Drag Illustrated Issue 173, December 2021 - Page 10

LETTER from the EDITOR

What a year it ’ s been for drag racing . After the tumultuous , unpredictable times we all dealt with in 2020 , I was just hoping to see the sport return to normal this season . But this year was anything but normal , in a good way .

Racers , classes , organizations , and the sport as a whole heartily bounced back from 2020 , with record car counts and overflowing grandstands at more than a few events throughout the season . Businesses operating in this space , from massive parts distributors to momand-pop engine shops , reported record sales as racers returned to the track .
It ’ s exciting , and admittedly a little overwhelming at times , to look at everything that ’ s going on in the sport and try to cover as much of it as possible on the pages of this magazine and on DragIllustrated . com . That ’ s one of the reasons why we came up with this # Trending Issue . While it typically comes out early in the season , we decided to run with this topic earlier this winter to touch on the big things that happened in 2021 and to tease what ’ s on the horizon for 2022 .
You ’ d be hard pressed to find someone who had a better year than Lyle Barnett , who appears on the cover of this issue . While Lyle has been a known figure in the outlaw racing world for years , it ’ s safe to say he had his breakout season this year . He became an automotive household name , winning a pair of NHRA Wallys in his NHRA Pro Mod rookie season with Modern Racing and Elite Motorsports , as well as a slew of big-money No-Prep races in his fan-favorite “ Beer Money ” Mustang . He talks about
his incredible journey in the cover story written by Josh Hachat .
Barnett ’ s is not the only comeback story in this issue , as I wrote about Daryl Stewart ’ s return to racing after a 25-year hiatus . The former bracket racer burst onto the PDRA Pro Outlaw 632 scene this season , winning a pair of races and finishing second in the world championship hunt . Guiding him through it all was his tuner and longtime friend , Clayton Murphy , who took a short break from racing in 2020 to go to rehab . In the story , Murphy speaks candidly about his recovery and how the team ’ s success meant so much to him . It ’ s a pretty powerful story .
There ’ s so much more packed into this issue , but one more story I want to highlight is our recap of the 50th annual Snowbird Outlaw Nationals at Bradenton Motorsports Park . It was thrilling to watch three rounds of qualifying as 50 Pro Mod drivers battled for 32 spots to race for $ 50,000 . Just a tenth of a second separated the top 32 qualifiers – absolutely astonishing . Between the racer support and the solid crowd that packed the grandstands all weekend , the race was a bright sign that Pro Mod racing is trending in the right direction .
As always , it ’ s important to note that what you see here is just a glimpse of what ’ s happening in drag racing . There ’ s much more that we couldn ’ t fit on these pages , and still more that we simply don ’ t know about . The drag racing world is expansive , and we can always use a heads-up on something we may have missed . Feel free to reach out to let us know what ’ s trending in your corner of the drag racing world . DI
Wes Buck Chief Executive Officer / Founder & Editorial Director 660.988.2313 wes @ dragillustrated . com
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Copyright © 2021 by Drag Illustrated Media , LLC . All rights reserved . Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited . Drag Illustrated is a registered trademark of Drag Illustrated Media , LLC . Printed and mailed by Royle Printing in Sun Prairie , WI .
Nate Van Wagnen Editor-in-Chief
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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