Today is Sat. January 15th and I’m sitting in my 2013 Chevrolet Caprice PPV (retired cop car) waiting for the track announcer’s call of “Attention in the pits – Attention in the Pits” Sportsman cars to lane one and two. This is the opening day for the 2022 Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park Summit ET Racing Series. Even though l’m 70 years old and have been to opening day races countless times in my 50+ years of Bracket Drag Racing, I’m excited like it’s my first time. Waiting in line to enter the track and noticing people and cars that l know, a nod here a wave there, makes me feel good that l’m part of this unique American made grass-roots drag racing experience. Driving into the pit area, l can see that the turnout on this beautiful winter day is pretty good. I see several cars that I’ve never seen before.
“Attention in the Pits – Attention in the Pits” Jr. Dragsters to the lanes. OK, get ready Sportsman will be called up next. My first run of 2022 netted a 13.92 elapsed time (ET) at only 92.85 miles per hour. I say only, because l lifted off the gas at the first finish line cone, that’s about 50 feet from the actual finish line. A rookie mistake, that l haven’t done in many years. Second run and another mistake, l forgot to turn off the traction control, which again affected my ET. Yipes, when first round comes, l better have these mistakes out of my system, or I’ll be going home early. Talking to racers in the staging lanes, it was nice to hear that l wasn’t the only one making early-season mistakes.
While l was waiting for that 2nd time trail run, l went to the starting line to watch the little kids under age 6 racing their Big Wheel Trikes. I saw several racers that I’ve known for years, helping their kids or grandkids in these Big Wheel races. One young father is Paul Lorton, he was helping son Jack, who and was runner-up on Saturday. It was so interesting watching Paul as a proud father, because l vividly remember Paul racing his Jr. Dragster 15 or 20 years ago. Paul is now an accomplished drag racer with many wins and track championships under his belt. His father Roger Lorton built many of the Jr. Dragster engines back then and engines for the big cars as well, including for me. It was nice seeing long-time friends and grandparents like Brian & Victoria Griffey and Darrin & Debby Dolezal out there helping and supporting their grandkids, getting maybe their first taste of drag racing.