Top Gun Dragstrip turns to community for help

The late spring rainstorms have created headaches for Top Gun Dragstrip, forcing the organization to cancel several events and needing to replace a decades-old water pump.

The late spring rainstorms have created headaches for Top Gun Dragstrip, forcing the organization to cancel several events and needing to replace a decades-old water pump.
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Top Gun Dragstrip is calling on the community for some help this season.

Powerful rain storms caused flooding at the quarter-mile strip 17 miles south of Fallon and after several failed attempts to fix the water well, Top Gun Dragstrip President John Stauverman said on the organization’s Facebook page that a new well will need to be drilled, which comes at a high cost.

“A camera was sent down the well to inspect and determine the reason the pump keeps getting stuck in the casing on the way up. The well casing collapsed,” Stauverman said.

“The camera tells all. I guess 30-plus years and with high alkali not only in the ground but in our water as well has damaged the casing beyond any hope of repair. There’s no room to run a sleeve down the old well.”

Stauverman said that they have begun work but the recent news about needing to replace the water well could impact the racing schedule this month. At this time, though, he said they plan on conducting races.

“Our dirt work has begun, but the current situation will certainly put a delay in the progress,” he said. “We must have water to clean and according to the contract, we are to provide water for the cleaning, something we absolutely cannot do at this time. We will get a well dug, dirt moved, holes filled and get the racing surface washed and cleaned as soon as possible.”

A gofundme account was created and is available on the Top Gun Dragstrip Facebook page. In the first three days, almost $11,000 of the $60,000 needed for repairs was raised.

The organization ran into issues with its computer system during the first bracket race in May, which resulted in canceling the event for the weekend. Despite the cancellation of the test and tune and first two points races, Top Gun Raceway was able to get the computer fixed and ready in time for the next race.

“Unfortunately, track prep and staffing had already been taken care of for the event and this added to the loss of revenue expected for that weekend,” Stauverman said. “Rain checks were issued and refunds were offered and accepted. Our next event was a success. The $5 Friday was well attended as was Points Race Nos. 3 and 4 on Saturday and Sunday.”

Luckily, Stauverman said they had enough funds to cover an awards banquet, which featured the NorCal Nostalgic Association.

One month later, the raceway was hit with another unexpected loss with the National Open on the ticket.

With a problem with the water well at the track and a contingency plan in place, a heavy rainstorm hit the strip, flooding the pits and many areas with water mud and silt.

After filling the reserve tanks and ordering extra restrooms, Stauverman and his team were in good position to hold one of the biggest races of the season. It started successfully but by the afternoon in early June, the rain came.

“Top Gun sitting on top of a hill was a recipe for disaster as all the water, mud and silt headed to the lowest part of the facility,” he said. “The track had well over 8 inches of rain, mud and silt settled that afternoon from start line to finish line. On Sunday after 12 hours of track cleaning overnight, it was determined to only run Junior Dragsters and to cancel the remaining event.”

Stauverman said rain checks were issued along with refunds for the Saturday and Sunday events.

After several meetings, which included a decision that points awarded were considered null and void from all rounds of eliminations for the Summit race from the previous Saturday, Top Gun’s Board of Directors consulted with a contractor on a plan to repair the damages.

Then, another storm hit the valley.

“This brought more water, mud and silt onto the track and washed out major areas of the pit, entrance road, pay booth area and grandstands,” Stauverman said. “After the waters evaporated, over an inch of standing silt and mud sat on the track and areas of the return road. Over a foot-and-a-half of mud and silt rests up against the guard rails of the track. Everything that was done the previous Saturday night in order to run the Juniors had been washed away.”

The Board of Directors decided to cancel the June 23-25 event, which has resulted in the strip losing 40 percent of its events and revenue this season, equaling to about $30,000 on top of the cost to repair the well.


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