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Memphis International Raceway Drag Strip Officially Opens
After several months of track improvements, Memphis International Raceway drag strip is ready for racing. 

On Sunday evening, Memphis International Raceway (MIR) hosted the Drag Racing Track Tune Up.  Dozens of MIR loyal drag racers participated in the invitation only event.  Feedback from the racers solidified MIR officials’ decision to officially open the drag strip. 

“We are very excited to be opening the drag strip at MIR,” said Pam Kendrick, General Manager and VP, Memphis International Raceway.  “We held the Track Tune Up to prepare the MIR staff and facility for a full drag racing event.  At the conclusion of the event on Sunday, we determined that facility is safe and race-ready for both racers and spectators.  Thanks to all the racers and spectators for joining us on Sunday; we had a solid group of cars.”

Kendrick credits several key staff members for their assistance in bringing racing back to Memphis, “I would like to thank Chris Sowell, MIR facility manager; Sharon Nix, MIR grounds and housekeeping supervisor; and Chris McMahan, Director of Race Operations at Palm Beach International Raceway for their countless hours and dedication.”

Under McMahan’s leadership and expertise of preparing a top-notch racing surface, he and the drag strip staff worked diligently over the last several months to ensure a quality racing surface.  The final touches were completed late in the week.  Track officials expected to open the drag strip gates on Saturday but rain showers delayed the opening by one additional day.

Gates opened on Sunday, August 21, at approximately 6pm.  John Williams and Dan Perkins were the first racers to run on the newly finished MIR drag strip. Millington resident Cody Graham was the second racer on track and posted an impressive 7.82-second run in the quarter-mile.  Seasoned racer Caffey Broadus was geared-up to race and informed MIR officials that the track was smooth and handled well after his first pass of the night.  All four drivers - Williams, Perkins, Graham and Broadus all provided positive feedback to MIR representatives about Sunday night’s Track Tune Up.

In addition to welcoming racers back to the Millington track, MIR is developing relationships with sponsors and local businesses.  Don Baskin, the official equipment supplier of MIR, was on-hand to witness the Track Tune Up on Sunday and offered his support to the new ownership of MIR. As Baskin watched the fans and racers, he commented to Kendrick on Sunday night, “The track is right; racing is back in Memphis and I’m glad to be part of MIR’s re-opening.”

As a result of Sunday’s success and racer feedback, MIR officials officially announce a two-week schedule for the drag strip.  The fall schedule is still in development and will be announced once event dates are secure.

Tuesday, August 23 – Test and Tune
Gates: 5pm
Drag racing hours: 6-10pm
Racer entry fee: $20
Spectators: $5

Thursday, August 25 – Test and Tune
Gates: 5pm
Drag racing hours: 6-10pm
Racer entry fee: $20
Spectators: $5

Friday, August 26 – Midnight Madness
Gates: 9pm
Drag racing hours: 10pm-2am
Racer entry fee: $20
Spectators: $10

Additional elements:

·        Burnout Competition – Winner receives trophy; winner determined by crowd

·        Best Bike of the Night – Winner receives trophy; Times slips don’t lie (full safety gear required)

·        Special Exhibition run – Dwayne Watkins – Pro Mod

Saturday, August 27 – J & J Racing / Heads Up / Mean Street Shootout
Gates: 9am
Tech opens: 2pm
Qualifying: 4pm
First round eliminations: 7pm
Racer entry: Based on class
Spectators: $15, children 12 and under are free
Rain date: Sunday, August 28

Thursday, September 1 – Test and Tune
Gates: 5pm
Drag racing hours: 6-10pm
Racer entry fee: $20
Spectators: $5

Saturday, September 3 – Test and Tune
Gates: 5pm
Drag racing hours: 6-10pm
Racer entry fee: $20
Spectators: $5

Earlier in 2011, track officials have made significant improvements to the property including working with Penhall crews to scrape and grind the drag racing surface, installing and upgrading the CompuLink timing system, upgrading and painting concession stands and restrooms.  All signage has been replaced to reflect the new Memphis International Raceway name and the executive team is developing sponsorship relationships with local businesses and media outlets.

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