There Are Burnouts, And Then There’s Deric Kramer’s Cole Trickle Pro Stock Halloween Burnout!
It’s no secret that despite consistently delivering the closest races in professional ...
It’s no secret that despite consistently delivering the closest races in professional racing, Pro Stock has been struggling to keep the fans in the stands when the nitro show ends. While the class will always have its die-hard fans – myself very much included – over the years, the cars have become less identifiable and relatable for the typical fan of the sport, and fan interest has waned considerably. There are also no real, bitter rivalries like there used to be between Warren and Kurt Johnson and the “Wayne County Dodge Boys”, for example. One materialized in 2017 between Team Speed Society Racing wheelman Alex Laughlin, who races under the Elite Motorsports banner, and his former Gray Motorsports stablemate Tanner Gray after the two drivers had a heated exchange on the top end in Houston followed by a bit of a brawl in the pits shortly afterwards. For the rest of the season, any time the two lined up alongside each other, the fans became audibly louder than other matchups, even if they were just paired together in qualifying. Every other sport on the planet thrives on, and plays off of, it’s biggest rivalries, yet the attitude in the drag racing world seems to be a mad rush to squash any sign of discord between drivers and teams. I’m hardly advocating actual fighting, but a little trash talk and the occasional burndown would go a long way to livening up the class.
In the meantime, you have guys like Deric Kramer, an independent racer who isn’t exactly a front runner in the class but is certainly within striking distance of the Bo Butners and Erica Enders’ of the class should they bobble on race day. He showed up in Vegas on Halloween weekend with his car “dressed” like the Mello Yello race car made famous in Days of Thunder. However, not only did Kramer show up with the one-off wrap, he decided to play on Cole Trickle’s bad-boy image and lay down an insane burnout to get the crowd riled up. Kramer smoked the huge Goodyear slicks so much that he basically blinded himself with tiresmoke inside the car, prompting him to cross the centerline and take out a cone at the 330’ mark. Ironically, in the NHRA rule book, it’s completely legal to cross the centerline during the burnout, so he simply backed up and waited while the officials replaced the cone, then made his pass.
For those astute fans out there wondering about the tires being overheated past the ideal traction threshold, this pass was made turning the heat of the day, and in Vegas, you can pretty much bank on the daytime sessions offering little in the way of improving your elapsed time over the cooler nighttime sessions, so why not have a little fun with the fans? You can hear the crowd react the the smoke show, an undeniable sign that Kramer has the right idea. Hopefully the other drivers are taking notes, because while they certainly want to come out and win, there’s something to be said for cutting lose a gnarly 400’ burnout that actually serves the purpose of the class itself and not be so later focused on laying down the best possible run each and every pass, especially during the heat of the day when these cars rarely run their best. The NHRA has already made a big rules change that should open the door for some new teams to venture into the world of Pro Stock, hopefully they keep making steps in the right direction.