Calling the Oklahoma River the premiere drag boat racing venue in the country, the National Drag Boat Association announced Tuesday that Oklahoma City will be its new home.
“The Oklahoma River, America's best liquid speedway, is just one reason that NDBA now calls Oklahoma City home,” said Mike McAuliffe, president and chief executive officer of the NDBA and OKC Motorsports, which hosts events in several major cities.
The recessed Oklahoma River provides a natural wind screen for safer racing, as well as great viewing for race fans from start to finish, McAuliffe said.
“It's the perfect site for drag boat racing,” McAuliffe said.
The low water dam system controls river levels and water flow, so there is little or no current to challenge the racers. The Chesapeake Tower is designed to handle all race operations, including television production, and there are plans to erect a windscreen the length of the racecourse on the south shoreline.
Stadium style lighting is currently being installed along the river and will offer the only lighted racecourse in the country for drag boat racing.
“The race teams also like Oklahoma City's central location, easy highway access, affordable hotels near the race site and the fact the site is in walking distance to the Bricktown Entertainment District,” McAuliffe said.
The National Drag Boat Association has been in existence since the 1960s, McAuliffe said. Its purpose is to promote drag boat racing, sanction races, and support the racers and safety programs, he said.
It most recently was affiliated with the Southern Drag Boat Association, based in Austin, Texas, McAuliffe said.
“We are taking it and revitalizing it,” McAuliffe said of the NDBA.
There are about 300 race teams and six or eight different drag boat racing associations in the country, mostly in the central United States, McAuliffe said.
The new Oklahoma City-based NDBA hopes to include all of the other racing associations in the future, he said.
“The plan is to become the umbrella (for the other associations) and the governing board for drag boat racing,” he said.
The NDBA will host one race in Oklahoma City in 2013, the fifth annual OKC Nationals June 7-9, and it will feature night racing for the first time.
The NDBA will present a full race series in 2014, including two races in Oklahoma City.