Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Get Involved - Drag Racing

The series continues with the first form of motorsport:  Drag Racing.

Get Involved is a series of posts detailing a forms of grassroots motorsports on a weekly basis.  I write these posts with one goal:  To get you to bring your car to an entry level motorsport event.  I want you to stop buying parts, stop planning for 'some day,' stop building the perfect car, and register for an event.  It is ridiculously easy to have fun with your car right now, as you're currently driving it.  You don't need a racing license.  You don't need a roll cage, a fire suit, or expensive modifications.  You do need $40, a valid state issued drivers license, and a car in safe driving condition.  It doesn't matter if its a stock Camry, a tuned Civic, or a $75k Corvette, there's a place for you.  There are a number of ways to get started - whether you want to drive on asphalt, dirt, or a race track.

You can see the full list of event types here: Get Involved.  This page will be updated as each installment is posted.

The goal is simple:  first to the finish line in a straight line wins.  Almost everywhere in the country has a backwoods drag strip somewhere nearby.  Most of them host open nights where you can pay to take your car out on the strip.  Prices vary by location, but $20-$50 is pretty normal.  Here in Atlanta, we have Friday Night Drags hosted at Atlanta Motor Speedway.  For $20, you get to race your car in bracket style elimination in front of a crowd of up to several thousand.

The most basic events allow you to drive your car on an 1/8 or 1/4 mile strip.  Nicer facilities will have timing equipment and staging lights.  Some locations organize competitions.  Generally, two cars go at a time.

Usually $20-$50.  For 2 or 3 runs, tire and break wear will not be noticeable.  Depending on your car, you may go through a noticeable amount of gas.

Level of Competition:
Like most grassroots events, this varies.  You can do a few runs at an open night with no competition, or you can try to take home a trophy from a Friday Night shootout at your local track.  If you're entering a shootout style competition, expect open classes with heavy modding encouraged.  Don't be intimidated by some of the absurdly fast cars you may see.  They've put a lot of time and money into their rides, but they started out just like you.

Vehicle & Gear Requirements:
  • Helmet
  • Seat belt
  • Car is leak-free (a drip may be OK - we just don't want to create a slick for the person after you)
  • Battery is properly secured - new hardware can usually be found at your local auto parts store
  • Lug nuts are tightened
  • No play in wheel bearing - push/pull on your tire, if it moves, you need to take it to your mechanic
  • Remove all loose items from your trunk and front seating area
  • Bring comfortable shoes, and plenty of water with you
How to get involved:
Google is your friend here.  Find your local track and see if they list open nights on their schedule.  If you're in Atlanta, show up at the Speedway on Friday night - $20 gets you entry ($8 for spectators) and practice starts at 6:15PM.


What it looks like:

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