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Dragway 42 Rocking On With IHRA Agreement

Thursday, 09 November 2023

WEST SALEM, Ohio — Dragway 42 certainly lived up to its reputation as a multi-purpose facility in 2023. The track, which recently renewed a multi-year IHRA sanctioning agreement, hosted music concerts, autocross, tractor pulls and more in addition to its great drag racing.

The West Salem, Ohio facility, which was purchased by Ron and Mary Anne Matcham in 2013 and underwent a major renovation in 2017, was transformed in July for the Dragway 42 Music Festival. It was headlined by such acts as Ted Nugent, Cheap Trick and Big and Rich.

“The way we built race track was where we could do multi-faceted events and not just racing,” Ron said. “One of our music events we’re adding next year will be even more fun with some racing to go along with it.”

Dragway 42 still lived up to the motto of “Northern Ohio’s Place to Race.” Since Ron, Mary Anne and their sons took over a decade ago, the track first opened in 1957 has been transformed into a true showplace. The 1/4-mile drag strip has the first 750 feet concrete with 30-feet wide lanes. There’s an Accutime timing system, Musco Lighting and plenty of staging area.

Dragway 42

They’ve hosted numerous IHRA events including the IHRA Division 3 (North Stars) Summit Team Finals each of the past three years and the IHRA Sportsman Spectacular presented by Moser Engineering and FuelTech. 

“The Sportsman Spectacular was a great event,” Mary Anne said. “The winners getting the opportunity to go to the World Finals, that was a quite a perk. We’ve heard there’s going to be more announced soon for the racers. The IHRA is doing what it needs to do to take care of the racers.”

Winners of the IHRA Sportsman Spectacular presented by Moser and FuelTech included: Keith Gerlach (Top), Bobby Gill (Mod), A.J. Buchanan (Sportsman), Rick Poole (Motorcycle) and Madisyn Clark (Junior Dragster).

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So has Dragway 42 as they’ve been big supporters of Summit Racing Equipment and vice versa. Dragway 42 racers have fared well in the IHRA Summit SuperSeries program, the most prestigious championship in bracket racing.

Mitch Williams (Sportsman) and Ryan Roberts (Junior Dragster) each made it to the championship round at the IHRA Division 2 Summit Team Finals. Michael Crowell (Top), Chad Sweitzer (Mod), Kyle Penn (Sportsman) and Roberts all qualified as Dragway 42 track representatives for the IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Finals presented by Strange Engineering. 

Crowell and Penn each ranked on the IHRA Summit SuperSeries National Top 10 list. The Matchams praised the efforts of IHRA Owner Larry Jeffers, officials Mel Roth and Paige Hamlin and division director Christopher Eager in helping promote the track and racers.

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There’s plenty to promote with a packed schedule that starts on New Year’s Day with the Hangover Nationals and extends into November.

You want variety, Dragway 42 has it. On the drag strip, a sampling includes Pro Mods, Outlaw Dragsters, All-Harley Drags and Small Tire races. The property also provides a great layout for the Akron Sports Car Club Autocross, and they’ve featured Monster Trucks and tractor pulls on the dirt in 2023. 

The most attended event is the Rock N Race which combines Nostalgia Drag Racing, including Gassers and Wheelstanders, and that old time Rock n’ Roll. There were classic cars 1979-older and Larry Dixon brought his two-seat dragster to give rides down the track.

“We’re an entertainment entity so it’s all about entertaining the spectator,” Ron said. “When Larry comes up to the staging lanes, the stands immediately get filled up and everybody loves to see it.”

For more information about Dragway 42, click here to check out the track’s Facebook page.

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