Hot Rod Racing Highlights This Spring Break

Nathaniel Smith, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Spring break is a big-time event for high school kids and middle school kids.  It gives the scholars a break from academics and allows them to rest and relax on vacation somewhere nice or even just to stay home and rest.  

For some people, including myself, spring break is a little different.

My spring break isn’t filled with relaxing beach sun, nor is it lying on the couch all week binge-watching movies or TV shows.  I get to spend time with my dad’s side of the family, but, other than that, I’m constantly working.

My father’s family is very much into NHRA drag racing.  NHRA stands for the National Hot Rod Association. They have multiple different cars for different categories.  My family works with funny cars and top fuel dragsters.

Specifically for this last race we worked with a funny car that was a family friend’s.  They own two different cars, but we decided to only bring one with us. My grandfather, dad and uncle have all been working on these cars for most of their lives.  My grandfather got into it in his twenties, which means he’s been doing it for over 50 years.

When we got to the track, my dad, a crew member and I had to set up the pits.  This consisted of setting down mats, putting up tables, taking the car out and getting all of the tools needed.  The next day we took the whole car apart, cleaned and serviced it and put it back together.

When the weekend arrived, we raced Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  Friday and Saturday were qualifying runs. There are actually only 16 spots, but usually more than 20 cars compete.  After every run we had to take the car apart and put it back together. Depending on the race, we can have between 45 minutes and two hours to take the car apart and put it back together.  

We made it through the qualifying trials but didn’t make it past the first round.  We packed everything up and drove back to my grandparents’ house. Even though we didn’t make it far in the race, everyone still had a great time.  And what a learning experience for spring break!