History was made and re-made at the second edition of Duck X Productions’ Sweet 16 at the South Georgia Motorsports Park over the weekend as records were shattered across two categories and a variety of engine, power adder, and chassis combinations. But none stopped the presses like the three singular laps that ultimately led the Radial versus The World field into its $101,000 raceday. They were barrier-shattering and in some regards, wholly unexpected.
That the 3.5-second barrier would fall at this homerun derby of all drag racing homerun derbies seemed almost a foregone conclusion — for the second year in a row, race promoter Donald Long and the racers were blessed with cool temperatures and prime atmospheric conditions that, combined with the round-robin nature of the event, gave racers the rare opportunity to fully maximize their combinations.
Not unexpectedly, GALOT Motorsports’ Kevin Rivenbark marched into the history books on Thursday evening with a stunning 3.587-second, 206.67 mph blast, bringing to a close the race to the latest elapsed time barrier in a category that’s been knocking off performance barriers at an historic, breakneck pace.
If anyone were to exceed Rivenbark’s performance, most would have placed their bets on Rivenbark himself. But it was in fact Missouri’s Daniel Pharris, competing with 315 drag radials on his Pro Modified-style GT350 Mustang — which is taking advantage of a newly-added 88mm twin-turbo combination at 2,750-pounds — that took the top spot in shocking fashion, jumping from the already-quick 3.619 he recorded on Thursday to a 3.578-second, 214.11 mph blast that was never again challenged on the final day of qualifying.
Arguably, however, the run of the entire race — and likely the year — came from Georgian Marcus Birt and tuner Steve Jackson, who on Friday morning dropped every jaw on the property and that of those watching live on pay-per-view with the quickest 1/8-mile run in history by a nitrous oxide-assisted vehicle — missing the 3.50s by a mere .004 as Birt stormed to a 3.604-second, 204.76 mph hit. Birt’s monumental lap was .027-seconds quicker than any nitrous car has ever been, and save for a broken valve that lit his C7 Corvette up like a roman candle in the final qualifier, he may have very well punched into the fifties.
In the end, it was Rivenbark’s consistency that paid off with a six-figure payday, as Pharris bowed out in the semifinals and Birt succumbed to mechanical issues in round one. But suffice it to say, no one will ever forget the two days when these three men proved virtually nothing was impossible.
Video credit: TheRacingVids