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Well Worth the Wait: Mid-West Drag Racing Series Makes 2024 Debut at Throwdown in Tulsa

Damon Steinke / E3xtreme photos

Nearly thirty thousand fans packed Tulsa Raceway Park for the famous Throwdown in T-Town that has been contested on the Friday and Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend for over ten years.

The MWDRS has suffered three rainout weekends of 2024, with Pine Valley postponed from April to October and the season-opener at Xtreme Raceway Park. The XRP race was scheduled for March, postponed until April, and eventually canceled before the event after the Dallas area received over 10-inches of rain that week.

“It has been a very tough Spring for all of us and the MW staff. We just want to race, and it seemed like weather roulette the last couple of months,” stated series founder Keith Haney. “Tulsa was tremendous for all the fans, racers, and our staff. It was huge!”

The Stroud Safety Pro Mod class saw seventeen drivers competing for the first win of the season. Defending Pro Mod Champion Keith Haney went through the rounds eliminating Mike Labbate, Jon Stouffer, Mark Micke, and Aaron Wells with a best pass of 3.694 in the finals.

“Brandon (Switzer) has this car running flawlessly. After the XRP Rainout, we went to PDRA Virginia and made some great passes during the event,” stated Haney. “Picking up right where we left off after winning the championship!”

The Pro Mod Slammers class received a purse boost from Flying H Drag Strip granting the racers free entry and an additional purse. Ron Muenks beat Brian Lewis, Ed Thornton, and series newcomer Todd Bennett enroute to the win.

A familiar sight in J&A Service Funny Car saw husband and wife Jim & Annie Whiteley facing off in the finals with Annie taking home the win after Jim turned on the red light. Some of the closest side-by-side passes of the weekend came in Funny Car. 

Icon Forged Pistons Top Dragster saw young gun Jordan Eperjesi come up just shy of her first MWDRS Top Dragster win when perennial bracket racing favorite Jeremy Maples took home the win. Maples overcame round fights with Lloyd McClure, Tim White, and Eperjesi to take the win. 

Top Sportsman welcomed new class sponsor Performance Bearing to its class title for the 2024 season. Performance Bearing is owned by series Funny Car racer Steve Macklyn who also owns the familiar B&J Transmission. Top Sportsman action saw Michael Chitty as the top qualifier but fell to event runner-up Mark Griffin in the second round. Two-time series champion Rod Moore took home the win over Mark Griffin in the finals.

M&M Transmission Pro 4.20 saw nine cars entered for this five-race series championship. Fellow racer and car owner Dave Pierce has put a tremendous amount of time into building this class and expects to see it grow each event. Derrol Hubbard qualified number one but fell in round one to Pierce. Former Top Sportsman racer James Ogden made the switch to Pro 4.20 and took home the win over Pierce in the finals. The next race for this class is Flying H Drag Strip May 30-June 1.

Zimmerman Properties Sportsman Junior Dragster saw a lot of familiar names competing this season. Breccan Whiteley, son of Steven & Delaina, took four round wins to start the season. Breccan beat Ellie Carson, Braylee Blevens, Landon Maples, and Presley Moberly. Almost all these names are recognizable as the kids of current racers, making this truly a family affair.

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Race Star Wheels Pro Junior Dragster also found many of the smiling faces from last year while several who had aged out and moved up to “big cars” this year. A familiar battle in the finals with recent 2-time class champion Alexis Kesterson taking the win over former champion Tyler Wells. Alexis had to run the table on five rounds, besting Race Ragland, Gannon Carson, Reid Clocker, and Tyler Wells. Junior Slammers winner was Rage Ragland.

“The start of the season was very tough on everyone; we needed this race to get in the groove and begin these title chases,” stated Event Director Ellen Eschenbacher. “We have huge momentum going into the brand new Flying H Drag Strip in the Kansas City area later in the month. This area has been so starved for racing that we are certain our show will pack the place.” 

The next stop on the Summit Racing Equipment Mid-West Drag Racing Series Tour is Flying H Drag Strip in Odessa, Missouri, from May 30 to June 1, 2024. The Fall Smack Down in September boasts the largest Pro Mod payout in History, with the class competing for $150,000 to win.

MWDRS will showcase 8 events throughout the 2024 racing season, continuing with the brand-new venue, Flying H Dragstrip in Odessa, Missouri May 31-June 1. The return to World Wide Technology Raceway in St. Louis June 28-29 caps off the first half of the season. Following a summer break, the series returns to US 131 Motorsports Park in Martin, Michigan September 6-7, followed by a return visit to Flying H Dragstrip September 20-21. The weather-postponed event at Pine Valley Raceway in Lufkin, Texas takes place October 3-5 just before the season concludes at the Fall Throwdown in Tulsa October 18-19. All races will be streamed live on FloRacing, allowing for maximum exposure for our MWDR series racers as well as our valuable marketing partners. 

This story was originally published on May 16, 2024. Drag Illustrated

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