From the Texas Motor Speedway
FRIDAY NIGHT DRAGS AT TEXAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY MORE THAN JUST ABOUT BRAGGING RIGHTS FOR FATHER-SON DUO
FORT WORTH, Texas (June 22, 2016) – Friday Night Drags presented by Maaco returns to Texas Motor Speedway this Friday for its eighth season. The popular drag racing series served as an avenue for Ray Mitchell to fulfill his need for speed when the series began in 2009. Now, the six-week summer series has grown into an opportunity to share his passion for racing with his son Tyler and exchange some father-son bragging rights.
The duo, from nearby Keller, Texas, are both previous champions in the competitive Street Outlaw Division – Ray a champion in 2012 and Tyler the current defending Street Outlaw champion. Ray, who has not missed an evening of competition during the seven previous years, used FridayNight Drags presented by Maaco as an opportunity to introduce Tyler to the thrill of drag racing.
“I’ve always raced and I kind of got him in it,” Ray said. “I said, ‘Hey man, I got this gold (Ford) Fairmont that we built, let’s go see what it does.’ I taught him from there and now he’s pretty good.”
Tyler proved to be nearly unbeatable last season, racing his pristine 1979 gold Ford Fairmont to four victories en route to the Street Outlaw championship. Heading into this season, racers are looking at him as the car to beat in the division.
The championship trophy and prized Snap-On Tools roll cab tool box with his name on the front – awarded to each of the winners last season and will once again be presented this season – are proudly displayed in the family’s auto repair shop. While the accolades suit Tyler, it’s the time he gets to spend with his father at the track and working on the car in preparation for racing that have become more valuable to him.
“I really appreciate the time we get because I know a lot of other kids don’t get that much time with their dads or don’t get to share that same passion for racing with their dad,” Tyler said. “It’s pretty cool to share that passion.”
Tyler, who now competitively drag races across the Southeast region, enjoys racing at Texas Motor Speedway’s makeshift 1/8-mile drag strip down pit road. The track, typically used for NASCAR and INDYCAR, presents a different venue for drivers to display their skills as they launch their cars from zero to more than 130 miles per hour in a matter of seconds.
“It gives street racers a chance to get off the streets and come out and race in a safe environment,” Tyler said. “It’s a different experience than going out to the drag strip. You have all these fans and you are racing on pit road. It’s pretty surreal to race on Texas Motor Speedway.”
Friday Night Drags presented by Maaco is a six-week summer series that takes place every Friday from June 24 to July 29. Racers from across North Texas compete for weekly and season-long championships in seven different divisions.
Friday Night Drags presented by Maaco features various divisions based on model and modifications of the vehicles. This year’s divisions include The Speedway Club Tuner, Reunion Tower GeO-Deck Street Bandit, Sportsman, Snap-On Tools All-Wheel Drive, American Steel Carports Super Cars, 4 Wheel Parts Black Smoke Warrior and Street Outlaw.
Along with drag racing, car enthusiasts can display their prized vehicles during the popular Hills Air Support Show-N-Shine. Cars displayed are up for recognition in one of four different categories: Best of Show, Best Classic – 1972 or earlier, Best Current Custom – 1973 to current and Best Motorcycle.
The gates open each week at 6 p.m. with inspection, practice and Hills Air Support Show-N-Shine beginning at 6:15 p.m. Drag racing competition gets underway at 9:15 p.m.
The cost is $20 to participate in the drag racing or Hills Air Support Show-N-Shine competition each week. For spectators, general admission grandstand tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under and available at the Gate 6 ticket booth. Parking is free in the PSL lot outside of Gate 6 and available for $20 in the infield (with admission included in the pricing). Coolers are permitted in both the grandstands and infield.