SGVJOURNAL, West Valley Journal, Monterey Park News

Switch to desktop

Irwindale Dragstrip Is Packing Them In

  • By Shel Segal
DragracingXIRWINDALE - With the closing of the dragstrip at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana by a San Bernardino County Superior Court judge earlier this year, the folks at the Irwindale Dragstrip at Irwindale Event Center want you to know they're open for business every Thursday evening from 5 to 10 p.m. with gates opening at 4 p.m.
Doug Stokes, spokesman for the center (formally known as Toyota Speedway of Irwindale), said "just show up." There's no number to call for information and no website to check out. Just bring your car, $20 per three runs and a couple of bucks if you are just going to sit in the grandstand and have a great time.
"The Thursday night events attract a number of different people who just want to have good fun with their cars," said Stokes, a longtime Southern California car racing expert and historian. "It's basically just a great place in a safe environment and getting a chance to run against the clock."
The strip is NHRA sanctioned and allows street-legal vehicles, Stokes said. He added the strip is 660 feet long - an eighth of a mile or the length of a freeway on ramp - and see cars often break 100 mph.
"It's competitive in a nice way," he said. "The fans love to come out. The drivers compete often against themselves."
The strip is open every Thursday, with the exception of holidays, and be sure to bring your driver's license, Stokes said.
"If you're early enough you can get five laps in," he said.

WHY DRAG RACING? Isn't there anything safer to do on a Thursday night?
"It's like a drug," said Lakewood resident and longtime Mustang racer Gary Smith. "It's a thrill. It's like going to an amusement park on steroids. It does take a lot of physical coordination. It's mostly reactive at times. We don't even have time to think."
A second generation racer, Smith said it's the whole environment that attracts him.
"The sights, the sounds," he said. "The whole experience keeps me coming back. I've met a lot of cool people here."
(Shel Segal can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

2013 SGVJournal. Developed and Designed by Charlene on Green

Top Desktop version