Lucas Oil pulls plug on boat drag racing series, cancels awards banquet

Lucas Oil officially announced on Thursday that operation of its drag boat series will soon cease to exist. The postseason awards banquet scheduled for Jan. 19 has been cancelled and championship awards and points funds will be sent to competitors soon.


"After nearly a decade-long run as the premier drag boat racing sanctioning body in the world, the Lucas Oil Drag Boat Racing Series will cease operations," according to an announcement made on its website.


Citing a need for the company to move in a new direction, Lucas Oil Executive Vice-President Bob Patison said the drag boat series will end after all matters related to the 2018 season have been concluded. The 2018 Lucas Oil Drag Boat Racing Series season concluded last weekend with the Lucas Oil World Finals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler, AZ.

The beginning of the end…

The U.S. Army’s sponsorship of the Top Fuel dragster driven by Tony Schumacher ends with the final event of the season, the NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway in Pomona, CA, and the team hopes to have a celebration on Sunday, Veterans Day.

Newly crowned Top Alcohol Funny Car champ Sean Bellemeur has a new license plate.

Ulf Leanders was top qualifier for TAFC with a 5.46 at 268.17 mph.

Jeff Arend is driving a Monte Carlo Funny Car for Russo Racing.


They Agent is happy to report that here are full fields in all of the pro classes: Top Fuel (18), Funny Car (20), Pro Stock (20) and Pro Stock Motorcycle (21).

Merick tops Elite 16 at Motorplex, cops $50K

The biggest single-event paycheck in eighth-mile Pro Mod racing history was made out to Randy Merick Nov. 3, after the Missouri-based driver outlasted the field in the inaugural Elite 16 event presented by Elite Motorsports and the Mid-West Pro Mod Series.


Merick qualified his supercharged, Larry Jeffers-built '79 Corvette fourth before making it past three-time NHRA Pro Mod champ Rickie Smith, former ADRL Pro Extreme champion Frankie Taylor, and NHRA Pro Mod winner Joe Baker. He then outran former U.S. Nationals winner Eric Dillard in the $50,000-to-win final at the famed Texas Motorplex near Dallas.


The brainchild of MWPMS owner, promoter and competitor Keith Haney, the Elite 16 brought together teams from at least four major drag racing series with just as many engine combinations for an exclusive end-of-season clash at the all-concrete Motorplex, one of the fastest tracks in the country. The weekend also featured the MWPMS World Finals, postponed by rain from a few weeks earlier in Tulsa, as well as a special Second-Chance Pro Mod race for Elite 16 non-qualifiers presented by Jerry Bickel Race Cars, and the Summit Racing Equipment Top Sportsman class, pushing the total purse to more than $125,000.

Also winning on Saturday night at the Motorplex was MWPMS regular Ron Muenks, who steered his nitrous-fed '68 Camaro to a final-round win over Jerry Hunt and his blown '67 Camaro in the $15,000 Second-Chance Pro Mod race presented by Jerry Bickel Race Cars.


Additionally, in the final for Summit Racing Equipment Top Sportsman, Oklahoma's Kirk Piepke and his nitrous-breathing, late-model GTO defeated the blown 2018 Camaro of Darian Boesch.  

Smith takes slim lead into PSM finals

The championship race in Pro Stock Motorcycle during the Mello Yello Countdown to the Championship comes down to this weekend’s 54th annual Auto Club NHRA Finals at Auto Club Raceway at Pomona, as a whopping six competitors still remain in contention to win a world title. With the points lead changing hands at the first four races and plenty of thrilling action along the way, it’s the perfect way to finish off a playoff race that has been filled with drama.


With two playoff wins, Matt Smith (shown) currently holds a slim four-point lead against defending world champion Eddie Krawiec. LE Tonglet and Hector Arana Jr. sit 61 and 64 points back, respectively, while Jerry Savoie (101 points back) and Andrew Hines (113 points back) are still mathematically alive for a title, setting up an unforgettable finish in Pomona. For Smith, who is seeking his third NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series world title, he’s simply looking forward to a big weekend.


