When it comes to any type of full-season competition, the first few events seldom give a true indication of what's to come. However, as the 2003 NHRA POWERade Drag Racing Series season was just hours old, your intrepid "Pit Rat" was hard at work breaking in a brand-new pair of shoes at Pomona Raceway. Trust me. This place is large. However, I developed a new Iron Man motto:"Pit bikes are for wimps. Real editors use shoes."
As with any new season, things change and opinions from the principles will always vary. This time, a bit of controversy was stirring with regards to NHRA's decision to replace the age-old, incandescent Christmas tree bulbs with faster-illuminating Light Emitting Diodes (LED). As we go to press, these will only be used at national events, and all the Sportsman racers we spoke to were not exactly happy. Each racer we polled had already "lit the red diode" on his way through eliminations. However, nothing stays the same in life. By the time the CSK Nationals in Phoenix had rolled around, NHRA's electronic gurus had figured out a way for the LEDs to light up (and react) in much the same manner as the old filament bulbs did. With that, maybe the grumbling will subside.
As a perfect testament to this, Top Fuel finalist Brandon Bernstein accidentally put out the top bulb in Phoenix (deep-staging against Larry Dixon), but somehow avoided the vaunted red light on his way to the win. Talk about tempting fate! We'll try to keep you up to date on this topic if new info becomes available.
For now, let's take a look at some "behind the scenes" stuff from the other side of the grandstands. We'll also pepper in an assortment of action shots from our talented Web Administrator (and accomplished photographer), Nick Licata. Buckle up. We've lit the pre-stage beams and the tree's about to go green!