The Subaru Shootout was held August 27, 2011, at Byron Dragway near Rockford, Illinois. Previous experiences at other drag strips in the Midwest had prepared me in general for the event, but this one focused on Subaru racers.
From the line of cars waiting to enter at the front gate, I knew this day was going to be a busy one.
Passing among the many Subaru vehicles in the parking lot, you could see that the majority of them had numbers written on their windows because their drivers had registered to drag them.
A number of fans were on hand to watch, along with those with good intentions who changed their minds because they “couldn’t get their Subaru home if they broke it.” Groups of friends gathered under canopies and over grills and enjoyed a great day.
The Subaru Shootout followed typical drag racing protocol:
- Cars raced each other in pairs.
- Non-all-wheel-drive vehicles spin their rear tires in water, cleaning the tire surfaces and heating them for traction.
- When lights on the tree went from yellow to green, drivers accelerated down their 1/4-mile lanes.
- Reaction time to the green light was posted on the timing board.
- At the end of each run, racers collected their time printouts from the booth.
- Subaru drivers then posted their times on the Tower of Power.
Among the Subaru cars competing was a GC8 Impreza from Ontario, Canada, which had solid run times of 10 seconds.
Also, P and L Motorsports ran its STI, which posted times of approximately 9.5 seconds, reaching more than 150 miles per hour. Of interest to P and L’s story is owner Paul Szuba. Born without legs and with only one arm, Szuba is behind the drag car that holds the honor of being the fastest manual Subaru STI in the United States.
There were only a few car casualties that Saturday. One of the drivers who was anxious to get on track early that day blew a head gasket (at least). Through the help and teamwork of strangers, he was able to fix his car and take more runs. Also in the mix was a Corvette that caught fire at the end of the strip and a few blown engines.
The day ended with Subaru drivers taking home trophies for top times in their respective divisions.
View more images from this event. Watch for more about drag racing in Drive Performance Version 9.1, which will be mailed during March 2012.
Thanks to Subaru Shootout organizer Philip Ly for the invitation to attend!
-- Melissa Carlson