NHRA Southern Nationals

dale worsham nhra drag racing

Strapped into the cockpit, funny car driver Dale Worsham waits in the staging lanes for his turn.

Going to Commerce, and Atlanta Dragway in particular, is like a homecoming for me. I lived in Commerce for several years while I was a kid, and I visited the track on many occasions with my father (I think he took me every chance he got). So it’s always special for me to be able to work in a place where my father and I shared so many great memories.

father and son at race

Me and dad at a race back in the day.

This year’s NHRA Southern Nationals were supposed to be held May 3-5, but heavy rains pushed them to this past weekend (May 10-11). It was my second year covering the races with Mark Reblias, and it didn’t disappoint. Even to this day, it never ceases to amaze me just how much power these machines (top fuel and funny cars) have. At 10,000 horsepower, it’s hard to conceive that all of this power is catapulting a driver to more than 300 mph in 1/8th of a mile. And the sound? I’ve tried to explain to people just how loud this sport is, but words can’t do it justice. It literally shakes your insides. Just as Don “The Snake” Prudhomme explains in an ESPN article, “Loud isn’t a strong enough word. It’s so overwhelming your brain can hardly compute what it’s hearing and seeing. It’s damn near a religious experience.”

nhra southern nationals

A crew member with Snap-On works on the engine in the pits.

steve torrence nhra drag racing

The imagination is the only limit when it comes to helmet decorations. Here, Marilyn Monroe adorns the top of top fuel driver Steve Torrence.

nhra worker cleans up track

An NHRA worker helps dry the track during a short rain delay on Saturday.

NHRA workers helps dry the track during a short rain delay on Saturday.

NHRA workers helps dry the track during a short rain delay on Saturday.

Crew members for pro-stock drivers stand on either side of the car's rear to keep it from sliding side-to-side during burnouts.

Crew members for pro-stock drivers stand on either side of the car’s rear to keep it from sliding side-to-side during burnouts.

nhra funny car driver john force

Funny car super star John Force.

 

nhra race workers with mops

Race workers with mops used to clean lanes wait for next set of racers.

nhra top fuel driver steve torrenceSteve Torrence takes off.

Some drivers decorate their cockpits with personal memorabilia.

Some drivers decorate their cockpits with personal memorabilia.

nhra drivers brandon bernstein and antron brown

Antron Brown beats Brandon Bernstein to win the top fuel finals on Saturday.

The coolest thing about covering this race? Looking over in the stands and seeing my father (in the straw hat).
father watches from stands

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