Every form of racing needs some structure if it’s going to thrive, even big wheel racing. These colorful cars and personalities have been making passes at the track for some time, but there’s never been an organization for them to unite under until now. Sage Thomas, a.k.a. Donkmaster, created the National Donk Racing Association (NDRA) to promote safety in big wheel racing, and to showcase the fastest big wheel cars in the country.
Big wheel racing has always existed, but it never really had any true organization until Thomas created the NDRA. Thomas and his team came up with a way to make the big wheel racing world come together and make it legitimate.
“Back in 2015 when we used to do shows and started racing there would be a lot of trash-talking but the racing would start later in the day. I got this organization started because of the fans, so they could see the racing earlier in the day after the car show. These cars are getting so fast we really had to bring more safety into the big wheel racing community,” Thomas says.
A big wheel car you see at an NDRA event might look like it’s all show and no go, but when you take a gander under the hood your opinion will quickly change. You’ll find a variety of engine and power-adder combinations between the fenders of these flashy vehicles. In the more open classes, you’ll find builds that are making well over 1,000 horsepower. Most of the cars in the NDRA are street-driven, have a full interior, and still have air conditioning.
The NDRA has a total of seven different classes for racers to compete in. The Donk Classes are for the 1971-1976 Chevrolet Caprice or Impala body style vehicles. The G-Body Classes are for 1969-1988 G-body vehicles like the Malibu, El Camino, Monte Carlo, Oldsmobile Cutlass, Pontiac Grand Prix or Bonneville, and the Buick Regal. The Donk and G-Body Classes are split up into Lightweight, Middleweight, and Heavyweight classes based on if they have a power-adder and level of modifications. The NDRA also has an Open Format Class for vehicles that don’t fit into the Donk or G-Body classes.
Thomas and his team have structured each NDRA event to feel just like any other national-level race you might attend. The races are all conducted with the clocks off, but racers get a set amount of shakedown runs before eliminations. The pairs for each round of eliminations are selected via a random chip draw before each round, this brings the excitement of no time racing to the NDRA.
Thomas has put a lot of effort into the NDRA to make it a great organization. Companies like Precision Turbo & Engine, Nitrous Outlet, Rucci Wheels, Menscer Motorsports, Doorslammers 2, and others have all come aboard to sponsor the series.
“The biggest thing we try to push with our racers is safety. We expect everyone who competes to show up with all the right NHRA safety gear based on how quick and fast they’re going. We’re trying to change the mindset of some of these racers so they start to invest just as much into safety gear as they do the parts that make their vehicles go fast,” Thomas states.
You can check out the NDRA website right here to learn more about the organization, its rules, and the current schedule. The NDRA also has its own Facebook and Instagram pages that show how vibrant and fun the big wheel racing community really is.