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Knoxville Dragway, IHRA Continue Partnership With Multi-Year Agreement

Monday, 27 November 2023

MAYNARDVILLE, Tenn. — Knoxville Dragway has been defined by outstanding performance.

Track owner Wes Clapp sees the same with the International Hot Rod Association as a sanctioning body. Now, the East Tennessee track known as a home of champions has signed a multi-year renewal agreement with the IHRA.

“To see where they started from last year, I think they’ve done a heckuva job,” Clapp said. “They make us feel welcome and appreciated.”

It’s more than a feeling as the folks at Knoxville Dragway are welcomed and appreciated by IHRA Owner Larry Jeffers and all the IHRA staff. 

Knoxville Dragway racers continue to perform at the highest level with three IHRA World Champions over the past six years and two racers making on the national top 10 lists again in 2023. Corey Lee finished fourth in the Motorcycle standings and Aubrey Loy, the 2022 World Champion, was sixth in the final Junior Dragster rankings.

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Other Knoxville Dragway track representatives at the IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Finals included: Jared Delp (Box), Brian Hagler (No Box), Justin Scarberry (Sportsman) and Clay Delp (Junior Dragster)

Hagler also drove his Chevy S-10 pickup to the win at the IHRA Division 8 (South) Summit Team Finals, while Rick Perry beat Lee in the Motorcycle final. 

So what’s the key to all the success. It starts with the strong weekly programs at Knoxville Dragway that former track owner Tommy Harrill promoted and has continued to thrive under Clapp’s leadership.

“We’re proud of the great competition we have,” Clapp said. “We have some heavy hitters. We had some very good racers in the IHRA Summit SuperSeries program last year, but we’ve got even more getting on board next year.”

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Despite the tough competition, Clapp is proud of a neighborly attitude that Knoxville racers show. He knows first-hand with his own history as a longtime competitor at his home track.

“Our racers will give you the shirts off their backs,” Clapp said. “I’ve seen people take parts of their cars to give to other people. Now they compete and are serious about winning, but it’s like a good get-together. You often hear the term “racing family,” but you really see that up here.”

You also see a unique history as the facility first started as a dirt track in 1963. Then, it was converted to an asphalt figure-8 track and finally an 1/8-mile drag strip in 1984. There are multiple special races coming to Knoxville in 2024.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

The Southeast Gassers will be making a return to Knoxville Dragway and the track is slated to host an IHRA Sportsman Spectacular presented by Moser Engineering and FuelTech. There’s also the “Ponies in the Smokies,” an event featuring Ford Mustangs and coordinated with the nearby destination of Gatlinburg.

Some other big events are coming they can’t announce just yet. Despite the challenges of rainy weather throughout the season, Clapp and his staff got a lot of work done, including replacing lights and installing new bleachers. There are more improvements planned moving ahead.

They have a well-reviewed concession stand with traditional favorites like hamburgers and chili cheese fries as well as Southern delicacies like East Tennessee style barbeque and bologna burgers. It’s all part of providing racers with a positive experience.

Click here to check out the Knoxville Dragway Facebook page for more news about this IHRA-member track.

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