Spradlin gets two wins as NOPI adds Top Dragster and Top Sportsman at Atlanta event
Spradlin Motorsports, a multi-time division champion Top Dragster and Top Sportsman team, entered into its first NOPI Nationals Supershow at Atlanta Dragway this past weekend and came away with its first “double up,” winning in both classes.
The Southeastern Hose-sponsored team decided to make the short trip over to Atlanta Dragway as a last minute add on to their regular NHRA Lucas Oil division schedule to support the growing number of drag racing sanctions that are realizing the fan appeal of the sportsman ranks’ fastest classes. The NOPI Nationals Supershow has not been the traditional place to find ultrafast doorslammers and dragsters. However, for the 2014 events they have added Top Sportsman, Top Dragster, and Pro Modified racing to offer the typical import car fan a peak at what eight cylinder, large cubic inch, full chassis racing looks and sounds like.
“When we made the decision last week to give the NOPI Top Sportsman/Top Dragster race a try, we knew to expect a different fan base, and it was definitely different,” team driver Casey Spradlin explained of the difference between more traditional Top Sportsman/Top Dragster venues. “When we pulled in the gate, the pits were totally different from the NHRA national/divisional events we are used to at Atlanta Dragway. Instead of a sea of toterhomes, it was max capacity imports of all kinds. I even saw a right hand drive Nissan 300Z! It was an up tempo festival atmosphere with live bands, DJs, lots of skin, burnout contests, hydraulic car “hop off,” and even a large drift course. It was wild and it was packed with fans,” Spradlin continues.
The NOPI format is 1/8-mile qualifying on Saturday followed by the fastest in each class participating in a “Quick 16” race that night, then final eliminations on Sunday.
At the end of qualifying the team had grabbed its first pole in their beautiful supercharged ’37 Chevy Coupe Top Sportsman with a 4.51 E.T. at 159 MPH. Spradlin just missed the Top Dragster pole in his supercharged dragster by two hundredths of a second, ending up second with a 4.15 E.T. at 166 mph.
In the Top Dragster final against Brittney Vancica, Spradlin got the holeshot and force Vancica to break out trying to catch him.
In his first-round bye in his coupe the ring and pinion shattered on the launch, locking up the rear end. With a rear end loaned by fellow Top Sportsman racer Craig Cain, Spradlin made it to the final where he met fellow LODRS racer Shawn Morrow.
“Shawn and I were parked right next to each other,” said Spradlin. “ He was also helping NOPI run the Top Sportsman/Top Dragster program, so like myself, he was running ragged by late Sunday night and was just glad to make it to the end. I had never gotten both cars to the finals in the same weekend so I was determined to get the win. I got the holeshot and was able to get the win with a dead on the index pass,”
Spradlin tried to get another Dragster went, but went red by four-thousandths of a second against Shannon Roberts in the semi.
Congratulations to all these folks for exposing a vast new market to old-fashioned drag racing. Maybe we can convert some new fans.