Mac Tools U.S. Nationals draws thousands to drag racing action in Indianapolis

Tens of thousands of drag racing enthusiasts converged at the Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis, Ind. On Sept. 8 and 9, 2012 to cheer on their favorite pro stock cars, motorcycles, and Funny Cars for the 58th annual Mac Tools U.S. Nationals presented by Auto Plus. The races are part of a series of National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) events.

The original event was scheduled for Labor Day weekend but postponed because of rain, marking the second weekend postponement in the event’s history. 

Drag racing enthusiasts enjoyed meeting the drivers, seeing the drag race crews prepare the cars, sample displays of automotive tools and equipment, and enjoy giveaways before and after the races. In between qualifying rounds, crews completely disassembled and reassembled the race car engines.

Mac Tools sponsored Kalitta Motorsports, which fielded drivers Connie Kalitta, Doug Kalitta, Jeff Arend, Dave Grubnic and Alexis DeJoria.

Attendees were able to view the crews at work on the cars at the Kalitta Pit-Side hospitality tent prior to the races.

Each 7,000-hp Top Fuel dragster covered 1,000 feet in under four seconds at speeds of more than 330 mph.

Total posted awards were close to $1.4 million.

More than 110 Mac Tools distributors and franchisees attended the event and brought in more than 600 guests, noted Tony Merritt, Mac Tools marketing manager for motor sports and events.

“The demographics of the NHRA fan is truly the Mac Tools customer and end user,” Merritt told Professional Tool & Equipment News. “NHRA supplies a platform for Mac Tools to activate our brand, launch new products and activate with our distributors and franchisees. In all of motorsports, NHRA is a great value for corporate brands like Mac Tools to activate their brands.”

Jessie Snyder, a member of the 9-member crew for Doug Kalitta’s car, enjoyed the spotlight before a crowd of onlookers as they prepared the engine for the race. Snyder told Professional Tool & Equipment News he was using new Mac Tools impact guns to help with taking the head off the engine. He noted he looks forward to the challenge of dissembling the engine after every race.

Tom Gorman, owner of Tom Gorman Tool Sales in Clayton, Ind., manned a Mac Tool display at the raceway grounds for his 24th year. Clayton looked forward to the “top fuels” event, noting it was always hard to get away from his booth. He said attendance at the race has been improving in recent years along with the general economy.

John Paul and Mark Scranton, auto technician teachers at the Hoosier Hills Career Center in Bloomington, Ind., said it was beneficial to see the race teams using the newest tools. They said it also gives them an opportunity to see new automotive engineering designs.

Mark Haney, a technician at Russ Fisher Truck Parts in Terre Haute, Ind., said he has been coming to the event for 30 years and that he has been following driver Doug Kalitta for years. He was anxious to cheer on the whole Kalitta team.

Graham Pitcock, owner of B&R Auto in Dublin, Ind., has been coming to the event for 15 years and said he likes to see how other technicians work on cars. He also likes the opportunity to see new power equipment tools, which are always changing. He was anxious to cheer on the Kalitta team.

Doug Skidmore, a Big O Tires franchisee in Clarksville, Ind., is a lifetime drag racing fan who has come to the race with his wife for 15 years. He said the event offers a chance to promote his products and services, and he noted that business has been recovering recently. He came to support the Service Central funny car.

Jim Vandermeid, owner of VDM Enterprises in Wayland, N.Y. said the event offers him a chance to get together with other Mac Tools distributors and corporate people. He noted that his business is up this past year.

The Mac Tools team on hand stayed busy throughout the two days and hosted many distributors and customers in a special VIP suite overlooking the track.

For photos of the nationals, click here