PROMOTER DONALD LONG UPS THE STAKES WITH HIS $50k X275 EVENT
Epic is not a word famous Drag Radial promoter Donald "Duck" Long uses loosely.
So for the man who made it popular to promote 3.6-second drag radial doorslammers to describe the inaugural World Series of X-275 (Drag Radial) competition within the prestigious 2018 Sweet 16 as "epic," it's a BFD, or to some "a big freaking deal."
The event runs March 21-23, 2019, and offers up to 10 qualifying sessions with the top 16 qualifiers racing for $50,000. Everyone who doesn't qualify still has a chance to race for $15,000 as part of a second-chance event.
"Well, this is my take on the X275 deal, these guys, they’ve been racing for that $10,000 for a long time, so I just want to make it where we can get them all in one place at one time again, and race for the big money," Long said. "I think they deserve to be able to race for it, X275 has been holding the most car count now for probably what at least five or six years, or maybe even longer than that."
The way Long sees it, if no one else is going to pay X275 racers the money they deserve, it might as well be the man who dared to pay the Radial Vs. The World $101,000-to-win.
"I think the $50,000 deal will be a cool start for sure," Long said.
While Long isn't shy at all about taking credit for creating the extremely popular and volatile Radial Vs. The World format, he's all about giving credit to John Sears for developing this gearhead-favorite style of drag racing.
"Let me just make sure that there’s no confusion on that deal," Long explained. "John Sears is the one that came up with the X275 deal as far as molding everything together. But what happens is is that sometimes it gets a little tarnished along the way. I’m hoping to shine it up a little bit where Sears will make rules, but he’ll get so much slack on the internet, or it will turn into such a firestorm of someone trying to defend their buddy or whatever. Sometimes he may have to backstep or something from doing what exactly should be right.
"And what’s right is it is keeping every combination within a couple of numbers of each other. So I want to bring X275 back to the top, back to the spotlight deal but we’ve also got to tighten up the rules a little bit to make it fair for everybody."
To appreciate X275 drag racing is to understand what it is all about.
The body styles are as diverse as the engine combinations under the hood. There will be fox-bodied Mustangs, as well as first-generation Camaros. There are blowers (both under the hood and roots versions), turbos, as well as nitrous-injection with carburetors.
The great equalizer is the suspension, where teams can only use stock-style or ladder bar suspension cars only. Aftermarket four-links are a no-no on all cars as well as wheelie bars.
The common denominator is the Mickey Thompson X275 tire.
"There’s probably hundreds of different combinations to get to, and then they’re all based off of power and weight," Long explained. "But they’re all more of a street type car, street legal looking car, no wheelie bars, no Pro Mod type deal at all. It’s all more of a street looking car except these guys are obviously going 4.20’s and 4.30’s side by side every pass."
The appeal for Long and many race fans is X275 is a throwback to drag racing from days gone by albeit using modern technology.
"X275 is kind of like back in the day and all of the stock suspension style races before the engine combinations got so far out of hand," Long said. And that’s the deal with X275, it makes you run on that stock suspension, it makes you run on the limited tire, but also you have limited combinations as far as we don’t have the big block twin turbos.
"Really to me, it wasn’t ever suspension that took the classes completely out of hand. It’s the power; it’s the Pro-Line stuff, it’s the crazy 5,000-6,000 horsepower motor stuff that makes Radial vs. The World exciting but also puts it out of the reach of the common guy."
While Radial Vs. The World is the showcase division for the $101,000-to-win Sweet Sixteen, the price tag has pushed out many of the racers. But with X275, as Long sees it, provides an excellent opportunity for blue-collar heads-up drag racing on a big stage for big bucks.
"It’s just that class is what kind of started the whole everything else, in my opinion," Long explained. "You have still that stock suspension type deal, you have the inside of the car looking, people can come around, all the spectators can come around, they can relate to it. It looks just like any other car that’s going down the track. It doesn’t have huge wheelie bars sticking off of it or flared fenders. It just looks like your average street car Mustang or Camaro or whatever and you know they’re sitting there making big horsepower and it’s just the side by side races that it brings."
And for Long, X275 deserves a place at the table for the most prestigious drag race in doorslammer history.
"X275 has earned the right to be at the Sweet Sixteen," Long said. "I didn’t have a chance to put it together for this year. You know, John Sears called me after the last one and asked me if there was any way we could pull it off. First of all, I definitely want to thank all of the X275 racers because it’s like the overwhelming support to do this deal, I think we already have over 80 cars paid for a race that’s going to be next March."
Long expects the entry list to exceed 100 when its all said and done. He shakes his head at the notion of 100 cars fighting for a place in a 16-car field.
"I just want to make sure that everybody realizes that we want to make X275 an elite class with Radial vs. The World," Long said. "If you get a hundred cars that want to come out and race, it’s hard to find a class where you can get a hundred people to put up $500 apiece.
"It is cool to have a class where there’s still enough of them out there to be able to really put on a hell of a show."
Long believes it will be a hell of a show; the kind which turns epic.