Justin Lamb is one of few racers who have been happy to hear that rain washed out a day of competition.
Lamb, 21, knew he faced a tight schedule when he left Southern Nevada on Feb. 4 to race in the NHRA season opener in Pomona, Calif. He was going to race two cars in different categories, and he had college midterm exams at UNLV five days later.
But his regimented plans were swept away by five days of sporadic storms in Southern California that delayed completion of the NHRA Winternationals.
The accounting major from Henderson is good with numbers. As a seasoned racer, he’s adept at making last-minute adjustments.
But on Feb. 8 in Pomona, Lamb was disheartened to learn that completion of the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series event would be pushed back another day, when he would be tested in a classroom instead of on a dragstrip.
"I couldn’t miss my exam. School has always come first," said Lamb, a 2005 graduate of Foothill High School.
With his priorities changed and a lost racing opportunity accepted, Lamb took the test and was back in Henderson when he received a text message Feb. 9 — that day’s scheduled race was rained out and rescheduled for Feb. 10.
So he made another trip to Pomona, and it was well worth it.
Lamb completed a streak of winning six heads-up races to claim the Winternationals Super Gas title over the next two days in his Race Tech-built, 1968 Camaro roadster with a Madcap Racing engine providing 1,050 horsepower at 165 mph. He nearly won a second title in Competition Eliminator but lost in the semifinals in his 155 mph Chevrolet Cobalt.
"We didn’t get back to Pomona until around 4 in the morning on Tuesday," he said. "And then we raced so late in the afternoon (on Feb. 11) that I had to fly home because I had another exam on Wednesday night."
Lamb and his father and crew chief, Chris Lamb, will again run in the two NHRA Lucas Oil Series categories when competition begins today at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the SummitRacing.com NHRA Nationals.
Sportsmen racers, including Lamb, will compete through Sunday. Professional categories begin racing Friday with the first two of four qualifying sessions leading to Sunday’s championship eliminations.
Lamb got his start in racing in 1997 at the speedway in NHRA Jr. Dragsters, half-scale dragsters with motorcycle engines. He won the LVMS championship in 1997 and 1999.
Lamb’s Super Gas championship in Pomona was his second title in an NHRA major national event, after claiming the Competition title two years ago at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. He has won two other national NHRA titles in different racing categories.
Unlike his stay in Pomona, he should be able to focus on racing this weekend.
Weather forecasts call for some wind, but no rain, and his spring break from UNLV begins today.
Contact reporter Jeff Wolf at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0247.SUMMITRACING.COM NHRA NATIONALS
WHAT: Fifth of 24 NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series events
WHERE: Las Vegas Motor Speedway dragstrip
WHEN: Today through Sunday
SCHEDULE: Today: 8 a.m., Sportsman
FRIDAY: 8 a.m., Sportsman; 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m., pro qualifying
SATURDAY: 8 a.m., Sportsman; noon, 3 p.m., pro qualifying
SUNDAY: 11 a.m., championship eliminations
INFORMATION: 644-4444, lvms.com, nhra.com