Jennifer & Randy Folk
The Million Dollar Drag Race
Founded in 1996 by legendary race promoter George Howard, the MILLION offers competitors a payday that exceeds any single event in all of drag racing. In 1983 George had a race in Bowling Green, Kentucky which paid $40,000 to the winner, while that particular race wasn’t held again, it led Howard on a path which has culminated into the largest payday in drag racing history!
“I just wanted to do something for the bracket racers,” Howard said. “Those guys are the true backbone of the sport. I know that John Force has done a lot for our sport, but in most cases, he’s not purchasing products everyday of the week from speed shops and the mail order giants. I wanted to give back to the racers, which got me thinking ‘what would be neater than to have them race for the largest purse in drag racing history regardless of class?’” That thinking is what formed the basis of the Million Dollar Race.
The idea is simple. Guarantee the purse from the runner-up position on down and formulate a sliding scale according to car count for the winner’s share of the purse. Starting at a minimum of 125 entries, the winner takes home a guaranteed $100,000.00. From there the numbers increase to the potential at 551 cars, of the winner walking away with a cool $1,000,000.00.
Over the past 19 years we’ve managed to even change some people’s lives with their winnings.”
T.J. Tracy, the inaugural winner in 1996 said, “Winning that race was amazing. I actually lost in the first round, had my house mortgage money in my pocket and decided to use it for the buyback into the race. Not a smart move but it paid off.”
Tracy used the money he won to start his own business and that success story has followed through with each of the past 17 winners. This one race has continually paid out more to the winner of one single drag race than any other class at any other race.
In 2008 Howard sold his interest in the Million Dollar Race to Folk Promotions in order to spend more time with his family. The Folk family, no stranger to big time bracket racing, is now taking the concept to the next level.
In 2012, Folk Promotions instituted the Million Dollar VIP Club. Jennifer Folk said, “We always wanted to have as many people as possible take part in the event and the VIP Club allows anyone, anywhere in the world, to join and take part in the festivities. As a member, each individual is eligible for prizes and awards from several of the Million Dollar Race sponsors, as well as the Grand Prize of a new dragster chassis.”
Folk added, “So we’re not only continuing the tradition with which George Howard began but growing it also. This year, we’ve added one Mini-Million event to the schedule in order to allow more racers the ability to attend big dollar bracket races. We feel as though the sky is the limit and look forward to growing this racing series into an event that everyone marks on their calendars!”
After the event’s first year in Huntsville, Alabama, the race has made stops in Atlanta, Memphis and Indiana before now settling back in Alabama at Montgomery Motorsports Park the weekend of October 22nd-25th, 2015. With three accompanying events which bookend the actual Million race held on Saturday, this one weekend will be the highlight for many.
The original goal was to be able to pay one million dollars, the largest sum of money ever paid to the winner of a drag race. The goal still remains the same and when it happens, you can count on it not only done at this race, but it will also change the life of one individual in the same fashion as it has any of the other past champions.
The Million Dollar Race HALL OF FAME
1996 – T. J. Tracy
1997 – George Tamasi, Sr.
1998 – Troy Williams, Jr.
1999 – Sherman Adcock, Jr.
2000 – Stephen Hughes
2001 – Ed Richardson
2002 – Joel Reynolds
2003 – Johnny Labbous
2004 – Gary Williams
2005 – Jeff Rucks
2006 – Greg Sesti
2007 – Gary Williams
2008 – Dave Triplett
2009 – Ron Lane
2010 – Larry Strickland
2011 – Shane Carr
2012 – Ray Miller III
2013 – Kenny Underwood
2014 – Rodney Phagan
2015 – Nathan Martin
2016 – Jeff Verdi