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Thunder Valley Dragways — Home of IHRA Champions

Thursday, 15 March 2018

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Thunder Valley Dragways can be labeled as the home of International Hot Rod Association champions.

For two of the last three years and three of the last six years, an IHRA World Champion has called the Marion, South Dakota facility his home track.

Tom Gall from Thunder Valley won last season’s IHRA Summit SuperSeries Top (Box) world title. In 2015, Cory Heckenlible won the Summit SuperSeries Mod (No Box) championship. Thunder Valley owner Glen Rapp isn’t surprised to see his track’s racers have success against the best drivers from across North America.

“We’re very fortunate and we’re very proud of our racers,” Rapp said. “We have very good competitive racers, quality people with quality equipment. It’s like a big family group. If someone breaks a part, someone will help him out even if he’s racing against him. Our group of racers are second to none and we’re proud of their efforts.”

Thunder Valley 1

Rapp is a big fan of the IHRA Summit SuperSeries program and how it gives the grassroots, sportsman racers their time in the spotlight. Those are the racers who are the lifeblood of his own track.

“The IHRA has been a good organization to do business with,” Rapp said. “They’ve been trustworthy and credible and they’re more supportive of grassroots drag racing. That fits our clientele better than other organizations.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Thunder Valley, which recently signed a multi-year sanctioning agreement with the IHRA, also boasts a strong junior program.

 Thunder Valley 2

The 1/4-mile track first opened in 1967 and it has a 300-feet concrete launching pad. There are over 100 permanent camping sites at the facility and other areas of non-reserved camping. Rapp, a respected businessman in the area, has worked with a pair of local motels to provide special rates for the racers and fans.

In addition, he works closely with other local companies to promote their business and the track.  Thunder Valley is represented at swap meets and trade shows in both South Dakota and Nebraska, and the staff logs thousands of miles to spread the word about their events, taking posters and schedules at auto parts stores, convenience stores and other businesses throughout South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska.

Close to home, there is a concerted effort to take care of the businesses which partner with the track.

“We have a booklet we print every year that we hand out to the competitors when they come through the gate,” Rapp said. “It has everything from promotions for local restaurants and grocery stores to gas stations and convenience stores. We have other businesses like plumbing and heating companies who advertise with us and they talk about the business they get from our facility.”

Click here to check out the track’s website for more information and also check out the facebook page.

Last modified on Thursday, 15 March 2018
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