Allen Lessels on Motor Sports: Speed weekend in Epping features sibling rivalry
NHRA funny car driver Courtney Force during last year's New England Nationals at New England Dragway. (Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports)
Dueling dragsters for speedy siblings. His and hers.
The black one with the orange stripe belongs to Kyle, 24, the bright blue one in the same paint scheme to Lauren, 28, his big sister.
The National Hot Rod Association — featuring John Force and his fast-driving daughters — is back at the dragway, following up the inaugural Mello Yello Drag Racing New England Nationals a year ago.
The NHRA drew large crowds a year ago and will again this time around.
There’s something for everyone.
A weekend full of motorcycle races — featuring the 91st Loudon Classic on Saturday afternoon — are being held the next few days at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon.
The NHRA drew about 60,000 people over four days to New England Dragway last year and general manager Joe Lombardo expects the crowd to be up slightly this weekend.
Last year’s Saturday crowd was about 21,000 and Sunday was just under that.
This is the second year of a 10-year deal between the NHRA and the dragway and there are a couple of five-year extensions available, too.
“The NHRA has been awesome to work with,” he said. “It’s an expensive proposition to go ahead and do things to make improvements. They know we’re committed over the long term to keep making improvements.”
The Cultreras make drag racing a family thing. They followed their father, Stephen, into drag racing. JoAnn, their mother, is part of the team, too.
Go too quick and you lose. Leave the starting line before the lights turn green and you’re out.
“Here you can have a $15,000 car do just as good as a $100,000 car. It’s more the driver. You have to be good on the tree (the lights) and the car has to run clean. It levels the playing field.”
An engineer out of Greenland, Dave MacLeod raced with the Cultreras’ parents in the ’80s.
When Stephen Cultrera mentioned Kyle was looking to get into racing, but couldn’t afford to, MacLeod stepped up.
Cultrera got his car in 2009 and MacLeod died the next year, four years ago this weekend.
It carries two names outside the driver’s cockpit: Dave MacLeod and Kyle Cultrera.