Throwdown In T-Town
by Paul Caster
After an un-eventful three & a half hour trip from North Texas, I arrived in Tulsa at 3:00 P.M. Friday afternoon. I headed straight to the motel located on Garnett Road, checked in, dropped my bag and made the two mile trip to the Osage Casino Tulsa Raceway Park complex. Upon arrival, I was whisked through the gate, told where to park in close proximity to the media center located in the base of the tower. Out came my camera gear and less than five minutes later I was sitting in the air conditioned comfort of the media center trying to decide which lens to start shooting with. The racing action hadn’t started, so I decided to walk around the pit area and click off some shots.
At 5:00 P.M. the action started, so it was back to the media center for a lens change, then to the guard wall. Immediately the testing was going hot and heavy, with wave after wave of Outlaw Pro Mods, Outlaw 10.5, Outlaw Door Slammers, Legal Pro Mods, Pro Street, MX 275, MX 235, Pro Mod Motorcycle and several classes of Jr. Dragsters. I’ve never witnessed so many Jr. Dragsters at any event before and believe me when I say, the racing action was just as competitive as any other class there.
photo by Paul Caster, Big Kahuna Speed Shots
The spring edition of the “Throwdown In T-Town” is in the record books with 147 race teams and crew vying for top honors and the largest crowd ever at Osage Casino Tulsa Raceway Park with 48,339 in attendance over the two day race weekend. With this number of attendees and race teams, the track personnel and crew did a fantastic job of keeping everything well organized and running very smooth. The only glitch was a traffic problem at the end of the event. I have been told by the track that the buses which are stored on the property will be gone by October and the back gate will be open for additional parking to help alleviate the traffic problems. Saturday, they literally ran out of places to park any more spectator vehicles.
Besides the serious drag racing and exhibition cars, there were many interactive activities for the spectators, from helicopter rides which flew low and down the middle of the track to two-seat dragster rides which gave the participants a taste of what it’s like to run 5.0’s at 140 mph (the track gave eight lucky people a chance of a lifetime to ride in the dragster). Alaska & Madi, from the Voice show were live in concert with a 10 year old young lady named Saylor Woodmandsee sitting in who could really belt out a tune. There was also a huge Play Station which was a hit with the kids and families in attendance. All children at the races were given free coloring books and crayons. Ben “Dragdaddy” produced all the artwork for the coloring books which the kiddo’s loved.
Needless to say, exhibition runs and entertainment for the fans was fantastic, especially Scott Palmer’s Top Fuel Dragster, which clicked off a 3.19 at 245 mph. The crowd was astounded with 75-year-old Richard Hutchins and his 1973 “Chevy Rebellion” Volkswagen pick-up wheel stander. He made several, full 1/8-mile and beyond passes with the wheels high in the air. Did I mention admission was FREE for this event?... and the spectators ate it up, as there was not a seat to be had in the stands. The fence in front of the stands were three and four deep with spectators jockeying for position. The pits were literally packed with racecars and spectators, trying to get a peek and autographs of their favorite cars and drivers. Total head count for the two days including the racers and spectators was 48,329. United States Military Veterans were honored by being asked to walk down out of the stands to assist in unfurling and display of a football field size American Flag.
photos by Paul Caster, Big Kahuna Speed Shots
Media coverage was exceptional at the event with KOTV, Fox 27, live internet video coverage from Chad Reynolds of BangShift.com with 40 thousand plus viewers world-wide over the two day period. I have to give credit to the great photographers which were on hand, Brad Klassen (Bad Brad’s Speed Shots); Chris & Tera Graves (Max Cackle Photos); Ricky Ritchie (FTS Photos); Tish Dingman (Chris & Tish Dingman Photos); Steven & eleven-year-old Dallas Wilson (Wilson Motorsports Photography); and Randy & Kim Jones (Kim’s Drag Racing Photography). My apologies to any shooters I left out, you were a great group to work with!
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