“Everything in life comes out of a passion play for me,” stated Don Scott, owner of the newly formed World Drag Racing Alliance.
Scott announced the formation of the WDRA, a new drag racing sanctioning body, at the beginning of September 2022. The WDRA’s mission statement states, “to provide value as a sanctioning body to racers and facilities through process modernization, unparalleled service and value-driven partnerships.”
The origin of the WDRA stems from a passion of Scott’s – one that began when he was a child. “For me, roller starting Don Garlits’ dragster is an all-time fun fact and memory for me. We go from that as a kid that goes through all this different racing stuff up to about five years ago,” he said.
Scott took his passion and jumped into the world of drag racing after becoming a partner at Central Illinois Dragway. “I first went after Scott [Gardner] about three years ago, and I said I want to run our local race track. Ultimately, we want to buy a track somewhere. Me and my wife want to retire, and we want to run it,” Scott said. “Two weeks into that, I’m like, ‘where’s this playbook of how a track runs? How do we know how to do anything?’ I didn’t know how to buy hot dogs, let alone traction compound or anything that goes with that.”
Scott relied on decades of business experience to get the track up and running. He also took that knowledge and his first-time track owner experience to form the WDRA.
“I just had to go back to what I’ve been doing 30 years, and that’s how to run a business correctly,” Scott stated. “It was not what I saw with the resources that were available to me. That truthfully came out at the end of 2020, and it’s always been in the back of my mind that we can better organize racing and make sense of it.”
Fast forward to today and Scott is putting a plan together to structure the WDRA and provide something of a playbook to track operators, as well as group purchasing options. “The way I build out a business, the way I go about it all around, you find the very best people in the industry and you get them involved,” he said. “We put together a plan and we begin to execute.”
Part of putting the business plan together was coming up with a mission statement. One word that Scott specifically chose was “alliance” and to focus on providing value to racetracks and racers.
“That’s 100% the group we put together as a track advisory board, including Scott Gardner. It should be an alliance that provides value every day,” Scott said. “It should not be the guys that bill the tracks $1,000 to $2,000 a year and it’s a race to see how many tracks you get on the roster, how many you can get to pay that fee.
“That’s not providing value. That’s just another expense. When we put together an alliance, the sanctioning body, in our opinion, has to be the first part of putting the group together and making it work,” Scott continued. “Using that word ‘alliance’ is very much on purpose, and it’s a very important part of what we represent and what we will become.”
Right now, the WDRA has announced 30 member tracks. Scott hinted that additional tracks will be added, but right now, they’re focusing on the WDRA’s business plan and what makes sense for the racing community as a whole.
“We truthfully sit with a whiteboard and build a business plan as we talk with tracks,” Scott said. “Our whiteboard right now looks like we have the balance of the racers right now represented by the tracks that are becoming part of this.”
A few core questions that Scott and the WDRA advisory board continue to ask is, “how do we provide value for them? How do we provide professional-level events for them?”
Scott might not have shared the additional drag strips joining the WDRA, but he did leak some information about the association’s finals.
“American Race Cars is going to put up $5,000 towards the finals, which is an event that has no entry fee,” Scott said. “That money goes 100% to the races. My goal isn’t to be $250,000. It is to dominate this with the sponsors getting involved and providing value at those races.”