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Gleason Raceway Park Takes Next Step with IHRA Extension

Friday, 26 January 2024

GLEASON, Tenn. — The Northup family gave Gleason Raceway Park a new lease on life when they purchased the Tennessee track.

Since then, they have made a tremendous impact in the area and through a ton of hard work, turned the 1/8-mile drag strip into a favorite of the racers. In just its second year participating in the IHRA Summit SuperSeries program, the track located between Paris and Martin, Tennessee even produced a World Champion.

Now, Gleason Raceway Park and the IHRA announce an extension of their sanctioning agreement. Samantha Archabal, who is one of the track operators along with her family, talked about the camaraderie at the IHRA Division 2 (Heat Wave) Summit Team Finals and IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Finals presented by Strange Engineering.

“We are looking forward to bringing our team to Holly Springs this year,” Archabal said. “It’s honestly a great event and is nice to hang out with our racers. We truly have a great community here in Gleason that feels like family. That season will make our third IHRA points series and we are really excited for the points races to begin. We had great competition last year, a World Champion and the points races were closely contested.”

Wesley Lockhart has been Gleason’s No Box track representative at the IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Finals each of the last two years. Lockhart, recognized as one of the nation’s best bracket racers, captured the IHRA World Championship in 2023. 

He and Junior Dragster racer Vayda Ballentine also finished among the national top 10 racers in their respective classes in 2022.

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They’re only a couple of the talented drivers who have represented Gleason Raceway Park at the World Finals. Kyle Rumley, a frequent winner throughout the Mid-South, was the track’s IHRA Summit SuperSeries Box champion. David McClure (Sportsman), Edmund Riley (Motorcycle) and Brantley Forrester (Junior Dragster) also were representatives at the IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Finals.

The 2023 champions were recently crowned at the annual awards banquet.

“We are proud of these racers and how hard they work,” Archabal said. “The Top and Bottom Bulb champion each received $1,500, a jacket and plaque. The Sportsman champion received $500, a jacket and plaque. The Motorcycle and Junior Dragster champs each received $200 along with a jacket and plaque. We understand what being a bracket racer is all about and feel blessed with the racing family we have.”

They have fully embraced the IHRA Ironman program, and last hosted an IHRA Ironman Classic in October where six racers collected their first-ever prestigious Ironman trophies.

They included: Kyle Cunningham (Top Bulb), Jamie Martin (Bottom Bulb), Mitchell Walker (Sportsman), Brock Polinski (Motorcycle), William McAlpin (Jr. Dragster Thunder) and O’Reily Benda (Jr. Dragster Lightning).

The Northup family’s impact can’t be overstated. The track had been dormant for four years when brothers Rick and Sam took over. They along with Rick’s daughter, Samantha, and her cousin, Christopher Northup, have transformed the property.  Christopher cleared off overgrown areas of trees and bushes, while they’ve had work done to the track from one end to the other.

It included reworking the launch pad and adding to the shutdown area. They’ve also provided a welcoming attitude the racers and a popular concession area named the Hot Rod Café.

Click here to check out the track’s Facebook page including the 2024 schedule of IHRA Summit SuperSeries points races.

Last modified on Friday, 26 January 2024

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