10 Things to Watch For at the 50th Annual Snowbird Outlaw Nationals
There’s always a certain excitement surrounding the Snowbird Outlaw Nationals, as it typically comes as the last major event of the drag racing season.
This year, though, anticipation is at a fever pitch — and for good reason. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Snowbird Outlaw Nationals at Bradenton Motorsports Park and it means 50 top-level Pro Mod cars will be on hand to try and win the massive $50,000 prize.
Every marquee Pro Mod driver will try to make history this weekend, meaning there’s plenty to watch for in Bradenton. Here’s 10 things that stood out to us as these standouts prepare to pull out all the stops for a chance at $50,000.
World Champions Galore: The list of world champs on the 50 entries is extensive, but there’s some from various series from this past year who will be competing this weekend. You’ve got the likes of Jim Halsey, the PDRA Pro Nitrous champ, and Chip King, who won a title in the NMCA Xtreme Pro Mod class this year, which really highlights the diverse talent in the field. Of course, there’s world champs up and down the list, which means there’s a certain amount of bragging rights on the line this weekend as well.
Parity with a Capital ‘P’: A race like this really highlights what makes Pro Mod special and that’s the incredible diversity in the class. We mentioned the vast number of world champs, but every power adder will be well-represented in Bradenton, from nitrous to turbos to PowerCharger to screw chargers. We’ll also see representation from every major Pro Mod series, including the PDRA, NHRA, NMCA, MWDRS and more. Heck, we’ll even have drag radial racers competing this weekend in Pro Mod (more on that in a minute). It’s diverse all the way around and that makes this weekend even more special.
New Car Debuts: The end of the season isn’t typically the time to debut a new car, but when there’s $50,000 on the line, you make some adjustments. Tim Slavens, who is making his major Pro Mod debut this weekend, will have a new car on hand in Bradenton, and he won’t be the only one. Racers have had all week to test, so anyone bringing out something new should have time to get something dialed up for the weekend — and they’ll have to because cars will be flying in Bradenton.
Radial Racers Switching to Big Tires: This is one of the more interesting developments heading into the race. Popping up on the entry list was a number of drag radial standouts dipping their toes into big-tire Pro Mod racing. Along with Slavens, you can count the likes of Ken Quartuccio, Marcus Birt and others who are competing this weekend, adding another unique twist to the race. Quartuccio has been impressive this season and could certainly be considered a dark horse to win it all.
Nitrous Cars in the 3.50s: Halsey made history at this very race a year ago, clicking off a 3.59-second pass to become the first nitrous car in the 3.50s in Pro Mod history. Based on the conditions, the excellent surface in Bradenton and the number of quality nitrous cars on hand this season and Halsey may have some company in the 3.50s. Standouts like Tommy Franklin, Jay Cox and Jason Harris will surely be gunning for it if conditions are right. This much is certain: you’re going to have to run 3.60s or the weekend’s going to be a bust. If you can’t run better than a 3.65, you may be wasting your time against this talent pool in Bradenton.
Screw Chargers Set to Shine: Screw chargers are a newly-added power adder to the NHRA Pro Mod ranks for the 2022 season, but they’ve been a mainstay in the outlaw scene. We’ve already seen a number of them in the pit areas in Bradenton, including Melanie Salemi’s Camaro, the impressive combo of Todd Tutterow and Kurt Steding, and two-time NHRA Pro Mod world champ Stevie “Fast” Jackson. He’ll have a screw blower in his NHRA Pro Mod Camaro, which will be something to keep an eye on, and we’re anticipating a few new cars leaning on this combo.
We’re Talking About History: We’re not sure last time if ever, there’s been 50 Pro Mod cars in a single class and not spread across multiple classes. It really is staggering and incredible when you think about it. It would be almost impossible to identify a race of this level with the sheer number of cars and the quality of them. That’s an important part of this. It’s not just numbers to fill out a field. There’s legitimately 50 ridiculously outstanding Pro Mod cars in Bradenton this week — and several more that were on the waiting list. You could have a heck of a drag race simply from drivers who don’t qualify this weekend. It truly is historic, so let’s make sure to enjoy it.
High Stakes and Rising to the Occasion: There’s some drivers who thrive in these single-race shootout type of races. Points aren’t a concern and caution is thrown to the wind, and it often brings out the best in some people. They’re here to throw down, strike some fear in their opponents and lay down the hammer in trying to win $50,000. As a fan, you love to see these scenarios. The environment and atmosphere when this much money is on the line separates the men from the boys. That big prize will be on everyone’s mind and some simply love it when that spotlight gets a little brighter.
All Eyes on Bradenton: With no other major racing this weekend, everyone will be locked into what is happening at Bradenton Motorsports Park, which adds to the buzz and excitement that much more. Without question, it should be one of the most-viewed events on FloRacing and that’s certainly a great thing. A race this big — 50th anniversary, 50 drivers, $50,000 — deserves a huge stage and I think we’ll have it this weekend.
The Who’s Who of Crew Chiefs: In short, every hitter will be in Bradenton this weekend when it comes to Pro Mod tuners. Not only will we have the most well-known door cars at the Snowbird Outlaw Nationals, but many of the most respected and admired tuners who have ever existed in the doorslammer ranks will also be in attendance. The brain trust is remarkable and the list includes the likes of Jamie Miller, Steve Petty, Joe Oplawski, Jon Salemi, Brandon Stroud, Tutterow, Brandon Switzer, Jeff Pierce, Billy Stocklin and more. It’s an impressive list and they’ll undoubtedly be trying to one-up each other this weekend, giving us one more thrilling thing to take in during this outstanding race.
Other classes on the lineup include Pro 275 presented by FuelTech, X275 presented by Precision Shaft Technologies, Limited Drag Radial presented by Mickey Thompson Tires, Voss Wheelie Bars Outlaw 632 presented by $hameless Racing, Ultra Street presented by TRZ Motorsports, a N/T Shootout, 4.60 Bike, index classes, and the Right Trailers Jr. Dragster Shootout.
Teams will have the opportunity to test from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, as well as from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday. Qualifying will begin with one session on Friday at 4 p.m. and will continue on Saturday with sessions at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Eliminations are scheduled to begin Sunday at 9 a.m.
Fans who can’t take in the Snowbirds trackside can tune in from home via the official event livestream on FloRacing.
For more information like ticket prices and a detailed schedule, visit www.RaceBMP.com.