Some of the most legendary names in motorsports have competed at Kil-Kare Raceway. But, the commitment to the grassroots, Sportsman racer is the reason for today’s announcement the historic facility has entered a multi-year sanctioning agreement with the International Hot Rod Association.
Now, the track’s regular bracket racers will have the opportunity to participate in the IHRA Summit SuperSeries program, the most prestigious championship in bracket racing which had payouts and prizes over $275,000 in 2023.
“It’s going to be big. IHRA has always been about the family Sportsman racer,” Kil-Kare track operator Ron Vance said. “That’s the feeling you get from them. Obviously, the Sportsman racer is where it all begins. It’s a big step into getting more people into drag racing.”
There’s a long history of racing at the venue 13 miles east of Dayton, Ohio. Built by the Marshall Brothers, it was first opened with a 1/5-mile dirt track in 1951. After one race kicking up a dust storm, the track was paved with a full season of racing in 1952 and reconfigured to a 3/8-mile oval in 1955. The 1/4-mile dragway was opened in 1959, making Kil-Kare a premier facility for both stock car and drag racing.
There’s even racing for quarter midgets, the small cars where drivers like Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart cut their teeth, much like the Junior Dragsters for drag racers.
If you talk about big names, Kil-Kare has hosted some of the most prominent in the sport at both tracks. “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, Shirley Muldowney, “TV Tommy” Ivo and Bob Glidden are amongst the stars to make passes down the drag strip. The legendary A.J. Foyt scored a USAC Midget win at the oval in 1957.
Three-time NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip later competed on the oval in stock cars, where he won the pole and finished second in the feature. Another NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Labonte finished second in a Pro Late Model race at the track in 2021.
“There has been many legends through the facility,” Vance said. “Warren Johnson, Bob Glidden, Garlits, Shirley on the drag racing side, there’s a lot of history with great racers throughout the sport.”
Vance, 49, has a true passion for Kil-Kare, going there since he was five years old. It’s his fifth season running the track, which has seen significant upgrades under the vision of track owner Dave Coterel Jr.
The improvements have included an all-concrete racing surface with concrete walls, accutime timing system, bigger staging lanes, restroom facilities, and concession stands featuring the popular brick oven pizza.
Coterel has made sure there’s plenty of maintenance equipment with blowers, track scrubbers, rotators and drags.
Besides the regular bracket racing program, the dragway has several special events, including Boo Banger, Halloween FreakFest and Street Car Frenzy, which wrapped up the 2023 season. There are several big-money bracket races through the year, including the Ultimate 64, which features $64,000-to-win top prize.
They have hosted $100K and $50K races and have had huge Memorial Day, July 4 and Labor Day shows. Once a month during the season, Kil-Kare also features a $5,000-to-win Box race.
Welcome Kil-Kare Raceway to the IHRA family and click here to check out the track’s Facebook page to keep up with the latest happenings.