Wednesday, 25 May 2016 13:35

Drag racing starts this weekend at the Swift Current airfield

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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Drag racing starts this weekend in Swift Current at the airport. Drag racing starts this weekend in Swift Current at the airport. File photo

The roar of high-performance engines will return to the Swift Current airfield this weekend with the start of the local drag racing season.

The Swift Current Drag Racing Association (SCDRA) is hosting the first of three racing weekends at the Swift Current Airport May 28-29.
SCDRA President Greg Mackay said the club is looking forward to an exciting season with special features planned for every racing weekend.
He is expecting to see drag racers from across the prairies as well as south of the border at this weekend’s event.
“We’ve already been getting calls from Regina,” he mentioned. “Also the local guys around here like to come to our track because it is a lot of fun. We’ve been getting them from southern Alberta, all through Saskatchewan and the northern U.S. too. They come from all over to race at our track because it is kind of a unique place to race.”
The SCDRA is able to use the airstrip at the Swift Current Airport for racing across a full quarter-mile distance.
“Lots of places don’t race full 1,320 feet on a track like this,” he said. “So it’s kind of unique and guys get to have a lot of fun. It’s a great facility the City lets us use.”
He noted the airstrip provides a really good surface for drag racing and an additional benefit is the concrete surface in the starting area, which a lot of drag racing tracks do not have.
“When it was built in the 1920s and 1930s, they used concrete and we’re very fortunate to be able to use that and incorporate it into the race surface,” he said. “You can put a lot more horsepower down. It’s a good, solid, flat surface and we can put some traction compound down that helps the car stick to concrete and it doesn’t damage the surface at all.”
In addition to the regular bracket racing in various performance classes at the opening race weekend, the SCDRA will host its inaugural Kids Day on May 29.
“We’re going to let kids run down the track on their bicycles and they’re going to be competing for a whole bunch of prices,” he said.
Children should bring their bicycles along for the kids bike race that will take place on the dragstrip at noon. There will be many prizes and another attraction will be the opportunity for children and their families to get a close-up look at the race cars in the pit area.
The second race weekend takes place from July 15-17. It will start on the Friday evening with a fun night to give an opportunity for anyone to use their daily vehicle to experience racing by speeding down the dragstrip across a distance of an eighth of a mile (660 feet or 201 metres).
“We’re going to allow everybody who wants to come out, as long as they have a valid drivers licence and a car that’s registered and in a good condition,” he said. “They can run down the race track just like we do in the race cars and just see what it’s like to stand up there and stage and race like the other guys do.”
There will be more excitement on July 16 when the Performance Plus Saskatchewan Fastest Streetcar Shootout takes place in conjunction with the usual drag racing action.
“It’s quite a neat event because some of the cars have upwards of 2,000 horsepower and they’re still fully street legal, just like what you and me drive on the street,” Mackay said.
Some of these street legal vehicles can exceed 170 miles per hour (close to 275 kilometres per hour) at the end of the quarter mile and this event has attracted a large crowd during the previous two years at the Swift Current Airfield.
“It’s with Performance Plus out of Saskatoon,” he said. “They’re the sponsors for that day, and they bring in cars from all over western Canada.”
The final racing weekend will take place Aug. 27-28. It will see the return of another popular feature from last year. “Nitro Mike” Kunz from Mission, B.C. will be there to do exhibition wheelstanding runs down the dragstrip in a highly-modified Chrysler PT Cruiser.
The vehicle has a high-performance V8 engine installed in the rear and Kunz will do quarter mile runs in this vehicle on two wheels for the entire distance.
He established a Guinness World Record for the longest wheelstand (wheelie) by a car in Earlton, Ontario Aug. 11, 2012.
His vehicle and other drag racing cars will be on display at the Living Sky Casino on Friday evening, Aug. 26.
“That’s in conjunction with the casino,” Mackay said. “So that Friday night we’re having a bit of a car show and a meet and greet with Nitro Mike. A whole bunch of us are taking our cars out there to have a bit of a car show at the casino.”
The SCDRA is run by volunteers who put in a lot of effort to host three races every year at the Swift Current Airport.
“We’re always looking for volunteers to come out and help, that’s for sure,” he said. “Our club members work tirelessly to get this thing done. We start early in the morning and go until late at night, plus some of us want to race cars too. We have a lot of guys that are in our club that don’t have cars and they should get a tip of the hat as well because they do put in a lot of time.”
Gates open at 8 a.m. on all race days. Time trials start at 10 a.m. on Saturdays and at 8  a.m. on Sundays, while racing starts at noon on Saturdays and at 10 a.m. on Sundays. Admission is $10 per day for adults while children 12 and under enter free. The Smoke Shack will again be responsible for the concession and there are washrooms on both sides of the dragstrip in the spectator areas. Mackay said a visit to the drag races is a great day of entertainment for the entire family.
“It’s just a great time to come and watch these guys, the time and money they put into their automobiles to modify them and how fast they can actually go,” he mentioned. “It’s a lot of fun to watch.”

Read 1490 times Last modified on Wednesday, 25 May 2016 13:50

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