Palm Beach International Raceway once again hosted the PRO Winter Warm-Up, now in its fifth year, last Friday and Saturday. Several NHRA nitro teams tested at PBIR throughout the week, and wrapped up preseason testing with the two-day Winter Warm-Up, held by the Professional Racers Owners Organization. Don Schumacher Racing had all seven of their cars there, while Doug Kalitta, Leah Pritchett, Chad Head, and the two-car team of Bob Vandergriff Racing rounded out the field. In addition to the big-show cars, the program included four turbocharged Pro Mods, two nostalgia nitro Funny Cars, a pair of Top Dragsters, and five jet dragsters. Live streaming coverage of the event was provided by Brian and Chad over at Bangshift.com, where you can still watch replays of the weekend’s action. We were following the season preview event all weekend to bring you the highlights (and a couple lowlights).
2015 Dodge Charger Bodies Debut with Praise
Don Schumacher Racing’s Funny Cars were sporting new and improved Dodge Charger bodies, designed to be both stronger and better for the driver’s visibility. The DSR drivers seemed to be impressed with the new design, which brings the windshield closer to the driver.
Massey Takes Home Top Speed Award
Texas’ Spencer Massey drove the RedFuel by Schumacher Top Fuel dragster to booming 332 MPH charges on Friday and Saturday, prompting fans to wonder just how fast we’ll see Top Fuel cars blasting through the traps this season. Massey’s 3.723 best E.T. was second to teammate Antron Brown’s 3.720 lap.
Shea Holbrook Adds Jet Dragster to Driving Resume
Professional road racer Shea Holbrook made her first side-by-side run in one of Elaine Larsen’s five female-driven Jet Dragsters as a part of the evening race program. The Pirelli World Challenge driver plans to run a schedule of IHRA Nitro Jam events with the jet car in addition to her road races.
Dvorak Walks Away from Gnarly Top Dragster Wreck
PDRA Top Dragster standout Kyle Dvorak suffered a hard hit during Friday night’s program when the nitrous-equipped dragster he was wheeling took a sharp turn into the left side retaining wall. Fortunately, Dvorak emerged from the car under his own power and was transported to a local hospital for evaluation. Stay tuned to DragIllustrated.com later today for the full scoop.
Beckman Goes Low in Funny Car
2012 NHRA Funny Car champ Jack Beckman posted the quickest Funny Car run of the week-long test session on Saturday night, coming oh-so-close to a three-second run with his 4.003 elapsed time.
JFR, Lucas and AJR Absent
Missing from the test session were John Force Racing, Morgan Lucas Racing and Alan Johnson Racing. Force and his teams are testing in Phoenix this week, while we’ve yet to see when Johnson or Lucas will test before Pomona, or if they will at all.
Boat racer Shawn Reed Tests the Top Fuel Waters
Three-time Pro Mod drag boat champion Shawn Reed earned his license in the Paton family Top Fuel dragster. We might see him enter the occasional NHRA national event this year.
- Your race car (or dream race car) probably has plenty of carbon fiber components; why shouldn’t your kids’ LEGO race cars have them too? This impressive Kickstarter campaign, while now fully funded and expired, looked to produce real carbon fiber LEGO bricks while also providing a lesson in business for the creator’s kids. The campaign nearly doubled its goal of $8,000 by the time it ended last Saturday. The creator plans to offer the carbon fiber pieces, as well as aluminum and stainless steel editions, to the public soon.
- The Columbus Dispatch came up with this article about the homes of Jeg Coughlin Sr. and Jr. when the properties were up for sale in 2013. The multimillion-dollar homes were featured alongside fellow central Ohio racing great Bobby Rahal.
- When Camp Stanley isn’t busy running the Stanley & Weiss Racing Pro Extreme ’68 Camaro, he finds the time to post entertaining updates on the team’s website. His latest update covers offseason repairs to the race trailer at Competition Trailers.
Funny Car driver Jack Beckman shares his thoughts on testing, the offseason crew changes to his Don Schumacher Racing team, and the efforts of Infinite Hero in this video from CompetitionPlusTV.
- Some of drag racing’s most legendary drivers and cars appear in this footage from IHRA’s 1975 Pro Am Nationals at Rockingham Dragway.
- Motor Trend put on this comical four-wide race as part of their SEMA 2014 coverage. Writers from four automotive magazines faced off on an airport runway in a diverse mix of vehicles – a ’55 Chevy gasser, a 2013 Chevy Sonic, the new Dodge Hellcat, and for the offroad crowd, a ’58 Jeep Forward Control running on tank tracks. You won’t see a blistering run or wild wreck (spoiler alert), but the Top Gear-style video is still a good way to burn up 10 minutes at work this Monday morning.