Written by Ainsley Jacobs
Photography by Ainsley Jacobs

Two things that most car guys (and gals) love are racing and road trips. Hot Rod Drag Week combines the best of both into one mayhem-packed motorsports event, and the 14th Annual Hot Rod Drag Week powered by Dodge and brought to you by Gear Vendors kicked things off at Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, Georgia on September 9, 2018.

Last year’s King(s) of the Hill, Dave Schroeder and co-driver, John Ens, are back to defend their title in the Unlimited Class with their classic ’66 Corvette. Powered by an 872 ci Reher-Morrison engine topped with a Visner Engine Development intake and huffing plenty of nitrous, the guys hope to have a repeat of last year’s events with their 6-second blue beauty.

The legendary Joe Barry is back with his 6-second, car show-worthy ’56 Chevy 210 Sports Coupe the “Creamsicle.” Barry is no stranger to Drag Week, having competed at several iterations of the event in the past and won the Unlimited Iron class outright in 2017.

What to do when you want to run in Hot Rod Drag Week but there’s no such thing in your home country? Well, if you’re this group of Australians, you start a GoFundMe campaign to make your dream a reality, then pack up your kick ass ’87 GX71 Toyota Cresta and ship it to the States. The right-hand drive machine originally did time on the mean streets of its motherland, Japan, before it was imported to Australia where the Mighty Car Mods/Skid Factory YouTube crew built it to its current form in just eleven days. Featuring a turbocharged Ford 4.0L straight-six engine built for street use, the HyperTune-backed beast runs in the 9-second zone and is competing this year in the Modified Power Adder class. Behind the wheel is owner/driver Benny, and the inspiring crew includes his father, Phil, along with Alan and Woody. The guys are hanging around until the 16th at which point they’ll detour up to Canada before heading back to their home Down Under on the 20th. To see more about this unique entry, visit: facebook.com/9secondcresta/.

Race Part Solutions to the rescue! When Randy Seward (left), fresh off his Pony Express journey, needed a fuel line in a hurry in order to be able to race his Fox body Mustang, Wade McGowan (right) and Bart Tobener (not pictured) pulled some strings to get things done. Seward is joined by his wife, Mayumi, for this year’s event, but the couple was unfortunately unable to make a pass as repairs were completed right as rain moved in. Seward was not disqualified, though, as the rules account for weather interruptions and he was instead assigned a “default” time of 20.00 for his Super Street Small Block Power Adder class.

There’s something for everyone at Hot Rod Drag Week, from sleek imports to wicked rat rods and everything in between. The event really does cater to all tastes, and the variety of cars in the pits is second to none.

The week just got started but there’s already carnage. Throughout the pits, racers were thrashing to make changes, sort problems, and find fixes.

It seems like Hot Rod Drag Week and Roadkill were made for each other – and the Roadkill guys are ready to rock with their “Blasphemi” 1955 Chevy Gasser inspired by the Two Lane Blacktop movie. One of Roadkill’s most reliable (and we use that term loosely) builds, the 535ci Mopar Hemi and American Powertrain six-speed will be put to the test during the week’s festitivies.

Hanging out in the pits and not running the strip (sadly) is this wild stacked-supercharged ’65 Chevy pickup truck. Owned by “Blown Mafia” head honcho, Bradley Gray, there’s no cage in the Pro Street-style cruise (hence the no on-track action restriction) but there’s still plenty of fun to be had with it, as the 9:1 compression 355 ci small block engine pumps out about 800 horsepower on pump gas.

It’s going to be a long week, friends. Get some rest while you still can!

Best of luck to all the drivers racing in this year’s Hot Rod Drag Week, including Alex Taylor and her orange “Badmaro” 8-second ’68 Camaro, as they continue on to Darlington Dragway in South Carolina for round two of the best damn battle of attrition in drag racing, period.

Ainsley Jacobs
Ainsley Jacobs
P.TEN Marketing's Ainsley Jacobs is a freelance motorsports marketing professional with extensive experience in marketing and communications, website development, social media management, photography, journalism, and more.