Sterling drag racer buys the track of his dreams

Media personnel on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021, had a chance to drag a couple pick-up trucks while being coached by racing coaches Larry Dixon and Royce Miller.

STERLING – Dan Crownhart is not like a kid in a candy store. He’s more like a kid who owns his very own candy store.

Crownhart, second-generation owner of Sterling Fence and an avid drag racer, is about to be the new owner of the historic Cordova International Raceway, after his racing enterprise, Dan and Shelly Crownhart’s 1320 Promotions, reached an unspecified agreement with the current owner, International Race Group.

IRG bought the raceway, then called Cordova Dragway Park, 7 years ago this month. It’s a quarter-mile, International Hot Rod Association member track.

The announcement of new ownership was posted today on Cordova’s Facebook page.

The sale will be finalized in a few weeks, he said Thursday.

“We’re in excited for the opportunity there. We’re hoping to embrace the history of the track and just bring friend and family and fans back,” Crownhart said, sheer delight in his voice.

“It’s been dream of mine for more than 20 years.”

The Sterling native, who has been racing funny cars more than 25 years, will be running the day-to-day operations at the 65-year-old track at 19425 state Route 84 N.

“Cordova has always been a special place for racers and fans,” he said in the post. “We all have fond memories of our time at the track. I am confident we can celebrate the long history of Cordova and create a bright future simultaneously.”

Perhaps most famously for race fans, the 190-acre park is home to the world’s longest continually running drag-racing event, the World Series of Drag Racing, which has drawn up to 20,000 spectators in recent years.

Crownhart and his wife, Shelly, have many plans for their new playground – facility upgrades, new events, the sportsman racing series, and a meet-and-greet for racers and fans early next year.

“In the spirit of past major events of the [United Drag Racers Association] and IHRA being held in June, we are excited to announce that Funny Car Chaos will be a part of the return of the Summer Nationals contest June 17 & 18,” he posted.

“We are expecting more than 30 supercharged nitro and alcohol funny cars to compete in a no-holds-barred format that will surely become a premier annual event here at Cordova.”

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Kathleen Schultz

Kathleen A. Schultz

Kathleen Schultz is a Sterling native with 40 years of reporting and editing experience in Arizona, California, Montana and Illinois.