Come Early, Stay Late, and Be Prepared
Unlike a typical three-hour football game or two-hour concert, IHRA drag racing is an all-day affair. The best advice for you, as fans, might well be the same advice given to the teams you’re coming to watch: Come early, stay late, and be prepared.
You can expect lots of noise, dust, and burning rubber! Some of the vehicles can be pretty loud, so be warned!
As you would for a ball game or a rock concert, plan ahead, beginning with your tickets. We would always recommend that fans buy their spectator tickets in advance. It’s cheaper to buy in advance than to wait until you get to the gate.
Make sure you check out our What To Bring page to make your weekend at the drag races more comfortable.
Remember that Saturday is the Night of Fire. Don’t make a headlong rush for the gates the instant the last nitro car runs or you’ll miss the fireworks.
IN THE STANDS
Heads Up racing on Saturday is your chance to see all of the cars run, not just the quickest 8. You’ll get to see some of the local cars that run only once or twice a year and are rarely quick enough to make the show. You’ll also witness the high drama of final qualifying, where drivers have a last chance to fight their way into or are bumped from the field. Everyone knows that the action on Sunday determines who wins and who loses, but if you attend only the final day, you’ll miss the spectacle and variety of qualifying.
When eliminations begin, try for a little diversity. Watch the Sportsman competition, where the racing is often close and wins and losses are not always decided by horsepower but by driver reflexes and downtrack strategy. If you’re new to breakout racing, listen to the announcers. They often go into great detail to explain how and why a driver won or lost a race.
Try watching the races from different spots in the stands. Seeing a race unfold from a finish-line vantage point is a world apart from watching it from the starting line. The difference in the sights and sounds will amaze you.
IN THE PITS
Drag racing is unique among motorsports because fans have direct access to the racers. Remember, every WW spectator wristband is a Pit Pass. Feel free to wander around anywhere and look at the cars and meet the drivers.
Hot tip: Some of the most frantic action takes place in the first 30 minutes after a car returns to the pits. If you want a front-row seat to watch the teams at their best, head for the pits a little early. If there’s a major engine meltdown on the track and you don’t mind missing the rest of the action and probably won’t have to fight for elbow room. The lack of crowds also provides a good chance to snag some autographs at other pit areas.
If you want to get a real feel for the power of a fuel-burning engine, hang out until a team test-fires its engine, generally 45 minutes to an hour before it expects to run. (For run times, see your event schedule.) You’ll get a snoot full of nitro fumes and a genuine body-shaking thrill whenever the driver blips the throttle.