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Dragsters replace dump trucks on Kil-Kare’s renovated strip

By Greg Billing - Staff Writer

Two months into the racing season at Kil-Kare Dragway concrete mixers, dump trucks and other heavy machinery have dominated the action at the Greene County strip.

But tonight — with cautious optimism from Kil-Kare officials — the racers pick up the pace. The quarter-mile drag strip owned by David Coterel Jr. anticipates its first racing event this season with a Test & Tune session starting at 5 p.m.

Until then, the closest drivers have come to a photo finish is monitoring Kil-Kare’s Facebook page, waiting for that photo gallery announcing the expansive improvement project is complete. Every time a new gallery goes up the Facebook page sees a spike in views ranging from 6,000 to 10,000.

So, how many racers and spectators does the track anticipate for tonight’s opening?

“Every single one of them,” said Kyle Willetts, Kil-Kare’s director of race services.“The trending on our resurfacing project through Facebook has been phenomenal.”

He might not be too far off with that assessment. Many Kil-Kare regulars stayed loyal and delayed their seasons until the completion of the quarter-mile concrete strip. Regional racers are also anxious to test out the surface. Tracks at the grass-roots bracket racing level are typically asphalt or a combination of asphalt and concrete, but seldom a quarter-mile of all concrete. Kil-Kare’s concrete runs the full quarter-mile, plus 162 feet past the finish line before turning into asphalt.

“To hear those things, it really reinforces that this was the right decision to make these improvements. The fans, racers and sponsors have all been great with the delays,” Willetts said. “A lot of them have said they’ll wait, to just take our time and get it right.

“A lot of what we’ve heard from the grinding, grooving and polishing companies we used — that’s something done on all national event tracks — our racing surface now is comparable to what you would see at a national-event track. We feel as far as drag racing we’re a little bit more than the average bracket track when you take a look at what Kil-Kare has to offer as a facility.

“We are pushing to get things open for our customers, fans and sponsors who have waited so patiently for us. We thank every one for their continued patience and support of our facility. It’s been something needed for a very long time.”

Additional upgrades include:

• Poured concrete barriers replacing metal guard rails.

• Industry-standard safety netting, like that used at NHRA events, at the end of the gravel run-off pi.t

• Correcting the track’s funnel shape toward the finish line, making it 61 feet wide after the immediate starting line down to the gravel pit

• Maintenance and upgrades on pit roads.

• Renovation of the old entrance to accommodate traffic flow on Dayton-Xenia Road during staging.

In 2012, Kil-Kare replaced the timing system and upgraded its track preparation equipment.

“A lot of things we’re doing are to improve safety and bring our facility up to what the industry standard really is, maybe not for a bracket track but for some of the larger drag racing venues you see out there,” Willetts said. “All the improvements have been done to really bring Kil-Kare into the future as a racing facility in Greene County and the Miami Valley.”

Willetts suggests fans and spectators watch for an official announcement declaring the track open on Kil-Kare’s Facebook page, on the track’s web site or by calling the office at 937-429-2961. He also advised area drivers might want to avoid driving past the track entrance Thursday.

“Even with the new entrance it might be wise to avoid Dayton-Xenia Road. That’s the kind of buzz we’re hearing,” Willetts said. “Drag racing, auto racing — it doesn’t matter what kind of racing — it’s a virus. Once it gets in your blood it’s something you have to feed.”

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