MANATEE COUNTY — Pro stock car racers revved up their engines at the Bradenton Motorsports Park last week, making final preparations for the start of the National Hot Rod Association’s racing season.
Professionals such as Allen Johnson, Larry Morgan, Greg Anderson, and Roger Brogdon, among others, visited the East County track earlier this month to complete their winter testing for making their vehicles better and quicker.
“We’ve got a lot of new things on the shelf to try (when we come here),” said racing veteran Allen Johnson, who hails from Greenville, Tenn. “The track is really awesome. The guys that own it are really easy to work with.”
Johnson said Florida’s sunny winter weather makes it the perfect place to prepare for the season’s opening races.
Pro stock racers will be heading to California later this month for the NHRA’s season opener, called Winternationals, and will return to the speedway for another week of testing before the Gatornationals event in Gainesville in March.
Drivers assist local firefighters
Pro Stock drivers Allen Johnson and Larry Morgan, as well as the Bradenton Motorsports Park rescue staff, made time in their busy schedules to help train local rescue workers during a special training session at the track Feb. 7.
Although the speedway has a track rescue team, its resources are somewhat limited and East Manatee Fire Rescue firefighters must be prepared to handle vehicle fires or other incidents that could occur at the speedway, training officer Tim Hyden said.
“I thought it would be important for them to come out and see one of the cars,” he said.
Pro stock racers shared with firefighters the unique components of their vehicles, such as how to disconnect neck restraints on drivers, the vehicle’s emergency fuel and battery shutoffs, the best locations at which to cut roll cages, overall car construction characteristics and other safety considerations.
Hyden video recorded much of the training so it can be used for future training, he said.
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].
NEED FOR SPEED
Drag racing vehicles can run the quarter-mile in just more than six seconds — speeds of about 210 mph.