TULSA, Okla. (Nov. 29) – The idea seemed far-fetched, at least to some looking from the outside. A drag race, the weekend after Thanksgiving, in Oklahoma. And it was a series new to Osage Casino Tulsa Raceway Park. But the Redemption 6.0 No Prep event last weekend was a rousing success by all accounts. “It was a new style race for Tulsa, and the fans and the racers and everybody embraced it,” Tulsa Raceway Park co-owner Todd Martin said. “We had a great time. It was a different group of racers than we’re used to seeing at Tulsa Raceway Park and we had a different atmosphere than some of our Pro Mod or Nostalgia races.” And that atmosphere was wide open. “The race was phenomenal,” track co-owner Keith Haney said. “It was truly an unbelievable No Prep race. It was nothing that Todd and I expected. These boys are crazy. This racing, in my opinion, is the part of the future of drag racing. You’ve got all these kids and folks running on the street, and this gives them a place to race safely and closely emulates the streets, without the dangers and police.” A No Prep race is just that: No track preparation is done on the race surface, except for after the eighth-mile finish line – and then only to ensure that cars have maximum traction to slow down.Several different classes run during No Prep events, but the idea is simple: Basic drag races, car vs. car and driver vs driver. Burnouts are allowed, but they must be completed before the Christmas Tree, and competitors go on the instant green light. At the finish line, only a win light indicates the winner, no times are shown and time slips aren’t handed out. “We didn’t do anything to this track but sweep it,” track general manager Big Don said. “These guys were carrying the wheels 200 feet and running side by side. That’s awesome.” The racing, for sure, was wild. Haney watched one car dart left and right a couple of times, getting up on two wheels and doing a half-spin before reeling it in and going straight. “I’ve never seen so many on-edge passes in my life, in any type of drag racing,” Haney said. “You see the tail ends of the cars going sideways, back and forth, and they’re staying in it or pedaling the whole way down the race track. “Haney believes the No Prep-style is the future of drag racing, as the more than 5,000 fans who were in attendance Friday and Saturday were a much younger average age than at NHRA, PDRA and other forms of racing. “The average age is not like the normal professional drag racing organization,” Haney said. “It’s straight-up, heads-up, who-gets-to-the-end-first excitement like what racing was founded about years ago.”The style of racing has been made even more popular by the television show “Street Outlaws,” and many of the stars of the Discovery Channel show raced last weekend. One of those drivers, Kye Kelly, had crashed his car two weeks ago, but he had major repairs done and came to Tulsa. “He bent the frame in the car two weeks ago,” Big Don said. “They pulled the motor out, front-halved the car, put all new suspension in it, put quarter-panels on it, loaded it up and drove 15 hours from South Carolina with no sleep. That’s just what these guys do, that’s their level of dedication.” Kelly also participated in a $5,000 grudge match against “Daddy Dave” late Saturday night, and the fans in the stands ate it up. “The stands were still packed at midnight to watch these guys race,” Big Don said. “That’s where this genre of racing is. These fans are literally that: Fanatic. They are fanatic about this form of racing.”Nobody’s phone would work because everyone was sucking up bandwidth going live on Facebook.” Redemption No Prep brought nearly 200 cars across several classes. The No Prep series was born in Texas, with Shannon Morgan starting the series in 2014 She wanted to bring a No Prep race to Tulsa because it’s a bigger facility, and Redemption had outgrown it home track.”For Thanksgiving weekend, the first big No Prep race at Tulsa Raceway Park with 30-degree weather at night, I think it went rather well,” Morgan said. “We had a huge amount of racers and fans, and everyone went home safe and sound and had a great weekend.
Plans are already underway to bring Redemption on the Road back to Tulsa in 2017. “We’re looking at a different date earlier in the year to have Redemption 7.0 in Tulsa again,” Martin said. “Shannon Morgan asked to bring the race to Tulsa because they were needing a larger facility to handle more cars and a larger crowd. They chose Tulsa because of the history of the successful races we put in here. Our fans come out and support everything we do at the race track.” And the fans come out because Haney, Martin, Big Don and the Tulsa staff know how to put on a race and treat the racers.