KJ Jones
November 17, 2011
Contributers: KJ Jones

Sometimes, despite every good intention that a race promoter has for holding a successful event, “forces” of whatever sort seem to always have some type of negative influence on said event. At drag races, on-track maladies such as oil-downs or accidents that usually involve race cars making contact with the wall, unfortunately happen fairly often, and delays that result from these incidents usually wreak havoc on an event’s smoothly running timetable.

Our first encounter with lengthy delays in 2011 came at the NMRA/NMCA combo event in Commerce, Georgia (“The Long Run,” Sept ’11, p. 120), where situation after situation (most of them brought about by Brand-X cars, of course) prolonged eliminations for what seemed like an eternity. However, despite the delays racers in both sanctions and the staffs of ProMedia and Atlanta Dragway ultimately prevailed and the race did finish on Sunday—albeit late in the evening.

Unlike most points races on the NMRA schedule, the NMRA Ford Nationals—held at Milan Dragway—is run as a two-day event, Friday and Saturday, which gives racers and fans the rare opportunity to be back at home, or on their way to wherever home is, early Sunday morning. Coming all the way from the West Coast to cover the race, your author definitely digs the two-day idea, and makes travel arrangements that ensure he’s pulling in the driveway in plenty of time to watch whatever professional race event (NHRA, NASCAR, and so on) being broadcast on television. After all, Sunday is race day.

Mother Nature changed everyone’s plans at the eighth running of the Roush Yates-sponsored race, when stifling heat and humidity on setup day gave way to torrents of rain on Friday and several sporadic monsoons on Saturday, which ultimately washed out any chance of completing eliminations/the event on time. However, before the final stoppage and thanks to hustle on everyone’s part (round calls came much sooner than usual; racers understood why and were compliant) when the weather permitted racing, all classes were narrowed down to quarterfinals (eight cars remaining), which race directors elected to run off on Sunday.

So, despite a one-day extension, the event was completed under a sunny, cloud-free Michigan sky. With racers making strong moves toward capturing champion-ships in several classes. We begin our coverage with pictorial highlights of on-, and off-track activity that was captured between the storms, followed, of course, by photos of the racers who persevered, returning to Milan to race—and more importantly—win on Sunday.

Horse Sense: “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.” With the 8th Annual NMRA Ford Nationals finally wrapped up and in the history books, we’re pretty sure that all of the racers, fans and NMRA officials who endured the 2011 Marathon at Milan now have a greater appreciation for that prophetic statement.

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