RacingJunk’s Top Five News Articles of 2021 2021 was a year of picking up the pieces from the previous year and trying to get back into the swing of things. Let's take a look back at the top five news articles for 2021!

RacingJunk’s Top Five News Articles of the 2021

2021 was a year of picking up the pieces from the previous year and trying to get back into the swing of things. Let's take a look back at the top five news articles for 2021!

5. As Racing Changes, It’s Time to Celebrate the Racers

“I want to race where I’m celebrated, not where I’m tolerated.”

That’s a direct quote from three-time NHRA Camping World Pro Stock champion Jason Line, who departed the category at the close of the 2020 season. Both he and five-time Pro Stock titleholder Jeg Coughlin Jr. exited professional straight-line doorslammer competition at the end of one of the most difficult season NHRA has faced in its modern era.

When the Coronavirus pandemic hit, just as the series was beginning its third race of an intended 24-contest campaign, NHRA looked pretty healthy, competition-wise. There were cars in all professional classes, newcomers were joining the series – especially in Pro Stock, which was welcoming second generation racers Aaron Stanfield, Kyle Koretsky and Mason McGaha, among others. Many of the older competitors were beginning to hang up their gloves, giving the younger drivers opportunities they might not have had in previous years.


4. Engine Builder Sonny Leonard Passes Away

Sonny Leonard, known for his canny ability to wrest power from an internal combustion engine, passed away on Sunday, January 10 at the age of 77. The cause of death was pneumonia. Leonard’s company, Sonny’s Racing Engines is centered in Lynchburg, VA, and has been in operation for 53 years, building some of the most powerful big-block engines used in drag racing and truck-pulling competition.

Like so many, Leonard, whose full name is Estol Fletcher “Sonny” Leonard, started building engines as a hobby. His success brought the mechanic to start his own company in 1968 as his exploits in building clean, fast, ever larger engines brought him a legacy of satisfied customers. He accumulated 13 IHRA Pro Stock world championship and his engines have held world records, taken national event titles and championships, primarily in mountain motor Pro Stock, Pro Nitrous and Pro Modified straight-line competition as well as in tractor pulling.


3. Which Type of Dirt Car is for You?

Dirt racing has been increasing in popularity since the 1920s, and what has started with just two types of racing cars, open wheels and stock, now offers a large variety of options. It seems as if creativity has been pouring over the dirt racing tracks, and the amount of cars that make their ways to the dirt track have been multiplying over the years.

If you are interested in getting into dirt racing, you first have to choose the type of vehicle you would like to race. Depending on your preference, skills, budget and the tracks near you, you have to choose the appropriate type of dirt racing car that will best suit you and your situation. Before you start playing in the dirt, here are the most popular types of vehicles with which you can dirt race, some you can buy and others you can build.


2. Two Killed and More Injured at Drag Race in Texas

Two children were killed, and eight other spectators were injured this weekend during a drag racing event in Texas. At an event called Airport Race Wars 2, which was being held on a runway at the Kerrville-Kerr County Airport, about sixty miles (97km) northwest of San Antonio, a driver lost control of his car and slammed into a crowd of spectators. According to Kerrville police a 6-year-old died at the scene and an 8-year-old was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead a short time later.


1. NHRA’s Nitro Ranks Going Through Massive Changes

There will be many changes in the NHRA Camping World Drag Racing Series nitro pits next year. Some already announced; others coming piecemeal, now that the 2021 season has crowned its heavy-hitting nitro-powered champions: four-consecutive-time titleholder Steve Torrence in Top Fuel and Ron Capps, who earned his second Funny Car title, five years after his first.

Torrence Racing is working with Toyota next year, as the manufacturer divulged recently. At this time, we’ve been told Billy Torrence’s dragster won’t make the call for every one of Top Fuel’s 22 races, and some of his crew have already departed: specifically crew chief Jason McCulloch is supposed to be leaving for Kalitta Motorsports. That hiring hasn’t been announced but was talked about throughout the 2021 season closer, the Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona.


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