Grassroots Racing: The Milan Dragway Friday Night Heads Up Series

Local heads-up racing has always been a hotbed of activity that drives racers to go faster. Across the country, you’ll find tracks both big and small with some type of program that draws in those vying to be the quikcest and fastest without any E.T. limits. Milan Dragway runs its own Friday Night Heads Up Drag Racing Series that’s been packing the pits and stands every first Friday of the month for years, marking it one of the strongest-running heads-up programs in the country.

Milan Dragway has been a staple in the Michigan drag racing community for many years. The track has hosted national events from several different racing organizations, has been a testing location for General Motors, Ford, and Dodge, and has a vibrant no-time community. The Friday Night series has been a part of the Milan schedule for over 12 years and features a Run What Ya Brung class along with All Motor, Drag Radial, Outlaw 10.5, Motor City Muscle, Outlaw 632, and Open Comp classes, too.

Deneen Baxter, Vice President of Milan Dragway, explains how all of this Friday Night madness got started.

“Back in the early 2000s, our race director at the time came to us with the idea for the series. There were a lot of racers coming to him and talking about how popular heads-up racing was becoming, so he thought it would be a good fit. Friday night just seemed to be the night that everyone was interested in to race. After he made the proposal we started the Friday Night series and it has grown into what you see today.”

When you come to Milan Dragway you quickly notice how healthy the Friday Night Heads Up Drag Racing Series is. There are plenty of cars flooding into the pits as soon as the gates open to get set up, as well as a good amount of racers already on the property from the test session on Thursday. The stands begin to fill up when spectators get off of work.

The Friday night formula has worked for Milan over the life of the series. Since it has continued to flourish and grow, Baxter and her team haven’t seen the need to make any changes. The goal has been to maintain the friendly feel of the event and provide a great show for all who attend.

“We tried to do a Saturday series and it never took off the same way that our Friday night series has over the years. The growth, in the beginning, was huge and it has remained steady ever since. The racers like the vibe of the event and how friendly it is. It’s a fun night that everyone that can come race and have a good time. We try to make it great for the spectators, too, and kids 12 and under are always free,” Baxter says.

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The biggest heads-up races might always get the most attention, but that doesn’t mean great racing isn’t happening elsewhere. Friday night racing at Milan Dragway has that cool old-school grassroots feel and always puts on a show for the fans while giving local racers a place to have a good time.

About the author

Brian Wagner

Spending his childhood at different race tracks around Ohio with his family’s 1967 Nova, Brian developed a true love for drag racing. When Brian is not writing, you can find him at the track as a crew chief, doing freelance photography, or beating on his nitrous-fed 2000 Trans Am.
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