The International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) was purchased nearly a month ago (August), and new owner Larry Jeffers isn’t wasting any time making moves.
Jeffers, who is serving as the President and CEO of the IHRA, is building upon the established Sportsmans schedule while growing the 2023 season. This includes the opportunity to win the coveted Ironman Trophy at special IHRA events, “the ultimate prize for IHRA-member racers,” according to Jeffers.
“It symbolizes the best of the best at International Hot Rod Association special events like the IHRA Sportsman Spectacular presented by Hagerty and Moser Engineering, the IHRA Ironman Classic, the IHRA Summit Team Finals and the IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Finals. It is an enduring symbol of IHRA’s continued commitment to grassroots, Sportsman racing,” Jeffers stated in a press release.
Jeffers will continue to focus on Sportsman racing and has no plans to bring back Nitro or Pro Mod racing. However, many tracks are renewing their commitments to the IHRA racing schedule, seeing a fit for their facilities.
One of those tracks is Gleason Raceway Park in Gleason, Tennessee. Owned by the Northrup family, the 1/8 track has undergone significant renovations after sitting dormant and is ready to host IHRA-sanctioned events in 2023. “It has worked out fabulously to be part of the IHRA Summit SuperSeries program, the largest and most prestigious championship in all of bracket racing,” stated the press release.
Additionally, the IHRA is welcoming back Wilkesboro Dragway in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. “It was important to get sanction with IHRA again,” said track operator Paul Salvatore. “I see how important Wilkesboro Dragway is to the people who call it their home track. We cater to the bracket racers and also want to find a good variety of racing. We want to draw in different people and have events to keep the place moving, to keep the place fresh. But, we want to stay attached to the roots as well.”
Wilkesboro Dragway has hosted many notable IHRA events, including the 1991 IHRA Carolina Nitrous Nationals that produced IHRA Hall of Fame drivers Rickie Smith in Pro Stock and Scotty Cannon in Pro Mod as winners. Plus, the track was home to the 2018 IHRA Sportsman Spectacular, where Roger Robertson scored a $10,000 check from Moser Engineering and earned a bonus as an IHRA Summit SuperSeries Member.
Xtreme Raceway Park in Ferris, Texas, and Ozark Raceway Park in Rogersville, Missouri, have both inked deals to host 2023 IHRA events. Xtreme Raceway Park was named the IHRA Division 4 (Renegades) Track of the Year in 2019. The 1/8 track is easily accessible and boasts that it’s a first-class facility, with its modern updates, racing surface and safety features.
Ozark Raceway Park has given some of the biggest names, like “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, a 1/4 mile track to lay down rubber on its 330 feet of ground concrete. Additionally, the facility has upgraded its Accutime timing system. Track owners, Katie Lotsberg and Kevin Jewer, are looking forward to working hand in hand with the IHRA and its grassroots Sportsman racing.
The IHRA is wrapping up its season with a stop in Asbury, Missouri, for the Sportsman Spectacular presented by Hagerty and Moser Engineering and the IHRA Division 3 (North
Stars) Summit Team Finals. The IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Finals will cap off the 2022 season on October 12-15, 2022, at Holly Springs Motorsports.