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Dragstrip Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

QUESTION: "How much does it cost to race at Great Lakes Dragaway??"

Answer: On weeknights, the cost to race is $35.00 per driver. On weekends, the cost is $40.00 per driver. Spectators pay $12.00 to enter the grounds during the week and $15-$20 on weekends.

QUESTION: "I'm new to this sport, what do I need to bring with me so I can race my car?"


Answer: Long pants are a requirement. You also cannot race with "muscle shirts" or sleeveless shirts. T-Shirts are acceptable. You will need to bring a helmet if your car is capable of running 13.99 or faster. If you aren't sure, bring a helmet anyway. We also offer helmet rentals at the track, however we cannot guarantee that there will be any left when you arrive. You must be sure that your car has a "coolant catch can" which is basically an over-flow bottle that catches antifreeze/coolant should your car boil-over. Must cars come standard with a catch-can, however, older cars may not have one. Double check this before you drive to the track. You also need to be sure you are wearing long pants and no "sleeveless" type shirts allowed.


QUESTION: "What do I do once I get to GLD??? I have no idea what I am supposed to do or where I am supposed to go!"


Answer: When you arrive at the gate, you will pay your admission fee. You will be asked to sign a waiver of responsibility, and you will be given a "tech card" and a pencil to fill it out. Your tech card will have a number on it that will be used to identify your car to the track staff. After you pay your entry fees and get your tech card, you will proceed to the pit area, which is located down the long entrance road to the dragstrip. Once in the pits, find a area to park and fill out your tech card with your name and address. After you have filled out your tech card, proceed to the "tech shack" which is located on the south end of the pits. Look for the big "Sunoco" sign and the gas pumps. This is the tech area. If there is no line ahead of you, park your car next to the gas pumps, shut it off and wait for the tech director to "tech you in". He will ask you for your card, and will look over your vehicle to be sure it meets the requirements so that you may race. Most street driven cars will not require a detailed check-in, however if you have modified your car, you may be subject to rules that could keep you from being able to race. GLD is an NHRA-sanctioned dragstrip, we follow NHRA rules. You can get more information on the NHRA by visiting their Web Site. Once you pass tech, your number will be written on the front and rear windshields. This number will allow the tower operator to identify your car, as well as the person in the ET Shack.


QUESTION: "Ok, so I'm "teched in" Now what do I do???

Answer: If you have arrived at track close to when the gates open, the staging lanes may not yet be open. If you can see that cars are already racing, then you may proceed to the staging lanes. If you do not see any cars lined up to race, then the lanes have not yet been opened and you should wait by your pit area for the track announcer to indicate that the staging lanes are now open for racing. Please pay attention to the lane assignments; typically lanes 2 and 4 are for general time runs, but this can vary by the events for that particular day. The staging lanes are located on the southeast corner of the grounds- you must follow the "horse shoe" to the lanes. DO NOT CUT ACROSS THE GRAVEL PITS! This is a big no-no. Also, please keep your vehicle speed at FIVE miles per hour at all times in the pits. NEVER, EVER spin or squeal your tires in the pits! This type of activity will not endear you to the track staff and you could be ejected from the grounds without a refund if you do this. Once you are in line, do not switch lanes. As the lines move forward, you will see the staging director. ALWAYS follow the instructions of the staging director; you will be waved thru to the burnout area when it is your turn. Do not proceed to the burnout/starting line area unless you have been directed to do so by the staging director.


QUESTION: "I've never been racing and I don't know what to do once I get to the burnout area. HELP!!

Answer: The first thing to do is RELAX. We have all been in your shoes before and we are here to help you. If you have never been racing before, you may want to skip the burnout for now, just to get used to what to do as you approach the line. There will be personnel at the starting line to assist you. Pay attention to them and do what they tell you to do. If you do not plan to do a burnout, drive around the water box!!! Don't get your tires wet; this drags water up to the starting line and is very upsetting to the other racers, as this can cause loss of traction and poor 60 foot times. Pull forward towards the line, and watch the "Tree". There will be two sets of yellow bulbs at the top, labeled "pre staged" and "staged". Creep forward SLOWLY as you approach the starting line. Keep an eye on the starter- he can also help you to find the correct starting position. When the "pre staged" lamps glow, you are now almost ready to stage. Creep forward until you see the "staged" bulbs light up. Once the staged lamps are lit, remain still and wait for the 'Tree to activate. Once the tree activates, the large amber spotlights will light in sequence, then the green. If you leave before the green light glows, you will "red light". Once the tree drops, it's time to go! As you make your run down the strip, various sets of light beams will track your progress and report back to the Compulink System (track timing computer). As you approach the end of the 1/4 mile, you will see the "shutdown area" As soon as your run is over, SLOW DOWN. When you get to the top end, you will see the track ambulance- this is where you will turn around to head back towards the ET shack. IMPORTANT: NEVER, EVER cross over into the other lane while rounding the horseshoe at the top end!! If you are in the LEFT lane, BE SURE TO KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE OTHER DRIVER!!! If you cross into his/her lane as you round the horseshoe, you could cause an accident. Keep your speed down to 10-15 MPH on the return road. Approach the ET shack at the end of the return road and wait for your timeslip. Once you have your timeslip, you may either return to the staging lanes (known as "going round and round") or you may wish to return to your pit to give your vehicle a chance to cool down between runs. While space does not permit, there are many things not covered here that you may wish to know/learn. Consult with other racers, and also visit our track message board. If you have a specific question or concern, ask. We will do our best to assist you.




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