“It’s very exciting for us, the fans and our class in general, and it’s going to be a battle,” said Smith, who celebrates his 36th birthday on Sunday. “Hopefully we can do our job and come out on top in the end, but a race like this, I think it speaks well for our class. We’ve run 15 races and somehow only four points separate Eddie and me. It’s going to be fun and hopefully we can put it all together and do our job. We’re focused on trying to win the race and if we do that we win the title.”    

Byron announces ‘Glory Days’ event for July replacing Meltdown Drags

This T-bird was one of the many cars at the 2017 Meltdown Drags. 


Vintage drag racing will continue to be a staple at Byron Dragway in 2019 with the newly announced “Glory Days at Byron Dragway” vintage drag race, car show, and swap meet scheduled for July 19-21 at the historic northwestern Illinois track.


Glory Days at Byron Dragway will replace the wildly popular Meltdown Drags which celebrated its ninth running in 2018.


“We cannot thank our friends at Meltdown Drags Association enough for everything they’ve done for vintage drag racers and race fans,” said Byron Dragway General Manager, Randy Simpson. “Glory Days at Byron Dragway picks up where Meltdown Drags left off and continues the tradition of authentic, world class vintage drag racing.”


Glory Days will embody many of the same qualities that made Meltdown Drags great but also be more inclusive by expanding beyond 1966 and older vehicles. Specific criteria will be announced in a forthcoming release. Registration will open at midnight on Wednesday, January 2, 2019. Entries will be limited to the first 500 vehicles that meet criteria.


In addition to Glory Days, Byron Dragway will continue hosting the Second Annual Uncle Sam’s Pie Eating Contest, another vintage drag race from the creators of Meltdown Drags, in June 2019.


The team at Meltdown Drags released the following statement: It's the end of the Meltdown Drags as we know it.


Back in 2010 the stars aligned and the Meltdown Drags was born from an idea conceived in Koop's basement 5 years previously. We just wanted a fun place to race our vintage cars; hence the term we coined "vintage drag meet". The Meltdown was the first event of its kind, with strict criteria.


Our goal was simple, to get old race cars out of the sheds & barns, and back onto the racetrack for everyone to appreciate and create a real 60's style drag meet. That was it, oh, and to have the most fun of our lives. The best thing that came out of it was the friends we made.


As it grew, so did the amount of time and people it took to manage it. As you all know, this event has become more work than fun for the crew. As a result, we have decided to take a step back and not have the Meltdown Drags in 2019.


We are not going away and we are not disbanding. We're just going to focus on building cars, racing them with many of you and having fun! Just remember that the future is not written.  

Off the Track: Free Car Wash for Veterans

Once again this Veteran’s Day, Evansville, Indiana-area veterans and service personnel can have their vehicles washed, for free, at Lucas Oil Center at 2650 N. Green River Rd. through the Grace for Vets program.


Area veterans and service members will receive one free “Express Works” car wash November 11 from 8 a.m.-8 p.m. with a valid Veterans Administration or Military ID. This is the fifth consecutive year that Lucas Oil Center in Evansville is partnering with Grace for Vets to bring this program to local Veterans and Service Personnel.


A snappy salute from the Agent!   

New Product of the Day


Strange Engineering S-Series Nodular Iron Case

Dart Machinery has released two versions of their new PRO1 LS7-compatible heads: the first with Dart’s standard rocker bar with standard bolt-hole locations and billet rail to help maintain valvetrain stability; the second is upgraded for a Jesel rocker bar with 7/16-inch bolt holes moved .030-inch closer to the valvetrain for better geometry and stability. The CNC’d rectangular-port cylinder heads have been opened up from the factory size of 259cc to 285cc for better flow on the intake side. The intake valves are still 2.20 inches, but the exhaust valves have been enlarged slightly from 1.61 to 1.625-inch. In addition to the valvetrain variations, another big difference between the stock design and Dart’s, is in the combustion chamber. The combustion chamber has been reduced from the OEM factory head’s 70cc chamber down to 66cc on the PRO1.  



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