By Phil Whipple,
RaceOnTexas.com Staff Writer. Photo By: Ron Skinner
EAST BERNARD, Texas — After making a name for himself driving in everything from Enduros to Modifieds, Brad Dixon decided to give up racing full time and give event promotion a whirl.
On October 4-5, Dixon will host the sixth annual Lone Star 600, one of the most unique races of its kind in the nation. The event is held at Devil's Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, Texas, and draw 100s of entries. Since he started in 2014, Dixon has had over 1,100 entries from 38 states and four countries.
“Our sixth annual edition is going to be the best one yet,” Dixon said. “We've got drivers coming from all over the country, including one from New York, one from Minnesota, and even a guy from Canada. They all dream of taking home that $25,000 winner's check, and the action won't disappoint anyone.”
Former NASCAR star and dirt track veteran Kenny Wallace will compete this year, which will be fun.
Dixon first climbed behind the wheel of a race car back in 1988, and ran full-time right up until 2012. He became known regionally by running big Enduro events, and moved into stock cars and eventually Modifieds after that craze faded away. He won prominent titles during a career that lasted 24 years.
“When I was 16, 17 and 18 years old, I drove for a man named Herman Webber,” Dixon explained. “We would go to Enduros up and down the east coast, so I would log in 500 to 1,000 laps a weekend. I think the most we ever ran in a three-week period was 3,400 laps. I was worn out.”
Once those Enduro races faded away by 1995 or so, Dixon's prowess in the shorter features was clear.
“Once I got into the Modifieds, I won an IMCA championship, a UMP points title and even an asphalt Modified championship,” Dixon added. “Overall I ran the Mods for about 20 years, and it was very rewarding for me. I still always missed those Enduros, but the cars simply became too hard to find.”
What makes the Lone Star 600 so unique is the fact that rules and restrictions are almost nonexistent.
“My original concept for the Lone Star 600 was to have it as an Enduro for retired race cars,” Dixon explains. “There are a ton of cars out there that aren't quite up-to-date on technology, yet they can still be raced in an event like the Lone Star 600.”
A common misconception among race fans is when they hear the term “Enduro” or “Endurance Race” they immediately think of a Demolition Derby on steroids. The Lone Star 600, however, isn't contested in what Dixon calls “kick the glass out and go,” cars, it's run with regular race cars.
“This event destroys the common misconception that every Endurance-style race is contested in old beaters,” Dixon said. “We have all kinds of regular, run-of-the-mill race cars out there running 300 laps each night. They have to stay off of one another to survive; it's a race against the clock, not each other.”
The first driver to complete 300 laps in the shortest time (just like any other feature) is declared the winner. It takes strategy, survival skills, thorough mechanical preparation and yes, a little luck, as well.
“What's neat about this race is that you can bring your Saturday Night Special if you want and have a legitimate shot at winning $25,000. Here is my theory on the Lone Star 600 and why is should have appeal to guys with out-of-date race cars.
“If you could go out and bag 30 $400-to-win features in one season, which is almost unheard of, you would have $12,000 in your pocket. Now, if you come run in the Lone Star 600 and win, you take home $25,000. Some people think it's a beat-and-bang affair with big money on the line, but it isn't like that at all.”
Dixon says the drivers with a clue are smart enough to preserve the car, keeping it clean for 300 laps.
“You'd be surprised to see it unfold,” he added. “When guys are going out there in their regular rides, they are extra careful. They don't take foolish chances, it isn't wise. Last year, we had a guy bring his brand new Rocket XR1 Super Late Model here. He had a fuel pump issue but never put a scratch on it.”
The variety of cars Dixon gets for his Lone Star 600 is amazing. They come from all over, towing their pride and joys, dreaming of taking home the big bacon in a winner-take-all free for all in Texas.
“I think in the end, what makes my event unique and unusual is that there is a level playing field. Once the green flag drops, it doesn't come down to a pill draw, the final outcome relies solely upon the driver, their ability and how well their machine was prepared. I feel we have a neat and exciting event.”
To learn more about the sixth annual Lone Star 600, go to www.lonestar600.com.