Horse Sense: NMRA Tech Director Wesley Roberson must have been busy at Joliet 'cause the records were falling left and right. Here's what the official rule book requires to make a record stand: "In order to reset a record, the contestant must provide the NMRA Technical Director with the record setting and back-up timeslips immediately after each run. A back-up run within 1 percent of the record-breaking run is required to set an official NMRA National Record. In the event that two runs exceed the existing record but are not within 1 percent of each other, the quicker time or faster speed will be acceptable as the back-up for the slower time, which will stand as the record."
It's hard to believe it had been nearly two months since the NMRA brigade laid down rubber on the track. We went from blistering heat in Texas to a rainout in Maple Grove and finally sunny skies and a cool breeze in Joliet, Illinois, which is just southwest of Chicago. Often called the Windy City, Chitown actually got its nickname for its tempestuous political environment, not its blustery lake-driven weather, but you'd never have known that at Joliet's Route 66 Raceway, where the tailwind certainly didn't hurt the amazing performances in qualifying.
Check this out. Of the 16 records available in the heads-up classes (eight e.t. and eight mph), only six remained untouched after Joliet concluded. Don Walsh set both ends of the Pro 5.0 record, Kurt Gallant both ends of Renegade, Charlie Booze both ends of Hot Street, Bruce Hemminger both ends of Real Street, and Dave Hopper (e.t.) and Chris Little (mph) shared the Drag Radial honors. The madness didn't stop with the records either. Twelve SSO racers qualified in the 7s, three Real Street cars in the 9s, and 16 Hot Street cars in the 9s. Drag Radial had four cars in the 8s, and even Pure Street had four cars in the 10s.
Suffice it to say the performances easily lived up to the facility in which they took place. We hadn't been to Joliet since WFC2 in 1999, and we'd forgotten how impressive the place was. From the awesome stadium-style grandstands to the bumper-scraping hook, Joliet lived up to its rep. The only downer was the Saturday afternoon rains that delayed racing for a few hours, but the NMRA didn't hesitate to fire up the jet dryers and turn on the lights to get the event in. If you missed it, just remember your boys at 5.0&SF had your back. Check out the photos and captions for the scoop.