ROCKINGHAM, N.C. – Even if he wasn’t the current point leaders, even if he hadn’t won two of the three IHRA Nitro Jam races contested thus far this season and even if his new Dean’s Casing Service Camaro wasn’t one of the fastest Pro Stock cars ever to negotiate the quarter mile, Cary Goforth probably still would be the favorite in this week’s IHRA Spring Nationals at Rockingham Dragway.
After all, Carolina has become almost a second home to the Holdenville, Okla., driver who owns the distinction of having won four Pro Stock races at The Rock in the last six years.
If that isn’t sufficiently impressive, consider that he won each time for a different sanctioning organization – the IHRA in 2009, the Mountain Motor Pro Stock Association in 2010, the ADRL in 2013 and, most recently, the PDRA (in April, this year).
Now, he is poised to add a Nitro Jam victory in a Spring Nationals event that also features Nitro Funny Cars, Nitro Altereds, Nitro Harley Davidsons and four jet-powered, 290 mile per hour dragsters. Racing begins with qualifying and fireworks at 7 p.m. Saturday and ends Sunday afternoon with single elimination finals.
Goforth leads a Chevy-heavy lineup of Pro Stock cars powered by the massive 800 inch mountain motors born and bred in the 1980s at tracks like Rockingham, Darlington, S.C., and Bristol, Tenn. In fact, it was in Mountain Motor Pro Stock racing that Rockingham owner Steve Earwood got his start as a promoter.
Earwood, whose brother, Terry, is a former U.S. Nationals Super Stock winner, promoted the original Southern Pro Stock Circuit before being hired as Public Relations Director at the NHRA. Earwood still loves the big motors.
“That was a great time,” he recalled. “The mountain motors, that’s Southern drag racing. Roy Hill, Rickie Smith, Lee Edwards, Pat Musi, Johnny Brumley, Lamar Walden and, of course, Sox and Martin and Hubert Platt. It was a different breed then and it’s still a different breed.”