Scouting Report (rev 8/27/08)
This is a modified version of my scouting report from earlier in the year.
I hope some of the locals might be able to offer additional insight.
In order to finalize details for the upcoming NASA Race at Redding
Drag Strip, a road trip was made to get a first hand look at the
From Sacramento, the tow to Redding is an honest 3 hour haul.
Interstate 5 is straight and flat with many Cal-Trans rest areas
along the way. This along with many roadside businesses make for a
comfortable drive. The only elevation changes worth noting came at the
Red Bluff interchange which is roughly just 20 miles shy of Redding.
There are no real challenging grades to deal with. The scenery along
the way was picturesque with majestic Mt. Shasta appearing on the
horizon for the last half of the trip. Once out of Sacramento,
we found a couple of fun Rock-N-Roll/Oldies stations at 102.1 and 105.3
All things considered, the trip from Sac was effortless.
Redding Drag Strip is recognized as the oldest, continuously operated
NHRA sanctioned facility. A great deal of history has been recorded at
this location. Originally used as a WW2 refueling stop for US war birds in
route to battle, many anchoring sites still remain. The track is a small
grassroots, family-oriented business whose goal is to bring motorsports
to the community in a fun, safe and professional manner.
MythBusters chose The Redding Drag Strip as their test site in episode 87
"Myth Evolution", where they made several attempts to beat a speed camera.
If you can only be satisfied with amenities offered by a large corporately owned
racetrack, then Redding is not for you.
We met the staff who were very welcoming and professional. The track
owner and his wife are hands on people determined to continue to make
improvements and to keep the grounds clean and well maintained. We
were treated to a VIP tour of the facility. We walked the track and
other than the typical occasional cracks in the surface we did not
note any other imperfections. The surface appeared very straight and
smooth. No bumps, dips, or holes were noted. The track is old, but
very raceable. The track is lined on both sides with guard rails,
exits are on the left side. Timing score boards are old and dated and located
at the 1/8 mark. Win lights are very visible just beyond the finish
Track Staff is well practiced and knowledgeable. I spent some time in
the tower talking with the computer/timing operator, I spoke with the
starter, and also made some friends talking with the local racers.
Elevation: 490’ above sea level
Length: 1/4 mile with 180’ concrete launch pad, full guardrails,
3,200’ shut down area.
Track Prep: Scraped, swept and liberally sprayed with V-P Lane Choice #5
(typical) Spring/Fall - 50-70 degrees
Summer - 80-100 degrees
Redding holds the record for the warmest average daily temperatures
North of 40oN latitude anywhere in the world.
Corrected altitude varies but is usually around 3000’ – 3,500’ above
Our visit was during the Grand Re-opening of the Redding
Drag Strip. Recent improvements include a new launch. Working over the
past two months, the staff tried getting the rubber build-up off, and
then polishing out the grooves. This effort has proven to be
unsuccessful. The concrete is old, cracked, and chipped out. Fresh
concrete was laid from the burnout box to 280 feet out.
In the creature comfort department, new bleachers were installed on the west
side of the track with blue prints for more still on the chalk board. The Scoring
Tower has been recently moved to an area just behind the water boxes.
The wind was blowing and the temp was chilly, unusual conditions for
this location. It's well known for it's hot temps and still air.
Similar to Sacramento, it can be "Melt your shoes HOT!" Shade is at a
minimum, be sure to bring your EZ-Up and plenty of hydrating
beverages. If you race Sac, you know what to expect. Camping is
available at the track and is free. Hotel/Motel lodging is located within
the Redding City limits, about 5 miles further up the interstate.
Test-N-Tune was scheduled for the weekend. Very reasonable for
$10.00 at the gate and another $30.00 for a tech card. You could have
hot lapped your way around the track. The new starting area was
thoroughly dragged and sprayed but was still considered very green and
in need of rubber. By Sunday, cars were starting to hook up. Local
racers mentioned that their 60 foot times were getting better. We watched many 9
second passes during our time at the track. We did not notice any cars
getting loose or moving around. Most of the racecars in the pits and staging area were
an even mix of Dragsters, quick Door Slammers, and in Redding they do
love their Trucks!
One of our own, Jeff Newcomb was out to do some testing in his Drag Ghia.
All things considered, Redding Drag Strip can be best described as
Simple, Modest, and Clean. There are no flush toilets (porta potties
only). No running water. Souvenir booth is temporarily closed.
It can be compared to an undeveloped campground....If you want a place
to go to to enjoy simple pleasures, in this case drag racing, you will
find it adequate. If you demand all the usual and modern creature comforts,
you will be disappointed. It's backpacking vs state of the art RV
Rated on a scale of 1 to 10
Track Personnel 9.5
Starting Line to 60 foot 8.5
Drag Strip 8
Exits 5 (only 2 exits, one at 1/4 mile the other at the end of the guard rail)
Return Road 8
Pits 7 (well groomed gravel or dirt, paved pits are privately owned)
Track Prep 7
Staff Truck 9
Port-O-Lets 8 (scored by Lynn. Adequate and clean)
Snack Shack 5 (Primarily a microwave kitchen. I had a Corndog, Lynn
had Nachos. Note....bring your own snacks)
Our visit was during a TNT session and not a busy event. There were no
oil downs or emergencies of any kind.
We have no notes to share on track clean up or safety safari response.
Based on our experience, NASA will finalize our plans and will soon
announce our race date at Redding. More info on Redding Drag Strip
can be found at www.reddingdragstrip.com