It's no secret drag racing is a pretty popular sport in this country, whether it gets a bad wrap or not. Movies like The Fast and the Furious wouldn't have turned into six-part series if only a small sector of Americans found themselves fueled with adrenaline just sitting in a theatre watching balls-out street racing. And while it can be dangerous when amateur racers decide a highway shared by the general public is the best place to compete for pink slips, there are certainly places everyone can enjoy the same epinephrine rush without endangering themselves or others.
That's one of the main reasons why Andrew Harrell decided to create an event that would allow the general public to not only witness first-hand professional races but participate in one themselves. And that event, set for its inaugural run this Friday, is Motor City Run Em Nationals.
"Anybody can race," says Harrell. "The Test & Tune run is open to the general public. We just require that your car passes a basic safety check and aside from that all you need is a seatbelt."
Hosted by Speed Channel's Ken Herring, the event is not only scheduled to host amateur races, but several other professional races and contests as well. The Run What Ya Brung race allows door cars of any type, weight and tire size to careen down an eighth of a mile drag and awards the winner with a $1000 cash prize. The Run Em race allows altered roadsters and door cars a quarter mile chase and the 9.50 Street Bike run is a quarter mile drag for self starting bikes with street legal dot tires. X 275, OLS and Open Comp races all winners of which will be awarded cash prizes from pots collected from racers upon entering.
As for contests, a Wheel Stand competition reviewed by a panel of five judges, including host Herring and event sponsors, will award the contestant to accomplish the longest and most violent wheel stand with a $250 cash prize.
Although there's plenty to do for professional and even amateur racers, don't think those who've never even set foot on a track before will be bored. In fact, even kids as young as eight are invited to don a helmet, strap on a seatbelt and hit the dragway.
"This track allows racers as young as eight," says Harrell. "And even though we don't have a specific event for them, I really hope to get some young kids out there."
Even if you're not quite ready to ignite dreams of being a professional Nascar driver aflame inside your child's heart and mind, there's still plenty for them do to and watch at this event and according to Harrell, you certainly shouldn't be afraid to bring them along with you.
"We're definitely encouraging people to bring their kids. You don't need a babysitter. Kids tickets are only $6 and if they're under six years old, they're free," says Harrell.
If you're not yet convinced the first ever Motor City Run Em Nationals is an event for you, you should also perhaps consider there's a chance you could be cast as an extra on a brand new Speed Channel show set to premiere this fall.
Brian Olantunji, a native Detroiter and professional racer, is set to attend the event with a few cameras in tow as he films his new series, Dreams 2 Champions. His race with Ben Mens that will take place at the event is just one segment that will be featured on the show. | RDW
Motor City Run Em Nationals • 9/21, 3 p.m. • Milan Dragway • 10860 Plank Road, Milan • 313.799.7751 • runemnationals.com • $20-$60