Gallery>>irwindale Thursday Night Drags

Every Thusday night, Toyota Speedway at Irwindale opens up its 1/8 mile drag strip for a test and tune session. Since we were already at the track for Formula D, it was the perfect chance to drop by and take a look at this weekly ritual.

While the larger events might draw the big names and the big crowds, these local gatherings are one of the best places to see modern drag racing culture.

Rush hour was still in full swing on the nearby freeways when the racers began to fill the staging lanes in a huge variety of automobiles.

Some were die-hards in brutally fast street cars, out to make adjustments to their setup.

Others were just out for kicks, like this chap in Kia Sedona minivan. Feature anyone? Haha.

For only 20 bucks you can make as many runs as time allows, making this quite a popular way to blow off some steam on a Thursday night. I regret not entering my own car!

I wasn't surprised at all to find this pair of VW drag cars out there. This is Southern California after all.

With a simple V8 swap, lightweight vehicles like the Chevy LUV or Chevy Vega can become potent drag machines – without breaking the wallet.

While a V8 and lightweight chassis might be the classic formula, AWD is another way to go. Cars that rip out of the hole, like this Evo have a certain advantage on the shorter 1/8 mile course.

One thing that surprised me was the amount of pickups that came out to race, most powered my modified diesel engines. It's amazing how fast some of these huge rigs move.

The ACR Viper might not have been built with drag racing mind, but that doesn't it mean it can't do some damage on the old quarter (or eighth) mile.

Or perhaps you prefer your Mopars to be of an older vintage?

Despite its stock appearances, this LS2 GTO was a screamer. Our Aussie readers will of course recognize this as a rebadged Holden Monaro.

A few guys from a local club even brought out their vintage motorbikes for some fun runs. I wanted to see them go heads up with the Kia minivan!

The 1980s aren't known as a high point in American car design, but there are a few outstanding machines from this era. The sinister looking, turbocharged Buick GN for example.

Yes, S13's come to Irwindale to do things other than drift.

This very original looking 240Z hauled down the track with the help of Ford V8 power. One of the biggest "sleepers" of the night for sure.

Z32's seem to be getting rarer and rarer these days, so I got a kick of seeing this one out there. Pretty fast too!

Most dragstrips do the same sort of weekly drag meet, so I highly recommend you get out to your local one and have a look. Where else can you see a '55 Chevy gasser one moment…

…and an EF Honda Civic the next?I It's a beautiful thing.

I'll be back soon with a bit more from the Irwindale Thursday night drags, but at the moment I need to get back to work on my Formula D Top 32 photos.

-Mike Garrett



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it seems like a great idea.. just imagine if you want shakedown your car? its ideal and legal. got to respect the Monaro and the classic throwback & turbo'd Buick.. yes i agree the Beetles are always well represented! come on UK we can do it too{?}


This looks like a lot of fun. I wish we had something like that around here. Three kids were killed a couple of days ago for racing on public roads. It's places like this that will help keep kids off the roads and in a safe environment, while still having all the fun in the world.

Great photos by the way. Keep up the great work.


I highly advise getting down the track at your local strip, I made my first pass this year and pretty much 10 minutes later made a deal for a higher horsepower motor...caveat: it's highly addictive!


Amazing VW!!!


gotta love southern californias culture and taste in cars my cousin has taken his goat and his friend takes a set of mustangs and cobras at a time


Gotta love CA , so much diversity and year around racing, This is where hot rodding was born and this is where it will always be at its best :)


videos please!!!


Its good to see some diesel guys at the local strip. Sometimes, people underestimate what these riggs can actually do. Coming from the Diesel industry as a technician, todays light and even heavy duty diesel power trucks are getting faster and faster. Great coverage, its good to see a "multi culture" turn out of cars. Remember for future reference, "if she smokes, don't mean she broke" (watch out for those diesel guys) ;)


diggin it!


Ahhh... love the picture with the Beetle and the M5 standing in line :)


Brilliant post again mike. I bet you'd never see the same car twice at an event like that.


aussie readers will INDEED love that monaro :D:D:D


Haha!! Been there once, during one of my "hot rod holidays".. We got caught up in a fuckin' gang shooting there!! August 2002... I will never forget.

Great racing though! I love So Cal...


Good EVO and Chevy truck =)


Feature on the kia please!


HAHA what did the KIA run? cool feature!


Having already seen Mike Garrett's first look at the weekly Irwindale drag racing nights, the Pontiac


The Buick Grand National and the Turbo T were discontinued because they were destroying new Corvettes! I guess GM didn't want a humble Buick whopping up on their long-running sports car!


Fun track but last time I went the left lane was driving me nuts with rollout after staging.

Oh well it was just for kicks.


Owner of the s13 here.nice pic! It's powered by an ls7 so it's not ur typical Nissan lol


That s13 has an ls6 v8 in it. Super crazy. I was there than night. My friend's bug beat that acr vip


or ls7 haha