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Kingdon Drags Signing Gives IHRA a Trifecta in California

Wednesday, 08 May 2024

LODI, CA — The word trifecta fits IHRA drag racing as well as horse racing with the addition of Kingdon Drags to the IHRA family of tracks.

The facility less than 15 miles outside Stockton is third IHRA member track signed in the last three weeks joining Eagle Field Runway Drags and Mendota Raceway Park.

“This adds recognition to our track, and we’re proud to fly the IHRA colors,” track promoter Jeff Shirk said. “We know the IHRA has been looking to expand and we’re happy to help in that area.”

The three tracks are working together to promote a big shootout for their racers at the end of the season. Matter of fact, it was the relationship with Eagle Field track operator Rocky Phillips that sparked the interest of Kingdon Drags and IHRA. Shirk and Phillips go way back as Shirk helped train him on the track’s former timing system.

Shirk is currently working on a new timing system at Kingdon Drags, which has its biggest event in September. The 18th annual Return to Kingdon Drags is the track’s largest event of the season. The 2023 edition featured an arm-drop, test-and-tune and The Beast Jet Dragster on Friday, an open timed test-and-tune on Saturday, followed by opening ceremonies and a Nitro Cackle Fest. Sunday’s schedule included another test-and-tune, opening ceremonies and final eliminations.

They always try to pay homage to the early days of racing as Shirk explained some at the track are into the old-school, heads-up racing and others who like the time slips.

“Our September event, we start with the arm drop, move to the timers and finish with a bracket, dial-in,” Shirk said. “The Return to Kingdon Drags Reunion is always the big race, but we have some smaller ones too.”

The Kingdon strip was built in the early 1940s by the military and used as a training facility for pilots. Bob Cress, a Stockton police officer, converted the use to a drag strip as a way to get illegal racing off the streets and provide them with a safer and legal alternative.

“Big Daddy” Don Garlits debuted the “Swamp Rat” at Kingdon in 1959 and the facility became an operational airport again in the 1970s. Shirk held his first race at Kingdon in 2006, honoring the racers who drove there in the past. For the races, they fence it off and bring in the portable pieces like a full barrier to host the races.

They are good neighbors for the community and have used proceeds from the races to donate to military organizations. The racing can get serious as Shirk recounted how one driver got his  wheels so far up at the start, it destroyed the transmission and everything else when the car came down.

Shirk is serious about spraying and prepping the track to make it the best for the racers, while they also create a great family atmosphere. Several vendors come in to provide food options including a nice selection of desserts. They also work hard to bring in sponsors which include Premier Pools, United Rentals and Teichert Construction.

For more information about Kingdon Drags, click here to look at the track’s Facebook page. Welcome to all the new California racers. Make sure you take advantage of becoming an IHRA member as it’s fast and easy to join.

Click here to visit the IHRA membership center. You may also call 85.JOIN.IHRA where our friendly IHRA membership coordinator Heather Roth can take you through the process of getting you on track.

Last modified on Wednesday, 08 May 2024

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