Drag Illustrated Issue 176, May / June 2022 - Page 71

Dynamic Duo

PHOTOGRAPHS BY DELL PURIFOY AND VAN ABERNETHY
Leigh Anne Flynt and Tabitha Draughon lead Carolina Class Racers Association into new era
By Van Abernethy

The Carolina Class Racers Association is a unique organization for a number of reasons , not the least of which is the fact that this grassroots series is managed by a couple of drag race-loving women . Affectionately referred to as the “ Dynamic Duo ,” Leigh Anne Flynt and Tabitha Draughon are successful in their roles of co-presidents of the organization that caters to Stock / Super Stock racers , and they ’ re making some serious waves in the overall success of the series .

The CCRA dates back to the mid-2000s after being launched by Jim Reynolds , Tracy Robbins , Larry Coppock and Donnie Moore Sr . and Jr ., respectively , and while Flynt and Draughon have separately had a hand in managing the series down through the years , it wasn ’ t until 2021 that the opportunity presented itself for them to team up and jointly lead this series into the next chapter .
For the Southeast competitors who race within the CCRA , the organization represents different things to different people . For IHRA racers , the CCRA was a welcomed refuge in which to compete after the sanctioning body abruptly dropped class racing a number of years ago . For others within the S / SS contingent , the CCRA has been their home from start to present . Its appeal is undeniable , and the membership roster is definitely growing .
“ At the season-opening race at Coastal Plains Dragway in late March , we had 38 racers join the club , which is exactly how many members we had join for the entire season last year ,” says Draughon .
Average car count per event is about 40 , but the ladies have a goal of hosting a field of 50 cars at one of their events before season ’ s end . In addition to the Coastal Plains season opener , the series also visits Kinston and Farmington before returning to Coastal Plains for the season finale in November .
Regardless of entries , though , all cars are grouped together in a single eliminator , where one big shootout is fought to the finish . NHRA Tech Inspector Danny Waters Sr . is present for all CCRA events and keeps a close eye on all participants , ensuring their vehicles adhere to NHRA guidelines . Waters also handles the staging lanes , and pairs the cars the old-fashioned way with a deck of cards . The CCRA welcomes all sorts of variations within the S / SS classes , including Production , Crate Motor and GT Stock classes . The entry fee for each event costs $ 100 , and racers enjoy a pile of sponsorgenerated round prizes and awards that are given at each event , which are structured as 100-percent payout .
Things get started with a single time run , after which , the Dash for Cash is held and whoever runs closest to their dial-in wins $ 100 and gets a first-round bye run should one come up . At the end of the day , the Paul Bunyan Award goes to the racer with the best reaction time , and there ’ s even a variety of Hard Luck Awards for the best losing package in rounds one and two , as well as another Hard Luck Award on standby in case someone has an issue during the race . There ’ s even been a variety of raffles launched this year
to help racers combat soaring fuel costs .
You don ’ t have to be a CCRA member to compete in the club ’ s events , but the robust points fund enjoyed by members is hard to ignore , and it costs just $ 200 annually , so the overwhelming majority are lining up to join . “ We ’ re enticing them with money !” laughs Flynt .
She ’ s not joking either . A CCRA event winner collects more money than if they ’ d just won a NHRA divisional , and about the same as a national event , minus contingency . Reigning CCRA points champion Raymond Roland collected a whopping $ 5,500 for his efforts , in addition to a gorgeous trophy , giant poster and a stunning race helmet custom painted by Chad McCreary . The points fund pays all the way to the 10th place finisher , who receives $ 350 .
It ’ s no surprise that the racers voiced their desire for more events in 2022 , and the ladies responded with 12 events , an increase from last year ’ s roster of 10 .
Before Flynt and Draughon teamed up , the CCRA never bothered holding a season-ending banquet to celebrate the organization and its racers ’ achievements . This didn ’ t sit well with the ladies , so they threw a party last year that folks talked about all winter long . “ It was a big hit ,” the ladies dish , and it ’ s a tradition that ’ s going to continue so long as Flynt and Draughon have anything to say about it .
So much in life can be enhanced by a woman ’ s touch , and the CCRA seems to be the latest example . DI
May / June 2022
DragIllustrated . com | Drag Illustrated | 71