Hot Rod Jeff McConnell from Lee's Summit
September 29, 2012
Jeff McConnell's Chevy Malibu
popping a wheelie.
Photo by Doc Fox
By Wendy Hayworth
Intern Reporter for the Tribune
Four tracks, five races, 187 cars, 1400 miles, one Drag Week.
“You drive your car from one track to the next and you can’t have any support vehicles follow you,” racer Jeff McConnell said.
Every tool, part, and crew member must be in the car. If a driver uses anything they haven’t brought with them, even a wrench, they will be disqualified.
“If you break and can’t fix it, then you’re just broke no matter how far from the first track you are,” McConnell said.
Jeff McConnell Won his class, Super Street Race /Small Block Naturally Aspirated, on September 12 during this year’s Hot Rod Drag Week going 9.67 at 138.91.
This year, McConnell was joined by John Jr. of Johnny Ray’s Drive In.
“I greatly appreciated John doing everything he did, I hope he enjoyed the adventure, and I couldn’t have won without all his help, it was a very tough year on the car,” McConnell said.
The need for speed isn’t what draws this hot shot to the drag strip, “It sounds funny, but I could care less about the driving. My favorite part is working on the cars.”
In addition to prepping their cars for this five day event, drivers must also prepare themselves.
“Five days in those kind of cars tends to exhaust you physically and mentally,” McConnell said.
This year, drivers began at the Tulsa Raceway Park in Tulsa, Oklahoma. They then traveled to Ennis, Texas; Gilliam, Louisiana; and Memphis, Tennessee; before returning to Tulsa.
“When you turn your time slip in each day they give you a new map. You have to follow their route, you can’t take your own to the next track” McConnell said.
McConnell is no stranger to the risks of Drag Week winning SBN/A in 2007.
“In 2010, I was leading my class and I did a giant wheelie in Montgomery, Alabama, taking all four tires off the ground. When it came back down, it smashed the front of the car. I was stuck 500 miles from my trailer which was still at the first track,” McConnell said.
Despite the risks, McConnell plans to race again in next year’s event.