The ‘type A’ personality of drag racing events
Words: Todd Silvey; Photos: Carl Skillman & Steve Vreatt
Many genre of drag racing have special events that are “must attend” each season. These events range from the March Meet for the fans of nostalgia racing, to the U.S. Nationals for today’s professional drag racing. The NHRA U.S. Nationals shares Labor Day weekend with another kind of super event for the outlaw street car racer and fan — the Yellow Bullet Nationals at Cecil County Dragway in Rising Sun, Maryland.
Based around the very outspoken forum at yellowbullet.com, the rough and tumble words filling the forum pages can be largely described by their motto, “Where the Weak are Killed and Eaten.” Acknowledging that this website’s testosterone-filled exchange of banter may not be safe for work, it does make it easy to predict that a Yellow Bullet event for the outlaw street car racer to put up or shut up was a natural progression.
The weatherman had to be the best salesman for Yellow Bullet 2016 as sunny days and chilly nights would have the heads-up racers in 10 outlaw classes wound up for amazing air-density-altitude readings that spelled astronomical elapsed times.
Without a spare pit spot at the track, literally…Cecil County Dragway is your typical racer-side, spectator-side track layout. On this weekend, though, both sides were filled to capacity, while spectators were not afraid to make the trek from neighboring fields rented for the race.
You could tell by the staging lanes during test and qualifying sessions that there was no shortage of car count and related performance. Test sessions for the heads-up street car are similar to the early move strategy at a chess game. Some racers spend every moment making test hits before qualifying, while others spend the day going over their cars in the pits with a fine-tooth comb.
During qualifying, the scoreboards showed a wild 3.78 ET by Dean Marinis in 1/8-mile Pro Modified qualifying, to put him on the top of the field. Also a crowd favorite, the radial fans had two classes to watch at Yellow Bullet. A 4.42 pass laid down by Ron Rhodes in the X275 class placed him at No. 1 on the eliminations ladder. A cousin to the X275 category, Ultra Street saw some equally impressive elapsed times fill the qualifying sheets, as Shawn Pevlor landed in the No. 1 spot with an incredible 4.69 ET.
The entrant count for the Cecil County weekend was impressive for specific classes, such as 18 cars shooting for the Pro Modified class, 43 participants on the Ultra 275 ladder, and no less than 33 cars in the amazingly competitive Outlaw 10.5 competition.
The 2016 rendition of the Yellow Bullet Nationals gave hardcore outlaw fans an impressive 523 outlaw-class entrants and generated endless subject matter for the forum’s off-season to “trash or be trashed” (their words, not mine). One of the event questions asked on the forum included, “How many people can the YB Nats hold?” Some of the tongue-in-cheek answers included: “It’s YB, that’s why we go,” “it’s gonna be a sardine fest,” and the best answer regarding the capacity, “all of them.”
Carl Skillman’s Photo Gallery
Steve Vreatt Photo Gallery