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Hawaiian Track Hilo Drag Strip Renews IHRA Sanctioning Agreement

Tuesday, 16 January 2024

HILO, HI — Surfing is the sport most associated with Hawaii, but there’s also a great tradition of IHRA drag racing on the islands.

Hilo Drag Strip first opened in 1978 and has continued to provide great racing with the Hawaii Drag Racing League and the Big Island Auto Club. With the tropic setting, there is activity all 12 months of the year.

Some of the major events at the 1/4-mile track southeast of Hilo, Hawaii include March Madness, All-Out April, Reynold M. Crivello Memorial Day Drags, Uncle Gary Arita Shakedown in H-Town, Summer Slam Invitational and King of the Track.

Hilo Drag Strip also hosted the “Nostalgia Drags” last summer. Winners included: Cessily Quirit (Nostalgia 9.99 & Quicker), Chris Ibarra Jr. (Nostalgia 10.00 & Slower), Bob Wytosky (Modern Class), Jack Cambra Jr. (Bikes) and John Kumalae (Junior Dragsters).

The Ibarra family is drag racing royalty as Randy Ibarra won the Hammahz class at the Summer Slam race and Trysten Ibarra was the Junior Dragster winner. Sean Ibarra was both No. 1 qualifier and runner-up to Larry Surria in the Hustlerz class.


Known as Pana’ewa Drag Strip when it first opened, the facility has expanded to include a motocross track, karting track and dirt oval. There is even SCCA sports car racing at the facility.

It has enjoyed IHRA sanction since 2003 and they continued to upgrade with new pavement and an improved timing system in recent years. There has also been new bleachers installed and a long shutdown area.

The history of drag racing in Hawaii goes back to 1954 at the Kahuka Point Airfield on Oahu where legends such as “TV Tommy” Ivo and Roland Leong tested their hot rods. The community remains passionate about the sport and facility, even participating in a huge cleanup every January.

For more information about Hilo Drag Strip and upcoming events, click here to check out the track’s Facebook page.

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