Drag Illustrated Issue 178, September / October 2022 | Page 78

eight events per season and make one stop here with us ,” says Mann .
Another popular event that ’ s contested almost monthly at Wabash Valley is the VP Race Fuel Fast 33 . Nick Agresta , a VP Racing Fuels sales manager , is credited with the idea behind this event , which caters to faster racers of the area , who may be slightly concerned with stopping distance at Wabash Valley ... so they only race to the 330-foot mark .
The 32-car field has been completely filled at each race this year , as participants compete for the $ 1,000 purse . It ’ s a popular attraction usually held in conjunction with a standard points bracket race .
Another great event that was recently completed in August was the Blast From The Past Nostalgia race , which featured Nitro Funny Cars and Nostalgia Super Stocks . Yet another heavily attended event in August is the Final Call Promotions Door Car Duel presented by Moser Engineering .
Among the newer events that are experiencing success is the Wabash Valley Dragway Lucky 7 ’ s event , which was launched last year . Drag Illustrated was in attendance for the most recent running , which kicked off Friday night with a gamblers race .
Randy Protz claimed the $ 1,777 payday while driving his great-running 1974 Vega wagon . Keli Dohm collected $ 777 for the No Box win , while Sam Smith took home the hefty $ 7,777 payday for his victory in Box . Aiden Lawson brought his
win total to three in Jr . Dragster , collecting the $ 777 purse in the process . The same generous payouts were awarded in Sunday ’ s final eliminators , as Jake Smith picked up the win in Box , Austin Tewell was victorious in No Box , and Jace Willenborg won in Jr . Dragster .
After all the special events and scheduled bracket point meets , Wabash Valley Dragway usually goes into Box / No Box gamblers racing as the weather permits . “ These Indiana winters can be brutal with lots of snow ,” says Mann . “ We have a 55-degree rule , stating that if the projected high temperature isn ’ t expected to get above 55 , we don ’ t open .”
As Wabash Valley Dragway celebrates its 50th season , racers and fans continue to offer strong support for this vintage facility that ’ s proud of its storied history of drag racing in Hoosier State . DI

Labor of Love

Mary Ledford carries on Mid Michigan Motorplex operations in memory of her late husband , Jim
By Van Abernethy

When it comes to reflecting over the last half-century and counting , it ’ s amazing for Mary Ledford to realize she ’ s been in the drag racing business for 52 years . It all started in 1970 when she and her husband , Jim , built a dragstrip from scratch in northwest Michigan . Mary was just 20 years old at the time .

Five years later , the Ledfords became interested in resurrecting a defunct dragstrip in the middle of the state , a former 1950s airstrip that later operated as Central Michigan Dragway in Stanton but had been closed since 1968 . After lying dormant for seven years , the track needed
78 | Drag Illustrated | DragIllustrated . com Issue 178