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Gone Racin’…Dave Danish

Gone Racin’…Dave Danish
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Gone Racin’…Dave Danish 

New improvements are being made to the ¼ mile dragstrip at California Speedway in Fontana, California, according to the dragstrip track manager, Dave Danish. The facility had been developed in the parking lot of the mammoth oval track, and over the years the dragstrip had deteriorated. The surface did not deter the street legal racers, who still flock to the track, but as the types of drag racing had become more varied, there was a need to resurface the track. Danish said that they average almost 2500 spectators at each of the 64 race days at the track. The Junior Dragsters have 8 days to race throughout the calendar year and attract an average of 125 cars. Once a month, for 11 months out of the year, the Street Legal program kicks into high gear and attracts 400 racers from around the area. “We could cram in even more,” said Danish, “but then the kids would only get a run or two and we want the kids to have a lot of runs and more fun.” There are special events held at the dragstrip such as the Pacific Street Car Association meet which draws 290 cars. The Bug-In brings the VW crowd. There are several Super classes. The Lucas Oil NHRA Division 7 races are held at California Speedway. There are Sports Compact series, and the Fun Ford meet. Danish also said that they rent out a lane during the week for $2500 and drag racers will come out and test their cars in preparation for the coming season.

Since the L.A. County Fairplex limited the number of racing days at the NHRA Pomona Raceway Track, it has forced dragracers to turn to other tracks in the area, mainly Irwindale and California Speedway. The track at Irwindale is an 1/8th mile and caters mainly to the street legal crowd. California Speedway is a full ¼ mile track with plenty of pit space and a very adequate shut off distance. There are portable stands set up to provide rest room, food and souvenir facilities, and tables to rest or eat at. The previous staging lanes and pit parking have been moved from the east end to the west end of the track, to avoid a major inlet road to the track. A modern 60 trailer will be installed to provide the announcers and track officials to conduct all their business in an orderly fashion. Danish said that the dragstrip is becoming more permanent with each innovation and improvement and the Speedway is no longer considered just an oval track for NASCAR or Formula 1 cars. He showed us the new Go-Karting track which was developed by the maintenance department for their personal recreation and which has become a permanent and well used track for the karters. Danish said that there are few days in which the huge facility is not in use. He said that training goes on constantly in all classes of racing. Ambulances and Semi trucks also use the facility for training opportunities.

Danish told us that the 330 feet of concrete in the launch pad at the start of the dragstrip would not be altered, but that the rest of the dragstrip is being repaired. The thin old layer of the previous asphalt surface is being removed, and a thicker layer will be applied. Then a laser guided scraper truck will go down the track and grind the surface to a degree of evenness that will leave behind no bumps in the course. Danish said, “it will be as good a course as exists anywhere, although over time, no course remains perfect.” It is apparent though, that California Speedway is intent on expanding their investment in drag racing, and to be a multi-purpose racing facility. We watched as the work crews were laying pipe and covering the pipe with concrete. This will allow power cables and lines to connect to the main oval course so that increased lighting and sound systems will be brought on line. A new safety net is on order, which will catch the cars, should their braking system and parachutes fail to deploy. The track is situated in the middle of an industrial complex and improvements in the track will baffle some of the sound. Danish does not expect to have the same problems with residents in the area that the Pomona and Irwindale tracks have to deal with. Roger Rohrdanz, the photographical partner in the Gone Racin’ team, pointed out several advantages in the way the track was positioned. The track will be finished in time for the opening of the racing season in January. Hopefully, Danish and his able crew will be able to expand the 64 race dates for this facility, as it is one of the outstanding tracks in the Southwest.

Gone Racin’ is at www.oilstick.com