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The latest update as of July 4, 2008

6:30 PM

Drag racing is a strange sport. Sometimes it's a lot of fun, on a warm sunny day and other times, like right now, it's just a plain drag. The lightning started just over an hour ago, intensified, turned to thundershowers and now we're done for the evening, with a wet track and no hope of drying and prepping it tonight.

Tomorrow, on the other hand, should be perfect. In the meantime, I'll try to add more pictures and captions for them on the Thursday and Friday picture pages. But first, we've got an appointment with a prime rib dinner at the Keg.

Last word: as we head for the parking lot, the skies are actually brightening. Of course, it could just be more lightning in the distance.5:00 PM

As promised, we've got another update from the Rocky Mountain Nationals at Castrol Raceway. The first round of pro qualifying went off as scheduled under very hot and sunny skies and the results were hit and miss. Mostly miss and the occasional hit. As expected by many racers, the track proved difficult, but certainly not impossible to handle as a few Pro Mod cars ran low 6.20's, but the numbers dropped off quickly and with two cars unable to stage, and a few no-shows, a bubble wasn't established.

The single Pro Stock car in attendance got out of shape at 300 feet and shut off to a ten second time. The Alcohol floppers were fairly consistent, but not exactly quick, with nary a five second run during the entire session. Most pleasant surprise was Nathan Sitko's 6.18 shot in the dark tuneup pass, which put them in the field (for now) and gave them something to tune from for the next three sessions.

The biggest problem area for the racers had to be the air - or lack thereof - with everyone's density altitude gauges reading over 5000 feet. Very difficult conditions to make big horsepower in, and combined with track temperatures well in excess of 100 F, the results were unfortunately mostly predictable.

With a weather (read storm) front moving in rapidly, the evening qualifying session has been rearranged to put Top Fuel out first, and start pro qualifying half an hour earlier than scheduled at 7:00. That said, there's no more time to write at the moment; just enough time to put some thumbnails on Friday's picture page (no captions for now unfortunately).

Our next update will be either late tonight or early tomorrow morning. Until then....... stay tuned! For all the results and detailed reports, check out Drag Race Central, and of course, for the latest editorial content go to SpeedZone.

1:00 PM

It's getting near time for the pro cars to fill the staging lanes and prepare for their first qualifying session this weekend. The weather is holding up well, despite some rather iffy early reports this morning, and the track is looking good, even after a few sportsman oildowns.

The balance of yesterday's photos are now posted on the Thursday page, still without the full-size images and some of the captions, but at least all the thumbnails are there. Our next report should be posted by 6pm or thereabouts.

11:30 AM

We arrived in the "City of Champions" late yesterday afternoon and went directly to Castrol Raceway to get an advance look at the Cars RV & Marine Rocky Mountain Nationals facilities and competitors. The expanded pit area showed some serious gaps in one area (the Pro Stock "contingent") and more than enough fuel, alcohol, and pro mod cars for full fields.

Despite the current high prices for (transporter) fuel, the racers have shown up in respectable numbers and ready to race. The sportsman ranks have thinned somewhat, especially from out of province and south of the border as $6 and $7 a gallon gas and diesel have forced many racers to reconsider and in many cases shorten their schedules and travel this year.

Pro Stock racers seem to have had the most difficulty dealing with these trying circumstances as a grand total of ONE.... yes, one single solitary competitor had come through the gates at closing time Thursday evening. The racers obviously have more problems than simply the cost of travel and after the previous event on the IHRA schedule, made a pact to not appear at Edmonton unless the season-long points fund was guaranteed and some compensation over and above the first-round loser payout was guaranteed for appearing at Edmonton.

IHRA has not commented on this matter yet, and apparently not negotiated with the racers so the situation is not resolved, but the Pro Stockers are expected at the next stop in Grand Bend, Ontario in two weeks time. Stay tuned for further developments in this big story.

While the carbureted doorslammers are conspicuous by their absence, the blown and nitrous competitors are here in strong numbers. Full fields in Top Fuel, Nitro and Alcohol Funny Car and Pro Mod (a 16-car eliminator) are already here. And if the track comes around as expected, the qualifying show that starts at 3pm today, should be very intense.

It's time to quit writing on this page for now, upload the thumbnails from yesterday's photos (the full images will have to wait until this evening, as the transfer bandwidth available here at Castrol Raceway is limited), and some captions added to them.

We'll be back later this afternoon with another update. As always, stay tuned!

To see previous updates go to the What's Old page