INside Story

Drag strip offers safe alternative to street racing

Central Indiana is home to numerous race tracks featuring racing at every skill level. These tracks provide not only a fun night out for fans and drivers alike but also serve as an anchor for the community.

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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Racing fields don’t get much more eclectic than the bracket at Wild Wednesdays.

On a recent June evening, the paddock at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park is filled with road cars of every description. There are Mustangs, Corvettes and Camaros, a Maserati Quattroporte, a host of motorcycles, and even a couple of junior dragsters mixed in. A Tesla Model 3 ran against gas-powered cars and beat them handily.

Among the field that evening was Leyna Oros and her 2010 Ford Mustang GT. It was her first time taking the car down the strip.

“Just to have fun. Nothing serious. Just launch it and do the best I could,” Oros said.

The track hosts Wild Wednesdays several times a year from April through October. Track spokesperson Tanner Watkins says that anyone can drive their car or motorcycle off the street, run down the drag strip, and get printouts of their times and speeds just like the pros. Watkins said it’s a way for people to see how fast they can go without racing in the street.

“We have racing professionals here, we have medical professionals. It’s the safest place to race and it’s the most exciting,” Watkins said. “You can’t see your times and judge your competition as well out on the street as you can here at the race track.”

Robert Guthrie said he appreciates having a safe way to race. A longtime motorcycle rider and drag racing fan, he spent the evening racing his friends down the track. Guthrie says the atmosphere and the camaraderie are the best parts of Wild Wednesdays.

“Being able to get out here and number one, being with your friends, and being able to open them up without any blue and reds behind you,” Guthrie said.

Oros ran the quarter-mile in 14.569 seconds at 100.91 mph on her first-ever pass, beating the car in the other lane. Oros said she was disappointed in her initial performance, but added she’s still figuring out the best way to launch at the start line. Oros also plans to save up for a more powerful car.

Any driver who wants to take part must first pass a tech inspection. Everyone has to wear long pants and shirts with sleeves. Additional safety rules depend on your vehicle.

It costs $30 to run your car down the dragstrip, or $35 if you pay at the gate.