Students from the Lake Land College Automotive Club have been climbing the ranks at the Coles County Dragway in preparation for the King of the College drag race that will take place on Oct. 15.
Jason Lord of Charleston and Lucas Doedtman of Effingham are both second-year students in the automotive technology program, and have been racing for the Lake Land College Automotive Club for nearly a year and a half. Starting in the novice class as freshmen, both racers now compete in the sportsman class.
“These boys have excelled in the local racing scene in just a year’s time,” said Scotty Adams, adjunct automotive instructor. “They’ve been racing folks from all over the region including St. Louis, Chicago and Terre Haute. The dragway really draws a wide variety of people and I’m happy to say some of the top racers come from Lake Land.”
The King of the College race attracts drivers from other area colleges and universities where they compete for the title of King of the College. Last year, representatives from Parkland College and Southern Illinois University competed against drivers from Lake Land.
Lord and Doedtman both race the Auto Club’s 1993 Pontiac Firebird, which has been re-vamped by its members. The car still has most of its stock parts except for the tires, rims and exhaust which have been replaced in order to meet its needs as a drag car.
“The car runs at 77 miles per hour on average, and takes about 8.8 seconds to travel the one-eighth of a mile strip,” said Doedtman. “But with the racing we do, it’s more important to get a proper dial-in time, which is an estimate of how long you think it will take to cross the finish line.”
To estimate the run time, drivers must factor in several different aspects including the weather, track conditions and humidity.
“You really play a mind game with yourself and have to know how the vehicle will run when it’s hot or cold out,” said Lord. “That’s the real key to racing.”
According to Adams, the Auto Club is gaining momentum both on and off the drag strip as more people are gaining interest in drag racing.