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Mo-Kan Dragway – Sending Racers and Fans Home Happy Since 1962

Monday, 13 November 2017

Mo-Kan Dragway, an International Hot Rod Association-sanctioned race track in Asbury, Mo., has been in operation at the same location since 1962; it is the oldest continuously-operated dragstrip in Missouri.  Carl Blanton purchased the track from two of the original owners, Jim and Ron Wilbert, in 1999. Over the years Mo-Kan Dragway has been upgraded with a new timing system, improved lighting, new track surface, new tower, improved bleachers and other improvements making it arguably the premier drag strip in the state of Missouri.

“I run the track with my son Craig,” Blanton said.  “Over the 18 years we have been here, we have seen the sport diversify.  In 1999, the track ran Brackets and test and tune, with a couple of feature races every year.  We now run Brackets, brand-specific races (Mopar Day, Ford Day, etc.) Motorcycle races, diesel pick-up races, heads-up small tire races, grudge races, test and tune, “Fun” Drags night, Nostalgia races and the original Holiday weekend Feature races with “show” cars, jets, wheelie cars and exhibition nitro cars. We try to have something to appeal to everyone interested in automobiles.”

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Mo-Kan Dragway, a quarter-mile dragstrip with events scheduled every weekend February through November, hosts the IHRA Summit Racing Equipment Super Series, the IHRA Summit Racing Equipment Junior Super Series and the IHRA Summit Racing Equipment Team Finals. Mo-Kan Dragway is located near the intersection of Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas,  The track is less than 30 minutes north of Joplin, 90 minutes west of Springfield and about two hours south of Kansas City making it convenient for race fans from a large geographical area.

“Within the scope of our small-to-medium size facility, we do our best to give our race fans comfortable seating, clean restrooms, speedy concession service and the opportunity to watch from their cars; lots of tailgating goes on,” Blanton said.  “We also believe that good, entertaining announcing is important to let the fans know what is going on and why they should care. 

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“Keeping our fans and racers informed and connected through social media is also something we see as very important to today’s fans.  We try to let people know that they are in for a relaxed and comfortable experience.  Sort of like that favorite bar and grill down the street where everyone feels welcome and you are connected to the management and the other patrons.” 

Running a Motorsports facility of any size is a monumental task – especially when the track is family-owned and operated.  Race track staff, whether part of the family or not, manage multiple responsibilities which can be not only difficult but also stressful.  But at the end of the day, or night, the true measure of success is also what makes it all worthwhile.

What is Blanton’s favorite part of being a track operator?  “When the stress of putting on any event gives way to the feeling that it was successful, and our racers and fans went home happy!”

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Last modified on Monday, 13 November 2017

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