Drag racing season off to fast start

Burnouts before a drag race are both crowd pleasers and said to help improve traction on the course.

Burnouts before a drag race are both crowd pleasers and said to help improve traction on the course. Photo by Alfred Diaz.

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Jeff Rybarezyk manages the drag strip lineup.

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Tom Wurtz waits his turn at Saturday’s season opener for the Walla Walla Drag Strip.

2013 season

May 4-5; 18-19

June 1-2; 15-16

July 13-14; 27-28

Aug. 17-18

Sep. 14-15; 20-22

Oct. 4-6

WALLA WALLA — It was green light go for the season opener and what is expected to be another growing year for the Walla Walla Drag Strip.

“I think we have figured out we are at about a 25 percent increase in number of cars per race versus when we started in 2009, so we have seen a steady increase in cars,” track manager Kasey Kelty said.

The drag strip kicked off the first of 11 racing weekends at the track located at 1212 Middle Waitsburg Road.

This year, the season will include an National Hot Rod Association Northwest National Open Series, but what won’t be back is the Friday night street car racing, where teens were encouraged to race their cars on the strip rather than on city streets.

“We just can’t keep it going. We were just losing so much money,” Kelty said.

But he added that regular weekend drag racing includes events for unmodified street cars, including the Saturday morning test and tune runs.

“As long as you have a safe car, the most we require is a helmet,” Kelty said. Participation fees are also required for racers.

Today’s weekend opener continues with time trials at 9:30 a.m. and racing at 1 p.m. Gates open at 7:30 a.m.

Spectator admission is 17 and up, $8; 11 to 16, $5; 10 and under free.

The drag strip ticket booth accepts only cash.

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