Drag Racing Online: The Magazine

Volume VIII, Issue 6, Page

What we saw as we cruised through the gate was a well-maintained racer-friendly facility owned and operated by the Sieg family. When DRO staffer Jeff Leonard and myself stopped at the gate and identified ourselves, the ticket lady gave us a big smile and waved us through while telling us they were glad we were there. Compared to the greetings we sometimes get coming through a back gate, the DRO staff was pleasantly surprised.

Although they are called “sand drags” there isn’t any sand; instead the track itself is a 300-foot-long river bottom dirt track with no rocks. The lanes are about 60 feet wide and as level as a plowed field can be. The timing system was standard drag racing stuff with a 60-ft speed trap at the end.

Aside from the heads-up competition, one of the main attractions for the DRO team was the wide variety of powerplants. We saw everything from a 200-inch wheelbased chain-driven dragster with a 500-inch Hemi fuel motor mounted “sidewinder” style, to a turbocharged, fuel-injected V-6 dragster, to a dragster with a blown big block Chevy featuring a “Pro Charger” style supercharger.

The quickest car on the premises was powered by a blown small block built and tuned by supercharger guru and former Pro Mod tuner to the stars, Darren Mayer, and owned and driven by Michigander Frank Martuscelli. David Earle was crew chief. Martuscelli's rail ran consistently in the 2.50-2.60 range with best lap was a 2.55 which he backed up with set the track record at 2.55 with a 2.56 in the final round. The mouse motor uses the same Alan Johnson components that Outlaw Pro Mod racer Jason Scruggs used to power his car before switching over to a Hemi.


The track has been operating for about 15 years, but, as we understand it, this was their first national event-style race. As such, it attracted racers from Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, Arizona and Texas to run the “Top Eliminator” class where the only limitation was no nitromethane for this event.
Frank Martuscelli has the pedal down on the dragster on a pass that was to test a set of experimental headers. His wife, Shari, does a lot of work on the car between rounds. She also stages and brings Frank into the beams. Look for a complete feature in this dragster in the July issue of DRO.

Drag racing like it ought to be. That is the impression the staff of DRO came away with after visiting the Thunder Valley racetrack in Grain Valley, MO, just east of Kansas City for a Thunder Valley Sand Drags event. What we saw when we got there was no-rules, no-BS racing with cars that went 300 feet in less than three seconds. There were no brackets, no breakouts, and no dial (that we knew about). It was run-what-ya-brung drag racing where the first driver to the finish line wins (unless they red-light) and there was damned little whining (a favorite with us). In short, the kind of drag racing the DRO staff will drive nearly 250 miles to see.

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