February 1, 2013

Old School Drag Racing – Estevan, Saskatchewan

Drag racing began on dry lake beds and progressed to racing on airport runways before the sport advanced to the purpose built facilities that are the norm today. The races were generally organized and the track set-up by a local group of racers and/or a local car club who wanted a place to run their hot rods away from the streets. Facilities were generally rudimentary but got the job done. Hundreds of racers and spectators attended these races.

Beginning on September 21, 2003 a group of dedicated drag racers, the Estevan Drag Racing Association (EDRA) have returned to that style of racing. The EDRA have run three events a year at the Estevan Municipal Airport since that first race. Bringing drag racing to the south east corner of Saskatchewan has been a lot of work for the association members but the hard work has paid off as they are entering their 10th year of operation.

In 2012 Knight Motorsports attended two events at the Estevan airport. Here’s what we found.

  • Looking around the facility you have to marvel at the amount of work required to transform an airport runway into a race track. From setting up the track and its timing system, prepping the track, and all the more mundane tasks such as putting out porta-potties, trash bins, and setting up spectator stands, all was accomplished by the membership over Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. And then after the race it all had to be disassembled and the race track returned to an airport runway.

In Estevan spectator stands normally accommodate 300 to 500 spectators at each event. Used tractor tires are placed to form the guard rail.

The timing tower (note the wheels for portability).


The track runs east to west and is prepped with traction compound and by dragging tires to improve the traction. 

  • One major advantage that an airport track has is an abundance of paved runways and taxiways that can be used as pit parking and staging lanes. Estevan had no shortage of both paved pits and staging lanes plus large grass areas as well.

The taxiway to and from the staging lanes and track

Ample paved and grass pit areas are available for all sizes of tow rigs.



The Junior Dragster staging lanes. Normally six to ten juniors compete at the track on a regular basis.

The staging lanes can easily handle every car at the track at once if necessary.



  • The racing consists of five classes, “Quick 16”, “A” Side, “Street Tire” Bracket, “JR. Dragster”, and “Bikes and Sleds”. Overall car count is generally between 60-80. There are no restrictions on the number of time trials but racing starts promptly at 1:30.
  • Old style racing also comes into play on the race track. The race surface is weathered and polished asphalt without a modern concrete start line, and with limited use is not as “sticky” as a regular track. Even after the track is prepped by dragging tires and applying traction compound a driver needs to relearn how to drive the starting line. Knight Motorsports found that by dropping the starting line rpm and leaving earlier on the tree we lost only a tenth in sixty feet and Diane still needed the delay box to keep from relighting. Eight mile ET’s were off approximately two tenths and mph was off 1-2 mph compared to our regular performance.
  • Even though we relearned how to drive the track competitively we still lost early (broken transmission in June) and a redlight (not enough delay box) in August. It was challenging to drive the track but a little fore thought and our 1965 Barracuda Superstreet was competitive.

The imaginative “ET slip booth” is mounted on the back of a quad. It is operated by Paige Orser.

Race Day Co-ordinator “Frosty” Forrest.


Race events at EDRA events attract good sized crowds.


Regular competitors at the track include:

“Rocky” Weinrauch – Estevan Saskatchewan – good looking Camaro cousin!!!

Alyssa “Aly” and Damon Doerr – Benfait, Saskatchewan



Greg Hoffart – Estevan, Saskatchewan – check out www.looneyracing.ca

Norm Dunsmore – Yellowgrass, Saskatchewan



Ron Frahn – Weyburn, Saskatchewan

Terrie Willard – Frobischer, Saskatchewan – this AMC Gremlin is Mopar powered!!!



Jeff Roy of Roy’s Transmissions – Estevan, Saskatchewan

Rick Pulfer – Weyburn, Saskatchewan

  • And before you leave the track don’t forget to try the concessions. The concessions consist of a portable catering truck that serves up some of the best ‘track food” I have ever eaten and a portable ice cream truck features something like 40 flavours.

All-in-all, a fun place to race with a friendly group of racers and fans. Visit the track at the website of the Estevan Drag Racing Association at www.edra.ca for more information.

Tentative race dates for 2013 are June 16, July 14 and August 25. Check the website for confirmation of these dates.

George Knight
February 1, 2013

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