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The NIDBA ran radio spots on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, advertising drag boat races at Blarney Island on Thursday evenings for the 2016 season – Memorial Day through Labor Day. Listen to the radio spot:...

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Due to inclement weather, the races have been cancelled....

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Let There Be Lights!

Let There Be Lights! We have new starting lights for the 2016 racing season. Lights To Go made the system. There is one for each lane, and one points up to the tower and crowd so they can enjoy the same action that the racers do! Groth Manufacturing designed the stands and made them with 2 inch square aluminum tubing. Previously, the NIDBA had just one light on the starting barge. This made it difficult to see. Now, how the lights work, is on red racers stop at the starting line to pair up, then the yellow comes on. When the racers are lined up and ready, the starter hits the green…And then the racers are off! Another new thing to make the races even better is the control box. The new control box lights up so the starter can see what light he or she has active....

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‘Good As New’ Rescue Crane Boat The NIDBA is proud to announce that they have purchased the SLDBA’s crane rescue boat earlier in 2016. This boat was custom designed and built in the 1980’s. There is likely no other boat like it. With the help of some of the members of the NIDBA, it was restored this Summer, and is ready to help retrieve a disabled offshore boat should there be the need. With a 200 motor, twin 2,500 pound lift winches and port sponson spreads we can hoist up to 5,000 pounds right out of the water, and drive it to shore – right up to it’s trailer.  The spacing between the floats (sponsons) is 70 inches with an additional 45 inch span once opened. This makes this crane boat both extremely capable and versatile for drag boat rescues. NIDBA member, Bill Gohr, inspected and maintained the motor. John Groth, NIDBA president, replaced repaired the winches along with installing 3 batteries (size 27) for hoisting and a 3 bank charger to keep them charged while not in use. Navigation lights were also installed for safety and as well as regulation compliance. Here in northern Illinois it is often dusk.......

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New Jet Driven Rescue Boat! The NIDBA was pleased to acquire this very special boat from the St. Louis Drag Boat Association. To ensure it’s reliability, the NIDBA inspected this boat carefully, and made the necessary repairs and upgrades. Among those were the motor rebuild. It uses a Ford 460 with a dominator jet pump on the back of the boat. You can see a hose with a handle that will allow the jet pump to send water to a fire hose inside the boat. The NIDBA also restored all the seats and the crane that lifts a rescue basket from the water into the boat to get the racer to safety as soon as possible. The boat will do 50 mph with 5 people in it so there is no time wasted. NIDBA divers and paramedic are on the boat at all times during the race. Also a yellow caution light was added to replace the red caution light in accordance with Illinois state water laws....

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Safety Measures = Life or Death If safety wasn’t a priority for John Groth, NIDBA President, he’d likely not be with us today. During the 2nd race of the 2016 season, John was racing down the 800′ track when he heard a bang…and then he heard an even a louder bang. The first thing he did was pull the cord to stop the fuel pump and the motor to coast to a stop. He reported smelling oil at first, and immediately thought that a rod must have gone through the motor, but quickly realized that it was gear oil that he was smelling. He unhooked his parachute jacket cord, and with the helmet restraints he was unable to turn his head. At this point, John stood up and reports, “seeing water just pouring in and the 3 bilge pumps were screaming, but could not keep up with the amount to water coming in the boat“. Then he noticed the lower Casale gear box was gone. His response was, “holy shit!” He quickly jumped out of his boat, and onto another boat who had come to help. The crane boat was on its way. John recalled, “Boz and Huddy were right.......

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Because we just can’t get enough… We have added an extra race to the end of the 2016 season. The top 4 racers in each class will get the chance to race one last time in 2016. Please contact the club for additional details....

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NIDBA Hats Available

NIDBA hats are now available for $25! If you are interested, please see John Groth at the races....

Upcoming Events:

2016 Racer's Banquet
Our annual Racer's Banquet will be held Saturday, November 12th at 6pm at the Port of Blarney. We have an evening of great food and drink, awards and live entertainment planned...please RSVP with John Groth (john@grothmfg.com).

In The News:

NIDBA Featured in Drag Boat Review
Drag Boat Review has graciously agreed to include regular articles about Drag Boat Racing conducted this season by the Northern Illinois Drag Boat Association NIDBA).
Read Full Article: Introducing the NIDBA
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The FOX 103.9
The NIDBA aired a commercial on The Fox 103.9 for the 2016 season.
Listen Now:

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Chicago Tonight's Jay Shefsky Visits NIDBA
"Boats fly by at speeds up to 150 miles per hour on an 800-foot course. There is drag boat racing every Thursday night all summer long at Blarney Island on Grass Lake. Chicago Tonight's Jay Shefsky goes to the races and takes a 94 mph ride on a race boat.
Read Full Article: A Rowdy Good Time: Drag Boat Racing at Blarney Island