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Eagle Field Runway Drags Brings IHRA to California

Tuesday, 23 April 2024

FIREBAUGH, CA — International Hot Rod Association member tracks now stretch coast-to-coast with the addition of Eagle Field Runway Drags.

There are tracks from the Carolinas to this California facility nearly halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Rocky Phillips, the drag racing coordinator at Eagle Field, started hosting the events at the World War II Army Air Base in October 2009.

They started the races hoping to attract the HAMB organization, which was running an annual race at Mo-Kan Dragway in Missouri. That didn’t transpire, so Phillips booked a 1964 and earlier race at the former military base. Now, it has expanded where they’re running different classes of race cars.

“We’re doing bracket racing now and we have four categories — Gasser (’66 and earlier), Mean Street, Open Comp and Junior Dragsters,” Phillips said. “We have two big events per year which are a celebration of drag racing. We will be changing the Mean Street to Sportsman and the Open Comp to Modified.”

They also feature five classes of heads-up racing.

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Eagle Field was constructed in 1942, just months after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Joe Davis owns the property and some of the non-racing events include fly-ins. Phillips got to know about the property through his employer moving equipment from Eagle Field for a fly-in at the Fresno airport.

Phillips later met with Davis and started the Eagle Field Drags. The track features concrete walls and there are restrooms and showers on property. There is plenty of room for recreational vehicles, while the Lions Club and a local Mexican restaurant serve as food vendors. For those staying the weekend, music and dancing are offered on Saturday nights.

Now, the addition of IHRA sanction gives racers a chance to take advantage of membership benefits.

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“I’m proud to be an IHRA member and start that on the West Coast,” Phillips said. “It gives us some clout and support.”

Phillips looks forward to working with other West Coast tracks and putting together a shootout near the end of the year. One of the neat events is a celebration of old-school drag racing, an evening where they use a flagman at the start.

It’s a part of Eagle Field’s mission to help fans and racers relive the glory days of drag racing. The main event on Friday pays tribute to former Fremont Dragway starter Eves Tall-Chief, who died in 2020.

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“We call it ‘Flag Start Friday’ and do it for fun to remember Chief,” Phillips said. “It’s fun and exciting, but otherwise, we race with the tree.” 

Click here to check out the Eagle Field Facebook page and learn more about this facility. To become an IHRA member, click here to visit our membership or call 85.JOIN.IHRA where our friendly IHRA membership coordinator Heather Roth can take you through the process of getting you on track.

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