Night of Fire At Eddyville Raceway Park Stirs the Stands
By John Drummond, Photos by Mike Harrington and Steven Bunker
Iowa may be known as the land of ethanol, but it became the land of nitromethane the first weekend in July. Night of Fire at Eddyville Raceway Park brought Top Fuel motorcycles, Outlaw Nitro Funny Cars, Fuel Altered and jets, door cars and plenty of admiring fans. Even “Big Daddy” Don Garlits himself was on hand to mingle with fans and lite off one of his ‘Swamp Rat” vintage dragsters.
The race is the largest event of the year at the 1/8th-mile country dragstrip. Opened in 1965, the track was totally rebuilt under the stewardship of Carl Moyer in 1993 with much larger pits, and modern amenities. The track was purchased in 2006 by Scott Gardner and Gerald Kramer from Pella. It is now in the sole possession of Kramer who continues to pack the stands with the most popular events in the region.
Part of the charm of this place is its ball park-like ambiance. The 1/8th-mile configuration makes for intimate trackside seating. It has a real small-town vibe where the regular weekly racers are all a big family. The Armco guardrails harken back to drag racing’s glory days. All of the staff members are beyond friendly and accommodating. We had a blast!
With the Fourth of July Holiday literally just days away, the fans came out in full force to witness the flame-belching action. Howard Ferris’ “War Wagon” Fuel Altered and the “Quickdraw” funny car of John Lawson (driven by Joe Haas) had a spirited two-week trash-talking session on social media. That ended when Ferris clicked off a 3.49 @ 180mph with an early shut off good for the track record. The second-quickest run of the evening was John Lawson’s 3.75 @ 200mph in his “Runaway” second gen Camaro.
The Top Fuel motorcycles were also in the three-second zone. These motorcycles are literally insane. Not be outdone was a field of flame-throwing jet dragsters and funny cars. The Queen of Diamonds entry driven by twenty-something Phenom Sarah Edwards set a track record for jets with a 3.68 @ 210mph.
We went to the Night of Fire At Eddyville Raceway Park for the evening on a whim not knowing what to expect. We can emphatically scream that we will be back!