This was our second time to the Maui Raceway Park. In short this is a "good 'ol boys" 1/4 mile NHRA race track that has been carved out of the sugar cane fields just off of the Highway to Kihei. We discovered it by accident when we landed in Maui a few years ago. On an approach bank to Kahului, when the plane dipped it wings I looked out the window and saw what looked a lot like a race track,,, Sure enough it was.
This is a fully lit track so the racing which normally occurs on the 3rd Weekend of every month goes on till late in the evening... Sometime till midnight. You don't need to rush your evening you can have dinner in Kihei and then head over (Many of the locals eat at the track... We will try that next time). Like most every NHRA track you have "classes" of races... sometimes they will have some "run what you got" "grudge" matches... Either way be prepared to see everything from "Auntie May's 4 Door Accord" to fully sponsored top fuel rail dragsters. Motorcycle drags and Junior dragsters too. Few things are cooler than watching race cars fling down the track with a warm Hawaiian breeze and stunning Haleakala just in the distance.
This is a "locals" event. But as a visitor to the island I was more than welcomed by all... And the $10 per adult entrance fee gets you around the back of the staging area into the pits where you can get right close to the track. Feel free to walk around, buy shaved ice, food concessions, or a tee shirt. Security staff are there to keep you out of places that you aren't allowed to go.
Bring ear plugs/hearing protection. And at night you might need a long sleeve shirt or a sweatshirt depending on the weather, the wind can get chilly.
One thing I didn't know till this trip, was this NHRA drag strip was once the Puunene Air Station and was used throughout WWII to stage and train planes and pilots for service in the Pacific. Over 100 squadrons & carrier air groups passed through this former air strip during WW2. Though much of the military and historic infrastructure is gone, many of the bunkers are there, and supposedly the track timing tower is whats left of the air stations control tower.
The racers are aware and respectful of this history and the announcer at the race that I was at explained in great detail about the history of this place between races.
For your $10 you can sit in the stands, stand track side, or walk the pits. On a normal night you will see every car run once after about 2 hours... Or you can stay all night to see who wins their class.
I'm a car nut and own a couple of old cars (a Camaro and a Olds 442) ... The real surprise was that my wife, who is NOT a car nut had a great time. It is really an exciting, in the moment event. If you have never been to a NHRA drag race, and you happen to be in Maui when they are running, go! You won't regret it.
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