My pick for Racer of the Week is Napat Lapcharoenngam, from Bangkok, Thailand. Napat was recommended to me by our friend and DragList LIVE chat board member, Thomas Warren. Thanks, Thomas!
After Thomas recommended Napat to me about a year ago, I followed several links to Drag Racing in Thailand as well as sent a friend request to Napat. About a month ago, Napat accepted my friend request, and I was thrilled to be accepted by him. I'm talking about the coolest guy on the planet, folks. And Drag Racing in Thailand is something that I wasn't expecting to get my mind blown by, but guess what! They take it to a whole new level over there. Stuff I wouldn't dream of, they do all the time, and they pack 'em in at the tracks as a result.
To lay a little groundwork on this, first of all, a drag race in Thailand is a multi-layered, multi-dimensional spectacle. It's drag racing with more entertainment value than I've seen at 3 separate venues. It is like a mega-rock concert, a Broadway revue, an NFL Superbowl, and a close-up, in-your-face motorsports experience all rolled into one. And Napat is one of the main guys behind the whole deal.
There is definitely a language barrier between English and Thai, so I used Google Translate to find out what Napat and his friends are saying, but the pictures I saw are worth a thousand words. That is what my feature is based on tonight. It's a colorful society there, everybody looks free, happy and healthy. Thailand is in a part of the world that we rarely see much of, but it goes back thousands of years, and it is a beautiful country. I'd recommend checking it out, like it was recommended to me.
There are 3 drag strips in Thailand, one of them is within comfortable traveling distance to Bangkok. I decided that the track I'll talk about tonight is Bangkok Drag Avenue, Northeast of Bangkok. Drag Avenue is appropriately named. It reminds me of Lions Drag Strip in that the spectators are right next to the track, separated by concrete retaining walls. But what happens there is beyond what we see here...
There is a massive lighting apparatus around the starting line that has multicolored spotlights and strobes that highlight the cars (which I'll get to in a minute) when they do their burnouts and staging. Hard Rock music is blasted out of the PA system. There are gorgeous girls everywhere. They use sexy models to advertize upcoming events, and they don't disappoint. They're all there and they're all very friendly.
The cars they race are overwhelmingly Asian imports, but their performances are incredible. Nitrous is allowed, and a lot of the cars are Isuzus and Toyotas. Almost all of them are turbo cars, and many of them are diesels. The top dragsters I saw are turbo diesel-powered smoke machines. They run everything from street cars to Pro Mods, and the configurations are awe-inspiring feats of mechanical ingenuity. I'd give anything to be able to go to Thailand to one of these events. They have a hot rod bike contingent, but the cars, and since I'm a graphics guy, the wraps on them are amazing. If you want hot rod eye candy, fast on-track action, dazzling sensory impact embellished with hot chicks all at once, take a trip to Thailand. I guarantee you won't be let down.
Napat works for a turbo company in Bangkok and he represents them to all the drag racers there. He's been involved in this endeavor for a while, and he is in my opinion the most well-known and respected hot rodding influence in the country. Aside from this, he's married to a beautiful lady and he has kids and a full life of adventures, fulfilling his free spirit. Here's a guy who is doing exactly what he loves and I look up to him and all the racers he works with and supports in Bangkok. The racers there are rock stars, and they put on a fantastic show. It just don't get no better than that!
Napat Lapcharoenngam, we wish you good luck, safe racing and the best of times in the future!
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