Hey, Duane here! Last Sunday, you saw Pacers Rik Smits and his custom Typhoon at my house in 1997 for a local meet.
Pacers Rik Smits and his custom Typhoon, photo circa 1997
Indianapolis Raceway Park
Rik didn’t join us for drag racing, but a few “Typhoon” friends did gather to race down IRP’s quarter-mile track. IRP was Indianapolis Raceway Park, now Lucas Oil Raceway. Located in Clermont, Indiana, they welcome street legal cars to race once a week on their quarter-mile drag strip. Spectators welcome too!
White 1993 Typhoon (Tolliver)
Green/Gray 1992 Typhoon (Don)
Black 1993 Typhoon (Duane)
Tolliver had run before, but neither I nor Don ever raced on an official quarter-mile drag strip. We were excited. Typhoon’s excel at 0-60 mph runs due to their low gearing and AWD grip. For quarter-mile runs, they benefit from aftermarket upgrades to boost power at higher speeds. Don’s green Typhoon was the quickest as he already upgraded some performance components, and Tolliver’s white Typhoon was the next fastest. Mine, primarily stock, was slightly slower. I soaked in the experience.
Drag strip runs are for speed and time against distance. You race beside another vehicle, but the two vehicles are not matched for similarities in performance or driver skill at these weekday events, now called Wild Wednesday. Thus, you may run against an experienced racer or a first-timer piloting the family station wagon. Everyone is welcome, just fulfill the track requirements to race. Or come to spectate. Walk along the lineup of vehicles and talk to those preparing to race, or take a seat in the stands. Hang near the launch point, and the smell of burnt rubber fills the air.
Drag Racing My Vehicles
Black 1993 Typhoon
White 1969 Hurst/Olds
Red 1994 Supra
I went to IRP several times and eventually drag raced each of my vehicles. My black Typhoon was the easiest as you simply build boost before launching down the track. The white Hurst/Olds took more effort to limit the rear wheel spin off the line. The red Supra required the most skill, first because it necessitated manually shifting gears, and second because it took practice to gauge the best launch RPM to avoid bogging the engine without inducing excessive tire spin.
I found the anticipation while in line and the adrenaline buildup to be exhausting and stressful, but it sure was fun being there. Eventually Tolliver moved to North Carolina, and Don became less available so I slowly ceased my trips to the drag strip.
Better, Faster, More Responsive
The Typhoon may be too raw, too sensory for some, but I was hooked. I loved my Typhoon and kept it for 18 ½ years, upgrading its performance over the course of adding almost 60k miles to the odometer. Sadly, it was also an accident magnet. Next Sunday, experience those minor impacts. Thanks, and always drive with allure!