Drag racers are raring to go as they gear up for Hot August Nites coming up Aug. 6-7 during Riverboat Days, with street legals Aug. 4 at 6 p.m.
Speed is accelerating at the track, with two snazzy new cars and several old ones souped up with new motors for this year’s races.
“It’s very competitive. We’ve got some guys that have stepped up and bought newer, faster cars, so it’s actually pretty exciting to watch,” said Jeremy McBride from the Terrace Drag Racing Association.
Clint Dalla Vecchia from Terrace is racing a new 1967 Camaro, and Kham Shantz from Prince Rupert is driving a flaming black 1937 Chevy Promod with a 1400 horsepower engine.
Dalla Vecchia bought his orange Camaro in October and raced it several times this spring in Terrace, Prince George, and Mission.
He clocked 5.9 seconds in the Terrace one-eighth mile with the car, reaching 117 miles per hour (188 km/h).
Faster than that, he clipped 147 miles per hour (236 km/h) on the quarter-mile track in Prince George, finishing in 9.4 seconds.
Racing last weekend in Mission, Dalla Vecchia said he still looks forward to Hot August Nites.
“It’s always a good race,” he said. “It’s fun.”
Clint’s wife Lina is taking a seat behind the wheel for the first time this year, planning to race Clint’s familiar 1969 Chevelle.
The races include a junior category for racers ages 6-18, as well as pros, super pros, and bikes ‘n’ sleds.
Preserving the competitive thrill, cars will also be bracket racing, a category which levels the playing field by giving slower cars a head start.
“It’s very competitive. The beauty of bracket racing is anybody can afford to do it, even if you have a street car, you can come up and be competitive,” said McBride.
Last year close to 70 racers took off in the Hot August races, sponsored this year by Technicon, and McBride says they’re shooting for a similar turnout this year.
“We’ve got a few guys from Prince George that are trying to come up too,” he said. “We’re hoping.”
Hot August Nites is the big race for the northwest drag racers, with a solid crowd and racers coming from Smithers, Prince Rupert and Kitimat every year.