Drag Illustrated Issue 168, May 2021 | Page 10


A little over a year ago , the Women of Power Issue was the first issue we released after the racing world shut down due to COVID-19 . Much of the issue was already completed or in the works before everything shut down , so it wasn ’ t a huge problem yet . But with racing at a standstill , the uncertainty in our industry – and in the world in general – left us wondering what would come next . With no racing going on , what would we write about ? With no one buying parts and services from our advertisers , who would support our work ?

Hindsight being 20 / 20 – an unfortunate play on words now – we didn ’ t have much to worry about . Sure , there were a couple rocky months where everyone involved in drag racing was put in uncomfortable positions . But racers are resilient . Tracks , sanctioning bodies , manufacturers , promoters and others in the industry adapted to the circumstances and forged ahead with the 2020 season . By the end of the season , things were beginning to feel normal again .
Now a few months into the 2021 season , most of us have officially turned the corner on COV- ID-19 . With local restrictions lifted in many areas , tracks and sanctioning bodies can actually follow the schedules they released going into the season . Fans are returning to the grandstands in a big way , and racers continue to pack the pits at all types of races across the country . Manufacturers can ’ t hardly keep their shelves stocked with enough parts
Nate Van Wagnen Editor-in-Chief to satisfy the needs of racers and performance enthusiasts who can finally pursue their passion without restrictions again .
It ’ s all very encouraging , and it made this issue much easier to put together . For instance , many-time DI cover photographer Rick Belden was able to do a full-scale photoshoot with NHRA Pro Stock Motorcycle standout Angie Smith at multiple locations on the grounds at zMAX Dragway , which wasn ’ t able to open for either of its two scheduled NHRA national events in 2020 . The Charlotte area track attracted tons of fans at the Four- Wide Nationals this spring , where Belden also photographed a number of other impactful women featured in this issue .
Along with Smith , we ’ ve identified numerous women who are making an impact on the sport in this issue . Some are veritable superstars with multiple world championships , like Angelle Sampey and Erica Enders . Others are really just getting started on their journeys in high-level racing , like third-generation drivers Megan Smith and Madison Payne . We ’ re also shining a light on the women who make their impact behind the scenes , like Stephanie Long and Adriann Sawyer .
With the throttle stop off , it ’ s going to be interesting to see where drag racing goes from here . Like so many others I ’ ve talked to , I ’ m very optimistic about the post-pandemic future of the sport . We ’ ll explore that topic more next month in the State of Drag Issue . DI
Feel free to email me at nate @ dragillustrated . com and follow me at facebook . com / nitronate1320 and nitronate1320 on Instagram and Twitter .
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