Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Innovative 2017 drag-racing season set

Published:Sunday | February 5, 2017 | 2:00 AM
Neville Hogg does a burnout on slicks in his blue Supra at Vernamfield in July.
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The 2017 Season of the National Drag Racing Challenge roars off on Sunday, March 12. This comes as the National Drag Racing Committee (NDRC) published its 2017 calendar. There will be a new feature where drivers can test and tune their vehicles over a 200-metre (1/8-mile) course. The innovation, according to race director, Stephen Gunter, is a bid to take fast drivers off the roads and put them instead on the track.

"We want to give an easy pathway to those who want to try their hand at drag racing to do it without the pressure of a race day scenario," Gunter said.

He says NDRC wants to be a part of the cure for the need for speed.

"By doing that, we fulfil our mandate with the National Road Safety Council of getting those drivers who are inclined to drive fast to take it off the road and onto the track, where you can be supervised and operate safely. We want you to race at Vernamfield, not on the roads," Gunter said.

He is also highlighting another reason for doing the 1/8-mile test and tune. He says the NDRC wants drivers to unwittingly help make the track faster. The NDRC has been treating the track with traction compound over the last few meets and Gunter says they have progressively moved from the starting area to a couple 100 feet. By Drag Challenge No. 4, he says, they had progressed to half track.He says those cars participating in test and tune will be helping to do the rest.

"We don't have enough high-horsepower cars to assist us with the process of laying rubber down to the finish line, so these 1/8 mile test sessions are designed such that we will put the start line at the half-track mark and lay traction control down to the finish line so that we can get the cars testing to lay rubber down in that area," Gunter said.

He explained that laying down the traction compound is really the start of the process. He says the cars that are running leave rubber on the track, and the traction compound binds that rubber to the concrete. Gunter is predicting that all will be set for the first race meet and the blistering times seen last year will be history.

"By the time we get to the first race meet on March 26, we would have treated the whole track with traction compound and have rubber on the entire track and have the times being faster again," Gunter predicted.

Drag Challenge No. 5 in November was a historic occasion. It saw top dog Adrian McLymont in his red Ford Mustang shatter the Jamaican land speed record. He blazed through the quarter mile in 7.739 seconds with a mind-boggling top speed of 188.12 miles per hour. Put into perspective, your average fast road car would take about 17 seconds with a top speed of about 80 miles per hour.

Below is a listing of the 2017 drag racing season

The NDRC 2017 Calendar of Vernamfield

- March 12 - Test & Tune No. 1A (1/8-Mile)

- March 19 - Test & Tune No. 1B (1/4-Mile)

- March 26 - Drag Racing Challenge No. 1

- May 13 - Test & Tune No. 2 (this is a Saturday)

- May 28 -- Drag Racing Challenge No. 2

- July 16 - Test & Tune No. 3

- July 23 - Drag Racing Challenge No. 3

- October 08 - Test & Tune No. 4A (1/8-Mile)

- October 22 - Test & Tune No. 4B (1/4-Mile)

- October 29 - Drag Racing Challenge No. 4

- December 03 - Test & Tune No. 5

- December 10 - Drag Racing

neville.graham@gleanerjm.com