From Staff Reports
The 2011 edition of Friday Night Drags commences this Friday at Atlanta Motor Speedway with street-style drag racing, show cars and Friday-night fun returning for a full summer of local racing.
The season opener will feature 19 classes of street-style drag racing on Atlanta Motor Speedway's pit road drag strip. In addition to the racing action, the event will include the MCR Safety Show-N-Shine car show, fan entertainment and vendors. Spectator admission for Friday Night Drags costs just $8 and fans car drag race of enter their vehicle into the MCR Safety Show-N-Shine for just $20 each.
Friday Night Drags Continues to Grow
Coming off the most-successful season in the four-year history of the series, Friday Night Drags officials expect continued growth for the local drag racing series and have added new divisions to better accommodate competitors.
After featuring 15 classes of racing during the 2010 season, the 2011 Friday Night Drags campaign will host 19 classes of drag racing each night. The new divisions include an expanded group of five motorcycle classes, a Junior Dragster division for youth interested in drag racing, and a Diesel Trucks division.
The expanded division structure will allow vehicles to be more accurately positioned in divisions, resulting in more competitive and entertaining drag racing. Specific to the motorcycle division, the new classes will better serve a division that grew rapidly during the 2010 season.
"We're trying to best accommodate our competitors, so we have amended our division structures to allow for more competitive motorcycle racing," Atlanta Motor Speedway vice president of events Brandon Hutchison said of the motorcycle divisions. "With these changes, we hope to bring in new competitors and provide more entertainment for the Friday Night Drags fans."
The 2010 Friday Night Drags season entertained more than 60,000 fans throughout the season and featured more than 245 drag racers each week competing in 15 classes and nearly 100 show cars.
Show-N-Shine Returns for 2011
In addition to growth on the drag strip, the MCR Safety Show-N-Shine has grown for the 2011 season by adding a Motorcycle division to the weekly car show.
With the addition of the Motorcycle division, the MCR Safety Show-N-Shine will feature eight classes of show cars with trophies awarded weekly to the top-three finishers in each division. Entrants are also invited to participate in the Speedway Cruise on Atlanta Motor Speedway's full 1.54-mile track.
First-place winners and recipients of the weekly President's Choice award will be invited to participate in a car show during Atlanta Motor Speedway's Labor Day NASCAR night racing weekend.
Entry into the MCR Safety Show-N-Shine car show costs just $20 and vehicles must register at the NASCAR Nationwide Series Garage in the Atlanta Motor Speedway Infield.
Recapping the 2010 Friday Night Drags Season
One year after a Friday Night Drags season highlighted by booming crowds and championship races stretching to the final week, fans of local drag racing will come to the season opening Friday Night Drags event hoping to see the same.
During the 2010 season, five Friday Night Drags classes - the Sportsman, Pro Four, Domestic, Sport Compact and Motorcycle divisions - saw their division title decided on the final week of the season. In three of these divisions, drivers claimed a victory on the final night to secure their championship, including Mike Chambers (Griffin) in the Pro Four class, Frankie Collins (Zebulon) in the Domestic division and Jacob Turner (Griffin) in the motorcycle class.
Winning in more-dominant fashion and perhaps making them favorites entering the 2011 season, other drivers claimed their division titles with substantial points leads; three of the top classes at Friday Night Drags were decided by large points leads and the champions in these classes - five-time winner Bobby Daniel (Stockbridge) in Super Pro, three-time winner Tony Morse (Grantville)in Pro, and five-time winner Jason Thomas (Stockbridge) in Street Outlaw - should be considered front runners in 2011. However, a new season may bring new competitors and will hopefully result in these classes coming down to the final night in 2011.
The 2011 Friday Night Drags season will run on Friday nights through Aug. 19. Practice drag runs begin at 6:15 p.m. and grandstand gates open at 6:30 p.m. MCR Safety Show-N-Shine car show judging begins at 6:30 p.m. with the drag eliminations starting at 9:19 p.m.
All racers ages 16 and 17 must have a fully-executed minor's release form on file at the speedway prior to competition and forms are available at the Speedway or at www.atlantamotorspeedway.com. Competitors must wear a DOT-approved helmet and have operational seat belts in their vehicle and pass a pre-race safety inspection.
Entry to drag race or for the MCR Safety Show-N-Shine is $20 or competitors can enter both for $30. Spectator admission is only $8 and exterior parking is free, while infield parking is $20.
For more information about Friday Night Drags and Atlanta Motor Speedway, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211 or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.