You might think that your Jeep works pretty good in the sand. "I just air down the tires and keep the transfer case in High range" is what you are likely saying to yourself. And, to be honest, this scenario is a lot of fun in the dunes. However, it is the equivalent of taking a stock Wrangler into the rocks: there is the potential for a whole lot more. The good folks at the National Sand Drag Association (NSDA) have been having fun in the sand since the early 1960s. The full series of events throughout Southern California and Nevada are extremely well-organized and also well attended. There are classes for everything from kids' quads to full-blown alcohol Funny Cars at these family-friendly events, but we were more interested in the Jeeps that dominated the Sportsman and Pro Mod classes.?>
The fast Jeeps run in the Pro Mod class and don't look anything like what you might be accustomed to seeing on the trail. The stretched wheelbases and high-horsepower are familiar features, but that is where the similarities end. Low ride heights, two-wheel-drive, and even (gasp) independent front suspension with rack-and-pinion steering are common at the sand drags. These vehicles run down the 300-foot track in 4 seconds at speeds approaching 100 miles per hour. To put this in perspective, the fastest Top Alcohol cars cover the same ground in two and a half seconds at over 150 mph.
There are "heads up" classes for Top Fuel, Top Alcohol, and Pro Mod, but the bulk of the racing is bracket racing. This means that you can still take home some cash at the end of the weekend if you are consistent; you don't necessarily have to be the fastest. That doesn't necessarily mean that you should show up in your stock Wrangler, though, and expect to dominate. Check out sand-drags.com for more event info.