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When I found out that, thanks to my wife, daughter, son-in-law and grandkids, like it or not (I really liked it) we were going to take a family vacation to Hawai’i, almost the first thing I thought about was that since I was going to be there I would make an effort to see or visit some of my fellow drag racers while in the 50th state. For me it just wouldn’t be a vacation without a drag racing fix of some sort. In nearly 40 years of marriage to my wife and business partner, Kay, I’ve managed to seek out some kind of drag racing-related entertainment on every trip we’ve taken. She has come to accept that it is just part of the deal for living with a drag racing junkie like myself.
Last year I traveled to Qatar on the Saudi Peninsula to visit that country’s drag strip and meet some of their drag racers. So, I figured I would do the same on my trip to Hawai’i, and once again I found that drag racing crosses all barriers and boundaries and drag racers around the world are of the same mold: generally genuinely nice people who love fast cars and racing. In other words, my kind of folks.
Before we made the trip I put up a 1320 note saying that I wanted to meet some drag racers during my trip. I received several notes from island racers who read DRO including several members of the drag racing club located on the island of Kauai. All invited me to come visit them and their track where they just happen to be holding the first race of the year, one of the ten meets they hold each season. The Garden Isle Racing Association runs an NHRA-sanctioned track, Kauai Raceway Park. I accepted their kind offer.
So on the third day of our vacation my son-in-law, Adolfo, and I got on an airplane
made the $150 per person 30-minute flight across the Pacific from Oahu where we
were staying to Kauai.
The track is on the other side of the island from the airport and if you want to get to the track figure on renting a car to get there. We didn’t have to rent a car, thanks to Dan Nanbu, one of the members of the Garden Isle Racing Association who works for the local Toyota dealer. He races a really nice Camaro door car. He contacted me before we left the mainland and offered to let us drive one of their demos (I guess he didn’t check my driving or rental car record) to and from the airport. He left the car in the parking lot of the airport with the keys in the tailpipe and a 20-dollar bill on the dash to cover the parking tab. I remember thinking at the time this kind of hospitality isn’t about to happen to me at any stateside track I visit.
Adolfo and I got into the Toyota van and started for the drag strip. The first thing we noticed was the unbelievable beaches most of which seemed to be named after Beach Boy tunes (that’s a joke, folks).
The directions that Nanbu had left for us said to look for a small sign on a dirt road turnoff at mile marker 38. After about a 45-minute drive Adolfo saw the sign and we turned off onto a dirt road. Here I was in Hawai’i taking a dirt road to a dragstrip I’d never been seen before. It was kind of a surreal experience.