This weekend Fairplex is all about two things: drag racing and trains. Here’s what’s on the calendar:
The NHRA Winternationals have been at Fairplex since the very beginning
NHRA Winternationals (Now – Feb. 12): We’ve been listening to the roar of the drag races since yesterday, and it’s welcome noise to our ears! The 2017 NHRA season opener is in full throttle this weekend at the Auto Club Raceway. Tickets are on sale online and at the doors. Choose from general or VIP seating and enjoy the noise, the crowds and the adrenaline! More info at nhra.com.
World’s Great Hobby Train Show (Feb 11-12): If you love trains, this is the weekend to be at Fairplex. The World’s Greatest Hobby On Tour is filling Expo Hall 4 with huge operating model railroads along with manufacturers and retailers, a free riding train for kids, train demos and seminars, and Walt Disney’s Railroad Story by author Michael Broggie. Horus, admission and additional info available here.
Fairplex Garden Railroad (Feb 11-12): The Fairplex Garden Railroad is opening its gates to the public (FREE) on Feb. 11 & 12, weather permitting. One of the longest standing pieces of the LA County Fair, the Garden Railroad is continually growing and changing at the hands of our dedicated volunteers. Stop by 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. More info at fgrr.org.
RailGiants Train Museum (Feb 11-12): On the other side of campus, the RailGiants Train Museum features the giant steam engines and locomotives of the past. Climb aboard one of these giant engines and speak with our docents on the history of the trains. More info at railgiants.org.
The 2017 Mello Yello Drag Racing season is HERE and it starts, as always, with Winternationals.NHRA Lucas Oil racers are on the track today and Pros start tomorrow. Follow NHRA on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates!
You can hear it before you smell it. You can smell it before you see it. It’s the 49th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals. Each year the Mello Yello Drag Racing Series brings the best of the best to the Auto Club Raceway at Fairplex for the world championship series. It’s fast. It’s loud. It’s exhilarating. We love it!
Day 2 is half-way over and the burning rubber can be smelt as soon as you enter the parking lot. You can hear the engine roars all over campus, including our offices on the other side of the grounds!
Despite the craziness of the drag races, it’s well-organized from start to finish. Drivers, pit crews and engines are lined up and ready to go at all times.
It’s an ongoing parade of trucks, cars and bikes from behind-the-scenes
Cars are driven to the racing strip…
With the drivers strapped in and ready to go
NHRA Finals – Day 2
It’s crazy to watch, but even crazier to imagine the feeling of adrenaline the drivers get as they race down the strip. The world championship series ends on Sunday, but there’s still time to check out all the action! You can purchase tickets at www.nhratix.com.
This week guest blogger Tim L. gives us his take on our drag races.
What do you think about when you hear the phrase “drag races”? Does it take you back to your first car and seeing if you were faster than your buddies? If you’re a baby-boomer, then drag races means burnouts, nostalgic cars, American muscle and real engines…..NOT those furiously fast import tuner cars. This weekend, Fairplex will once again play host to the NHRA drag race season opener.
The 52nd O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Winternationals and names like Larry Dixon, John Force, Tony Schumacher,”fast Jack” Beckman and Brandon Bernstein come roaring into town February 9-12. Everything from the smell of beer and hot dogs to burning rubber and alcohol funny-car exhaust will permeate the air in a way that makes everyone ages 1 to 100 grin from one finger-plugged ear to the other.
I can remember as a kid coming with my dad to the drags when he worked in the automotive industry, and thinking that if his job consisted of being around cars and racing, then he had an awesome job. You see, I grew up watching my dad work at a few very well-respected companies within the auto industry, and at age 4 I could tell you what kind of car my parents were driving next to…it’s in my blood and car shows and drag racing are my heaven.
The drags don’t symbolize just a fun environment with noise and fast cars, it is the epitome of my inner addiction to the sound of an engine revving high into the bone-rattling upper limits of the RPM spectrum while waiting for the tree to glow green, so two cars could go flying down the strip. The heavenly smell of a big block Chevy idling in a 1940 Willy’s or a beautiful 1972 Plymouth Duster in perfect condition puts a smile on my face. It takes me to a place that not much else can.
I want to leave you with one last thought….are you ready to feel your chest rumble like never before while seeing a car speed past you at over 300 miles per hour? I am!
WOW, I just went on a mini tour of the Auto Club NHRA Finals and I can safely say that I will never look at the Drag racing the same again! First, I walked through an area known as THE PITS there I saw and heard the loudest most amazing looking drag cars and motorbikes I have ever seen in my life. Even better, I saw how some of the beast machines were built and fixed up to beat the competition.
Then I made my way to the Sky Boxes, where only the VIPs sit and enjoy an exclusive crystal clear view of the drag races and the entire event! It’s a great place to catch a photo like the one posted at the bottom.
After my trip to the Sky Boxes, I found myself at the Staging Area. There I saw what looked like a pack of drag cars waiting impatiently to be driven at Full Throttle™ . It’s a great opportunity to check out the drag cars up close and see the hard work that is being put into these astonishing machines.
Continuing my journey, I made my way on over to the Top Eliminators Club, where food from the Sheraton Fairplex Hotel was served and eaten by me (in my mind).
After this awesome mini tour, drag racing at the Auto Club NHRA Finals will never be the same for me. It’s one thing to sit on the bleachers and watch the drag races. It’s a whole other experience to see them when you’re high–like up on the skyboxes, rolling with the big guys.
Looking for a different experience this weekend? Check out the Auto Club NHRA Finals right here at Fairplex. Now for a step-by-step guide to looking like a die-hard fan this weekend.
Arrive early! The best time to get autographs and enjoy the pits (not to mention finding some prime parking) is before the racing starts.
While wandering the pits, feel free to chit-chat with people like you know what you’re doing. “Hey, did you see John Force’s qualifying run last week?” Simple statements like that make you seem much more knowledgeable than you are.
Before walking up to a driver to get his autograph, make sure you know his (o her) name. Their faces are huge on the sides of their trailers and their names are always there too. You have no excuses for not knowing who Brandon Bernstein is when his face is plastered about 12 feet high.
Now this is one decision you get to make: Do you buy a t-shirt or just ask the drivers to sign the cards they provide? If you buy the t-shirt, be sure to put it on so they can sign your back (this is the ultimate in pit groupie cool).
Find a good spot to sit. Now, depending on which tickets you purchased, you may have a reserved seat or you may not. If you do, come and go as you please, but if you don’t, you are going to need to camp out in your spot for quite some time.
Earlier, I mentioned Brandon Bernstein. If you do see him, wish him luck in his new ventures. Budweiser is pulling out of NHRA at the end of these races, and he has found a great new team.
Drink water and wear sun-block! You are sitting outside all day. I don’t care if it is overcast, the UV rays still come through and you can still get dehydrated (sunstroke is definitely not pit groupie cool).
And, the most important one…HAVE FUN! The Drags only come twice a year and they can be a great experience.