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Gleason Raceway Park Gets Improvements from One End to the Other

Tuesday, 11 April 2023

GLEASON, Tenn. — From the launch pad to the top end and points in between, the owners of Gleason Raceway Park have been making improvements to the Tennessee drag strip.

The most current project is adding to the shutdown area. It’s a matter of keeping up with the times as race cars have increased speeds as one of the track operators Samantha Archabal explained.

“It’s 250 more feet of shutdown,” Archabal said. “The track was built in 1990 and the cars were a lot slower back then so it wasn’t a concern to have the shutdown longer. Cars sped up and people are going quicker now so it became a concern especially when the cars are running 3.80 or 3.90.” 

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Archabal is part of the Northup family with her dad and uncle, Rick and Sam Northup, and cousin Christopher Northup, who own and operate the IHRA-member facility. The family purchased the facility in March 2021, and left a successful towing business in Idaho to relocate to Tennessee. 

Since taking over, they’ve brought a dormant race track back to life through massive amounts of work. It’s included clearing off trees and bushes to working all throughout the facility. 

“Every spot on the track needed improvement,” Archabal said. “From the track to the tower to the sound system which has been challenging.” 

On the front end of the track, they didn’t realize the extent to which the concrete needed repair. That issue has now been taken care of.

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“The concrete got poured from the 60-foot to 330-foot mark,” she said. “It’s all brand new concrete. Being racers ourselves, we’ve all gone fast and we want it safe. I put my little girls on this race track and you know how Junior Dragsters bounce around so I want something comfortable for them.”

Their efforts also include a concession area named the “Hot Rod Café,” and other needed upgrades. After the shutdown is finished, racing will start with a No Prep event to get some rubber on the track and build the surface back up.

Then it’s on to the points program as Gleason Raceway Park will again participate in the IHRA Summit SuperSeries, the most prestigious championship in bracket racing. They enjoyed last season with participation in both the IHRA Summit Team Finals and IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Finals.

Wesley Lockhart (No Box) and Vayda Ballentine (Junior Dragster) both ranked in the top 10 at the end of the World Finals. 

Click here to keep up with the latest updates on the Gleason Raceway Park Facebook page.

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