MEET STEVE QUICKEL, FINAL DAY OF SUPER BOWL OF STREET-LEGAL DRAG RACING

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Route 66 Raceway presents this insider's account of the NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street-Legal Drag Racing from Randy Simpson, an NHRA Stock Eliminator driver and student at Illinois State University who is interning with Route 66 Raceway and Chicagoland Speedway this summer. For real-time timing and scoring of this event, please visit http://www.1320go.com , or see http://www.nmradigital.com or http://www.fasteststreetcar.com.

As a sportsman drag racer, I always enjoy reading stories about my fellow sportsman drivers. The racers who turn the wrenches, cut the lights, and dedicate their lives to drag racing are well-deserving of recognition. Steve Quickel, one of the racers who came out to compete at the NMRA/NMCA Super Bowl of Street-Legal Drag Racing at Route 66 Raceway - and won - is one of them.

Quickel drove his 1979 Malibu to a 11.613-second finish (11.55 dial-in) on a hole-shot win in the No Box Bracket category.

It was at historic Oswego Dragway where Quickel, then a third-grade student, had his first drag racing encounter. Quickel vividly remembers the flagman jumping high in the air and the racers wheeling their hot rods down a gravel racing surface. The young enthusiast's exact words were, “that's what I wanna do!“ Several short years later, a 15-year-old Quickel jump-started his racing career behind the wheel of his older brother's 1955 Studebaker. The 15-second lap down the quarter-mile solidified Quickel's love for the sport. Forty-five years later, Quickel is as driven to compete today as he was nearly five decades ago.

When asked what his greatest achievement has been in his extensive career, Quickel didn't waste one-second to proclaim his E.T. 2 World Championship at Byron Dragway in 1980 as his No. 1 victory. The race was a battle between Byron and Union Grove, and Quickel took top honors. Coincidentally, it was at that very race when drivers first found out their true reaction times. “Guys who claimed to have the best reaction times found out real quick they weren't so good after all,“ Quickel said. Nearly 30 years later, Quickel remembers cutting his 0.040 bulb that carried him to the big win.

A regular racer at Route 66 Raceway, Quickel was the 2002 Sportsman Track Champion. While he bracket races on average 20 times a year, Quickel makes it a point to race in the Super Bowl of Street-Legal Drag Racing every year. “It's something different and there are a lot of really good people out here,“ says Quickel, who drove his 1979 Malibu to the No. 2 qualifying position in the Nostalgia Muscle Car category this weekend. Quickel wants to thank all of the racers out here who make this race all the more enjoyable and the staff for making this event possible.

As I am new to the NMRA/NMCA racing series, I have found the True Street category particularly interesting. Lots of racers claim among their friends that they have the faster street-legal race car. The True Street competition makes the racers who talk the talk walk the walk. At this event, True Street racers take their hot rods for a 30-mile cruise. Upon returning from the cruise, they are required to make three consecutive all-out laps down the drag strip. Popping the hood, cooling down or servicing the car is strictly prohibited. Surviving the competition is an accomplishment in itself. Actually winning the title for being the fastest street-legal race car on the property is an outstanding achievement and honor.

I also want to mention the car show on-hand this weekend. A variety of domestic hot rods, new and old, made their way to Route 66 Raceway for the NMRA/NMCA car show. A number of series sponsors also are here this weekend in the manufacturer's midway. In between the on-track action, there are plenty of midway displays and show cars to entertain race fans.

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