Junior Dragster Driver Looks to Use O'Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags as a Stepping Stone to Higher Levels of Competition
The list of graduates who have raced and competed at Atlanta Motor Speedway and furthered their career before advancing to a national touring series is growing every year. NASCAR Superstars Joey Logano, Chase Elliott, Bubba Wallace and David Ragan highlight the list. But a former racer to compete at AMS and then further their career in drag racing in the NHRA has yet to happen. Twelve year old Gracie Haralson of Hampton hopes to be the first.
"I want to do it when I get older," said Gracie Haralson. "I have an NHRA license. I'm hoping I can use this to make the jump into the next level of racing."
Gracie competes in the O'Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags each week in the ATV/Open division with her Junior Dragster tearing up the competition. In addition to racing at Friday Night Drags, Haralson and her father Charles drop and swap the motor of her Junior Dragster each week allowing her to compete in bracket races at NHRA sanction tracks.
"NHRA is bracket only racing, NHRA allows 10-12 year olds to run 8.90's or slower in her bracket range. We've got to swap motors every week so she can run Friday Night Drags so we have another motor," said Gracie's father Charles. "We bought a bigger, faster motor to compete with the ATVs out at AMS so she can go faster."
While she competes at other tracks for more seat time, Gracie's favorite place to race is at Friday Night Drags. With no weight, class, or speed restrictions, Gracie puts the pedal to the metal to lay down fast times down the strip.
"The other track are bracket racing, which I like doing, but you have to stay at a certain speed," explained Gracie, "but then at Atlanta Motor Speedway, I can keep gaining speed and go faster."
She wasn't always a speed demon, and was extremely nervous the first time behind the wheel of her junior dragster.
"The first time I got there, I wasn't used to anything because it was the first track that I went to," said Gracie. "I was so scared. I was asking everybody how fast it went and how fast the other cars went and if they thought I was going to win. I was really nervous. And I didn't know, 'What if something happens?'. But once I got up to the light and I took off, I knew I loved racing."
Friday night's action also includes a full night of head-to-head drag racing in 18 different divisions, including Gracie in the ATV/Open Division, as well as the ever popular Show-N-Shine and track cruise.
In addition to thrilling racing and cool custom and classic cars, attendees can register to win tickets to the Taylor Swift concert in Atlanta on Friday, August 8th. All Show-N-Shine entries will be automatically entered while anyone can register the Xfinity garage during the Show-N-Shine judging until 7:30 p.m. Registrations will also be accepted at the AMS ticket office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday thru Friday until 8/3.
Next Friday night Aug. 10, Nitro Bikes will compete in the Pro Bike Challenge pitting the fastest two wheeled vehicles ever to take on the pit lane drag strip.
Gates for both spectators and Show-N-Shine participants open at 6:30 p.m., and the speedway cruise gets underway at 8 p.m. Eliminations in O'Reilly Auto Parts Friday Night Drags Week 9 get underway, as some of the fastest racing in Georgia across 18 different divisions hits the pit lane drag strip in a high-octane battle for a trophy, bragging rights and season championship points. Competing vehicles range from supercharged cars to stock vehicles, daily drivers and even motorcycles and ATVs.
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.
For more information, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway ticket office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.