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Skelton Raceway Looks to Have More Racers Enjoy IHRA Benefits

Tuesday, 19 December 2023

SIKESTON, Mo. — Ricky Skelton didn’t come here to save the day. But, the racer who drives a 1967 Camaro with Mighty Mouse on the door promises to give a heroic effort in running the drag strip which bears his name.

The track operator at Skelton Raceway, formerly Jeffers Motorsports Park, in Sikeston, Missouri, recently announced a multi-year sanctioning agreement with the International Hot Rod Association.

Skelton has a rich history at the track, going back to when he was nine years old. At 16, he worked at the facility for former track owner Ron Mayfield where one of his main jobs was helping with the track prep.

Now as the track operator, it’s something he’s focused on again to give the racers the best surface possible. Skelton Raceway, originally built in 1969, is an 1/8-mile drag strip with an all-concrete surface.

“We’re cleaning up from this year and going to start scraping the track January 1,” Skelton said. “The whole 660 feet will be scraped on both sides and we’re also working in the pits. The place is good like it is, but we want to make a little better.”

Skelton PR

Having the cartoon hero on his car shows a little insight into Skelton’s personality. He wants the race track to be a place both racers and spectators enjoy. There are great amenities at the 32-acre facility with camping areas, a paved pit area, showers and air-conditioned bathrooms. 

In addition, there is a nice control tower and even a saloon with a bar and pool table. If the racers decide to stay off property, there are plenty of hotels and other accommodations within a couple of miles of the track.

For Skelton, the IHRA programs fit well into what he’s trying to accomplish. The IHRA Summit SuperSeries program is the most prestigious championship in bracket racing with over $275,000 in payouts and prizes awarded in 2023. 

Track representatives at the 2023 IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Finals presented by Strange Engineering included: Kenneth Shankle (Top), Tommy Shankle (Mod), Ronnie Williams (Sportsman) and Gavin Jones (Junior Dragster).

Skelton also loves the IHRA Summit Team Finals, which the racers competed in Division 2 (Heat Wave) in 2023, and the camaraderie shown of competing as one unit. One goal for 2024 is to have a large team representing Skelton Raceway with more racers signing up to enjoy the benefits as IHRA members.

“Hopefully we’re going to have a little fun with it,” Skelton said. “I like the team deals where you’re not just out for yourself. We’re getting more people involved in the IHRA bracket program and we’re doing a points system for the index racing. We’re getting a crowd in here.”

Once they have a crowd, it’s about them having a good time. That even goes from the time they enter the gate until they leave.  

Even the concessions are well thought out. One specialty is the walking taco, which can be purchased with Doritos or Fritos with different toppings. They also serve a whole one-topping pizza for just $8 with a goal of keeping things affordable for the racers.

It’s part of an overall racer-first philosophy. “If you don’t have the racers, you don’t have anything,” Skelton said. 

Outside the IHRA Summit SuperSeries events, there are monthly 5.30 Index Small Tire races and a couple of motorcycle-only weekends. The Nostalgic Funny Cars are also coming as well as the popular “No Name Nationals.”

Click here to check out the Facebook page for Skelton Raceway and to keep up with the latest happenings.

Last modified on Tuesday, 19 December 2023

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