By: John Wilburn
(John Wilburn is a board member of NRVHG, avid car enthusiast, and YouTube automotive content creator: http://youtube.com/user/johnwilburn)
As a guy who isn’t particularly crazy about everything new our ever-changing world has to offer, I appreciate the few things that have stubbornly “opted out” and become timeless in the process. Some things are just as cool now as they were to more generations than we can remember. For me and others of us who have a sweet tooth for horsepower, one of those things is drag racing!
As a teenager and young adult, I spent many Saturday nights at my local, now redeveloped, track. The sights and sounds are still unforgettable…. muscle cars were everywhere and the experience of drag racing, as a driver or spectator, is like nothing else. The smell of racing gas and the burnout box, the sound of classic V8 engines modified to the limits of their owners’ imaginations, skills, and thickness of their wallets, the sights and sounds of pairs of cars leaving the starting line with front wheels in the air, banging through the gears all the way down the 660 foot strip until a win light comes on for one of them….. all fondly ingrained in my memory.
Fortunately, in a world now inundated with electronics competing for our attention, this visceral experience still exists and right here in Fairlawn! Motor Mile Dragway opened in 2005 adjacent to the existing oval track speedway. It was and still is a state of the art 1/8th mile, well-lit, all concrete drag-strip with modern timing equipment, nice restrooms, and a paved pit area… all of the nice things to compliment a basic, classic design.
Making it possible to feel like it did long ago, many of the same cars are still around. A trip to the track is the best classic car show there is and a welcome reprieve from the sea of boring “transportation appliances” that make up our daily commuter traffic. It’s not uncommon to see more cars from the 60s, 70s, and 80s at the track than anywhere else. Vintage and modern cars all compete together in various classes.
Having an automotive-themed YouTube channel, I recently took the opportunity to film a match race I arranged at Motor Mile Dragway between friends and first time racers, Mike and Teresa. A match race is usually a best-of-three race between a pair of cars and their drivers. They were ideal for such a pairing, with Teresa driving a 1979 Pontiac Firebird and Mike driving a 1973 Ford Mustang…. Too close to call on paper. If you want to know who won, you can watch the video on my channel (use your phone to scan the QR code and go directly to the channel!).
Also at the track was my friend Jared in his 2017 Mustang with “Coyote” engine. I’ve heard those cars are quick and sure enough, they are. This is the only way to really know. Which brings up an interesting observation: There were novice and veteran racers alike and all skill and experience levels are welcome. Every vehicle has a place regardless of budget or speed too, so long as it’s safe to race, a list of requirements that grows as the cars get quicker and faster.
I can highly recommend the experience of drag racing for everyone whether you want to watch from the stands or race down the track in anything from your street car to your hot rod or even an ice cream truck. If you have a sweet tooth for horsepower, you owe it to yourself to visit Motor Mile Dragway!