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Ground breaking was scheduled to begin in the spring of 1996, but persistent rains delayed initial ground work until the fall. When the rain finally gave way to the sun, man and machine were put to the task of carving the near half mile path out of the green rolling hills.


In the summer of 1995, a couple from a small town in eastern Iowa began a search for land with the dream of building their own drag strip. Later that year, the dream came one step closer to a reality. Reid and Jane Kuhlman purchased a section of land along the east-bound lane of Highway 20, just south of the small town of Earlville, Iowa.

By the winter of 1996, final grading of the strip was complete, and a rock bed was put down in preparation for paving. Things were shaping up slowly but surely.

Construction of the timing tower was completed while the strip was taking shape. This was the first permanent landmark of Tri-State Raceway, which was clearly visible from the nearby Highway 20. This was a sure sign that the Kuhlmans were in the drag racing business.


The summer of 1997 saw the completion of most aspects of Tri-State Raceway. The concrete racing surface was put down in two continuous pours, running from the burnout box to the end of the shutdown area. The barrier walls and grandstands were poured as well.


By the spring of 1998, only some minor finish work needed to be done before opening the gates at Tri-State Raceway for the first time. The ribbon cutting ceremony was held the first Saturday in June, presentations were made, and the ribbon was cut...drag racing style, by running a pair of Chevy II's through it!

The first event to be held on Sunday of that first weekend in June was a truck and tractor pull. The construction of this one-of-a-kind facility includes a pull arena, between the grandstands and the track, to accommodate the large number of pullers in this agricultural part of the country.

Fans attending the tractor pull were treated to witness the first drag race down this virgin quarter mile strip. Many of these tractor pull fans became instant drag racing fans that day.

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