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Harvey Cappel
Former Drag Racer
It’s that time again when the big time drag racing professionals come
to Baytown for their annual racing event. If you have never been to a
NHRA National Event drag race, read on, you just might want to add it
to your bucket list and do it. I’m not a reporter. I am what I call a color
writer. I’m not bound to tell the whole truth and some might describe
my writing with two letters the first one being a “B”. However my goal
is to make your day more fun and tell a story or two that you might
want to check out for yourself.
Let’s start with a story about a hometown girl that will be competing
with the big boys this weekend. Her name is Erica Enders Stevens.
Back in 1992 when I was still drag racing at Baytown this little 8 year
old made herself known in a new racing program called Jr. Drag Racing;
kind of like Little League with all the good, bad and ugly. For example
one rule was that the Jr. Dragster had to have a 5 hp Briggs
and Stratton motor, one choice only. What the rules didn’t say was
that daddy couldn’t spend $10,000 on the little motor. Any idea what
you can do with a lawnmower motor souped up with $10,000? In any
case Erica set the standard and set many records. When she got too
old for the Jr. Class she jumped (and I mean big jump) directly into
Super Gas and Super Comp cars. Big nice cars that we males really
deserved before wasting such on girls; a rule I tried to get passed for
years. Then with her dads help they made a small fortune by entering
the professional class of Pro Stock. They made the small fortune by
starting with a big fortune; daddy even had to go back to work.
Now, though, after paying her dues she is in a really competitive
car. The young lady being the first female ever to win a Pro Stock
race has won two NHRA PRO STOCK National Championships. She
lives in Houston. With your pit side ticket you can go into the pits and
meet her as well as all the racers even John Force, 16 time Funny Car
World Champion.
Want to know more about Erica and the Jr. Drag Racing story?
Watch “Right on Track” on the Disney Movie Channel based or her
and her sister’s life and early racing career.
Another reason to go to the race is to see, up close, in real life, the
unbelievable performance of the Top Fuel and Funny Cars. The 500
cubic inch engines make about 10,000 hp. That’s the equivalent of
souping up your 3 hp lawnmower to about 100 hp. These cars can
reach over 335 mph in just 1,000 feet; 100 mph in one half second. If
you go, at least for a moment, hang on the fence at the starting line
to experience two of these cars starting. Bring hearing protection and
watch your clothes shake from the noise only. The eyes burning are
because of Nitric Acid fumes; “get over it” you won’t die or go blind. TV
coverage is great and in many ways better than being there but it can’t
duplicate the sound, smell and excitement of the real life happening.
You owe it to yourself to try it at least once. See you there.
What: NHRA Spring Nationals Drag Racing National Event
Where: Royal Purple Raceway Park 2525 South FM 565
When: April 20, Friday 7:30 to 5:00, April 21, Saturday 7:30 to
4:00 & April 22, Sunday 7:30 – Finals at 4:15
Tickets and info.: 281 383-7223
87.9 FM at track only. Prices range from about $40 for one day
to $145 for a three day pass on the pit side. Parking is free

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