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Frank Hawley on: Beginning a drag racing school

Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School opened in 1985
Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School opened in 1985
Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School

The NHRA Examiner recently had the opportunity to speak with NHRA champ and drag racing school founder Frank Hawley. Click here to learn about Hawley’s start here and stay tuned for information about his racing school and more.

Two-time NHRA Funny Car champ Frank Hawley founded his drag racing school in 1985, and wasn’t sure if there would be a demand for the product. As such, he admits to beginning it a little bit backwards.

“We did it backwards – you think you would start with smaller cars that go faster, but we started with Top Alcohol Funny Cars and dragsters, which are not very good beginner cars at all,” said Hawley. “I guess I underestimated the amount of skill it would take to drive those things, but we had a lot of people come down and drive the cars the first few years. As we moved along we kept building cars that would be more affordable for folks and a little bit easier to drive, and more like the types of vehicles that our customers would end up competing in – that led to our program that we are running this year, our Dragster Adventure program. Over the years, we become a little bit more affordable and broad-based to appeal to customers.”

Hawley’s school offers both adventure programs and licensing courses for interested individuals, including Super Comp/Super Gas licensing.

“Our Super Comp/Super Gas program, which has been our featured program for many years, you get your competition license for a 7.5-second car – it’s a unique course,” said Hawley. “The curriculum, although it is modified and adjusted through the years, is the same curriculum – if someone takes a Frank Hawley course at Gateway and recommends their friend takes it next spring in Florida after the GatorNationals, that person is going to get the same classroom, same instruction, same cars. Our programs depend on what type of vehicle, what type of program you’re taking.”

“Our Dragster Adventure program, which is our most affordable course right now, that’s a half-day course, it doesn’t get your license, the car is a 10-second, 130 mph dragster, and it’s really exciting to drive,” continued Hawley. “If somebody takes that program and wants to stick around and make it a full day, we give people the opportunity to do some side-by-side competition in the afternoon.”

Upcoming Dragster Adventure programs include May 3rd in St. Louis, May 23rd in Gainesville, Florida and June 13th in Fontana, California. Super Comp/Super Gas licensing courses are available May 5th and 6th in St. Louis, June 11th and 12th in Fontana and June 24th and 25th in Gainesville.

Find out more about the programs at

Coming up: the most satisfying thing Hawley has done.

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