The Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals is the biggest of all drag races. The race meeting lasts a full week, includes racers from all over the world and rarely has downtime – aside from oil-downs, of course. The 65th rendition of this event will be no different, but it will have a new sideshow to attract race fans to Clermont, Ind.
This year, NHRA has invited some of the best street car racers to compete for the opportunity to reset the Street Car E.T. record in the NHRA Street Car Showdown, set for August 31 and September 1.
The current record in the quarter-mile for Street Cars is 5.85 seconds. Fans will have the chance to watch racers Tom Bailey, Joe Barry, Bryant Goldstone and Dave Schroeder at the world’s biggest drag race, as they attempt to stomp on the loud pedal hard enough to break through that magic number.
Each of the four drivers and their machines have completed HOT ROD Drag Week, a competition where drivers race and road-trip their cars on a course of five drag strips in five days. Each of these cars is driven – not trailered – to each dragstrip where they run for quickest E.T. at each stop.The 2019 edition of HOT ROD Drag Week kicks off the week after the U.S. Nationals at Virginia Motorsports Park in North Dinwiddie, Va. starting September 8th.
The drivers are jazzed to be part of NHRA’s Street Car Showdown.
Bailey runs a 1969 Camaro, one that took HOT ROD Drag Week honors in 2015. “When the NHRA calls you and asks if you would be willing to come to the U.S. Nationals and make some exhibition runs, what do you say?” Bailey rhetorically asked. “It’s like the president calling and asking you to take the space shuttle for a spin.”
Called “Creamsicle”, Barry’s 1956 Chevy has its original body, making it one of the heavier cars in the Showdown. “This is something we never thought we’d have the opportunity to do – participate in an event like the U.S. Nationals in these types of cars. It’s a pretty big deal for us,” he said. “We’re an underdog in some ways; we still have the original car, all steel, versus some of the other cars… “
Goldstone’s 1973 AMC Javelin is powered by a twin-turbocharged, 572cid big-block Chevy engine. He’s owned this very competitive machine for more than 30 years and relishes the idea of racing in his home state. “I’m very excited to do this because we’re Indiana people This is the biggest race of the year and we will be running in front of a lot of people we know,” he said. While Goldstone has been to Lucas Oil Raceway in the past, he’s never competed in the U.S. Nationals. “It’s going to be nice to showcase what we can do.”
Schroeder’s bright blue 1966 Corvette rounds out the quartet. It’s the only nitrous-huffing machine in the group and won HOT ROD Drag Week two years ago. “We are excited to be invited to participate in this,” Schroeder acknowledged. “We are ready to give the turbo cars a run for their money!”