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

Dynamic Duo

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
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