8th annual Meltdown Drags recap



Thank you for coming to the 8th annual Meltdown Drags.  We greatly appreciate you taking the time to come out to capture and share the uniqueness of the Meltdown Drags with the world.

We came a long way in 8 short years.  The idea was conceived years earlier but came to reality after the 7 officers discussed a utopia place where push start cars were not misunderstood, where it is not about who is fastest or who wins,  and where no cars newer than 1966 would be allowed.  Appearance of the cars would be regulated along with wheel rules all to mirror a 1960’s drag meet.


Year one had 30 cars and shared the track with the Pontiac & snowmobile clubs, test & tune cars, & junior dragsters.  By year 3 the track dedicated the day to the Meltdown Drags only and we had 400 racers.  2015 brought out portable lighting and night racing with over 500 racers.

The Meltdown Drags is the largest vintage drag meet in the world.  We have cars from all over the U.S. and Canada and spectators from all over the world like Ian from England. Nearly 14,000 spectators and 518 racers.


Why did the Mecca of vintage drag racing come to Byron Illinois?  Because the Meltdown was created for the love of old race cars and the fun of it.  The MDA (Meltdown Drags Association) runs the event and does not take from it.  All proceeds cover the costs of putting the event on and any leftover funds go direct back to the racers in the form of giveaway items.  Don’t believe us?  Check out the tent full of giveaways including tires, engine parts, tools, a welder, clothing, floor jacks, etc.  The track takes all gate fees and uses it to stay open for everyone to enjoy the facility.


The youth are our future and we embrace them with the SLAM group helping the kids build model car kits (for free) and also with the hot wheels race track where they get to race a hot wheels car and take it home when they are done.  We had 3 16 year olds, Carly, Wyatt & David racing and they earned the Young Gun award and got to pick a special prize from the tent.


Everyone likes pretty girls and there is no shortage of them here.  From 7-8pm on Saturday while the track staff took a mandatory break and the track was prepped for night racing, the celebrity judge panel picked Miss Meltdown Drags out of the group of amazing participants.  This is a family friendly contest at the top of the staging lanes.  The winner this year was ‘Betsy Boondocks’.


The event pays tribute to all who have served our country with the field of American flags along the track and also with the color guard raising the colors and the 21 gun salute on Saturday night.  The color guard includes members of the Oregon, Illinois American Legion Post 97 and VFW post 8739.  Thank You for your service.


We have the largest number of race groups we have ever had including the fastest gasser group around, Scottrods AA gassers.  Also we are proud to have the Great Lakes Gassers, Nostalgia Gasser Racing Association, Nostalgia Super Stocks and various car clubs.


The swap meet and car show are second to none with a ton of cool vintage period correct parts for sale and cool cars from all over the Midwest.


Future events from the MDA include:

Vintage Drag Racing 101 “The Fallout” #2 in Rock Falls Wisconsin September 29-30, near Eau Claire.

 The brand new event:

“Uncle Sam’s Pie Eating Contest” June 2nd in Byron Illinois which all cars must run Pie Crust slicks along with other criteria. Saturday night the first 7 pairings of cars did a true 60’s race, no burn outs or dry hops, and ran right off the line when the light turned green!


Bj and Rhonda (track owners) along with Randy & Chelsey Simpson (track manager) are wonderful hosts and if you pay close attention you will see this is the cleanest track you have ever seen.  They take pride in their top notch facility. The food stand run by Dave Gustafson never had lines and had great tasting, great priced food.

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live feed

click here for live feed on you-tube

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NHRA safety rules will be strictly enforced!

Helmets must be Snell 2010 or 2015 in order to race.

Harness will be checked for current dates.

Please check the rules to race page for any questions.

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2017 update, No Mini-Bikes allowed

The track management has made the decision that mini-bikes will not be allowed at the Meltdown Drags. This is due to several accidents and injuries that happened in the past. Insurance, safety and liability are what forced the ultimate decision. Golf carts and atv’s are allowed but will be required to purchase a pass for an undetermined cost at this time.
We apologize for any inconvenience but this is for the safety of you and the expected record crowds.

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We have reached our car count limit for the 2017 Meltdown Drags and will be starting a waiting list. WOW – who would have thought that 500 spots would have filled up in 3 days!

We know that things happen in people’s lives and it causes them to have to change their plans. Sometime’s even motors get tired or rear end housings come loose….stuff happens.

The waiting list is established in the order received. Last year we had a waiting list and over 30 cars moved in to take spots.

For those who have sent in their pre-registration…we are working through them and your entry numbers will be sent out in the coming weeks.

Thank you again for your support!

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News for 2017!

We are a little over 7 months from the 8th annual Meltdown Drags. This event started with a dream and 30 cars, now has turned into the biggest and best vintage drag meet in the World. We have made amazing friends along the way and learned many things…these have led us to make the following announcement for 2017:

Bigger isn’t always better:
With that being said, we will have a strict race car count for 2017. This event is for racers by racers and if we continue to let the event grow we will eventually run into an issue with the number of passes each racer will be able to make. We will have a strict cut-off of 500 cars.

Period Correct Matters:
We are going to tighten up the following criteria to ensure that we remain period correct:

We are tightening up our criteria on wheels. For 2017 Rod Lite wheels are no longer allowed. While they may appear from a distance to look similar to slots of the 60’s they look too modern. If you currently run these wheels…you have 7+ months to change them. Also, moon discs will only be allowed as a one year exemption. You must purchase correct wheels to replace the moon discs. Back in the 60’s the widest wheel that was produced was 10 inches wide which would allow at most a 12 inch tire. Any wheels and tires wider than these requirements will not be allowed.

Wheelie Bars:
In 1966 wheelie bars did not stick out excessively behind door cars. Modern wheelie bars stand out and do not fit the intent of the Meltdown. Cars with wheelie bars that do not appear period correct will be asked to remove them or change them in order to participate.

Non-Period correct numbering or decals:
We recognize that people race at other events other than the Meltdown but non-period correct numbers or decals such as “pro” in your window that is part of your bracket racing must be removed.

With the car count limit and the revised criteria we will be making some changes to pre-registration. Pre-registration will open at 12:00 am on the morning of Monday, January 2nd as it has in the past and it will remain open until February 28th at 11:59 PM. Upon the conclusion of pre-registration we will reply to all racers in order of receipt with their registration number. Once we reach our car limit individuals will be put on our waiting list. Cars that are not yet complete will be put on a project list until complete. Individuals who fail to submit an adequate picture of their car or do not meet the criteria risk being placed on the waiting list until they can demonstrate that they meet the criteria.

No New Race Car entries on Saturday:
Please arrive at the track Thur or Fri. (The only exception would be a long haul that had travel issues). This is a 3 day event, and many passes can be made on Friday or Sunday. Saturday is always the busiest in the staging lanes. Please take advantage of these other days…so you can enjoy yourself and your time at the Meltdown.

As our event has grown these tweaks are required to ensure we maintain the event in a period correct manner.

If anyone has any specific questions or wants to know if there car meets the criteria, please send an e-mail to preregistration@meltdowndrags.com.

Thank you for your support in making the Meltdown Drags what it is!


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save-the-date-post-card-2017-side-1 save-the-date-post-card-2017-side-2

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Click the link below to see a ton and we mean a ton of really cool pictures of the 2016 Meltdown Drags.  These are cool!



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