Two things are likely preventing you from driving a dragster. The first is the lack of a competition license that is required to drive cars faster than 9.99 and the second is disposable income. We found the solution for both excuses at Frank Hawley's Dragster Adventure. It's a one-day opportunity to drive one of his dragsters, full throttle, for a fraction of a fraction of going to a multi-day driving school or buying a racecar yourself.
How is this possible? The simple way around the competition license is to slow the cars down. A brilliant idea if you ask us. You can drive a rail that runs slower than 9.99 seconds in the quarter mile holding only a valid state drivers' license. Make the entire day cost $399, and blam, you are driving some other guy's racecar.
The day gets started with some classroom time that ends just before it gets boring then out to the track for a formal introduction to the race cars. Unlike a competition dragster, the school cars have a footbrake and a gas pedal like any street-driven rental. There are no specialized hand controls, trans brakes, or banks of switches so you can focus on the pure act of going fast.
The school provides safety equipment including a helmet and racing jacket, but, you are welcome to bring your own gear provided it is up to date and NHRA legal. Helmets must be Snell 2005 or SFI 41.1A rated to be legal. The tag will be printed inside the helmet behind the padding. There will be an instructor on hand to get you suited up and in the car. You will be shown the kill switch, reverse lockout, and starter. If you can find these controls with your eyes closed, you can drive the car.
The first run in the car is only 1/8-mile so the instructors and Hawley can evaluate if you are ready for a 1/4-mile pass. They are looking for track awareness and car control. If you can handle the car during the burnout, follow direction in the staging area and starting line, and shut the car off at the 1/8-mile cone without locking up the brakes, chances are good that you will get a shot at the full pass. The Adventure includes three runs and takes a half-day.
If you are in love with drag racing after your first experience, you can always get into the elimination rounds held at the end of the day. It costs an additional $200 but you get to race another driver to the finish line. The more you win, the more runs you get to make. During eliminations you get coaching on reaction times and starting line strategies. Single passes are fun but lining up against other drivers will get you yelling into your helmet at the finish line. We recommend it. Check it out at FrankHawley.com.