The final drive for the competitors on the 2018 Hot Rod Magazine Drag Week proved to be a grueling challenge. The count is down to 365 cars remaining in competition, approximately 68 have bailed out, and the final drive through the mountains saw nearly a dozen teams still driving through the daylight hours. Some needed to sleep for the sake of sleeping, others ran into mechanical issues as brake fluid overheated and braking systems were pushed to their limits.
Unofficially, the amusing announcers have estimated 40 or so cars are legit 8-second run rides with dozens more in the 7s and a couple have dipped into the 6s. The Unlimited category has become a two racer category, though Tom Bailey still holds an edge against David Schroeder, 6.8815 for the twin turbo Camaro to the nitrous-powered 7.0241 four-day average. There are two big notes to point out, the first is that Bailey’s time slip only shows a speed of 145.30 and ET of 7.469. That indicates he aborted the run early, did it do so because of mechanical reasons or decided to preserve parts for the last leg of the journey? For the first time all week, Schroeder turned in a quicker time slip with a 6.980 at only 167.95 mph best. He, too, shows a mph lower than what be normal for the time his Corvette posted.
The next quickest class is Ultimate Iron, basically all-steel muscle cars that tip the scales at a hefty 3,400 pounds. It is the only category that requires competitors to carry a minimum weight on track and Bryant Goldstone continues to have a stranglehold on the competition with a 6.989 at 207.73 mph average. He has some tight competition from Joe Berry, who races a nearly flawless 1956 Chevy that has graced the pages of almost every major high-performance automotive magazine in the world. He sits second with a 7.2354 at 188.85 mph average.
Les Smith has held a commanding lead in Pro Street Power Adder heading into the final day of competition and his four-day average is 7.5816 at 189.89 mph. Heading into Drag Week 2018, all eyes were on James McEntire and if he could produce a 7-second average in Pro Street Naturally Aspirated. He was first to run 7s in the category but the heat and humidity prevented him from doing so. He struggled on Tuesday with a 10-second run but he’s been a solid low 8-second performer on the other days. He leads the class by a wide margin with an 8.746 at 154.62 average.
Dan Saitz has distanced himself from the Modified Power Adder category with a 7.7761 at 185.95 mph average. However, Geo Castillo has made himself known with his Real Street Performance built 1995 Supra MKIV. Castillo has posted the quickest time in the category on Wednesday and Thursday. A bad day on Tuesday at Darlington Dragway has kept Castillo’s average in the 8s with an 8.0537. Matt Bryson is dominating the Modified Naturally Aspirated class with his 1980 Mustang with a 9.046 at 149.94 mph average.
Frank Soponaro and his wild turbocharged 1967 Chevy Nova continue to front run the Super Street Big Block Power Adder with a 7.8885 at 184.52 mph. Clark Rosenstengel has stayed on top of the small-block version of the class with a 7.9912 at 174.76 mph. For the naturally aspirated combinations in Super Street, Randy Heinselman is the big-block leader with a 9.373 at 142.52 mph and Curt Johnson is a tick quicker with a small-block NA Mustang with a 9.1171 at 148.92 mph.
In the Street Race class, which doesn’t allow a funny car cage, offers naturally aspirated and power adder class in both big-block and small-block applications. The leaders are James Karger (8.613, BB/PA), Scott Miller (9.2299, BB/NA), Randall Reed (8.5265, SB/PA), and Jason Tabscott (9.2928, SB/NA).
There are two Gasser categories with Jarrad Scott leading A/Gas thanks to a 9.1945 average in a 1962 Ford sedan. The B/Gas leader is Chrisholm/Stasiak with a 9.8217 at 134.97 mph average in a 1955 Chevy. Timothy Hall is the Hot Rod leader in a unique 1947 International KB-1, which runs high 9s and has a four-day average of 9.9925. The Street Machine is led by Jared Ball thanks to a 10.0475 average.