Kirk Williams of Glenwood, Iowa, a sportsman Funny Car racer, spent three times as much money this year just getting to Brainerd International Raceway.
He said last year it cost him less than $125 for his truck's diesel fuel. This year the damage was $380.
"But you just do it," he said of traveling to races across the Midwest. "Without a sponsor, you don't budget for it."
He said the high cost of fuel has forced him to not compete in as many NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series National events. Instead he has concentrated on the series divisionals like BIR's annual June event.
"With gas prices the way they were, divisionals are much more important than national events," he said.
The price of methanol for his 5,000 horsepower Funny Car also has risen. He said last year he paid $135 for a 55-gallon drum. This year it cost him $165. A Funny Car, traveling the length of two football fields in about three seconds at 220 mph, uses five gallons of methanol in a quarter-mile run.
Many racing fans didn't seem upset about the rising gas prices.
Keith Simning, of Isanti, said he needs gasoline to travel. "You have to live with it I guess you could say," he said.
His wife, Linda, said they don't include gas prices in his budget to attend the event. "You just go with the flow," he said.
Simning said he can remember when gasoline cost him 25 cents a gallon to fill his mini-bike.
Corky Secord, of Minneapolis, who has been coming to the event since its inception, said it cost him $65 to fill his friend's pickup and $90 to fill his RV for the event.
He said he budgets for the event's tickets and miscellaneous expenses but not gasoline.
"Like the old saying, if you're going you're going," said Scott Lindquist of Winsted.
Glenn Person, of Regina, Saskatchewan, drove 11 hours to get to BIR to race his 1973 Dart Sport.
Person said gas is about 50 cents more per gallon in Canada, but it doesn't hinder his racing hobby.
"When you drag race in Canada, you've gotta be willing to drive," Person said, explaining BIR is one of the closest tracks to Regina. "Eleven hours is like going out for ice cream."
Person has been racing for 28 years and drives long distances to about 10 to 12 races each year.
Staff Writer Heidi Lake contributed to this story.
CLINT WOOD can be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5869.
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