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Dragway of Magnolia is ‘new place to race’

By Leigh Ann Rutledge
Accent Editor

Magnola Drag Strip
MUSCLE MANIA. A 1967 Chevy II driven by Stokes Pittman leaves the line during a qualifying run. Pittmans’ time lists 6.65

The sight.
The smell.
The sound.
Hot cars, burning rubber and revving engines ignite your senses when you visit  Tad and Jim’s Dragway of Magnolia, Inc., “The New Place to Race.” 

Located at 5910 Westbrook St., SE, Magnolia, the dragway of Magnolia is owned by Jim Rankl and Tad Ries of Rankl & Ries Motorcars on W. Tuscarawas St., Canton.

Rankl & Ries are both veterans of the dragstrip.  Dragway of Magnolia originally opened in 1957 and was a popular spot until closing in 1977.  Reopened in 1994, the track was shortened to an eighth-mile.  A quarter mile track at inception, with cars going faster at higher rates of speed, there was not enough room for them to safely slow down, thus the length reduction.

Rankl has been racing since the track opened and visitors will notice several cars going down the track with the “Rankl” name on the side, as the next generations take their place behind the wheel.

Jim Kinney, a former drag racer, has known Rankl for 50 years and manages the track.  Kinney can be found not only in the announcer’s booth but mingling with the crowd during intermissions. 

“I have been drag racing my entire life,” he said.  “I am very happy to be here. The buildings, track and grounds have had some touch-ups and special events planned throughout the season.”

Gates open Sunday at 11 a.m. Time Trials begin at noon.  Classes include Box, No Box, and street stock class.  Drivers in the box class are allowed to use delay boxes, crossovers, and throttle stops. The no box class is allowed trans brakes, two steps, three steps, air throttle, and air shifters as long as they are not on a timer. No delay boxes are allowed.  Street stock cars must be driven in with treaded tires.  Treaded slicks are not permitted.

Guaranteed payouts for combo box/no box class is $1,000; box class, $500; and no box, $500.  Various runner-up and run-off positions receive a payout.

Street Stock Class winners receive a free race pass and a three-foot trophy.

Drivers can also be chosen as the bounty driver, participate in buy backs and compete in the dash for cash, where the winner is determined by who runs closest to their dial-in without going under or red-lighting.

Cost is $5 (under 12 free with an adult entry) for seating or pit area entrance.  Spectators can watch from the start line on provided benches or are allowed to park their vehicle outside the fence along the track. 

Food and beverages are available for purchase on the grounds.  For more information, visit www.dragwayofmagnolia.com or contact Kinney at 330-704-0157.

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