O'Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags & Show-N-Shine Week Two News & Notes
O'Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags & Show-N-Shine at Atlanta Motor Speedway is just two weeks old , but the competition is already in mid-season form, and drivers are showing no signs of easing off the pedal as Week 3 takes to the pit lane drag strip this Friday night.
One driver in particular who will look to make an early impact on the 2015 season is Jay Velez of Hampton, whose 1991 Toyota Starlet is far from the typical car you'd expect to see in the Harbin's Mechanical Services Super Pro Division.
"It's different," acknowledged Velez. "A lot different from your regular Chevys and big-block cars."
The small import may appear outmatched on the outside when lining up beside the likes of American dragsters and souped-up muscle cars in the Harbin's Mechanical Services Super Pro Division, but the Starlet packs an impressive punch when the lights go green.
Under the hood, the 3.0-litre straight-six engine with a powerglide transmission is more than capable of holding its own, and Velez's car became an instant favorite in Week 1, when he made his first appearance at O'Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags.
Originally from Puerto Rico, Velez has turned the 24-year-old Starlet into an ongoing project.
"I had the car shipped over from Puerto Rico when I moved here, so it's always been a project," he said. "It's been about 10, 11 years. It's pretty much just an overall well-built car."
Velez and others will look to notch victories in Week 3 of O'Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags, as non-points competition ratchets up at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Drivers Tony and Joshua Morse, Hampton's David Clevenger and Amanda Prince of Griffin each will be looking for their third straight win to open the 2015 season in their respective divisions, as worthy challengers begin to emerge from the field.
Non-points competition continues through May 15 before the points opener on Friday, May 29. But that won't keep drivers like Velez from pulling out all the stops in pursuit of victory in all-out, nothing-to-lose races.
"Hopefully (I'll race) the whole season, if it stays together," Valez said with a grin. "We're going to have some fun, definitely."
O'Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags is a street-style drag racing series featuring grassroots competition in 18 different divisions, with a massive array of cars, trucks and motorcycles. Competing vehicles range from supercharged cars to stock vehicles and daily drivers. Contenders battle in a nightly, single-elimination tournament for trophies, bragging rights and season championship points.
Drag racing is open to any driver and nearly any vehicle. Entry fees are just $20, and drivers are required to have a working seat belt and a DOT-approved helmet to race.
Spectator admission is just $8, with children 5 and under admitted free. Exterior parking is free, and infield parking is $20.
O'Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags will take place each Friday through Aug. 28, with the exception of May 22, for a total of 18 dates in 2015. Gates open at 6:30, prior to the Show-N-Shine competition, and racing gets underway just after 9 p.m.
For more information, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.