Las Vegas Drag Races Saved by 11th-hour Glue Donation

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Las Vegas Drag Races Saved by 11th-hour Glue Donation

Just hours after canceling its E.T. Bracket Nationals on Wednesday because of a shortage of traction compound, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway reinstated its annual Thanksgiving drag race series thanks to an unexpected donation. (Traction compound is a glue that creates the tire traction necessary for drag strip racing.)

The races — in which drivers of dragsters and roadsters get to compete on equal footing —will be held Wednesday, Nov. 23 through Sunday Nov. 28, as originally scheduled. However, the Summit Racing Equipment Mayhem on Dec. 2 and Test ‘n’ Tune drag races on Dec. 3 – also canceled by the Las Vegas Motor Speedway because of lack of traction compound – remain canceled for reasons undisclosed by the racetrack.

Traction compound drag racing
Traction compound drag racing
Traction compound, necessary for drag racing, gets applied to a racetrack in this undated photo. A chemical in the compound is in short supply, causing the cancellation of some races, including the Summit Racing Equipment Mayhem and Test ‘n’ Tune at Las Vegas Motor Speedway next month. (Image: dragzine.com)

This year’s Bracket Nationals  nearly came unglued because of a global shortage of VP Racing Fuel’s popular Lane Choice 7 (LC7) traction compound. This is in turn because of a global shortage of a chemical in all similar compounds called Lutonal.

“When you see the cobwebs come up on the tire after you spray the track, that’s it — that’s stringy adhesive,” VP’s Jason Rueckert told dragzine.com. “When you walk across it and it rips your shoes off and you fall down, that’s Lutonal.”

Manufactured by BASF in Germany, Lutonal has been mostly unavailable since the beginning of 2022 because of supply-chain issues caused by the pandemic and shipping issues caused by inclement weather. According to dragcoverage.com, tracks across the country have been told they can no longer purchase track prep products containing it.

In an attempt to stretch their dwindling reserves, many tracks have switched from 1/4 mile to 1/8 mile races, reduced their drag racing schedules, or eliminated events requiring their own track preparation.

In its cancellation notice on Wednesday, the Las Vegas Motor Speedway explained that it had spent weeks trying and failing to secure shipments of LC7. That’s before an undisclosed glue supplier stepped up to donate the necessary barrels.

“We’re still looking and sampling other chemicals and bringing things in to replace the Lutonal if it comes to that and this continues,” Rueckert told dragzine.com. “Every week, my chemist is sending me things and I’m mixing it and going to the track and trying it … We have had to find another (ingredient). I just see this as a stepping stone to the next thing. It was 2010 when the last formula of LC7 was made, and 12 years is a pretty good run.”

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