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The Callahan Report: New Drag Strip Opens in Southern Indiana

7 September 1997

[ Time Trials Begin ]

LYONS, IN: For those who like to drive fast in a straight line, there is a sparkling new facility in the hills of Southern Indiana. E.T. Raceway opened today much to the delight of racers and fans alike. The new eighth of a mile strip is located approximately 12 miles north of Elnora on Indiana highway 57.

[ Mark Hillenburg ]Mark Hillenburg

There was one incident during the early qualifying sessions this afternoon. Bloomington driver, Mark Hillenburg got off the concrete patch in his Monza. Hillenburg's car, running in the left lane, veered left and slammed the guardrail. He barrel rolled across the finish line. Hillenburg was uninjured. Time trials and eliminations will continue into the night. Complete results will be made available later.

The track is 2150 feet long and 48 feet wide, with 740 feet of smooth concrete for the racing surface and 1,450 feet of asphalt for the shutdown area. For added safety, there is a double guardrail and chain-link fence between the cars and the spectators. There are modern facilities and a three story official's tower. There is also plenty of grandstand seating. Construction of the strip has been in progress for at least a year and a half. Heavy spring rains delayed the planned July opening.

The new track did not open smoothly. In an effort to get some rubber on the track, there was an open test session last week (Wednesday). Tim Turner, of Bedford, IN was killed as his racer continued down the track after a test run. Witnesses said Turner's car never let off power and went into the gravel catch pile at full speed.

Elnora driver Johnny Buffington commented on the new facility. He said, "This is a very well thought-out facility built with convenience and safety in mind. The accident that took place the other night was a real tragedy ... something that is rare in a sport that emphasizes safety. My heart goes out to the family and friends of Tim Turner.

Lloyd Thompson and Walter Lowder are he owners of the track. They have built the track to meet sanctioning standards so they can attract big names. Big names mean big crowds. The track will attract a wide variety of vehicles, including dragsterrs, roadsters, funny cars and exhibitiohn cars. Calls have beeen comin form racers all over the Midwest to reserve pit spaces. Lloyd has been racing himself since 1956 and has been around the sport all of his life. He ran in IHRA circuits, established several records for speed and ET, and knows what it takes to be successful.

[ Roadster
Photo ]

There are five different racing classses: Super Pro, for vehicles running 7.99 seconds or quickeer, first place $1,000 Purse; Pro, vehicles running seven seconds and slower, first place $500 purse; Super Street, for cars running 4.5 to 9.5, first place $200 Purse; Street, for vehicles running 9.5 and slower, first place $150 Purse; Trophy, for streeet driven vehicles, comppete for trophies. Spectator admission is $7 for adults and kids under 12 ar efree. There will be a full racing schedule for the remainder of the season, including some Sundays. For more information on times, days, and class rules, call 812-659-2951 or 812-384-4959.

Terry Callahan -- The Auto Channel