The crew at Tintmasters Motorsports, a complete vehicle customization shop based in Fargo, N.D., noticed that young racers in their area were at risk drag racing on the streets, so they decided to offer a safer alternative.
As a result, the company has been holding street-legal drag racing events for nearly 11 years to introduce young people to the sport and offer a safer, controlled environment for drag racing to thrive.
“We saw a fairly large epidemic of street racing in the area, so it our way to counter that, as well as offer something to the community as a business,” said Jason Christopherson, who has coordinated Tintmaster’s Street Legal Drag Races for all 11 years.
In addition to its Fargo shop, Tintmasters Motorsports also has locations in Grand Forks, N.D., Burnsville, Minn., and Bemidji, Minn. The business’ products and services include window tinting, 3M paint protection, remote starts, car audio, wheels and tires, and performance upgrades.
Tintmasters Motorsports rents out the local drag strip for events and offers a reasonable entry fee that kids can afford, according to Christopherson, who also manages the company’s Fargo store. Tintmasters also offers a yearly two-day drag racing and camping event to attract racers from surrounding areas.
“The addition of camping allows people from 300 to 400 miles away to come and enjoy the event,” Christopherson said. “The risk of getting it rained out for both days is minimal, so it creates an opportunity for tons of people to come and have confidence that they’re going to have fun.”
Although Tintmasters’ No. 1 priority was to keep racers off the streets, it also hoped to gain exposure from sponsoring the events to boost business.
“We kind of got a clan together; they push for us,” Christopherson said. “Even if we don’t have sales that directly come to us, they are speaking to their friends and their buddies that come in, and it’s definitely had a domino effect that’s helped us grow over the years.”
The most recent drag racing and camping event occurred last weekend (Sept. 21-22) and attracted more than 80 vehicles. While the event usually attracts 80-150 cars, the crowd varies from year to year, Christopherson said.
Last weekend’s (Sept. 21-22) drag racing and camping event attracted more than 80 vehicles. The events have had a steady attendance of 80-150 cars over the course of 10 years, but the crowd has varies from year to year, Christopherson said.
“The clientele that comes out to the drag races now has certainly evolved,” he said. “The cars are better suited for drag racing, which in turn draws more excitement from a spectator point of view. You used to come out and watch Honda Civics, Acura Integras and Camaro Mustangs, but now you get to come out and watch Vipers and Supras-real deal horsepower cars, so it’s more fun.”
Christopherson agrees that the success and growth of the event this year mirrors the health of the auto industry as a whole. However, Tintmasters Motorsports still managed to find success when the idea seemed like a risk, because similar drag racing events in the area were scarce.
‘It was kind of risky,” he said. “The cost to rent the track isn’t cheap and if you don’t have X-amount of cars and X-amount of spectators, you lose money. But it’s been profitable every single race day since we started. We’ve never lost money on one, so obviously it was a very good business venture. So, I’m thankful for that.”