Chief Minister Andrew Barr has urged Summernats to cancel its planned burnouts on Saturday amid the bush fire threat facing the territory.
But organisers have stood firm, saying the event was safe to run and would go ahead.
The ACT has declared a state of alert as it braces for high temperatures and strong winds.
The burnout competition is the marquee event at the Summernats car festival and attracts rev heads from around the country.
Mr Barr said organisers needed to use some common sense and postpone the scheduled burnouts.
"It would be my very strong preference that they look at the forecast and they look at the circumstances surrounding the weather and the significance of tomorrow and the emergency situation ... and reschedule elements of their program tomorrow," he said.
"Our preference would be they would come to that conclusion themselves as responsible, mature adults."
Summernats co-owner Andy Lopez said he had no plans to cancel the burnouts and was surprised to hear Mr Barr's comments.
"We have 60 professional firefighters on site," he said.
"We are completely self-sufficient so we are not a drain on resources. We've been really happy with how things are going.
"It's safe and it's well managed and it will be delivered really brilliantly for our crowd and contestants.
"We don't see a need to cancel because they're delivered safely."
Mr Barr said the community would expect the burnouts would be cancelled given the conditions.
He said the government had the capacity to step in should conditions become extreme and the burnouts were not postponed.
"I would hope that organisers would reach that conclusion themselves without needing the government to bring in the big stick," Mr Barr said.
"It should be very clear the sort of circumstances that we're facing as a community tomorrow and some self awareness, some understanding of what everyone is going through at the moment should come into play.
"And I'm sure that they will make the right decision."