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Grassroots Focus Leads Amarillo Dragway to Renew With IHRA

Thursday, 21 December 2023

AMARILLO, Texas — It’s not just a saying that the International Hot Rod Association is focused first on the grassroots, Sportsman racer.

Amarillo Dragway track manager Steven Lamberson has seen it first hand and that’s why the Texas drag strip has agreed to a multi-year sanctioning agreement to remain an IHRA member track.

Looking out for the racers, Lamberson sees the value in the IHRA’s programs like the Summit SuperSeries, which provided over $275,000 in payouts and prizes in 2023, the IHRA Summit Team Finals and other events like the IHRA Sportsman Spectacular presented by Moser Engineering and FuelTech.

“I like how IHRA is so Sportsman focused,” Lamberson said. “Bracket racing is definitely the biggest draw for us. Being centered around bracket racing, we look at what’s best for our racers and the IHRA’s programs are better for them than anything out there.”

Amarillo racers have certainly done well in the IHRA Summit SuperSeries where they compete in the Division 4 (Renegades) Summit Team Finals. Track representatives at the 2023 IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Finals presented by Strange Engineering included: Shannon Hareford (Top), Carl Birdsong (Mod) and Abe DeLeon (Junior Dragster).

Amarillo

In addition, Amarillo Dragway hosted an IHRA Ironman Classic in late summer with Hareford (Box), Tammy Milam Drury (No Box), Gene Bradley (Sportsman) and Hannah Thompson (Junior Dragster) as winners of the prestigious Ironman trophies.

While the focus is more on the grassroots racer today, the track has a history of major events and uses the motto, “Where History and Speed Meet.” Built in 1959, Amarillo Dragway hosted the IHRA World Nationals from 1975-77 where the winners included some of drag racing’s all-time greats led by 17-time world champion “Big Daddy” Don Garlits.

IHRA Hall of Famer Rickie Smith, Dale Pulde, Bob Glidden and Texas-own Lone Star legend Raymond Beadle were among the other winners.

Lamberson commented with an older track there’s a never ending list of maintenance that has to be done. He has a deep appreciation for Amarillo Dragway and managed the drag strip once before. He’s also served as a crew chief on some “No Prep Kings” cars. 

“I’ve been fortunate enough to be on both sides of the fence and to go drag racing all over the country,” he said. “But, it’s nice to be back home.”

He explained while growing up his family wasn’t into hunting, fishing or other activities. His weekends were spent at the race track. You can hear the passion in his voice in doing everything he can to make it as memorable for today’s racers as it was for him during those years.

Looking ahead to the 2024 season, Amarillo Dragway has been chosen as one of the locations for Sick Week Drag and Drive when they visit tracks along the historic Route 66. Lamberson has been working with local racers on some No Prep and heads-up small tire events as well.

Click here to check out the Amarillo Dragway Facebook page and keep up to date with the latest news concerning this historic track.

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