Year No. 12 of the NHRA Summit Equipment Nationals at Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk is in the books, but it didn’t come easily.
This year could be remembered as the dirty dozen.
Rain was the big story both Friday and Saturday as one of the two pro rounds each day was wiped out by Mother Nature. The Pro Stock racers only got on the track once prior to Sunday’s finals, which was a shame because it is the home race for the major sponsor, Summit Equipment. And Summit’s top two stars, Jason Line and Greg Anderson, run Pro Stock and basically are hometown heroes in Norwalk.
Neither fared well as Anderson went out in round No. 1 Sunday, while Line was defeated in the quarterfinals.
That’s only five times down the track total for the two this weekend.
It was that kind of a weekend.
Saturday was a nightmare.
After blue skies greeted the sportsman racers early in the day, everything looked for the first round of the pros scheduled for 12:45 p.m. The Pro Bikes were set to go off first, followed by the Pro Stock. That’s when Fox Sports 1 (FS1) was going to come in for one hour of live broadcasting from 1:30 to 2:30 with the Top Fuel and Funny Car.
But the rains came and screwed everything up. Officials worked hard to get the track back in order and it looked like they were going to hit that 1:30 window until the skies opened up about 1:25. That left FS1 with replays and canned interviews.
After a number of attempts to get the track ready, the skies finally cleared and racing began about 3:40 p.m. The four pro classes ran until about 5:15. It looked like officials were going to get that second round in, but it just never happened and the NHRA finally pulled the plug about 9.
Sunday was a different story as the huge crowd was treated to some fine racing.
Summit Motorsports Park President Bill Bader Jr. said that is the nature of the game. In his business, worse than the weather is the forecast and the forecast going in wasn’t good.
Bader said sales were up five percent going into the week and the track was on pace for a double-digit increase, but Mother Nature had other ideas.
Bader spoke to the fans Sunday morning at a pre-race event on the track
“I don’t believe we necessarily, meaning Summit Motorsports Park, probably put our best foot forward this weekend and I am sick about that,” he said.
Bader said anybody who bought a ticket for the weekend could trade it in for a weekend pass to either the Blue Suede Cruise or the Shakedown At The Summit later this season.
“For God’s sake, when you come, bring nice weather with you,” he told the cheering crowd.
Bader was reminded he has no say in the weather.
“I know I am not responsible for the weather, but you are in our house,” he said. “When you are in our home we want to put our best foot forward.”
With those words Bader clearly had the crowd on his side, but he had one final thing to say.
“July Fourth is coming up and let’s remember we live in the greatest country in the world,” he said.
“God bless America ... and if you don’t love this country get the hell out.”
Joe Centers is the Reflector managing editor. You can reach him at [email protected]