Drag racing nationals fly toward Chicagoland

ByJesse Kirsch via WLS logo
Thursday, May 23, 2019
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Some of the fastest cars around will be zipping along Route 66 Raceway's track next weekend.

JOLIET, Ill. (WLS) -- The Route 66 NHRA Nationals will bring incredible speeds to the Joliet raceway May 30 courtesy of rocket-like drag racers.

"It's like having 20 jet engines running," explained drag racing instructor and driver Frank Hawley, adding, "the ground actually shakes. Your chest shakes."

That's because these skinny, aerodynamic cars accelearte to 100 mph in under a second, according to Hawley.

With a massive engine right behind me, I strapped into one of these racers Wednesday to experience the thrill first-hand.

Before I did any driving, instructors made sure I knew how to kill the engine and even open an emergency parachute.

Then I started my engine and lined up on the track. When the light went green, I slammed all the way down on the gas pedal. Before I knew what was happening, I hit 125 mph, having run a quarter mile in under 11 seconds. But if you can believe it, the pros make that look easy.

"10,000 horse power... over 300 mph," said Hawley of the top racers.

"It's absolutely a crazy spectacle in motor sports," he added.

Their times are the equivalent of driving past more than four football fields in under 4 seconds.

You can watch that yourself at the Route 66 Raceway May 30 through June 2.

It's a safe bet you're in for a wild ride!