One of the most extreme events in drag racing history will begin next weekend with the running of Death Week, a 2000-mile street car torture test throughout the southwest of the United States.
This drag-and-drive event comes from the crazy minds at Sick The Magazine, who wanted to set up the most challenging route yet for those racers who think their car can pass the ultimate endurance trial. Teams will start at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, Arizona, on October 21 before driving across the desert to Barona Drag Strip, California, to race on October 22. From there, they will drive through Los Angeles along the Pacific Coast Highway, up the coast and then cut across to Fresno for a tour through the Sequoia National Park before racing at Famoso Drag Strip near Bakersfield, California. Teams will then make their way to Las Vegas, with some taking up the option to travel through Death Valley.
While in Vegas, the drag-and-drive world will be on display at the NHRA Nevada Nationals, helping to promote street-legal NHRA drag racing before cruising the Las Vegas strip. Next, they must continue south past Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon to reach the finish line back at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park.
Among the entrants are six-times Drag Week winner and Sick The Magazine’s publisher Tom Bailey, who will be bringing a 1600hp Dodge Durango, and Alan Whitaker’s 3000hp SMX-powered Chevrolet Monte Carlo.
They will be joined by American and international teams from as far afield as Canada and the United Kingdom. Among them is Canadian Rich Guido’s eight-second stick shift Pontiac GTO. Guido will be bringing his 81-year-old father along for the adventure.
“I’m excited about the concept and the fact it’s all one big class,” said Guido, who also drives all the way to events rather than using a transporter. “I think I have a decent chance to place well. It will be an epic road trip. You’re so far away from home, and trips like this take some good planning.”
Sick The Magazine editor Luke Nieuwhof test-drove the spectacular route last weekend with publisher and six-times Drag Week winner Tom Bailey. He believes that racers are in for something special.
“This is a one-off event, never to be repeated,” Nieuwhof said. “The scenery is other-worldly in places, and the idea that we will have street cars with thousands of horsepower driving and surviving on those roads puts an end to the street car/race car debate.
“Our tech guy Keith Turk is one of the people responsible for creating drag-and-drive events, along with Hot Rod Magazine’s David Freiburger. Keith said this reminds him of the earliest Drag Week because none of us know what is actually possible here. Can a 3000hp billet motor be reliable enough to survive 2000 miles? If so, that’s a really impressive engineering feat.”
Spectators are welcome to attend every track to watch the action unfold. Tickets are available at the gate from $25, and kids under 12 are free. Further event information, including on-track times, is available at sickthemagazine.com/death-week.