If tires could talk, I wonder what they would say. We expect so much from them. They could be a jack of all trades, or a master of one. Odds are that if you’re at a track, you already know which one fits the bill. You probably don’t want to see the bills to get on the track, but the end result is satisfying; an experience for one and a show for all. This emotion escalates just a bit at an event where 707hp is just enough to get through the entrance gates.
Back in the day, long before I was born, drag racing was strictly American muscle cars. It was the weekend event the top dogs in high school would go to and settle beef. In the left lane, a blue 1967 Pontiac GTO. In the right, a black and white 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle. For years and years, the pushrod V8 reigned supreme. Fast forward to the new millennium.
The year is 2000. The pushrod 5.7L LS1 has been the talk of the town for three years now. You can throw $1000 into it and get an extra 100hp without having to even give a thought to the reliability letting you down. Even if it does, replacement parts are generally cheap and easy to fix. Welcome back, home mechanics who go to the strip club every weekend to have a little fun after cruising to work at 62mph all week. If you stayed in Houston, odds are you went to Royal Purple Raceway a time or three.
Two major things happened during this time. The first major thing is Peter Blach going to Las Vegas. See, this is where things get weird. So the story is Peter goes to Vegas and breaks the #1 rule: What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. So Peter is out in Vegas with his 1993 Toyota Supra attending ‘Supras in Vegas’ (sounds like a dream week to me) and, long story short, Peter meets some cool people and learns some neat stuff. So Peter comes back to Texas and starts this thing called Supra Nationals in 2000. And yes, Supra Nationals is exactly what it sounds like.
40 Supras take over Houston Raceway Park for a couple days. History lesson time: It wasn’t called Royal Purple Raceway until 2011, when the track owners and John Williams (the guy who founded Royal Purple, whose headquarters are five miles from my house) signed an undisclosed long-term contract to use the name. So as the years went by, Peter went from two initial sponsors to over 70 current sponsors. All of this because the guy who ran the Vegas meet essentially told Peter that he’d rather starve than merge with his Supra Nationals group.
I’ll expand a little on the history side of things later, but it’s time to move on to the second major thing that happened. Let’s move forward a couple years to what I like to call The Foundation. In comes the PlayStation Two. In comes the massive popularity of the Gran Turismo and Need For Speed series. In comes an extended fanbase of many series like F1, NASCAR, RallyCross, and even MotoGP due to a huge surge of published media. “In July of 2004, Former JAMA Chairman Itaru Koeda went before the press to tell them the truth—JAMA had found no relationship between speed and road fatalities” (The News Wheel), which allowed Japanese cars to advertise over 276hp.
By 2007, the new R35 Nissan GTR was in production and setting records every quarter mile it travelled. Since the new millennium, the Auto Industry, from start to finish is nothing short of a revolution. Unfortunately, the downside of that is the outphase of the manual transmission.
In the meantime of an enormous gain in popularity, local events in the U.S. gained just as much. TX2K is a household name by 2010. 750hp street cars are driven every day in and night out. Peter’s event started with some Supras and, by 2012, was licensing out the “2K” name and acting as a consultant for FL2K and the like. Surprised EA didn’t get an exclusive agreement.
Safety is of upmost importance at TX2K. As it should be, even the slightest thought of a leak or spill will put the track on hold. Renowned meteorologists help to determine if the event will happen or not. There’s enough stopping space to accommodate Top Fuel cars and ‘street’ cars which hit over 225mph in a quarter mile roll race.
This is the weekend event. It’s gotten so large that it takes full control of Royal Purple Raceway for four straight days and draws thousands in attendance every day. But, that seems about right when this car hit 229mph and won the whole shebang of roll racing. And yes, this is the only decent picture I got of this record breaking car.
So in case if you were wondering if it’s worth it to attend, this is what I say; if there’s a car signed up from your state, the answer is yes.
Peter Blach Interview, courtesy of DIFAL
Author & Photography: Harrytography