Can’t make it to the east coast for Drag Week this year or simply don’t have the time off to contest a week-long event? Indianapolis-based event promoter Jay Heid had those very racers — along with visions of creating a drag-and-drive triple crown, if you will — in mind when he devised the inaugural Summit Racing Equipment Midwest Drags, set to take place June 5-7 at tracks in Indiana and Ohio.
A true street/strip challenge, the Midwest Drags will put man and machine to the test as it kicks off at Wagler Motorsports Park in central Indiana, before turning north to the Muncie Dragway and concludes at the Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk, Ohio. The Midwest Drags will feature competition in 12 different classes, including popular favorites like Unlimited and Gassers, and will also feature unique variants such as Unlimited Diesel, Super Street 275 Radial, Super Street Hard Tire, Modern Muscle, and two categories designed around manual h-shift pattern and clutchless manual transmissions.
Marking a departure from Drag Week and Rocky Mountain Race Week, the Midwest Drags will be contested at two eighth-mile and one quarter-mile venue, and rather than turn in one time-slip per track, competitors will be required to submit two, injecting some additional strategy into the process. The average elapsed time and speed will be divided by six at the conclusion of the event to determine class and overall champions.
The Midwest Drags will follow a defined route with checkpoints along the 342-mile journey, permitting the use of a single-axle trailer to haul spares, tools, fuel, and road snacks. As an interesting bonus as part of Summit’s involvement, the mail order giant will have a dedicated phone number set up for use only by Midwest Drags participants in need of parts, and will have whatever they need delivered to their location — whether it’s on the side of the road or in a burger joint parking lot — to ensure they can make immediate repairs and soldier on.
“There are a lot of people, myself included, who can’t afford to take off the eight, nine, ten days that is required to go do Drag Week,” Heid says. “And I think there are a lot of people like that. So I got to talking to some of my buddies and asked if we did a drag-and-drive type of event, would there be a demand for it, and everyone put up their hand.”
“By no means are we trying to compete with Drag Week or trying to take their throne,” Heid adds. “This event is a compliment to Drag Week and follows the direction that we’re starting to see right now, with the fading of no-prep racing. There’s a lot of tracks that are shying away from it because it’s a liability, and people are looking for a true street car challenge right here in the midwest. So that has filled the demand for what we’re doing. But what I’m starting to see now are people online talking about not just winning Drag Week, but winning one or both of the other events — a triple crown like in the equine world.”
Limited to 300 entrants for its inaugural season, the Midwest Drags is drawing the attention of racers from coast to coast, including some of the biggest names in the street car racing world — past Drag Week overall champions and perennial class champions included. Class winners by elapsed time will be awarded $1,000, and $500 will go to the top average mile-per-hour in each class. Heid confidently adds that “the purses are only that low because it’s the first race. After we get this first one under our belts, we’ll seek additional sponsorship to ensure we can grow the payouts next year and beyond.”
I think, even though our event by days is half of what Drag Week is, the complexity and the challenge is twice as much, because you’ve got so much more openness to different kinds of strategies. You can’t just show up early, make one good hit, you’re happy with the E.T. because the speed doesn’t factor into the results, and hop in your car and head out. – Jay Heid
Those who finish with both the lowest average elapsed time and top speed will be named class winners and will, in addition to the cash, take home a custom trophy made by Cold Hart Art out of race-used parts from Don Schumacher Racing’s nitro operation. The need to set both ends of the top marks in a given class adds to the overall challenge racers will face.
“I think, even though our event by days is half of what Drag Week is, the complexity and the challenge is twice as much, because you’ve got so much more openness to different kinds of strategies. You can’t just show up early, make one good hit, you’re happy with the E.T. because the speed doesn’t factor into the results, and hop in your car and head out. There’s a lot more to be able to do,” Heid shares.
Future editions of the Midwest Drags will feature various tracks both in and outside of the traditional midwest, but will always culminate at the Summit Motorsports Park in Norwalk.
Additional information on the inaugural edition of the Midwest Drags, including class rules and regulations, event schedule, and registration can all be found at summitmidwestdrags.com.