The New Irwindale Dragstrip Signs-On As Latest National Hot Rod Association Member Track Irwindale, Calif. - - (November 8, 2001) In what can only be referred to as "terrific timing", Irwindale Speedway management today announced that its ...
The New Irwindale Dragstrip Signs-On As Latest National Hot Rod Association Member Track
Irwindale, Calif. - - (November 8, 2001) In what can only be referred to as "terrific timing", Irwindale Speedway management today announced that its brand-new Irwindale Dragstrip would become a National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) sanctioned member race track on the same weekend that the NHRA is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of its founding. "We signed the papers last night," said Irwindale's Vice President/Chief Operating Officer Bob DeFazio. "We are more than proud to become a part of a great organization like the NHRA, especially on their historic weekend -- We're looking forward to the next fifty as an NHRA track."
Irwindale's 1/8-mile street legal drag strip has only been in operation for a few short weeks but it has garnered rave reviews from both competitors and fans alike for its accessibility, fast times, and friendly, family-style atmosphere. The NHRA's own Wally Parks proclaimed the track: "One of the finest street legal facilities around, something that this area has needed for a long while."
The new facility is coming on-line at a time when illegal street racing is at an all-time high. "We feel that the new Dragstrip at Irwindale will get a lot of young people off the streets and into a safe, well-controlled environment where they can see exactly what their car can do without endangering themselves and others on the public streets. This is what NHRA was formed to do 50 years ago, and the concept is as valid now as it was then," said Charlie Neilson, the NHRA's Pacific Region Director of Competition.
The 1/8-mile format, long the standard for street-type vehicles in the eastern United States, seems to be catching on in the west as well. "... 60-foot times are 60-foot times," Irwindale's newly-named director of drag racing Jim Partridge added. "No matter how long the course is, the start and reacting to the starting lights, is essentially what wins or looses races. "On an 1/8-mile track, drivers can make more runs and still not abuse their equipment with the sustained high speeds that we encounter in the quarter mile," said the veteran NHRA official. And the fans and competitors seem to agree with Partridge, coming out to the new facility in strong numbers on both Thursdays and Sundays.
Strict sound controls are in effect at every Irwindale Dragstrip event and all vehicles must pass multi-point safety checks before being allowed to run on the 660-foot long course.
For the 2002 season (beginning in February) Street Legal Drags will run on the first and third Sunday of every month with Junior Drags on the last Sunday of every month. Weeknight Test and Tune Sessions (for all vehicles legal to run at the Dragstrip) will run on the first and third Thursday of each month
There are five events still left in the 2001 season: Sunday November 11 -- Street Legal Program, Thursday November 15 -- Test and Tune Session, Sunday November 18 - Street Legal Program, Saturday November 24 -- Import Drags and Car Show, and Saturday December 8 -- Street Rods Drags & Show.
The street-legal competition rules and racing event schedule are both available at: www.irwindalespeedway.com.
CALL THE COPS! A kick-off event a few weeks ago at the Dragstrip saw twenty police chiefs and sheriffs from all over Los Angeles county competing in Advantage Ford Mustangs against an array of TV, movie and sports celebrities for charity.
A visit from National Hot Rod Association founder Wally Parks was the highlight of the event. "We really couldn't open a new drag strip, especially in California, without Mr. Parks presiding," said track GM Bob DeFazio, "It just wouldn't be right."
In a specially-staged event LA Police Chief Bernard Parks raced Auto Club president Tom McKernan Jr. in identical police cruisers. Parks won the race, which meant that McKernan had to contribute $200 to the NYPD Disaster Relief Fund. McKernan then promptly issued a re-challenge to Parks to meet him at the NHRA Auto Club Finals this weekend at Pomona to race for a $1000 wager for the same cause. If McKernan wins perhaps a "best 2 out of 3" event will be announced for the Irwindale 'strip.