Association of America, (ATAA), which quickly attracted a sizeable number of drag strips to its ranks while the NHRA was struggling to break out of California. The NHRA was dedicated to posting only trophies and contingency prizes but the ATAA paid cash purses and became an instant hit with contestants.  

TOP FUEL DRIVER BILLY TORRENCE TO COMPETE AT PHOENIX

Since 2013, Billy Torrence has dabbled in Top Fuel competition, competing in several races.
 
Normally, Torrence, the father of star Top Fuel driver Steve Torrence, doesn’t compete until later in the season.

INSPIRED PALMER, WITH POWERFUL ALLY, MAKING MOST OF HIS CHANCES

Three years ago, Scott Palmer, accompanied by brothers Bobby and Dom Lagana, headed off down the highway one January with little more than a cool idea to test his Top Fuel dragster at Phoenix, then buzz on over to Pomona for the first race of the NHRA season.
 
Today Palmer has a top-10 finish, a Countdown to the Championship under his belt, and three strong marketing partners in Kent Longley’s Marck Recycling, Tommy Thompson’s Cat Spot Litter, and Forrest and Charlotte Lucas’ NHRA powerhouse associate, Lucas Oil.  

EPIC RvW FINAL AS 'STEVIE FAST' WINS LIGHTS OUT 9

In the end, Radials vs. the World (RvW) fans got what they wanted Feb. 15-18, at promoter Donald "Duck" Long's Lights Out 9: a final-round showdown between two of the most popular and polarizing stars in the sport. The stakes were high, too, with $50,000 in cash (plus a sizable but undisclosed side bet between the two finalists) going to the winner of the annual drag radial extravaganza at South Georgia Motorsports Park (SGMP).

After three qualifying sessions and five rounds of RvW eliminations spread out over the event's four days, it all came down to number-two qualifier and local favorite "Stevie Fast" Jackson of Evans, GA, going up against Keith Haney, the colorful, outspoken car dealer from Broken Arrow, OK. Jackson also called the tune-up on "The Shadow," his blown-Hemi-powered 2015 Camaro, while Haney relied on crew chiefs Brandon Switzer and Brandon Pesz to tweak "Enigma," his nitrous-assisted 2016 Camaro.

BILL LITTON TO RACE WORSHAM’S TOP FUEL DRAGSTER AGAIN

For the first time since NHRA’s Western Swing in 2016, Bill Litton will be driving Worsham Racing's Top Fuel dragster in 2018.
 
“I call Del and Chuck (Worsham) the dream team,” Litton said. “I’m totally blessed, and I thank God on a regular basis that I got to license with Del and Chuck and I still get to work with them. I know I’m a small fish compared to the stuff they have worked with in the past.”

DRAG RADIAL FAN FAVORITE LYLE BARNETT EMBRACES HIS NEW NORMAL

 

Lyle Barnett has seen the videos; his favorite one he estimates 40 times over the course of the last year. 

Last year, at Lights Out 8, Barnett returned to the same track where in 2015 he'd suffered a fire in his Radial vs. The World; a fire which subjected him to 28 seconds of direct exposure to the flames which resulted in third-degree burns to 15-percent of his body. 

The first time back to the scene of the horrifying incident resulted in his most cherished victory. A year later, he's still basking in the glow of fate. 

SITTON SEALS THE QUALIFYING DEAL AT LIGHTS OUT 9

 

With a stunning pass in the last of three qualifying rounds for Radials vs. the World at Lights Out 9, Jeff Sitton eclipsed teammate "Stevie Fast" Jackson for the number-one start based on mile per hour alone. Sitton exactly matched Jackson's 3.787-seconds elapsed time from earlier in the session, but his supercharged 2017 Camaro crossed the finish line at 198.70 mph, .64 mph faster than Jackson, to earn the top spot.

Sitton expressed surprise at the result.  

STEVIE FAST AND THE RADIAL VS. THE UNPREDICTABLE WORLD -

 

 Despite finishing Friday as number-one qualifier for the headlining Radials vs. the World (RvW) class at Lights Out 9, "Stevie Fast" Jackson predicts a wide-open field for eliminations.

Several inches of rain fell on South Georgia Motorsports Park (SGMP) over a period of four days prior to the event, leaving its eighth mile as an essentially bare concrete surface. With few slick-tire cars on the track to help lay rubber down on the racing grooves, it creates a challenging task for the SGMP track prep crew.  

STEVIE FAST RETURNS TO HIS TOP SPOT IN DAY TWO LIGHTS OUT QUALIFYING

Apparently trash-talking can be as crucial in drag radial racing, as an aggressive tune-up. One produces the other at Lights Out 9, the popular drag radial event hosted by South Georgia Motorsports Park. 

Stevie "Fast" Jackson will be the first to testify.

"I wasn't planning on running for the No. 1 qualifier, but I was inspired," Jackson admitted.

PARKER PLANS TO BECOME THE WORLD'S FASTEST BLIND MAN IN SALVAGED CORVETTE

Just as he continues to meet and beat tremendous challenges stemming from a drag racing accident that left him 100-percent blind, Columbus, Georgia’s Dan Parker plans to restore a Hurricane Harvey-damaged Corvette to better-than-new condition—then drive it as a record-setting race car. {Facebook.com/DanParkerQuestForTheSalt)

“I found a flood-damaged 2008 C6 Corvette with no motor in Oklahoma City, so me and three buddies went down there late last year to pick it up. Then, when I came back home I accidentally came across another complete, but wrecked, C6 of the same year with the same engine and transmission combination. So a family member bought that car and donated it and we started putting the two of them together to make one good car,” says Parker, who crashed nearly six years ago while testing a 1963 Corvette Pro Mod at a drag strip in Steele, Alabama.

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