‘Nitro Ninja” Dragster, Nostalgia Funny Cars, Jet Truck Highlight Funny Car Nationals
MARTIN, Mich. – When most working Americans get a day off, the last thing they want to do is anything that reminds them of their jobs.
Of course, there are exceptions. Take, for instance, the Lagana brothers: Bobby Jr. and Dom. Last week as crew members on the Capco Contractors Top Fuel dragster, they helped send Texan Steve Torrence to the winners’ circle in both the Traxxas Nitro Shootout and the 63rd annual NHRA U.S. Nationals, both contested at Indianapolis.
They also accepted the prestigious Mike Aiello “Spirit of Drag Racing” Award from Bobby Bennett, the publisher of drag racing website CompetitionPlus.com, for their efforts on behalf of others in the sport.
So how are the Laganas going to celebrate the biggest week of their careers?
They’re bringing their own car, the “Nitro Ninja” Top Fuel dragster, to US 131 Motorsports Park for this week’s Funny Car Nationals. Dom will drive, Bobby will serve as crew chief and their hope is to break the 330 mile-per-hour barrier, something they’ve done only one time before.
For the Scarsdale, N.Y., brothers, it’s the best way to spend the off week before the start of the NHRA playoffs in Charlotte, N.C., where Torrence will be the No. 1 seed.
Although Bobby, 39, enjoyed a successful driving career of his own, winning the IHRA Top Fuel championship in 2010, younger brother Dom, seven years his junior, has become the family’s “designated driver.”
He has responded with victories on this continent as well as the one down under where he won this year’s 51st ANDRA Nationals at Calder Park Speedway in Melbourne driving for Rapisarda Autosport International.
The Laganas also have served as advisors to Finland’s Anita Makela, the 2016 FIA European Top Fuel Champion.
Although they love racing the “family car,” they also enjoy watching and interacting with other racers, which is another reason they will spend this weekend at US 131 where they will share the quarter mile stage with six of the nation’s quickest nostalgia Funny Cars, four fuel coupes, two jet-powered Funny Cars, all the cars of the Nostaglia Drag Racing League and the always awesome “King of Quake,” Bob Motz, and his “Original Jet Truck.”
Adult tickets purchased at the gate are $15 Friday and $25 Saturday. Children 6-12 are $7 and children under six are free when accompanied by a ticketed adult. Every ticket is a pit pass and parking is always free.
NDRL qualifying, featuring classic 1923 T-roadsters, ’32 Bantam roadsters, ’57 Chevy coupes, Anglias, Willyses, hemi-Plymouths and GTOs, is scheduled for 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday, sandwiched around one nitro session. A third and final NDRL qualifier is scheduled at 1 p.m. Saturday with racing to follow.
Pro eliminations are set for 6 and 9:30 p.m. on Saturday with Motz slated to close each pro session with his jet-powered Kenworth truck.