Jeff Miles was named general manager at Orlando Speed World Dragway in May and in the midst of what has been a trying COVID-19 pandemic.
But the track has continued to thrive during unprecedented times and now Miles gets to experience one event he’s always had circled: the 27th annual World Street Nationals.
Viewed as “the event that started it all” when it comes to outlaw doorslammer racing, the World Street Nationals takes place in Orlando on Nov. 13-15, building a buzz within the outlaw ranks that is almost unmatched and something Miles has always appreciated.
Now, he gets to enjoy it first-hand.
“I’ve never been as a spectator, but it’s a race I’ve always watched online, so I’m highly looking forward to this,” Miles said. “With a $20,000-to-win in Pro Mod and Radial vs. the World, it brings a lot of great cars and you know it’s going to be fast. Having both classes at the same event, it’s definitely a must-see event.”
It’s been that way for decades, but there’s no doubt it’s a loaded 2020 race, providing a thrilling and can’t miss finale to the Pro Mod and RvW scene.
Pro 275 and X275 both pay $10,000 to win, while Top Sportsman and Outlaw 632 offering a $5,000 prize to the winner.
On top of that, the racing surface at OSW, which is owned by Ozzy and Maria Moya, has long been regarded as one of the best in the country, making it the perfect time for one incredible run after another.
“I’ve always felt the World Street Nationals, in a lot of ways, was the race that really put outlaw, fast door slammer racing on the map. It was the first race that really smacked of an end of the year, king of the hill shoot out and it brought racers from all points of the globe — many of which only raced a handful of times a year — down to this legendary Saturday night drag strip in Orlando, to see who’s who,” Drag Illustrated Founder and Editorial Director Wes Buck said.
“Over the years, there have been more and more events and series pop up that are direct descendants of this historic happening every fall in Florida. In my opinion, though, the World Street Nationals remains one of the few events on the drag racing calendar that are more than a race — it’s an industry happening — and I can’t wait.”
Neither can Miles, who is ready to end his first year as OSW general manager on a massive high note. The World Street Nationals represent the chance to do that, as the track has persevered through the public health crisis and pushed forward.
Miles has enjoyed a busy spring and summer, hosting major drag radial events among other big races, and expects the same throughout the fall.
The World Street Nationals qualifies as such, and the race will have fans in the stands. With that in mind, Miles expects plenty of fans at Orlando Speed World Dragway.
“That race draws a large crowd, and I know a lot of people are really looking forward to it,” Miles said. “I know people want to be here and we might just have a huge, huge crowd. We’re looking forward to that.”
Miles called an abundance of Pro Mod and drag radial cars “my wheelhouse,” a major reason why he’s amped for the race.
He built his name as track operator at Carolina Dragway, taking over at the “House of Hook” after his father passed away in 2003.
Miles brought a number of creative ideas to the table, something that’s remained true in Orlando.
“First and foremost, you have to interact with the racers and keep them interested in coming. Once they’re here, you have to treat them well,” Miles said. “You also have to treat the fans well and make it an experience.”
The World Street Nationals are, without question, an experience. A year ago, Randy Weatherford won in Pro Mod, while Melanie Salemi ousted Stevie “Fast” Jackson in a thrilling RvW final round, setting the stage for a memorable 2020 edition.
Sydney Marshall has thrived as the track prep specialist in Orlando, adding another major positive for the highly-anticipated November race.
“When you have Sydney in your corner, you can go fast. The Pro Mod and RvW cars come here and he’s good enough to prep it where both cars can go fast, and that’s not something you get in a typical track prep guy. So you know it’s going to be fast and you know it’s going to be an experience when they get here.”