Is Roll Racing the New Entree to the Dragstrip?

Image courtesy
Is Roll Racing the New Entree to the Dragstrip?
Image courtesy

The International Roll Racing Association (IRRA) sounds like a good idea to keep racing off the streets and on a racetrack. With rules that separate cars and motorcycles that can take their vehicles to either 140+ or under that barrier, this organization has offered the public an opportunity to hit the quarter-mile and not have to worry as much as they might ordinarily about ruining parts on their cars by racing from a standing start.

With a rolling start at 40mph agreed upon, this could be just the tip for many different enthusiasts of the sport of drag racing. Although the organizers haven’t had their first race – yet – they’re planning to hold four contests in 2018 and hope to grow this sport to great acceptance in the United States. IRRA claims there are more than 20 roll racing organizations worldwide; they’re ready to increase that number.

All four 2018 IRRA events are scheduled to take place at Palm Beach International Raceway and will have a total of 25 classes competing in separate C1 and C2 categories. C1 is for cars capable of 140mph or faster, with classes for front-wheel-drive, rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive road-going cars. Trucks and SUVs have their own class, as do fully electric vehicles, motorcycles, exotics and what IRRA terms hyper cars.

In C1, there are separations for classes, allowing one category with and one without forced induction, which should make the category even more interesting. The same separation holds true for the C2 class that races under 140mph, with the exception that no exotic or hyper cars are in play for this class.

What do I think? It’s got to be a good way to get racers to the safety of a properly built and maintained racetrack like Palm Beach. With so many wannabe racers having accidents or even dying in street competition, this could be a good way to give prospective racers the opportunity to see if they’ve got the chops to do the job without putting too much stress on their equipment.

On the other hand, how many racing organizations do we really need? Is roll racing something that the aspiring racer wants to do? While starting their races at something other than a full-stop might be enticing to those trying to break into the game, it doesn’t carry through to other forms of straight-line motorsports.

Let’s reserve judgment until after the first race on April 28, two weeks from now. If IRRA is successful in bringing a lot of people to both race and watch for its premier event, and does it again with its August, October and December races, then it might be time to take a good, long look at roll racing. Maybe there’s a place for this? Beyond Palm Beach International Raceway?

About Anne Proffit 652 Articles
Anne Proffit traces her love of racing - in particular drag racing - to her childhood days in Philadelphia, where Atco Dragway, Englishtown and Maple Grove Raceway were destinations just made for her. As a diversion, she was the first editor of IMSA’s Arrow newsletter, and now writes about and photographs sports cars, Indy cars, Formula 1, MotoGP, NASCAR, Formula Drift, Red Bull Global Rallycross - in addition to her first love of NHRA drag racing. A specialty is a particular admiration for the people that build and tune drag racing engines.

1 Comment on Is Roll Racing the New Entree to the Dragstrip?

  1. Many drag strips are too short for a “rolling start”’d have to have a long run-off after the finish line.. but what-the-hey.. Any type of motorsport is good with would also let struggling tracks maybe hang on a little longer..
    Take a que from the ADBA… a rolling start ain’t easy… without red lighting, or gettin’ smoked sleeping at the starting line.. (of course, their rolling start is for a very different reason…lol)

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