WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Marion County Raceway is in its 50th year of operation in 2019. The goal for new track owners Katie Lotsberg and Kevin Jewer is to keep the La Rue, Ohio facility going strong for the next half-century.
The new owners took a major step recently signing a multi-year sanctioning agreement with the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) and becoming a part of the IHRA Summit SuperSeries program, the largest and most prestigious national championship in bracket racing.
“We love IHRA. My fiancée, Kevin, and I have been drag racing for over 20 years,” Lotsberg said. “Many of the tracks we’ve raced at are IHRA and we wanted this track sanctioned by IHRA.”
They appreciate the history of the 39-acre property that first opened as a motocross facility in 1969 by brothers Bill and Tom Guthery.
The first drag race was held in 1971 and over the next several years, Marion County attracted many of the big names of the sport including “Big Daddy” Don Garlits, Don “The Snake” Prudhomme and “The First Lady of Drag Racing” Shirley Muldowney.
Marion County Raceway first became part of the IHRA family in 1980 and immediately began to support sportsman racers by bringing the organization’s various programs to La Rue. Twice, it has been named IHRA Track of the Year.
“It is great to see passionate people get involved in a track like Marion County and appreciate the legacy and history that surrounds the track” IHRA Division Director Jon O’Neal said. “Marion County racers have always been a tight group and we look forward to seeing them re-engage as a group in both the IHRA Summit SuperSeries and IHRA Summit Team Finals programs”.
The track can accommodate 450 race cars and upwards of 4,000 spectators. Racing is carried out on both the eighth-mile and quarter-mile depending on the class and program. It features a 2,600-foot-long shutdown area, the longest in the state of Ohio.
The task of operating the facility is truly a labor of love as the new owners first met at a race track in New Hampshire. When they saw the opportunity to purchase Marion County Raceway, they first thought it was a dream before Lotsberg said, “We decided to go for it.”
They have found the folks around Marion County to be both welcoming and supportive. They quickly learned how the local people shared their same passion for drag racing and the facility.
“We are familiar with racing, but a good surprise was how much this community loves this track and wants to see it stick around for a long time to come. We hope to keep it a great racing facility for another 50 years.”
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