EATON — On Tuesday, Aug. 4, the Preble County Fair debuted a new event called “Dirt Flat Drags” which saw resident’s drag race everyday trucks and other vehicles down a 300 foot drag strip in a tournament-style competition.
The format for the event was simple: once the class of vehicle is determined participants are entered into a bracket and one-on-one drag races ensue, losers go home, winners advance until only one vehicle stands.
Brad Johnson, a member of the Preble County Senior Fair board said the new event is a way to get residents involved in a fun feature event at the fair.
“It’s just a flat drag on dirt, we race everything from stock gas cars to modified diesel trucks, to gas trucks, sandrails, jeeps, I mean if this firetruck wanted to get in the stock diesel he could do it. Anybody can do it.”
Johnson said this type of event is on the rise in popularity throughout Ohio because other events are more expensive to participate in. “Tractor-pulling is so expensive to do and only a small amount of people do that and the derby is getting to the point where it takes so much money and time to take a car and build it, there are not that many people doing that anymore.”
Tony Campbell from Eaton, who drove in the stock diesel class with a 2000 Dodge diesel — the same truck he drove to work the morning of the races — said the events are really just about having fun.
Campbell said he does flat drags throughout the spring and summer months, and said it’s just a racing bug. “It’s kind of like a pulling bug or racing bug, and you kind of get the itch and go out and do it because you don’t get to race these trucks everyday on the street.”
He said while he mostly drives for just fun, there are techniques to gain speed for the drag. “In the diesel I try to make sure I build boost to start off with and then once the green drops I let it go and then I will try some different transmission technique to gain speed too.”
The turnout for the event was better than good, and Johnson said he got a lot of positive feedback. He also said the number of trucks in the field was encouraging.
He continued by saying he hopes the event will become something common for the fairgrounds — he hopes to do another event sometime in September as a stand-alone attraction for the fairgrounds, and maybe more in the spring.
Johnson said a large amount of donations and time went into preparing the drag strip normally reserved for tractor-pulls and derbies. According to Johnson, Long-horn Fab Shop donated an expensive lighting system to allow the races to happen.
Johnson also thanked Rob Morgan Excavating, Albert Towing and Recovery, H-Fab Performance and Vonderhew Performance for their contributions to the event.