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Wichita Raceway Park Returns to IHRA Family With New Vision

Monday, 12 February 2024

WICHITA FALLS, Texas — Keith Starr has a vision for Wichita Raceway Park and the International Hot Rod Association plays prominently into that role.

Starr, who has been involved with WRP the last six years, took over as owner of the 1/8-mile drag strip in North Texas in January. He has specific plans in the short term and some exciting ideas long range for a track just 13 miles from the Oklahoma state line.

“The biggest thing is continuous improvement,” Starr said. “We’re about having old values with new technology. I was raised where a man’s word is more important than his signature. We want a reputation for a good, consistent preparation of the surface and providing a fair place to race.”

While the track has a great following for No Prep and Index racing, he wants to build up the bracket racing program.

The best way is through the IHRA Summit SuperSeries, the most prestigious national championship in all of bracket racing. Last year, there were over $275,000 in payouts and prizes awarded at the IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Finals presented by Strange Engineering.

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“I’ve got people out of the wood work saying they’re glad to have bracket racing back,” Starr said. “Everybody has been on board with IHRA. When IHRA offered the opportunity to become a member track at no charge, that made it very appealing.”

Starr has been busy working at WRP on upgrades, maintenance, mowing and such. In 2020, Starr purchased all the equipment from North Star Dragway in Denton, Texas, including the cleaning Zamboni, tire drags, concrete barriers, light poles and restaurant equipment.

That’s not all. There has been a lot of infrastructure spending including a new return road and concrete staging lanes. He’s upgraded the sound system and lighting, and has also purchased a new safety catch net and plenty of traction compound.

Using his background as a software engineering, Starr plans to have a system where the video feed can switch to different points like on national broadcasts of drag racing. It will give the racers multiple points of view of their runs. Starr even has ideas for Fantasy Racing to get the spectators more involved.

“Some of these things might be off the wall and could even fail, but I’ve never feared failing,” Starr said. “We have a futuristic looking tree, we might use during test and tunes. We will have an automated driver entry with a barcode. We want to bring cutting edge technology to the track like a robotic sprayer for the lanes. We want to add things that make it more fun and adds more value.”

Much like IHRA Owner Larry Jeffers has an open line of communication, Starr encourages the racers to also offer their ideas for the track. Some might not be doable, while others might be something they’re willing to try. Most important, he’s willing to entertain their ideas and look at drag racing in a different way.

The IHRA certainly welcomes Wichita Raceway Park to the family. Check out the WRP website here for the 2024 schedule and other exciting news.

Last modified on Monday, 12 February 2024

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