By Autumn Reinhardt
With weather predictions of rain and wind, many still showed up to Showtime Speedway to watch the races.
The rain didn’t stop racers and spectators from participating on Saturday night, Feb. 5, 2022, for drag racing and drifting at Showtime Speedway in Clearwater. The event, Street Wars, allows for everyday speed cars such as the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Charger and even a Jeep Trackhawk to show off their skills and race to the finish.
Even with the weather predictions, around 600 people showed and around 300 people stayed and watched the races in the rain.
Drag racing and drifting began around 8 p.m. and ran side by side until the rain began. For safety reasons with the weather, drag racing was shut down around 9 p.m., but drifting continued throughout the night.
“I’ve been here for nine years and I enjoy racing. There are a lot of good people out here. We don’t see many serious wrecks,” said Rick Wendling, a paramedic at Showtime.
Many safety measures are taken for drivers including seatbelts, helmets, fire suits and roll cages
“We’re motorsports rescue certified, which covers the NHRA,” Wendling said.
The track enforces the equipment to be up to code, or the drivers will not earn points or payout and will be disqualified, according to Showtime.
The NHRA was founded in 1951 by Wally Parks. Parks’ goal was to “provide competitors a place to race,” according to the NHRA. Drag racing has evolved over the years; top performers ran at 140 mph in 9.0 seconds in the 1950s and now run over 330 mph in less than 3.7 seconds.
Showtime, a member of the NHRA and formerly known as Sunshine Speedway, opened its doors in 1960, just nine years after the NHRA was established. Generations of families have been racing here for years.
“My parents met at Showtime and have been together ever since. I grew up coming here a lot and it caused me to start racing too. I started in junior dragsters when I was 10, then I moved to big cars when I turned 16. My car is a full chassis roll cage car with a 302 small block,” Jamie Brannen a local drag racer, said.
Showtime has continued to entertain the community for years with races and events almost every weekend of each month. For more information and a schedule of events visit ShowtimeSpeedway.us.