Home Local Sports ADRL brings Dragstock to Rockingham Dragway

ADRL brings Dragstock to Rockingham Dragway

Rickie Smith zooms down the track at Rockingham Dragway to release the ashes of the late Gary Henry during ADRL's Dragstock on Sept. 30. See more photos below. Photos by William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — Drivers from across the nation went head-to-head this past weekend at Rockingham Dragway as the American Drag Racing League made its return to the infamous track with Dragstock.

ADRL owner Ryon Fears said there were around 80 competing in eight classes — including Pro Extreme, Pro Nitrous, Pro Jr. Dragster, Bracket Race Challenge and Footbrake Challenge — with $50,000 in total winnings on the line.

Fears, who bought the company earlier this year, said ADRL chose to hold the event at the Rock because of the track’s history and legacy in drag racing.

One previous ADRL event at the Rock drew a crowd of more than 40,000, according to Fears.

Drivers had the opportunity for a test and tune on Thursday before the action began Friday and extended to Saturday.

During the opening ceremony on Saturday, the ADRL paid tribute to the late Gary Henry — a former crew chief and son of late Pro Mod pioneer Walter Henry — who passed away in April.

Kenny Nowling led the tribute near the tree with Henry’s mother and twin sister.

Henry’s ashes were packed into the parachute on “Tricky” Rickie Smith’s car and released on the track during a pass to commemorate his contributions to drag racing.

“That’s where he would want to be,” Fears said.

For the opening ceremonies both days, the Army JROTC Raider Battalion Color Guard presented the flags and the national anthem was performed by local vocalist Nikki Fletcher, who has sung at several events at the dragway this year.

Fears said the ADRL plans to return to the Rock for in race either in the spring or fall of 2024.


Although the season is winding down, it’s not over yet.

Rockingham Dragway will host the TKM Performance Smalltown Throwdown on Oct. 7, the inaugural Carolina Footswap Nationals Oct. 13-15, the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series Oct. 19-22, 32nd annual All-Harley Nitro World Finals Oct. 27-29, and more events in November.

Visit the ADRL and Rockingham Dragway social media pages for more on Dragstock.

See more photos from Dragstock below.

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Managing Editor William R. Toler is an award-winning writer and photographer with experience in print, television and online media.