Yesterday we showed you how to build a race track. Today, it’s how to build a drag strip.
Having your own drag strip, for many drivers, is a dream come true. You can go tear up that quarter-mile anytime you like without worrying about paying entry fees. Plus, you can make some money inviting other local racers to take advantage of your track. If your dream is to own your own drag strip, what do you need to keep in mind before you can cut the ribbon and drop that checkered flag on opening day?
The first thing you need to consider before building a drag strip is the issue of zoning and any local policies that might be standing in your way. Areas that are zoned for residential use — even if they haven’t been developed yet — may be off-limits for a commercial construction project like a drag strip.
Local polices like those concerning sound and air pollution, will also need to be considered before you can break ground. Drag strips are inherently noisy, so if you’ve got neighbors close by, they probably won’t want to hear your races.
Step two, once you’ve found the ideal location and purchased or leased the land, is getting started on construction. Consider the type of track you want to build. Do you want a quarter-mile asphalt strip or a dirt track? Are you going to use asphalt, concrete or some combination of the two in your construction? How close are you to local quarries or concrete plants to be able to source materials?
Concrete is one of the most versatile and durable construction materials and will likely be more cost-effective for your drag strip build than asphalt, at least at the beginning.
Keep in mind the other facilities and features you’ll want to have on your property, too. Racing lights, buildings for organization and storage, and even restrooms will all be essential once your drag strip is finally up and running.
Liability insurance is going to be one of your biggest costs when it comes to setting up a drag strip. Even if you have every driver sign a waiver, you will still be required to maintain liability insurance with a minimum of $1 million of underlying coverage and a minimum monthly premium of $1,500.
This policy isn’t just to protect the drivers who utilize your drag strip — it’s to protect you from costly legal or medical fees in the event of an accident.
The cost of building a drag strip will vary depending on where you live and what sort of permits are required for this sort of construction project, but the general consensus is that, on average, a fully functioning drag strip will probably cost you anywhere from $1,000,000 to $4,000,000 just to get it off the ground.
You’ll be in this for the long haul — even with sponsorships from racing events and product manufacturers, it will likely take you a long time to recoup your money. Thankfully, a well-built drag strip has a shelf-life of decades, if not longer. Some of the most well-known drag strips in the U.S. were built back in the ‘50s and ‘60s.
If you take the time to do it right the first time, a drag strip can be a lifelong investment you can pass on to your children when you retire. Take the time to do your research first, though. Don’t skip any steps, make sure all your “I”s are dotted and your “T”s are crossed and your track will serve you well for years to come.