BY: MIKE ELLINGTON
Greetings from Ohio and welcome to the Midwest section of the site. I’d like to thank Tom Bray for the opportunity to write for National Sand Drag News. I hope this site will work well in promoting a sport that is such a big part of my life. To introduce myself; I’m Mike Ellington and I’ve been crazy enough to stay involved in this sport since I was a kid. My wife Kathy and I compete with an altered and a Jeep in the Ohio Valley area. This will be my sixteenth year behind the wheel and my wife has been driving for ten. I previously served as secretary and president of the American Sand Racing Organization. I also run a forum style website: http://www.sanddragcentral.com/. I’m a huge fan of the sport and look forward to meeting all of you that I have not met sometime down the road.
When you think of the sport of sand drag racing, you’re probably not thinking of the Midwestern states. You’re probably thinking, “They don’t have any sand!” You’re right, we don’t. Sand is definitely a loose term around our tracks. We race mainly on dirt/clay mix tracks. While we don’t have an over abundance of tracks or competitors, we can still boast of a season with nearly 30 events from April through October. You can find four tracks in Ohio, three in Indiana, and one in Kentucky holding regular events. That’s not even scratching the surface when you consider all of the ATV only tracks that are popping up at a record rate. My wife and I can race nearly every weekend through the summer with less than a 3 hour drive. And we drive further than most.
The epicenter of our sand drag world is Cleves, OH. The IOK Four Wheelers have been hosting Gravelrama since the early 70’s. It’s a nearly week long event with several types of competition. You’ve probably seen this event in older four wheel drive magazines, or most recently on television. It’s from this event that many of the other organizations and tracks in this area have gotten their start. Most events are bracket races with a few still holding heads-up events with several different classes. This variety gives the Midwestern racer a lot of options on which events to participate in. Our events are still very family oriented with a relatively low cost. An entry fee higher than $30 would be hard to find and that keeps the competitor count fairly high.