Sports fans may be loathe to admit it, but our collective love for organized sports really just reflects our love of repetition and refinement. How else can you explain the popularity of hurling a bowling ball at the same ten pins, or the subtle thrill of watching a pitcher refine the delivery of his fastball? It gives a player the chance to do one thing over and over again, in search of perfection. Car races take this notion and add to it elements of engine roars, fiery crashes and insanely fast automobiles. You can sate your primal need for speed (and repetition) this Friday through Sunday (May 1 through 3) as the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) presents the O'Reilly NHRA Midwest Nationals at Gateway International Raceway (700 Raceway Boulevard, Madison, Illinois). These races, part of the NHRA Full Throttle series, up the ante by forcing the pit crews to completely overhaul each hot rod in 75 minutes; that is, to basically rebuild a car, inside and out, in time for the next race. That's speed plus ingenuity. Is there anything more American? Each day's tickets are $15 to $60 and can be purchased through Gateway's website, www.gatewayraceway.com, or by calling 1-866-357-7333. Gates open at 8 a.m. Friday and Saturday, and 9 a.m. Sunday, with final elimination races running from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.
May 1-3, 2009