NHRA Nationals

Full-throttle thrills for fans at New England Dragway

By John Quinn
Union Leader Correspondent
June 22. 2013 1:59PM
From left, Al Bourget, of Waterville, Maine, and Dickie Jacobs, of Canaan, Maine, take a break Saturday between a long weekend of short races at New England Dragway in Epping. (John Quinn/Union Leader)

EPPING - The thunderous roar of drag racing drew thousands of fans from across the region to New England Dragway on Saturday.

While the races lasted mere seconds, many fans had been waiting for decades to see them, and everyone seemed excited to have the Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals held within reach of their homes.

The event, which began Thursday and ends today, was the Mello Yellow Drag Racing Series' first stop in New England.

As a life-long race fan, Meredith Paul, 32, of Manchester was glad to see racing come to Epping, especially since the next closest track is in New Jersey.

"To have it 25 minutes away, that is the best," Paul said, adding she hopes that more races are held at the dragway.

"I'm a die-hard race fan," Paul said, adding she loves everything about the experience.

"You get into the pits, meet the drivers and see them take apart the cars before the next race," Paul said. "The reason I'm into racing is my dad worked for Kendall Oil, and he brought me down to the racetrack."

Even though Dickie Jacobs, 50, of Canaan, Maine, has been following racing of all kinds for years, he was excited to see drag racing at the track for the first time.

"It just rushes through your body — like you're a human vibrator," Jacobs said.

Jacobs also enjoyed seeing the cars, drivers and pit crews up close, even though his eyes watered from the nitro-methane fumes spit out by the vehicles.

Kevin James, 51, of Brookline, Mass., and Charlie Sullivan of Brighton, Mass., had no trouble driving up to the track and were more than willing to battle traffic in Boston and around Epping.

"I'm glad to have it here finally," James said. "I never expected to see it (in New Hampshire)."

They were joined by many others from all over the Northeast and as far away as Indiana, Virginia and Ontario, Canada.

"Drag racing has its own breed," Sullivan said.

Although traffic was bumper to bumper as the mid-day start of the event neared, Officer Ann Kyzer and a small army of police from around the area did their best to keep vehicles moving.

"We've had no major problems," Kyzer said, adding it helped how everyone was so positive since they were excited to have some fun.

"The raceway's been good to us," Kyzer said, adding it was made clear all bags and coolers would be searched because no alcohol was allowed at the track.

For more information, go to www.newenglanddragway.com.

From left, Kevin James, of Brookline, Mass., and Charlie Sullivan, of Brighton, Mass., joined thousands of race fans from across the region at Auto-Plus NHRA New England Nationals New England Dragway in Epping. (By John Quinn, Union Leader)

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