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Alex Taylor, Tom Bailey Reflect on Drag-and-Drive Exhibition at NHRA Chicago

The return of the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series to Chicago at Route 66 Raceway was marked with a unique spectacle – a “Drag and Drive” eight-car exhibition. The 23rd annual Gerber Collision and Glass Route 66 NHRA Nationals presented by PEAK Performance hosted this thrilling event, adding an extra layer of excitement to the series’ return.

Top names in the sport’s fast street car sector, including Alex Taylor, Tom Bailey, Steve Morris, Bryant Goldstone, Clark Rosenstengel, Clint Sodowsky, Rick Trunkett, and Bob Hess Jr., participated in the exhibition. They offered fans a truly unique sight, with street cars running in the 6-second range and reaching speeds exceeding 200 mph. These lightning-quick runs took place throughout the weekend, culminating in a final round showdown on Sunday.

PEAK’s Brian Bohlander shares a moment in the pits with team driver and Drag-and-Drive star Alex Taylor.

Alex Taylor, one of the most recognized faces in the drag-and-drive scene, continued the legacy her father Dennis Taylor built. Starting with a ’68 Camaro, famously named “BADMARO”, she entered the racing world at just 16 years old and quickly made a name for herself as the youngest Hot Rod Drag Week competitor in history. However, Taylor wasn’t satisfied with the eight-second performance of her family’s first-generation Camaro. Her ‘Quest For The Sixes’ led her to build a full chassis ’55 Chevy 210, a decision that would reward her with an overall drag-and-drive event title at Race Week 2.0 in 2021. Taylor’s influence extends beyond racing, as she’s become a prominent figure in the sport of drag racing and a co-host of the MotorTrend show Hot Rod Garage.

Meanwhile, five-time Hot Rod Drag Week Unlimited division winner Tom Bailey is a force of his own. His ’69 Camaro, Sick Seconds 2.0, holds the record as the quickest street car in the world. It is the only machine to have run a five-second pass in drag-and-drive competition. Beyond just driving, Bailey has taken on a promotional role, creating ‘Sick The Mag,’ a print book dedicated to cars that excel both on the track and on the street.

The exhibition was not without its highlights. Taylor’s twin-turbo Chevy, powered by a 509-cid big block, pulled off a 7.08 pass at 212 mph, leading the field in style. The competitors reveled in the national event atmosphere, embodying the spirit of the NHRA Street Legal program.

Tom Bailey enthusiastically shared his experience on social media. “What an amazing weekend,” he said. “Thank you to PEAK Auto and the NHRA for inviting eight Sick the Magazine proven Drag and Drive cars for a shootout. Congratulations to Bryant Goldstone for taking the Victory and icing on the cake is my good buddy Clay Millican taking the win in Top Fuel. We look forward to our continuing partnership with all the great companies and organizations.”

Alex Taylor mirrored Bailey’s excitement and used her platform to thank her team. “I have some dang good people in my corner,” she posted. “And that’s what makes doing all of this possible…But my point is – I have the best group behind me. And that’s a fact.”

The “Drag and Drive” exhibition added an extra touch of spectacle to an already much-anticipated and overall successful event, with participants like Taylor and Bailey leaving indelible marks on not only the fans in attendance, but also the NHRA racer base.

This story was originally published on May 22, 2023. Drag Illustrated

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Since 2005, DI has informed, inspired and educated drag racers from every walk of the racing life - weekend warrior and street/strip enthusiasts to pro-level doorslammer and Top Fuel racers. From award-winning writing and photography to binge-worthy videos to electric live events, DI meets hundreds of thousands of racers where they live, creating the moments that create conversations.