RETRO: 2009 NHRA Virginia

With the NHRA Virginia Nationals taking place this weekend, I thought I’d wind back the clock a decade to check out the 2009 version.

This was just the second NHRA event I ever attended.  I had flown around the world so I could drive a campervan across the USA and see the ‘big leagues’ for the first time.

I think my photography has advanced much since then, but I hope you enjoy looking at a few of these machines as they were presented in 2009.

– Luke Nieuwhof

Rick Distefano's Corvette in Pro Mod. I'm sad we don't see the '56 bodies so much anymore.
Dennis Radford's Plymouth Duster - this car would get turbocharged a few years later..
Cruz Pedregon carried the Advance Auto Parts sponsorship before Courtney Force.
Brad Personett went 253mph when most of the field was in the mid 240s. The turbocharged cars have been much restricted since.
Rickie Smith heads towards the finish line in his nitrous-assisted Camaro Pro Mod.
Tim Tindle features colorful artwork highlighting his business.
Chip King has been a big fan of the Dodge Daytona for a long time. This body looks fast sitting still.
Mike Castellana was still sucking nitrous in 2009.
Tommy Gray's Undertaker shows the transition Pro Mod was in at the time. The IHRA days were full of color and named cars, now the class has become more and more corporate.
Roger Burgess was a big deal in Pro Mod racing for a long time.
The Dodge Stratus body was far from my favorite, but it was a popular choice in Pro Stock.
Pro Stock as a whole still had more styles of body, including the Pontiac GXP.
Greg Stanfield gets after it towards the finish line.
The Jegs cars are easy to recognise any time. Here Jeg Coughlin Jr has the number one on display. It was a quick weekend for Pro Stock, with the national record being reset to 6.517 by Greg Anderson.
Matt Hagan running the Stratus body. I don't believe the Stratus was any prettier as a Funny Car - I think 10 years of evolution has actually made the cars look better.
John Smith driving the family Funny Car.
Chris Karamesines holding on for the stripe.
A contrail forms off Antron Brown's flexing Matco Tools dragster.
Brandon Bernstein won the event in Top Fuel, in a year when blonde tips were the in thing.
Larry Dixon was driving for the Al Anabi team, who were deep into nitro at the time and crew chiefed by Alan Johnson.
Tony Pedregon's bright Nitro Fish car. Again, I think the bodies have actually got better lately - this version was certainly very bubble-like.
Del Worsham in the Al Anabi Funny Car opposite Ron Capps, running a special edition pink car for breast cancer research. It's impressive to note Capps' NAPA sponsorship has been around for a long time.
Jack Beckman accelerates away. This was a good weekend for Funny Car performances, with a bunch of cars running 4.04 as the teams closed in on the three second barrier.
Bob Tasca up against Ashley Force Hood.
Terry Haddock lights one up.