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Torco Racing Fuels Route 66 NHRA Nationals

8 June 2008 No Comment

Somehow, I have attended three drag racing events in three different time zones this year. The first was on February 10, 2008 in Pomona, CA, the second was on March 15, 2008 in Gainesville, FL and yesterday I attended the Route 66 NHRA Nationals in Joliet, IL.

The great thing about arriving at Route 66 Raceway is no traffic. Three months ago, when I arrived at Gainesville Raceway, it took more than an hour to drive the 3 miles from the highway to the track. The drive from Wrigley Field to Route 66 Raceway took about 75 minutes. Parking was $5.

As soon as I parked, a scalper asked if I had extra tickets. I said no and asked if he had an extra. He had a $48 face value single. He wanted $45 for it. I said no thanks. My target price was between $20 and $30 since that was what I paid at the other two NHRA events this year.

Walking towards the main gate I found a scalper who had a stack of tickets. He was selling to other fans for $40 each. I whispered, “Will you take $30 for 1 ticket.” He said yes and told me to walk away from the main group.

Ticket Buying Tip #7: When other fans are buying from a scalper for a price that you believe is too high (in this case $40), you need to wait until that transaction is complete or be discreet about the price you want to pay. A scalper will not giveaway his minimum price to other fans if you are negotiating in front of them.

As for the event itself, I witnessed Melanie Troxel become the first woman to qualify as the #1 seed (16 cars qualify for the Final Eliminations on Sunday) in Funny Car racing history. In addition, Tony Schumacher took the pole position in Top Fuel for the 50th time in his career.

I left when the rains came. According to the recap, racing was delayed for three hours, so it looks like my decision to leave was the correct one.

Here are a few tips I have when attending an NHRA event:
1) You must be sure to be in the stands when the Funny Car and Top Fuel Dragsters are on the track. These cars drive the ¼ mile track in less than 5 seconds and top speeds are between 300 and 330 mph. When sitting in the stands you can feel your inner organs vibrate as they race down the track. There is no other experience like it in sports.
2) You should also watch the Pro Stock Cars and Motorcycles. These are the next most important races.
3) Based on my comment in #1, you must bring ear plugs. Please do not try to “tough out” the noise.
4) Bring sun screen. While you must be tough to race in drag racing, they will not race with even a drizzle of rain (makes sense – do not want a car driving 300+ miles per hour to slip on a rain drop). Thus, racing normally takes place in the sun.

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