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Family Fun Encouraged at IHRA Member Track Elk Creek Dragway

Wednesday, 28 December 2022

HOUSE SPRINGS, Missouri — “Elk Creek Dragway, the track designed with your family in mind.”

The words are proudly displayed at the entrance of the Southwest Virginia facility first opened in 1968 and a motto which track operator Mike Walters adheres by.

The track, which recently renewed its IHRA sanction, has a strict no-alcohol policy and the family-friendly facility includes a playground for the children. For people of all ages, there is plenty of great racing action with Elk Creek the home of 2021 IHRA Summit SuperSeries Junior Dragster World Champion Keaton Hudson.

Elk Creek racers who qualified for the IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Finals in 2022 included: Jessica Kesler (Box), Darin Sowers (No Box), Philip Jones (Sportsman) and Will Willard (Junior Dragster).

“If you’re a bracket racer and wake up on a Friday or Saturday morning, you want to come to Elk Creek Dragway,” Walters said. “We’ve got other events like Killer Street, Fast Cars and Gear Jammers, but we’re here for the bracket racer on Saturdays.”

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Located between two state highways, the facility features a CompuLink timing system and lots of blacktop. Walters has widened the main road 12 feet each side with concrete. For a small track, it features plenty of amenities like large two sets of large restrooms, showers, concessions and room for camping.

Elk Creek Dragway used to be operated as a 1,000-feet strip, but now is an 1/8-mile IHRA track with 1,400 feet of asphalt shutdown. It is followed by 40 feet of grass, 150-foot long sand pit and another 220 feet of mowed grass before twin guardrails.

Walters, a 50-year racing veteran, is a big believer in Southern hospitality. He and the staff work hard to make the racers and their families feel welcome. The experienced staff know their success depends on making it a place where the racers want to come to. 

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During a race weekend, it’s not unusual to see Walters visiting the different campsites and hanging out with the racers. The competitors appreciate that Walters puts the money earned back into the facility.

They’ve opened up the venue to others as well. David McNew with Raceway Ministries holds a short service at the drag strip during race weekends.

Back in the early days of COVID, the dragway even served as a drive-in church. It did Walters’ heart good to hear how handicapped attendees tell it was the first time they attended a worship service in a long time.

When racing isn’t going on, the property is used a walking trail for nearby residents. 

“You will see them walking the track, walking the return road and walking their dogs,” he said. “Any time of day, you might see a group of people together or just one person. They don’t have to worry about getting ran over on one those back roads.”

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First and foremost, Walters looks at efficient ways to make the facility better for the racers. He uses his decades of experience traveling to other tracks seeing what is good and where improvements can be made.

It’s one reason the lighting system at Elk Creek matches up with the best in the country and there’s an emphasis on cleanliness with plenty of trash barrels with bags throughout the property.

Click here to check out the track’s website and learn more about Elk Creek Dragway.

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