As the voice of the NHRA, Lights Out and numerous other big-time events, Brian Lohnes has been part of the biggest annual races in the sport.
He’ll add another to his list – as well as a noteworthy first – on March 6-8 during the Drag Illustrated World Doorslammer Nationals presented by CTech Manufacturing at Orlando Speed World Dragway.
Lohnes and Lee Sebring will be the voices of the inaugural race, which is set to award $75,000 to the winner in Pro Stock and $50,000 to the winner in Pro Mod. Both of the popular doorslammer classes get the spotlight in Orlando, with it also providing a new opportunity for the standout announcer.
“For me, this is the first time I’ve done a legit Pro Stock match race,” Lohnes said. “The guys ahead of me have that chance, but for me it’s the first time to call a race in a match-race format and, personally, that’s just going to be awesome. It’s a class that’s so competitive and tight, when you see it this way, in like a bare-knuckle fight, it’s going to be cool. Events like this that are historic and just cool, that’s the type of thing I enjoy. It’s going to be a spectacle.”
Lohnes will enjoy every moment of the World Doorslammer Nationals, which includes qualifying on Friday and Saturday before Sunday’s eliminations. It will be broadcast live on SpeedVideo, and Lohnes’ flair for the dramatic in these settings will surely shine through.
He remembers driving down to the World Street Nationals in Orlando 20 years ago, recalling a marquee setting that was the place to be in the outlaw world.
Lohnes expects much of the same this year for this race, especially as it serves as a prelude to the NHRA Pro Mod season opener in Gainesville.
“Conceptually, it’s just awesome,” Lohnes said. “You’ve got big payouts, and it gives both classes such a great platform. I love every inch of history in drag racing and there are races that are significant for being the first. This is going to be a different level.
”It’s also the type of event that allows Lohnes to flex a different announcing muscle.
“Events like this, they keep me fresh and it’s good to have some variety,” Lohnes said. “Stuff like this is super. You can kind of pull the reigns off a little bit. Plus, events like this can only help everyone. It’s going to draw a crowd and hopefully someone becomes a fan and turns on the TV (to watch NHRA).”
As for what Lohnes expects in Orlando, he’s predicting a total throwdown with a big purse – and no points – on the line.
He’s seen that type of environment calling Lights Out, Shakedown or various outlaw races, and the stakes will be even bigger in Orlando. Plus, with Pro Stock jumping into the equation for the first time in this particular setting, Lohnes joked he hopes the “decorum that exists goes right out the freaking window.”
Should that happen, an already special race could turn into one that has fans, racers, teams and announcers talking for years. Just that there’s that possibility has Lohnes excited to see it all go down next month in Orlando.
“I honestly hope the money is so big and significant, that everyone plays the game and we see some weird stuff,” Lohnes said. “There’s a handful of Pro Mod racers uniquely equipped for this, and I want to see what everybody has to offer. It’s going to be amazingly special and I hope the racers understand what this means to them. This is going to really open some doors.”