Bracket Racing in the Bluegrass State
A look at Kentucky ’ s London Dragway By Van Abernethy
When Craig Boone bought Kentucky ’ s London Dragway 15 years ago , he went right to work on improving the facility with initial upgrades that included a new concrete launch pad , poured concrete walls , lengthening of the shutdown , a new timing system and a host of other improvements . Boone has maintained the facility nicely over the years , and once again performed a variety of improvements just prior to reopening for the 2022 race season .
Most recently , another concrete launch pad and burnout pad were installed , and the shutdown was once again lengthened . Brandon Mass from Mass Traction was commissioned to rework the racing surface , and additional blacktop was laid in the pit area . “ I would like my next project to be a new tower ,” says Boone .
London Dragway has a robust and diverse array of events on their schedule for 2022 , and things got kicked off in mid-March with a scheduled three-day event called Bluegrass Stakes . “ It was still quite cold and we battled weather on the opening weekend , so the event was shortened due to the weather ,” explains Boone .
By April , things were rolling along at London with the scheduled Spring Nationals bracket race , kicking things off with a $ 5k-to-win on Friday , followed by a 10-grander on Saturday and another one on Sunday . Photos from the Spring Nationals appear in this story .
Also in April was the first scheduled showing of London ’ s 4.70 index series for door cars . “ We ’ ve been really successful with our G & W Construction Outlaw 4.70 program ,” Boone says . “ We had 58 cars show up for our last event in late 2021 . We have a points fund for this series and usually hold one race per month . We often have Pro Mods
booked in at the same event and it makes for a really good show .”
Friday nights are geared mainly toward street cars , and London offers quarter-mile trophy drags , and often a top 10 for the fastest of the street cars in attendance .
London offers a diverse line-up for bracket racers as well . “ We have a unique points bracket program here at London . We have a Summit Super Series points program that ’ s geared for
the IHRA Bracket Finals ... so we have 15 of those races on the schedule , and they ’ re mainly two-day events ,” Boone says . “ And for our regulars we do a track points program . You basically enter once and you ’ re essentially competing in both programs . We usually take a full team of racers to the Bracket Finals .” London usually holds a pair of Ironman races that are heavily attended and pay a generous purse .
Boone is not afraid to go outside his comfort zone and try new things . “ We ’ re gonna do some no-prep , instant green races this year , which is completely new for us . I ’ ve seen it done and I ’ ve had a lot of people asking for it , so we ’ re gonna try it and see what happens .”
Another unique event that Boone is planning to hold early or late in the season is what ’ s known as a Blind Squirrel race . The idea is to have no time runs , just choose a dial-in and race with no prior data to go on . No time slips are given until after the race is over . “ We had planned to do a Blind Squirrel race in late March , but the weather wouldn ’ t cooperate ,” Boone says .
Footbrake Friday is another popular event , held in conjunction with test and tune . “ We kinda put a new twist on Footbrake Friday as well . We don ’ t let racers change their dial-in throughout the race . Just dial it once and stay with it all night ,” says Boone .
When summer rolls around , London hosts a pair of big-money bracket events in July and August , first with the July Jackpot followed by Summer Bucks Shootout in August . Also in August , the Southeast Gassers return to London for a two-day show . Big-money bracket racing returns in September with the High Dollar Nationals , slated for three full days of racing .
A local series known as the Open Outlaws organized by Rocky Flanagan is also on the schedule this year , and is comprised of Pro Mods and dragsters running in the 3.70-to-3.80 elapsed time range . “ Open Outlaw is a traveling series that runs around Kentucky , Tennessee and Alabama . We usually book them once a year .”
Verge Motorsports Quick Outlaws is yet another attraction headed up by Jeff Walls , and features 4.70 door cars and 4.50 dragsters and is scheduled to make an appearance at London in October .
Chrysler enthusiasts turn out in droves for the Mopar Muscle Dragfest event , also in October . “ That ’ s been a real successful event for us – we get a lot of Hemi Super Stock and Nostalgia Super Stock , and those guys come from all over ,” Boone says . “ We had well over 100 entries last year .”
Halloween Havoc bracket racing closes out October at London , followed by the Winter Bucks Shootout and the Thanksgiving Classic . “ Both of those late-season bracket events usually work real well for us because a lot of the northern tracks have closed for the season , and if we have good weather we ’ re packed for both races ,” Boone adds .
If the weather holds out , the December Dash event is the last scheduled race on London ’ s calendar , and typically closes out the race season . “ We ’ re gearing up for another great season of racing in 2022 ,” concludes Boone . DI
PHOTOGRAPHS BY CHRIS SIMMONS PHOTOGRAPHY
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