To my surprise, my local track (Central Illinois Dragway) got behind diesel drag racing in
In the modern age of $4-per-gallon diesel, you’re going to see localized diesel events bring in the same amount of trucks only national shows used to (of course, the Scheid Diesel Extravaganza and TS Outlaw events are exempt from this statement). Let’s face it: Since 2008 (when I got this gig), national events have, for the most part, struggled to grow. I know a lot of it has to do with the recession and a down economy, but it remains a fact that high diesel prices put the kibosh on most folks’ long-distance travel plans.
How To Start Up a Local Event
Don’t be afraid to ask your local track if they’d be interested in hosting a diesel event sometime. And (this is important) accept any date you can get. Heck, the first event held at my local track took place on a 99-degree day in the dead of summer (the track was 131). But the 30-truck field got our foot in the door with a great facility and they’re now considering hosting two truck shows a year. Selling your local track on a truck-only or diesel-only event is key, because even if they don’t take kindly to four-wheel-drive trucks (or diesels in general), it’s probably because they’ve had smoked timing light issues or torn-up starting lines in the past. With a truck or diesel-only event, it rules out any truck vs. race car conflicts.
Get Help, and Act Professional
The top priority when organizing and promoting an event: have lots of help. You can’t do it by yourself. Ask local shops, friends, family, and fellow diesel enthusiasts to help you out. Priority two: Make sure your constituents all behave, conduct themselves semi-professionally, and follow track regulations to a “T.” If that means the officials make it mandatory to wear a helmet, clean out your truck’s bed, or not show up with a mud-coated vehicle, you do it. And it especially means no alcohol consumption before or during the event if you’re competing. Last, but not least, pick up after yourselves. Bring your own garbage bags if you have to. There’s nothing worse than litter being scattered all over an infield or parking lot.
Teach the Amateurs
Because the scope of experience will differ so much from driver to driver, give everyone a rundown of how to drag race. Explain to them how a sportsman tree works, how to stage their truck, and school them on proper staging etiquette (so no double-bulbing or lengthy spooling scenarios cause any arguments or meltdowns). Tell all the four-wheel-drive owners to avoid the water box, too.
Anyone Can Drag Race
Even though I still prefer sled pulling to drag racing, drag racing requires much less to get involved. There are no crazy-specific or strict rules you have to follow to run at a test and tune. And because anyone can drag race, trucks at any horsepower level can come out, compete, and even take home some money.
If you really want to spread the word about diesel motorsports (or improve it), be proactive and see what you can do to facilitate its growth in your community. Feel free to use the Diesel Power forums (http://forums.dieselpowermag.com/) to coordinate your efforts and meet like-minded diesel enthusiasts.