Renting The Local Dragstrip - Inside Perspective
Having the track to yourself
Over the last couple of years, I’ve really gotten into drag racing—not so much watching, but actually getting in the driver seat and participating. The rush of a boosted four-wheel-drive launch, trying different things to improve my 60-foots, working on better reaction times, and collecting the timeslip at the end of the track always keeps me coming back for more. In a way, hitting the dragstrip has become an almost incurable addiction.
Ironically, one of my fondest dragstrip memories involved piloting bone-stock trucks through the quarter-mile. Back when we partnered with pickuptrucks.com to test the ’11 Chevy, Ford, and Ram in the summer of 2010, we were allowed to make an unlimited number of trips down Milan Dragway’s track in southeast Michigan. Former Diesel Power Editor-in-Chief David Kennedy and I proceeded to lock the new LML Duramax and 6.7L Power Stroke trucks in 4-Hi and make dozens of passes. I think the fact that we were able to make pass after pass and not really have to wait on other vehicles to take their turn was what stuck in my mind the most. I’ve yet to make more than six passes at any of my home track’s Friday night test ’n’ tunes, despite being there for five hours. But, after discovering that my local eighth-mile facility could be rented out on Friday afternoons, there was light at the end of the tunnel.
For $500, you can have the track all to yourself for five hours—a pretty reasonable rate if you ask me. In fact, this price tag got several local diesel heads thinking: At $20 per truck (it’s normally $25 to test ’n’ tune here), it would only take 25 pickups to pay for the track rental. Or, if a few local shops sponsored the event, donations could be accepted to help recoup some of the cost.
Think about it. How many cars, trucks, and bikes show up at your local track’s test ’n’ tune? Probably way more than 25 vehicles. And even if 30 or 40 trucks passed through the gate, there would still be fewer vehicles signed up than at any legitimate dragstrip’s regularly scheduled test ’n’ tune session. The last time my local track hosted a truck event, 30 diesels showed up to drag race. With these kinds of numbers possible, I don’t think it would be hard to replicate that type of turnout—especially with a lower (or no) entry fee.
With free roam of the dragstrip, I could see trucks making 10, 15, maybe even 20 passes in a five-hour period. It would also be a perfect way to dial in new setups, make tuning changes in order to see back-to-back results, and even show amateurs how to stage, work the tree, and teach them proper dragstrip etiquette. Last but not least, a track free-for-all (for lack of a better term) could potentially bring in a few trucks packing big horsepower to put on a show.
It’s already been proven that most diesel enthusiasts are only willing to travel long distance for a few select events each year, so I think it’s important to get involved at the local level. Hey, sled pullers do it. Who knows, your track may give you a better deal than we’re getting—or even an entire day of dragstrip time!
If we end up pulling the trigger on the track rental this coming summer, look for a heads up at blogs.dieselpowermag.com/, as well as on our Facebook page.