In a day when drag racing facilities in Southern California are steadily on the decline, and a growing crop of enthusiasts are turning to the streets in dangerous fashion to test and race their cars, Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., has come through with a solution that seems perfect for everyone.
In a semi-weekly event dubbed "Wednesday Night Lights," Southern California's premier motorsports destination has begun opening up its 1/4-mile drag strip - Auto Club Dragway - for semi-weekly test-and-tune sessions from at 4:00 p.m. to about 10:00 p.m. most Wednesday nights, now through the 2018 calendar year.
Sponsored by the NHRA and AAA, drivers of all make/model vehicles are invited to attend, provided they can present a valid driver's license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance. Fees are a low $20 for racers and $10 for spectators.
Wednesday Night Lights will follow a conventional test-and-tune format, meaning there will be a sportsman tree to start passes, and timeslips will be handed to drivers displaying left/right-lane reaction time; 60ft, 330ft, 1/8-mile, 1000ft, and 1/4-mile elapsed times (E.T.s); along with 1/8-mile and 1/4-mile trap speeds. Standard NHRA safety rules apply, so to get started, bring your helmet if you're running 1/4-mile E.T.s of 13.99 or quicker (8.59 in the 1/8th) and make sure you weld or bolt in at least a five-point roll bar if you're quicker than 11.49 (7.35 in the 1/8th). For complete safety requirements, check out www.NHRAracer.com
While there won't be any official competition between drivers at the events, it does seem that drivers can request to be paired up with each other to settle a friendly grudge, if each driver sees fit.
We had the good luck of attending Auto Club Speedway's inaugural Wednesday Night Lights event recently, and were surprised not only by the amount of racers that eventually turned out (once the workday was done and word had spread), but by the diversity of what they took down the quarter-mile. Eleven-second Nissan GT-Rs went heads-up against 10-second Civics, a brand-spanking-new Infiniti Q50 battled an equally new Cadillac ATS, and plenty of fast, restored and/or modified Japanese, European and Domestic muscle of every vintage put on a show for all in attendance, with very little downtime.
Auto Club Speedway's president, Dave Allen, even came out and addressed the crowd during the first-ever event, reiterating his and his organization's commitment to enthusiast drag racers, circuit racers, and fans of professional motorsports that the facility will welcome throughout the calendar year. "Southern California has always had a strong car culture," he said. "This is just another great way for us to build on that tradition."
For complete details, schedule and changes, call (909) 429-5060 or visit: http://www.autoclubdragway.com/Tickets-and-Events/Wednesday-Night-Lights.aspx