Irwindale, CA – July 22:   “We had some special young guests here at the Dragstrip on Thursday night,” said track PR guy Doug Stokes.

SEMA (the Specialty Equipment Market Association) just weeks before had announced a first-ever SEMA Custom Car Camp for youngsters 10 to 13 years old.  It was set for the week of July 18-22 at the association’s home offices in Diamond Bar, California, not far from the Irwindale track.

“Our CEO, Jim Cohan, thought that it might be fun for the ‘campers’ to come out to Irwindale for a little racing ‘field trip’.  And our friends at SEMA agreed that it would be pretty cool for the youngsters to visit an operating NHRA Drag Strip and have close-up look at the world of Drag Racing at the grass roots, street-legal level.  We were all very pleased at the turnout and the enthusiasm that the campers, their folks, and the SEMA staffers showed for the adventure,” said Stokes.  

Well-known motorsports announcer (that’s him in the middle, between two campers) Bob Beck, (aka “The Voice of Irwindale Dragstrip”) did a great job of hosting the young campers up in the tower; showing them exactly how a professional drag racing event is operated and controlled.

Activities at SEMA HQ during the week had included using the SEMA Garage’s 3D printer to design and print out parts for Traxxas RC Cars.  There were also visits from some well-known entertainers and car builders, and talks from SEMA staffers about the fun (and serious) sides of the automotive product and accessories business.

On Friday, the final day of camp, the young racers ran Traxxas RC cars that they had modified during the week in a final competition. “We hope that they learned a bit about racing and race tactics from their visit to the “Having these youngsters and their parents here for a night of fun watching fast cars compete under safe conditions was a great experience for all of us here at Irwindale.”  Stokes concluded by reiterating Cohan’s remarks when the program was announced, “Where were Summer camps like this when I was a kid?” 


In fact … a lot of Irwindale staffers and racers asked that very same question.

SEMA is a trade association that consists of a diverse group of manufacturers, distributors, retailers, publishing companies, auto restorers, street-rod builders, restylers, car clubs, race teams and more.

SEMA members make, buy, sell and use all kinds of specialty parts and accessories to make vehicles more attractive, more unique, more convenient, faster, safer, more fun and even like-new again.

IRWINDALE DRAGSTRIP is located about 18 miles East of Los Angeles on the grounds of the Irwindale Event Center which features a 6,500-seat “twin-ring” NASCAR track with half and third-mile oval courses.  It’s also the home of the LA Racing Experience where fans step into a set of flame-proof coveralls, strap on a full-face helmet, and drive a 400-horsepower Late Model stock car on the fabled NASCAR track that everyone calls “LA’s Half-Mile Superspeedway”

Regular “Thursday Night Thunder” test and tune events at Irwindale Dragstrip  are run every Thursday night

from 5PM to 10PM  (gates open at 4PM) with the exception of

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years.