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West Texas Track Rebuilds Tower, Joins IHRA

Monday, 06 March 2017

The future did not look bright in May of 2016.  An electrical fire destroyed the tower, but now, the tower has been rebuilt and Penwell Knights Dragway at Caprock Motorplex in Penwell, Texas has entered into a multi-year sanctioning agreement with the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA), the drag racing sanctioning body announced today.  The quarter-mile track, which has hosted IHRA Division team finals competitions, was an IHRA track for many years but was last sanctioned by the IHRA in 2015. 

A gigantic electrical malfunction caused an explosion so massive that the tower’s timing and scoring equipment was blasted out of the tower and onto the race track before the tower burned to the ground.  Despite having no tower, no lights and no tree, the track hosted two “no-prep races” in 2016 and raised enough money to purchase new timing and scoring equipment.  Later, tower construction began, and today, the track boasts a beautiful new tower that sits above three hospitality suites at the starting line. 

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Originally established as Penwell Raceway in 1966, Caprock Motorplex was established in 2012.  Penwell Knights Dragway is now the premier state-of-the-art dragstrip in West Texas. The 2017 racing season opened March 4 and runs through Nov. 18 with competition including both heads-up racing and bracket racing.

“The reason we chose to go with IHRA is because we are in a whole new world now, and we needed the IHRA structure,” track co-owner Barbara Hughes said.  “After our tower burned down, we started over.  Now our new tower and suites along with all our new equipment make our track pretty much state-of-the art.  We wanted to be with the big boys rather than just be an outlaw track.  I liked the structure and the competition being an IHRA track gives us.  It just seemed like the best way to go for our race track.”


“We are very happy to welcome Penwell Knights Dragway back into the IHRA family of tracks,” IHRA division director Frank Kohutek said.  “They had a tough situation with the fire last year, but now that they’ve rebuilt everything, they have a great facility in the west Texas region.  They have a strong group of drivers in that area, and we look forward to seeing some great racing there for many years to come.”

The International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) is owned and operated by IRG Sports + Entertainment™, a TPG Specialty Lending company. The IHRA promotes professional and sportsman racing for drivers of all levels. The IHRA sanctions nearly 100 motorsport facilities in the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Bahama's and welcomes 80,000 racers annually to their IHRA-sanctioned facilities. The IHRA oversees multiple sportsman racing programs including the Summit Sportsman National Championship and the Summit Racing Equipment SuperSeries. For more information, visit www.IHRA.com, or connect with us on Facebook.com/IHRAMotorsports, Twitter @IHRA or Instagram.

Last modified on Tuesday, 07 March 2017

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