Drag-and-drive events have become quite popular, so it’s no surprise that we see new ones popping up all the time. What we didn’t expect however, is a brand new West Coast event that had nearly 120 cars enter on its very first year in existence!
The Redwood Rally as it is affectionately known, is the brainchild of Heather Nickles and Jesse Adams, and features a number of tracks through the Northwest, from Northern California all the way up to Oregon and back.
The Redwood Rally started in Redding, California at Redding Motorsports Park, before heading up to Samoa, probably one of the most picturesque dragstrips in the country, where the sand trap is the beach! From Samoa it was on to Coos Bay in Oregon to a small 1/8-mile facility, before heading up to Medford, Oregon. Last came the drive back to Redding for the final day. Just like other drag-and-drives, there were checkpoints along the way that required a mandatory “I was there” photo, and also like many drag-and-drive events, there was no trailering. The cars themselves were allowed to tow their own trailers though, and most of the racers did.
The Redwood Rally had a number of unique classes, like Three Pedal (manual transmission), Single and Double Power-Adder, Redwood Radial, and of course Unlimited. The most popular class was the Mind Over Matter bracket class, where more than 60 vehicles battled it out to have the narrowest overall average for the five tracks. Along the way the drivers would have to contend with twisty mountain roads, potholes, and of course, weather. You had to make it through all five tracks to survive, and at the end class and overall winners would be crowned.
After the dust settled (and rain abated) Shane Propst came away with the Overall (and Unlimited) win in his wild ’67 Chevy Nova. The car was everything a “street car” isn’t supposed to be: lexan front and rear windows (but with a side wing window), and a mammoth big-block with giant twin turbos. Oh, and don’t forget Top Fuel-sized slicks.
With some good at-track maintenance the Nova made the whole drive, and threw down the gauntlet with a 4.62-second average in the 1/8-mile. Redwood Radial was another quick 1/8-mile class with almost no rules, and there, Donovan Linwood took the win with a 5.49-second pace in his ’89 Mustang. Redwood Radials wasn’t the only class in the fives however, as Kris Ballard’s ultra-cool twin-turbo ’31 Model A won American Graffiti Double Power Adder with a 5.68, Robert Mendonca hit all five tracks to the tune of a 5.88 average in his Dodge Demon, and Darce Laws made the trip with a 5.93-second average.
Bill Fowler’s ’87 Mustang would have averaged fives in American Graffiti N/A if it wasn’t for a couple 6-second passes at Coos Bay and Medford, and other classes like American Graffiti Magnum N/A (won by Allan Taylor) and Three Pedal (Kevin Barden Domestic; Chris Oler Import) were solidly in the sixes and sevens. Charly Blunt, the lone two-wheeler, clicked off nines (1/4-mile) in his ZX-14 motorcycle.
One of the most hotly contested classes was Mind Over Matter, the 1/4-mile Bracket class, where racers had to run based on their day one average. The top finishers were all separated by just a few hundredths, but in the end Jordan Pierce came away with the win in his 1980 Chevy Luv with just a 0.03-second difference between all five passes … quite the accomplishment!
Despite some rainy weather, the Redwood Rally was an undisputed success, and we look forward to 2024, when they’re planning on doing at all over again. With participants this year from Canada, Colorado, Nevada, California, Wyoming and more, we can’t wait to see what next year brings.
For full results go to Redwoodrally.com.