tbjeeplead.jpgBY: TOM BRAY

It is hard to believe that we are already closing the book on the 2009 sand drag racing season. The high points and low points of this season have been at extreme ends of the spectrum. We have seen incredible racing action and drama on the track that we could have never imagined all the way to the rash of loss within our community. Let’s take a few moments and reflect on the season that was.

It’s only appropriate to start with the high points of the season. The on-track action from coast to coast was as competitive as I have ever seen. There are two memories of amazing competition that stick out in my mind from the 2009 season. The first took place at West Michigan Sand Dragway’s U.S. Sand Nationals, which was also the finale for the Pro Truck Nationals series. In the final round of the Pro Truck class season, Ben Dozeman in his Bad Company Jeep had to win the round over Kip Martin to clinch an improbable championship as he came into the event with a slim to none chance of winning the title. In a race too close to tell by the naked eye, Ben turned on the win light by the slimmest of margins .001 to win the championship and the final event win of the season. This was a highly dramatic moment and definitely one I won’t soon forget. This was a precursor to the dramatic conclusion that was witnessed at the final NSDA event of the season in Primm, NV. The Top Fuel championship came down to the final round of the season between Scott Whipple/Team CANIDAE versus Geoff Gill/Gill Bettencourt Racing. It was simple for Whipple to win the title as all he had to do was win the round or lose & Gill not set the ET record. For Gill to win the championship, he had to win the race and set the TF World ET record. Adding to the drama, Whipple had lowered the record in the previous two rounds, putting Gill in the position of trying to run a number in a window of less than .01 to set the record and win the race at the same time. When the dust cleared, Whipple had turned the win light on and lowered the ET record to a mind shattering 2.239. The CANIDAE team left with the championship and at the same time lowered the TF World Record by nearly a half tenth of a second from where it started at the start of the weekend. These were the two extreme instances of the amazing competition that was witnessed all across the country in 2009. Readers, if you have a particular moment that struck you as amazing racing wise throughout the season, shoot me an e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will do a feature next month highlighting some of these instances.

Beyond the racing, in 2009 with all the economic problems plaguing our country it was a great sign to see the sand drag family banding together at the biggest events throughout the season. Some of these events like the Fall NSDA Primm race, WMSD US Sand Nationals, Atoka Heartland Nationals, and Bonne Terre Pro Truck Nationals saw turnouts surpassing previous years. This was certainly a positive sign that we are still able to get away and enjoy our favorite pass time.

The flip side to the economic issues was that the smaller events and point series were affected as racers weren’t able to commit to these events. Hopefully, we will start to see things come back around as the economy recovers and track owners/promoters adjust to the economic climate. Another down note to the 2009 season was that we saw a few more crashes than normal throughout the country. Whatever the reason these crashes happened, the bright side was that all of the drivers were able to walk away with the only damage being done to their pocket books. This is a testament to the influx of safety equipment and technology trickling down to our sport from other areas of motor sports.

The lowest of lows in 2009 was the loss of several of our own in the sand drag community. We will be remembering all of them and comforting their friends/families as they make it through their first holiday season with these loved ones. We will never forget them and know they will be riding with us as we go to the tracks competing in the sport we all love.

Personally, I have a lot of people to be thankful for that help us out on NSDN and allow us to provide the highest quality sand drag racing coverage. Let’s start out with our west coast friends. The NSDA has been great to us since our inception and we truly thank them for all they do for us. Rick Morris/Heavy Metal/2 Dolla’ Bill Racing, CANIDAE Pet Foods/Scott Whipple, and Bob Gill/Gill Bettencourt Racing are great supporters of what we do at NSDN. Thank you guys for being great friends and allowing us to do what we do. Heading towards the east, Rod Trower/Trower Racing gets a huge thank you for his support of our coverage of the Heartland Nationals in Atoka, OK. Rod is a great asset to the sport of sand drag racing and we are grateful to have him on board with us. In 2009, the emergence of the Pro Truck Nationals series has been a huge boost to the sport in the Midwest region. Rich Simon/Richard’s Auto Parts is the organizer of the series, and we want to thank Rich as well as the whole PTN group for all their support in being able to cover the entire series. Also, the folks at two tracks in the PTN series that NSDN had never been to before this season; Big River Sand Drags in Bonne Terre, MO and IOK 4-Wheelers in Cleves, OH went overboard with the hospitality and that was greatly appreciated. It was truly an amazing series from start to finish and I feel grateful to have not missed a run. In my home state of Michigan, both West Michigan and Ionia Sand Drags were supporters of ours and put on high quality events throughout the season. Thanks to all involved with these tracks for your support.

Our photographers are always a huge part of NSDN providing us with incredible high-quality images from each event. Lone Star Graphics was a huge help for us in 2009 as they were at several of our events. Check out what they have to offer, their merchandise makes great Christmas presents, at www.LoneStarGraphics.com. They traversed the country attending 23 events in 7 states in 2009. Thanks to Gary and Michelle for all of their help and support in 2009. As always, thanks to our friends at C3 Productions as they provided us with great images from the NSDA series. A couple of other photographers supported us in 2009; Ruben Rodriguez of Crazy Photo Squad provided us photos from Dome Valley Raceway in AZ and Woody from Desert Image Collection sent in photos from ET Motopark in AZ. Thanks for your contributions, fellas. Some of the other folks that deserve a thank you for helping out in 2009 with phoning in or sending in race results include Kody Teters (TVSD), Derek Howard (Atoka), Mike Erwin, Chachy Zavala, Tommy Zavala, Dan Wies, and Mike Ellington. These guys were a huge help in keeping everyone in the loop with the highest quality and most timely sand drag race results. If you didn’t know, NSDN has an open submission policy as far as posting news and race info. For any tidbits that you feel note worthy to post on NSDN, feel free to e-mail this info to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

In 2009, NSDN introduced the Race Update tool bar on the right side of the page to keep our readers that aren’t able to make each event informed with the most important news of the event as it happens. Thanks to available technology and the use of Twitter, I felt like this was a huge enhancement to our race coverage. We will continue to research methods that can enhance the quality of our event coverage. If you have any suggestions or input, feel free to e-mail me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. One addition for 2010 is the new NSDN Online Store through CafePress. This will allow you to buy NSDN merchandise and show your support of us at the track with high quality T-Shirts, Hoodies, and/or Hats.

As far as 2010 goes, NSDN will continue to strive to serve the sand drag racing community with the highest quality sand drag racing news and event coverage. The tough economic times are hampering our efforts to cover all the events that we would like to on-site. If you would like to sponsor, or have a connection to a potential sponsor that may benefit from coming on board with NSDN, contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. NSDN will cover as many events as are financially feasible in 2010, so any help that’s out there to make sure we are at each big race across the country would be greatly appreciated.

From my point of view, the sand drag racing family is the greatest out there and I’m thankful to be surrounded by such amazing people at the track. I wish for everyone to have a wonderful holiday season and get refreshed for an amazing 2010 sand drag racing season. Stay safe over the holidays, and I’ll see you all at the track soon.

Until next month,

Tom Bray (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)

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