Drag Illustrated Issue 182, May / June 2023 - Page 152

Sundays are tough . I knew it would be an uphill battle running eliminations at the World Series at high noon on Sunday . But whenever I showed up at the track Sunday morning pretty early and got stuck in traffic , I thought , OK , this is headed in the right direction . By the time I got there , seeing the poise of my team was one of the most rewarding things , specifically on Sunday , because it felt like everybody there knew we meant business .
There was a little bit of a chip on our shoulder . Sometimes people take that the wrong way as a negative thing , but I actually think at times it ’ s necessary . You need everybody to feel like they ’ ve got something to prove and a point to make . I felt that amongst our whole group , from the kid working the water box to our head of security , the folks in the tower , our announcing team , the content team , and everybody just got it . I could sense they got it – we were here to do something significant , and that ’ s exactly what happened .
I was really happy with the pace . We had a ton of meetings , which I think are very important . We would all do a check-up every once in a while . got to turnin ’ and burnin ’. There was not a lot of time between rounds . I found myself surprised by how quickly we were moving at times , but I kept preaching , like keep the pace , keep the pace , keep the pace because when you slow down , that ’ s inevitably when the wheels come off . So we just kept the pedal down all day long .
I kept hearing feedback from the racers after the first round of eliminations . One that really stuck out to me was Jason Harris . This is a guy who I believe is an absolute superstar personality . He ’ s a two-time PDRA Pro Nitrous world champion . This guy has grudge raced for tens of thousands of dollars . He came and found me after the first round of eliminations and said , “ Wes , my heart was beating so hard , like it hurt . I could feel it in my HANS device .”
Marcus Birt – this guy ’ s got a nickname like ‘ The Axman ’ for how good he is on the starting line – came up to me and he goes , “ When I let off the trans brake for the first round of eliminations , I thought I was going to pee my pants .” You ’ re talking about a guy who has done it all , and to get guys of that caliber to have that kind
All of my friends and family there went home on Sunday night – no injuries , no crazy calamities , no trips to the hospital . I think that ’ s something that we all gloss over at times . There ’ s a lot of pressure when it goes to putting on one of those events . What happens if it rains ? What happens if we don ’ t get this sponsor ? How many tickets are we going to sell ? And oh , my gosh , this is so expensive .
But what really weighs on me is how much I care about these people and how badly I don ’ t want any of them to get hurt . This stuff is dangerous . Drag racing is an inherently dangerous thing , and especially at the level we ’ re doing it . When you throw in the curveball , that is a painfully high-stakes winner-take-all $ 100,000 , it ’ s going to make a race car driver make a questionable decision . It ’ s going to make a race car driver do something they typically wouldn ’ t do .
So to get out of there , go to my hotel on Sunday night , and know that everybody ’ s going home safe and sound and all my guys ’ cars are in one piece was the ultimate exclamation point to the whole weekend . It was that we were able to put


In those moments , I think keeping the goal front and center and keeping the troops motivated is good . I talk a lot about being in equally yoked relationships . It exists in marriages , in friendships , and certainly in business relationships . It ’ s where the other party meets you in the middle , and that ’ s where the magic happens . I felt like my team ’ s passion , enthusiasm , commitment , and dedication were met with an equal amount from BMP . It all reflected back from what I was giving them . I was excited and motivated , and so they were excited and motivated in return .
Another example is FloRacing , our official livestream partner . I told them how much I appreciated their excitement and passion for the project because they cover a lot of drag races . I told them if we wanted to do something special , I was going to give them 100 , but I needed them to give me 100 back .
If I could put an emoji on the entire weekend , it ’ d be that little red 100 with a line under it . Everybody gave 100 – from our racers , our crews because especially as the day wore on , we really of a response to what we ’ re doing and feel the difference is special .
That intensity continued to ramp up all day long . When we got down to that final round , and it was Kurt Steding and Spencer Hyde going head-to-head , that felt special . I think that ’ s like a legitimate drag racing Kodak moment that will be talked about for years and years to come . I had really labored over inviting Spencer , not because he didn ’ t deserve it , but he ’ s from Canada , which posed some logistic issues . Plus , he ’ s got other options , like maybe he ’ s considering racing Top Fuel . There are all these things going on , and the fact that he snuck in as the No . 32 qualifier after waiting until the last minute to actually get invited to the race , and here he is in the winner ’ s circle being doused in champagne and $ 100 bills with his fiancée , crying her eyes out , his mom and dad crying their eyes out – I ’ ll never forget that for the rest of my life .
When it was all over , my team was there with me , my wife , and my kids , and I really could not ask for more . I ’ ll close with this : we were safe . on a race that was that big , that exciting , that well attended , that competitive , and we also didn ’ t tear anything up . No one got hurt .
There were 61 drivers invited , and 59 of the cars went quicker than 3.83 . There were 55 cars within a tenth of a second . What do you attribute that to ?
I can ’ t say enough about John Sears , Lonnie Grim , Vic Alvarez , Mike Carpenter , and myself . We literally worked tirelessly . I don ’ t know that there was anything that we invested more hours into than our rules , and man , oh man , do I stand by them . It has been a pipe dream of mine for quite literally 10 or 15 years to create what I would call a unified set of Pro Mod rules that could be embraced and ran all around the world . I believe we may have done that .
I don ’ t know if that ’ s what will happen because drag racing is obviously an ego-driven endeavor and sanctions and series are not excluded from that . Everybody ’ s really proud of having their
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