HILLMAN - Twenty years ago a group of friends got together and approached the Village of Hillman about closing down one of the streets and using it as a drag strip to race vehicles. Ever since then, the Hillman Street Drags are considered the event of the year in Hillman, drawing thousands of people from throughout Michigan to see approximately 70 street legal vehicles racing against the clock for the fastest time.
The drags will take place July 7 and are sponsored by Wheels of Northeastern Michigan Car Club, Inc., along with many local sponsors.
"We usually have somewhere between 50 and 70 racers," said club member Chuck Schaudt. "We launch them from a professional tree on an 1/8-mile track against the clock. There are a lot of local business sponsors for the event too, and we advertise for them during the race."
Spectators are encouraged to bring their own seating, and can bring canopies/tents and pitch them in designated areas. There will be concessions on the grounds from local vendors or spectators can bring their own lunch.
Registration for drivers is $40 and runs 9 to 11 a.m., with the drags beginning at noon. The vehicles must be street legal and drivers must have their registration, insurance and a valid drivers license. Participants must be at least 18 years old, and wear a helmet and seatbelt. All motorcycle drivers must wear full protective gear, including a jacket, pants, helmet and boots.
"We are the only community, as far as we know, in the country that holds an actual street drag on the streets," Schaudt said. "Everyone else uses an airport or abandoned road strip."
What: 20th Annual Hillman Street Drags
Where:Progress Street in downtown Hillman
When: Sunday, July 7, with races starting at noon
*Spectator admission is $5 for adults, children 12 and under free
**Driver registration is 9-11 a.m. with a $40 fee
There will be trophies awarded for every quarter-second bracket in three classes: nitrous/blower car and truck class, car and truck class, and motorcycle class. There will also be a trophy for the fastest in each class.
"We try to make it as safe as possible," said club member Dennis Walker. "We keep the pit area separate, and have barricades on the side to ensure safety. We've had some pretty fast cars over the years, and we expect a big turnout this year. With people spending the night around town at the motels and parks, it's great for the community. Plus it's a pretty cheap activity."
Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.