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From Valley to Victory: Boone Family Continues to Build London Dragway’s Legacy

It’s been roughly 17 years since Kentucky native Craig Boone purchased and began operating London Dragway, located in the southeast portion of the Bluegrass State. While Boone has pressed through all sorts of climates, both weather and economic, he’s always managed to continue upgrading his laidback quarter-mile facility that was once nothing more than a valley in Laurel County. 

[Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in DI #184, the State of Drag Special Issue, in September/October of 2023.]

A neighboring mountain was mined for its valuable coal, after which, the remaining mountainside was pushed into the valley, producing what turned out to be a fine piece of property on which to construct London Dragway. 

Over the years, Craig and his wife, Tammy, have built a solid clientele of racers and fans who enjoy coming to this folksy and scenic dragstrip, which is typically in operation for roughly nine months out the year. “We have some events on the schedule beginning in March, but the weather can really go either way for us that early in the year,” explains Craig. “We battled it out with the weather early in the season this year, with some cold and rainy weekends early on.” 

A pair of test-and-tune sessions, as well as the first points race, were all disrupted by weather. “The first good race we had this year was the Bluegrass Stakes,” says Boone, referencing the two-day bracket event that was successfully held on April 1-2. 

By the second month into the season, the weather had cleaned up nicely and allowed for some consistently healthy events. “The No Box Throwdown, along with the track points race and Grudge Wars were successful events, as was the three-day IHRA Sportsman Spectacular in late April,” says Boone. 

A big day was planned for Saturday, May 13 featuring Pro Mods, Outlaw 4.70/4.50, along with a track points race, but then the weather decided to stop cooperating. “That’s what killed us…rain returned just as we were getting on a roll. Almost everything in May was rained out!” shrugs Boone. They finally caught a break on the last weekend in May with the running of No Box Throwdown and Grudge Wars. 

June continued to be favorable weather for racing, and the month began with the Bee Handshoe Memorial, featuring three days of racing, including a pair of IHRA points events. The second annual Charlie Short Memorial event was slated for mid-June. 

July was jam-packed with action, beginning with the July Jackpot/Summit points races 9 and 10, with the following week featuring Outlaw Pro Mods, Outlaw 4.70/4.50, along with a track points race. The following weekend, the explosive Southeast Gassers Association made their return to London on July 14-15. “This is their fourth year coming here, and those guys put on a great show!” says Boone. 

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A brand-new event called Outlaw Society was slated for July 22, along with Grudge Wars. “Outlaw Society is Wes Clapp’s deal. Wes operates Knoxville Dragway in Tennessee, so we’ve partnered with him to bring his show to London,” says Craig. The month of July is closed out with no-prep racing, along with track points #10 and a small-tire event. 

August ushers in the return of the Summer Bucks Shootout on August 5-6, and features a pair of IHRA Summit point races. 

The High Dollar Nationals kicks things off in September, and features the final pair of Summit points races before the Bracket Finals, which will be held at Holly Springs Dragway in Mississippi on September 15-16. Racing action then returns to London the following week with Footbrake Friday, No Box Throwdown, track points #14, and Grudge Wars. Budget Bracketfest and track points #15 close out the month of September. 

Three big days of Mopar Muscle Dragfest are on tap for October 6-8. “This is the fourth year for that group coming to London, and we get very good reception and turnout for that event,” Boone adds. The Verge Outlaw series returns on October 14, and features racing in 4.70/4.50 categories along with track points #16. The Carl-Bill Boone Memorial is slated for October 21-22, with IHRA Ironman trophies being awarded on Saturday, October 21. 

By November things are starting to wind down at London, but if the weather cooperates, the Winter Big Bucks Shootout will completely pack the place, as does the Thanksgiving Classic. 

Typically, the December Bash closes out the season at London Dragway. “We generally try to stick to the same dates for our events from year to year. It’s a formula that continues to work for us, so we try to stick with it,” concludes Boone.

This story was originally published on October 20, 2023. Drag Illustrated


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