After stops in Colorado and California, the Western Swing concludes at scenic Pacific Raceways. One of the tour’s most breathtaking environments, the facility is parked in the shadow of majestic Mount Rainier and surrounded by towering trees that add more than beauty: They emit tons of power-enhancing oxygen to feed the appetites of the high-horsepower machines, resulting in prime performances.
Bristol Dragway is known as Thunder Valley not only because it cuts a path between mountains but also because it can be home to incredible performances. The facility hosted NHRA’s Springnationals from 1965 to 1967 and non-NHRA events until it was closed in 1996 for an $18 million renovation. It reopened in 1999 and was the site of NHRA’s all-star event that year and in 2000 before hosting its first national event in 34 years in 2001.
The legion of fans in the New England states finally had an event to call their own when the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series made its inaugural visit to Epping, just north of the Boston metropolis, in front of a packed house in 2013. The long and storied drag racing history in New England prompted the construction of this track in 1966, and recent enhancements, including an all-concrete racing surface, set the stage for the largest event in its history in 2014.
Sprawling multipurpose Heartland Park Topeka has been a Midwest favorite since it opened in 1989, but its dragstrip has gained the majority of headlines. The event, originally in the fall, has featured numerous record performances, the most significant of which was the shattering of the quarter-mile four-second and 300-mph barriers in Funny Car in 1993.
Royal Purple Raceway benefits from incredible atmospheric conditions because of its proximity to Trinity Bay, which feeds the facility cool air. The track’s first NHRA national event, in fall 1988, established RPR as one of the sport’s quickest with NHRA’s first four-second Top Fuel quarter-mile pass and a new national record. Since then, the track has been host to a dizzying array of record runs, including the first sub-4.5-second Top Fuel quarter-mile pass by Larry Dixon in 1999.