The term, dragstrip, conjures up images of cars racing down a paved roadway. There is nothing wrong with that picture. But, that picture doesn’t tell the whole story. Honestly, nobody would be able to tell the whole story of what happens at a dragstrip. It is true that a community of people gather together to see what happens down the track. But, it is more than that, a lot more. Racing is only a small part. There’s so much more. Sometimes, there are even unusual things to see at the dragstrip.
Different storylines at the dragstrip other than racing
Some people go to dragstrips but don’t even race. They go to hang out with enthusiasts in a mostly family environment. Some people go to learn about the mechanics of engine tricks or methods of weight reduction for the car. Some people go for the car show spectacle of it all. Some people go because it is the local town tradition. Everybody has a story. It’s not all about the racers and their run down the track.
There are those, however, that make the dragstrip the place they like to shock people. For example, some people show up with a sleeper car that under normal circumstances nobody would expect to perform well racing at the track. Let me give an example. On most any day, people wouldn’t look twice at a Smart car. On a track day, however, a Smart car at the starting line will raise eyebrows and cause confused looks. That is because many already know that if someone brought a Smart car to the track, then there is more to the car than meets the eye.
Even sleeper cars have a story
There is always a secret to a sleeper car. The team that brought it knows the secret. A Smart car at the line is unusual. People who have been at a track long enough know that when something as unusual as that shows up, you better pay attention. Something, perhaps maybe even a shocking upset, is about to go down as the car goes racing down the lane.
Unusualness at a dragstrip captures creative minds
Here is the point of this story. Many unusual things have shown up at drag strips worldwide. Those unusual things capture the imagination, even if temporarily, and inspire future builders, customizers, and racers. What do I mean? Well, until the guys at Roak Kill made the Draguar, how many people actually brought their Jaguars to the drag strip? Yet, the image of the Draguar (see video above) has cemented in many people’s minds over the years precisely for its unusualness. The same can be said for the myriad of other unusual vehicles that have shown up to any given dragstrip to go racing.
Racing tanks, buses, and jet cars, oh my
The video below shows a few of the unusual things that might show up at a local dragstrip. But it is only a glimpse of what is out there. If you search around Youtube enough you will see everything from tanks and tractor-trailers, Rolls-Royces and jet cars, to school buses and minivans have made the journey at one dragstrip or another. That is why the dragstrip experience is valuable. Anything that meets the safety criteria can race. That breeds inspiration. Inspiration is valuable to people.
A dragstrip, generally speaking, will let any safe vehicle run down the line. That means anyone with a license can be inspired to build and bring something to the track. Depending on the vehicle’s speed potential, a roll cage, fire extinguisher, and a fire suit may be necessary. But, generally speaking, if you can build it with safety in mind, you can race it. Consequently, many people are inspired to bring the most unusual thing they can find and build. This, in turn, inspires the crowds of onlookers and gives them their own ideas for a new build, or modifying an existing one.
Dragstrips are a homologation of inspirational stories
Overall, the dragstrip experience is a homologation of various inspirational stories that have come together. People racing, people building or tweaking, families hanging out, and people being inspired are all happening at the same time. All these stories together form the grand story of creativity, tenacity, grit, and family fun. That, dear reader, is why communities put so much value in their local dragstrips and why, as a car nut, I hope drag strips never go away.