ENGLISHTOWN, N.J. -
But the Middlesex County, New Jersey, native said he's just as passionate about returning home to Old Bridge Township Raceway Park October 12-14 for this year's 10th annual Shakedown Nationals street-legal classic.
"I've been there for 'em all, from the first one that was freezing cold to last year's, which was sunny and in the 80s," Krawiec said proudly.
Once again, he'll prepare the racing surface for the drivers to compete in nine classes -- Pro Modified, Top Sportsman, Outlaw 10.5, Heavy Street, Limited Street, X275, 8.50 Index, Pro Import, and Pro Street Bike -- for their respective shares of the $125,000-plus purse.
"It's a really fun event. Every class has got something great to offer," Krawiec said.
During the years, what the event (known until this June as "The Shakedown at E-Town") offered was on-the-edge, record-setting performances, often as the action tried to beat incoming storms and noise curfews. Its trademark quick elapsed times and lightning-fast speeds have presented challenges for Krawiec, the former Raceway Park dragstrip manager.
"They all want to set records," he said of the racers who come from up and down the East Coast, across the nation, and even from Canada, the Caribbean, Europe, and the Middle East. He said the track requires completely different preparation from one class to the next.
"You have to stay on top of it," he said. "We have two equal lanes at Englishtown. It's not a single-lane racetrack. You look at how we've had multiple records in all classes. That's really saying a lot."
New York Motorsports owner Dave Hance, founder and promoter of The Shakedown Nationals, has seen the Northeast's premiere street-legal doorslammer drag race evolve into the ultimate outlaw drag racing heads-up doorslammer event in the world.
Calling it a "prolific evolution," Hance, of Lawrence, N.Y., said he marvels at just how much this event has grown since 2003, when just a dozen racers showed up and the purse was $1,500.
"It has grown to more than 250 top-notch race teams attempting to qualify for nine heads-up drag race classes," Hance said. "Many of the world's greatest door-car drag racing moments have taken place at the Shakedown Nationals. Multiple performance barriers have fallen during this great event. Fans and racers alike have come to expect records to fall every year in virtually every class. And The Shakedown Nationals has a very special element: since Year 2 of this event, it has retained 90 percent of its racers, fans, and marketing partners/sponsors. As a group we all have grown collectively."
Said Krawiec, "The Shakedown has a huge following. It has overseas notoriety. The Internet site has a huge viewership. I was in Sweden recently, and everybody there was asking about it. They all knew about The Shakedown."
SHAKEDOWN NATIONALS FAST FACTS
WHAT: The Shakedown Nationals (formerly The Shakedown at E-Town)
WHEN: Friday through Sunday, October 12-14
WHERE: Old Bridge Township Raceway Park; Englishtown, N.J.
>From the South - New Jersey Turnpike north to Exit 8 to Route 33 east. Go eight miles to the Englishtown exit. Take Route 527 north. Go through Englishtown. At the Exxon service station, turn right onto Gordons Corner Road. Go one-fourth mile and make a left onto Pension Road. Go two miles. Entrance is on the right.
RACING CLASS DESCRIPTIONS:
TOP SPORTSMAN - These wonderful pro-type cars will tell you what they will run before they run it. Teams racing in this class will win or lose by mere inches! It's tough to pick a winner here! These race cars are usually nitrous-oxide injected but can have other power sources.
OUTLAW 10.5 - These highly modified 3,000-horsepower race cars are perhaps the most exciting class on the property, for race teams must use all the skills they have to maintain control of the car because it has only 10?-inch race tires. Some have described this class as "poetry in motion." These cars are very similar to Pro Modified with a few exceptions. They must weigh 3,000 pounds and must have been a production-based street car at one time in its life.
HEAVY STREET - This historic class is where SHAKEDOWN got its start. These Heavy Street cars squared up to race each other in 2003, and the world of drag racing has not been the same since! These all metal, 3,500-pound street-appearing machines thrill the crowds with their cool and familiar looks and low-seven-second performances.
LIMITED STREET - These street-appearing, all-metal race cars are amazing, considering what they can accomplish. Teams in this class are limited to a 29.5-inch slick (tire) or a 315 street-legal drag radial tire. They must weigh approximately 3,200 pounds, and they cannot have wheelie bars. That makes for some crowd pleasing wheelstands down the track. Fans are very passionate about this class.
X275 - This is the hottest new class on the outlaw drag racing circuit. Teams are limited to very small V-8 engines, and power modifications are strictly regulated, ensuring some really close racing.
8.50 INDEX - This is the toughest class in the world to compete in. More than 50 teams show up to battle, and the last team standing will have earned the name champion. To have a chance to win in this class, drivers must combine excellent reflexes and reaction ability with superior driving skills. Competition in this class is brutal, and only the strongest, most skilled drivers succeed.
PRO IMPORT - As the name implies, this class showcases the baddest import branded drag race cars in the world. The sounds of four- and six-cylinder import-type engines screaming at 13,000 RPM get the fans on their feet. Import teams have a huge fan following, and their addition to The Shakedown Nationals has been extremely popular.
PRO STREET BIKE - This Pro Street Motorcycle class is yet another fan favorite. With teams coming from all over the USA to compete, the racing is exciting and has great fan appeal. With outrageous paint jobs, these motorcycles are street-appearing with engine modifications that allow them to run six-second times faster than 200 miles an hour in the quarter-mile. These motorcycles must race on street-legal tires and must be stock appearing.
2011 WINNERS: Mike Castellana (Pro Modified Nitrous), Jose Gonzalez (Pro Modified Blown), Larry Wood (Outlaw 10.5), Steve Jackson (Drag Radial), Sam Gottier (Heavy Street), Rich Bruder (X275), Alfonse Magliocco Jr. (8.50 Index), Bud Yoder (Pro Street Bike), Jorge Lazcano (Extreme Import)