20th anniversary drag races return to Elliot Lake

Bruno’s Auto Repairs North Shore Challenge, presented by NAPA Autoparts, returns to Elliot Lake July 19 for it’s 20th year and will feature fire breathing jet cars, like the 1950 Firetruck Wheelstander, above. Supplied

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Come July 19 to 21, spectators will be flocking to the Bruno’s Auto Repairs North Shore Challenge, presented by NAPA Autoparts, at the Elliot Lake Airport Dragway.

Now celebrating 20 years, it’s Northern’ Ontario’s biggest and most spectacular sporting event, attracting up to 2,000 spectators and more than 300 drivers annually.

The challenge is much more than just show-stopping race action. There will also be plenty of music, food and drink, merchandise, demonstrations, and activities for family members of all ages.

“This is not back street Friday night racing,” says event coordinator William Elliott. “This is professional level drag racing with a lot of entertainment value, plus plenty of value-added activities on site. It’s a big deal in the drag racing community.”

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So what’s on tap this year?

From top-level professional dragsters, fire breathing jet cars and a 1950 Firetruck Wheelstander, to funny cars, snowmobiles and motorcycles, to a classic car show featuring around 70 cars, there’s something for every motoring enthusiast.

Each day will feature a complete roster of elimination trials and race finals, Elliott says. “If you miss Saturday not to worry. On Sunday you get to see a whole new race.”

Pit stops will be open to the public, offering folks a unique opportunity to look at the cars and talk to the drivers and their crews. “Drivers love to talk up their cars and even let kids sit in them,” Elliott says. “That’s something people rarely get to do at a race.”

Then there’s the dedicated kids’ area that includes a bouncyland, climbing wall, and interactive learning activities hosted by Science North. Parents can also register their children for up to two hours of supervised care.

Of course, there’ll be no shortage of food and beverages for a hungry crowd. “There are lots of food vendors and a large licensed area for adults to enjoy a few drinks,” Elliott says.

An all weekend/all-access pass for adults is $45. Children 10 and under are free. Shuttle buses are available from the parking lot and the event. VIP event passes are $120 and include on-site parking, special grandstand seating, complimentary drink tickets and food. One thing to keep in mind: dogs are not allowed on the premises.

Elliott also passes on these friendly reminders.

“Remember it’s July so bring your sunscreen, wear a hat, carry plenty of water, and make sure you and your kids have hearing protection. It can get pretty loud. But that’s all part of the fun of drag racing.”

For information and tickets go to elliotlakedragway.com.

This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of the City of Elliot Lake.