Snowmobile Drag Racing on Asphalt Ensures that Sleds Don’t Have to Get Locked Away During the Summer
Allow me to do my best Jay Leno impression… *AHEM* “So, uh… snowmobile drag racing… Have you seen this, have you heard about this? Snowmobile drag racing. Makes me think, maybe these people just need to buy a motorcycle.”
Taking your sled onto the asphalt for snowmobile drag racing is a trend that is gaining a lot of popularity across the country. So much so that you can find modified parts specifically for getting your snowmobile onto the drag strip. And when you hear that drag racing sleds can get up to 200 mph it’s easy to see why people like it so much.
We all know snowmobile riders have a need for speed. So it’s no wonder that people have been modifying their sleds so they can keep them running all year long, including snowmobile drag racing when snow isn’t required.
No more waiting for winter, it’s time to get to the strip!
How Does Snowmobile Drag Racing Work?
You can just take your unmodified snowmobile and put it on the track and rip the throttle. You can also take your car and drive it into a lake. Neither one is particularly advisable. And I think we can all see how that might go a little haywire.
So what do you need to do to get your sled ready for the switch from snow to blacktop?
Well, it all starts with a little modification.
Snowmobile Drag Racing Mods
The first thing you need to think about is your tracks. Asphalt tracks come in 15” tracks and 10 ⅝”, and while the smaller tracks are going to give you more speed, they require more extensive modification of your snowmobile if you’re planning on drag racing.
If this is a project you’re willing to put the time and money into, and if you are thinking about dedicating a specific sled to the asphalt, you can go with the smaller tracks.
On the other hand, if this is something you’re trying for the first time, the inexpensive route is always the best one. See how you like snowmobile drag racing as a sport in general, then think about making those bigger upgrades in the future.
The biggest difference between asphalt and snow tracks is how tight you’re going to make it. The asphalt track needs to be TIGHT. Honestly, there’s no such thing as “too tight” when you’re talking about asphalt tracks.
At high speeds, your track is going to balloon out, and if it is too loose, it’s going to start smacking the tunnel’s underside. This can happen when braking as well.
Your modifications to the rear suspension are going to be three-fold. The first step is to remove the sliders because they aren’t used in asphalt racing. Easy-peasy.
The next part is adding some wheels to prevent your rails from touching the track. There can be a lot of variability in how many wheels you need to add. It can depend on the model and track. Ultimately, you just don’t want your track touching anything when turning around the skid.
The last step is to limit your suspension by strapping it down. This is going to do a couple of important things for your snowmobile drag racing. It’s going to prevent your front end from coming up on acceleration. It’s also going to make all of your accelerating momentum push you forward rather than up, thus increasing your ability to get moving.
Front Suspension and Skis
Are you ready for a little break from all the hard work? After-market skis are generally bolt-in for your snowmobile. No problems there.
Your front suspension is going to be modified just like your rear suspension. Just get that track to sit as flat as you can get it on the ground. Also, take some time to check your ski alignment. You want it pretty straight, and to be aligned parallel with the track. This is going to keep you moving straight as you’re taking off the line.
The NHRA, which actually governs snowmobile drag racing as well, requires snowmobile dragsters to have one inch of suspension travel.
Clutch and Gearing
Here’s where modifying your snowmobile takes a little more thinking. There is no real guideline for how you should adjust your clutch and gearing – it’s all pretty much based on what you’re comfortable with and how you feel your sled will run best.
One thing we can tell you is this: it’s not top performance that wins the race, it’s consistency.
This is always going to be your most important factor in racing, or just riding your snowmobile. If you don’t have a safety tether on your snowmobile, you’re definitely going to want to install one.
Always check on your brakes and brake pads. We’ve spent all this time thinking about going fast, so now we also need to think about what happens when the race is over.
If your sled is modified, be sure that you are in compliance with NHRA regulations. If your machine is going to be able to do a run in under 10 seconds, you’re also going to need a professional license. Beating 10 seconds might sound laughable, but it’s completely possible with the right sled and mods.
Time to Get your Snowmobile Drag Racing on the Asphalt
Once you’ve made the necessary mods, you can find tracks all over the country. Prepping your snowmobile for asphalt tracks can be a really fun project, and even more fun once you’re racing.
No longer are the snowmobilers quarantined to only having fun in the winter time! Get your Ski-Doo or Polaris into the garage and start modifying it this spring.
That way you can be out there in the summer heat making your opponent sweat extra hard!