Auto Racing

Hawkeye Downs kicks off second season of Street Drags on Sunday

Cars pass the grandstands during practice runs at the start of SPI Outlaw Street Drags at Hawkeye Downs Speedway last ye
Cars pass the grandstands during practice runs at the start of SPI Outlaw Street Drags at Hawkeye Downs Speedway last year. Drag racing returns Sunday. (The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Since the dawn of the automotive age, speed seekers have asked “Who’s faster?”

Promoter Keith Simmons and his SPI Outlaw Street Drag event Sunday at Hawkeye Downs Speedway gives drivers the opportunity to finally decide any ongoing debates.

“It’s a way to settle between you and your buddy, legally, ‘Whose car is fastest?’” Simmons said.

“The event grew each month last year as we went along.”

Simmons is excited for the promise of the group’s second season.

“If we can pick up where we left off last August, it will be awesome,” he said.

The final event of 2019 drew 137 cars at $10 a bracket and nearly 800 fans.

“We’re the only ones doing this in our area,” Simmons said. “It’s because several of the cars are very nice and you need a paved track to do it.”

The next closest track with a similar event is in La Crosse, Wis.

“I hope to have a big gathering of car enthusiasts and it continues for a while,” Simmons said.

One thing that helps draw a crowd is the ability to keep the races rolling, something organizers want to continue to improve upon.

“It’s 300 feet of fun and if it has wheels on it, we have a bracket for it,” said Simmons, who is hoping to attract over 100 racers. “There’s a class for side-by-sides, ATVs, motorcycles and every type of car or truck.

“There’s something for everybody.”

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Even if you don’t want to race, $10 gains you entry to the grandstands and the chance to check out dozens of vehicles during the car show.

“Not only do we have racing, we have a ‘show and shine’ for the owners that don’t want to run,” Simmons said. “They show their cars off and then we parade them in front of the grandstands with a crowd vote-by-applause determining the winner.”

While tracks have started reopening to large numbers of people, Simmons has no doubt they have plenty of space to comply with any and all restrictions.

“We can be at half-capacity and we’ve never even been close to that,” Simmons said with a laugh. “The place holds 5,500 and I’d love to hit half-capacity, but realistically, we will have plenty of room for everyone. This is something that everybody can do and have a little fun with and that’s what it’s all about.

“It’s something where people can come out to race without spending a lot of money.”

Gates open at 10:30 a.m., practice starts at 11:30 and bracket runoffs start at 12:30 p.m.

Comments: justin.webster@thegazette.com

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