I was looking for somewhere to take a friends 7 year old son as a treat, and while searching the internet for something to do I came across Arena Racing USA. Arena Racing USA is high speed car race around a short track inside an arena.
In the Virginia Beach area, the Hampton Coliseum has Arena Racing USA holding racing tournaments October through March. The doors open between 6.00pm and 6.30pm depending on the day that you decide to go and watch the races. We arrived just after the doors opened and were surprised to see that you could walk down into the main arena, get close up to the cars and talk to the drivers. Most of the car teams were giving away candy and posters, the drivers were signing the posters, so children were rushing from driver to driver to have them sign their posters and to collect more candy.
Before we arrived I was wondering how cars could race around a track in a small indoor arena, I thought that the cars would be so big they would have a hard time navigating the track and once the engines started the whole arena would smell of car exhaust fumes.
As soon as we walked into the arena it all became clear, the cars were to one-half scale of stock cars. Each car is only nine feet long and thirty six inches tall, surprisingly these tiny light cars are capable of reaching speeds up to 100mph. There are no side doors on the cars, each driver climbs in and out of their car through a sun-roof size opening in the roof. Each driver wears protective clothing and a helmet.
The races are about 40 fast laps long with 12 cars taking part, the first lap is bumper to bumper with the cars waiting for the signal that starts the race. As soon the green flag is waved the engines surge and everyone moves to the edge of their seats.
You may think it sounds boring to watch small cars go around and around a little race track, surprisingly though the race draws you in and you find your self willing the lead car to stay up front and not get into any problems.
Many times the cars almost hit each other, around the sharp corners the cars lift up onto two wheels and nearly crash, or spin out. The majority of the time the drivers gained control back but there are a few who dont quite manage it and you see the cars smash into one another.
The cars may be small but they are strong, no one was hurt while we were watching, not even in the seven car pile up that happened before one of the first laps was completed.
Half way through the night the race cars took a time out and left the arena, during this time, a remote control club came in and gave a demonstration using their remote control vehicles, they had mini monster trucks, helicopters and race cars, they were sending their vehicle up little ramps which launched them high into the air.
After the short break with the remote control vehicles the races began again and we saw more nail-biting manurers performed by the drivers. The end of the night soon came and it was time to leave. Arena Cross USA was a great way to spend the evening and its only 40 minute drive from Virginia Beach.