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Thunder Valley Dragways Rumble into Future with IHRA Agreement

Wednesday, 15 November 2023

MARION, S.D. — Thunder Valley Dragways will rumble into the future with a new multi-year sanctioning agreement with the International Hot Rod Association.

Track owner Glen Rapp first opened the Marion, South Dakota facility in 1967. Thunder Valley, which sits 30 miles west of Sioux Falls, features a 1/4-mile asphalt track, a 300-feet concrete launching pad and 1,430 feet of elevation. There are over 100 camping spaces with electric hook-ups, an unlimited amount of non-electric spaces and full restrooms with showers.

They’re always thinking about how to make it a better experience for the racers. Recent upgrades have seen new fiber for internet service and fencing installed. Even more exciting news is an announcement that a new track surface will be installed this spring. 

It’s a track that has seen big names like John Force and Shirley Muldowney make passes down the South Dakota drag strip. But it’s the IHRA Summit SuperSeries, the most prestigious national championship in bracket racing where Thunder Valley racers have made their mark over the past decade.


Cory Heckenlaible won the IHRA Summit SuperSeries Mod (No Box) World Championship in 2015 and two years later, Tom Gall raced his dragster to the Top (Box) World Championship.

In 2023, Thunder Valley Dragways representatives who qualified for the IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Finals were: Brenden Blakney (Top), Kabren Jackson (Mod), Ben Kwasniewski (Sportsman), George Brown (Motorcycle) and Tyler Honomichl (Junior Dragster). In addition, Jackson won three Gamblers races at the IHRA Division 6 (Midwest) Summit Team Finals.

Thunder Valley Dragways uses the motto, “This is where friends become family and the best summer memories are made.”

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Summer memories were made when in August when Thunder Valley Dragways hosted an IHRA Ironman Classic. Tony Lemker won the Top (Box) final, while Dustin Sullivan edged Blakney for the Mod (No Box) victory. Chad Clement was the Sportsman winner and Brown was the winner in the Motorcycle class. Bailey Dorneman captured the Junior Dragster victory.

Another IHRA Ironman race is scheduled for August 2024, while a number of regular IHRA Summit SuperSeries points races are also on tab. Beyond that, other exciting events scheduled include Those Guys Rally at the Valley Presented by J&L Harley, races for different Ford, Mopar and GM makes and a special Make-A-Wish Weekend.

Click here to visit the track’s website and learn more about Thunder Valley Dragways.

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