Jeff Burghardt photo
Local drag racing is evolving. For much of the last two decades your local track survived on hundreds of Super category racers and bracket programs. They all need cash to operate the awesome amount of land needed to dedicate a quarter or eighth-mile for weekly speed contests.
Darr Hawthorne photo
This year, for drag racing to keep growing, there’s been a realization that we need new racers who want to hang out with their buddies and race fast cars, but getting them off the street for acceleration competition is essential and safety is crucial. Street racing sucks.
With modern, high-horsepower hot rods easily purchased at new car showrooms and a surge of crashes and deaths in most communities from street racing and the resurgence and improvements to local dragstrips like SoCal’s Auto Club Dragway, someone had to put all the pieces together.
This weekend Auto Club Dragway and the School of Automotive Machinists (SAM) kicks off the High School Summer Series at Auto Club Dragway on Saturday, May 3, 2014 with the Inaugural Southern California High School Drag Challenge presented by SAM.
Sixteen-time funny car drag racing legend John Force, who serves as the programs spokesperson, will be Grand Marshal for the event and will sign autographs while on site.
The May 3rd Challenge welcomes all novice and experienced high school students and alumni with any make and model vehicle to drag race in a safe, controlled environment. Points will be earned for their respective high schools and at the end of Challenge one California High School will be named “California State Champion.”
In addition to drag racing cars, trucks and bikes, a special Show & Shine will be held as well as a Stereo Sound Off and a Manufacturers’ Midway.
Following the Southern California High School Drags Challenge, the Auto Club Dragway High School Summer Series will consist of four races throughout the summer, exclusively for current high school students who graduate in 2014 or after. The Summer Series will offer high school drag racers a chance to earn individual points based on their performances at the four Summer Series events May 10, June 28, July 26 and August 23 in a quest to crown a Summer Series individual high school Grand Champion. If the Grand Champion maintains a clean driving record throughout the Summer Series (May 10 – August 23, 2014), the champion will be eligible to win a full scholarship to SAM’s Block or head program.
“Growing up right here in Southern California I’m thrilled to be apart of this program that’s geared to get kids to the track,” said Force. “The scholarship from SAM is a tremendous opportunity as well as incentive for these students to follow speed limits and obey the laws of the road. I have hired SAM graduates that have worked full-time on my race team and think this program offers a tremendous privilege for the kids as well as myself. Keeping young people interested in NHRA racing is important and I want to continue to work with programs like this and the NHRA to keep the youth excited about racing.”
Darr Hawthorne photo
Get out to Auto Club Dragway, gates open at 8 a.m. with registration and tech starting at 8:30 a.m.
For additional information about the Southern California High School Drags Challenge on Saturday, May 3 call (949) 888-6878 or visit facebook.com/highschooldrags