INDIANAPOLIS – Louis L’Amour once said that “there will come a time when you believe everything is finished; that will be the beginning.”
And in similar fashion, the final chapter of the American Drag Racing League, as well as that of its owner Kenny Nowling, isn’t finished.
Saturday morning at the Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Indianapolis, Nowling announced a new chapter in ADRL history, with the series returning to national facilities in 2020 under the leadership of newly-named president Mel Roth.
Roth recently completed the 15th running of his signature drag race, the Street Car Super Nationals, and is the owner of the Premier Street Car Ass’n, entering its 21st year in 2020.
He will continue his involvement in both, while running day-to-day operations of the ADRL.
When it came time to choose new leadership, Nowling didn’t have to search long. Larry Jeffers and Randy Merick, both longtime friends of Nowling’s and supporters of the ADRL, gave their votes of confidence to Roth.
In fact, if it weren’t for Roth, the ADRL would still be defunct.
“When you’ve seen what Mel has done in the past,” Nowling said, “and you’ve seen the success he’s had on a shoestring budget and continued to build and grow the Street Car Super Nationals into what it is today. If Mel wouldn’t have agreed to (come to ADRL), I wouldn’t have done it.”
Most of the ADRL’s original staff from its heyday are returning, including Vice President of Competition Bubba Corzine, Corzine’s wife Letha, and longtime Vice President of Technical Affairs Rick Moore.
The ADRL and Nowling’s leadership of it has led to some of the largest crowds and most historic events in drag racing history. The Missouri native plans to bring that style of racing back to American drag strips starting in April.
Nowling said he’s never been able to quite leave the ADRL behind, and now is the perfect time to resurrect it.
“My grandmother told me something I’ll never forget,” Nowling said. “’If you can’t go a day without thinking about something, don’t ever give up on it.’ That’s been my mantra. There have been several people who have stood beside me since day one, but Steve Vick, Roy Hill, Jack Switzer, Randy Merick, and Larry Jeffers, and my partner in this venture, Bobby Don, have been the foundation.”
There are currently plans to run several different types of cars at ADRL events, but one thing will never change.
“We will have different classes at different tracks, but the one constant will be Pro Extreme,” Nowling said. “It was once the most exciting class in drag racing and it will be again. The race to the 3.30s is on.”
ADRL expects to bring its brand of adrenalized drag racing to facilities in several major markets, including St. Louis, Dallas, and more, with the full schedule to be released early in the new year.
Announcements regarding event classes and class and series title sponsorships will also be made on the other side of the holidays.