If you go back into the early days of drag racing, you will find that World War II had a strong influence on the motorsport. Don’t just blankly stare the screen, it’s the truth: GIs who had gotten a taste of truly powerful stuff while serving their country suddenly had the need for a speed fix, and all over the country were airfields that had been used to train up pilots. Whip up a fast little bucket o’ bolts with the mechanical know-how learned in the service, find the other guy in town who did the same thing, square off on a runway, and let the victor be the one who crossed first. That might not be as detailed as a Brian Lohnes feature on the subject, but it’s good enough to explain just how racing on an airport runway makes sense even today. It isn’t a perfectly set up quarter-mile, you aren’t going to see much in the way of draggers or glue trailers, and the likelihood of seeing some wheels-up action is minimal at best, but what you will get is a plenty wide track that has tons of runoff and safety crews on standby in case something goes seriously wrong.
This footage comes to us from the Ballarat Airport in Australia, from a first-time event put on by Radial Life called “No Excuses”. Everything you see here, from the monster Camaro that many of the old guard around here might look twice at with a bit of fondness to the absolutely bullet-fast all-wheel-drive converted Nissan Silvia, is sitting on radial tires and will have to deal with traction issues and wind. This is some good action here, and is something more small airports should consider if they have quiet airspaces!