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June 10, 2020

Willing role model Shelby Ebert excited about return of drag boats to Lake Lucas

Shelby Ebert and her Pro Mod "Can't Touch This" return to Lucas Oil Speedway this weekend for the Inaugural Summer Thunder on Lake Lucas. (GS Stanek Photography)

WHEATLAND, MISSOURI. (June 10, 2020) - As one of the most-popular and visible drivers in professional drag boat racing, Shelby Ebert embraces the opportunity to promote the sport. Which is why she encourages fans - especially young girls - to stop by her pit area and ask for autographs or to take a photo.

"I love it. And I love promoting the female aspect of it," said Ebert, who will be in action this weekend at the Inaugural Summer Thunder on Lake Lucas as drag boat racing returns to Lucas Oil Speedway.

The "Fastest Woman on Water" zips over the racing surface at about 165 miles per hour in her boat "Can't Touch This." Along with contending for wins, she relishes the chance to be a positive role model.

"There are a lot of girls out there that don't have people to look up to, just because it's mostly a male-dominated sport," Ebert said. "I'm thankful that young girls can see somebody that is actually out there in the pro category, knowing they can do anything they want to do, whether it be racing or something else.

"It's special to have young girls come up and say, 'I want to be like you.' It's something that I will always appreciate forever and ever. I don't take it lightly."

Ebert is not just a smiling face. She won three Lucas Oil Drag Boat Racing Series championships and two Southern Drag Boat Association titles during a career that began in the sportsman division a decade ago.

While Ebert is from Wamego, Kansas, she considers Lucas Oil Speedway her "hometown track" because it's the closest quality drag-boat racing venue. Family and friends will be on hand as she fires up the hot-pink boat in this weekend's Kentucky Drag Boat Association-sanctioned event.

Lake Lucas carries special memories for Ebert. She posted her first Pro Mod win there in 2017 during the Diamond Drag Boat Nationals in the fall; one year later, she and her dad Todd, driving a Quick Eliminator, earned wins on the same day.

"That was a perfect day, for sure," Shelby Ebert said.

But the Lucas Oil Drag Boat Series ended after 2018 and Lake Lucas did not have an event last year. With her favorite track quiet, Ebert said her racing career also slowed down a bit.

That has changed in 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic threatening the schedule for a while. Now Lake Lucas is scheduled to play host to three events, between the KDBA and SDBA.

"I'm more excited than you could ever imagine," Ebert said. "We love Wheatland and we love Lucas Oil Speedway more than any other track we race on.

"I'm very thankful to Lucas Oil for doing everything they've done for the drag-boat racing world. They've been incredible for the sport. We're just thankful to be going back there and into a more competitive, full season. We're going to have probably 9-10 races which is a lot more than last year.

"Three races at Wheatland is amazing. Hopefully we'll be at all of them and we're hoping, as always, for a Pro Mod championship."

Ebert made her season debut last weekend at an SDBA event in Paris, Texas. It was not a great weekend on the water.

"Honestly it didn't go very well for us," she said. "I red-lit in the first round on Sunday and dad red-lit in the second round. I just couldn't get comfortable with the light. The first race out you're not very comfortable. I'm hoping next weekend I'll be more comfortable.

"I always do well in Wheatland. I'm hoping to get my confidence back there.

Ebert, 25, graduated a couple of years ago from Kansas State University with degrees in marketing and accounting. She works as Digital Marketing and Sales Coordinator for Heartland Motorsports Park in Topeka, Kansas.

"I do digital marketing, a lot of website and social media stuff along with being involved some in the operations of the track on the digital side," Ebert said.

This weekend, it again will be Ebert's turn to put on the helmet, go fast and make new fans. Her best advice to young fans who might meet her?

"Just work hard and follow your dreams and don't let anyone tell you no," Ebert said.

Show & Shine on Friday: The Inaugural Drag Boat Summer Thunder on Lake Lucas weekend kicks off with a "Show & Shine" from 5-7 p.m. Friday on the Wheatland town square. Music, food vendors and drag boats will be on display.

After 7 p.m., activities will move a few blocks back to the speedway's drag boat midway area. From 8 p.m. until midnight the band "Gotcha Covered" will play at the beer tent on the midway.

The event, both at the town square and on the drag boat midway, will be free to fans and the public is invited to join the festivities.

Tickets for both Saturday and Sunday are available through Lucas Oil Speedway's office (417) 282-5984 or online. Admission on Saturday or a two-day ticket includes free admission to Saturday night's Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series action on the dirt track.

Inaugural Summer Thunder on Lake Lucas tickets:
Adults General Admission/Pit Pass Combo (16 and up) $25
Seniors (62 and up)/Military General Admission/Pit Pass Combo (62 and up) $22
Youth General Admission/Pit Pass Combo (age 6 to 15) $10
Kids General Admission/Pit Pass Combo (age 5 and under) FREE
Family Pass General Admission/Pit Pass Comb - Includes admission for 2 Adults and Up to 3 Kids Ages (6-15) $60
Adult 2-Day General Admission/Pit Pass Combo $35
Seniors (62 and up)/Military 2-Day GA/Pit Pass Combo $32
Youth Ages (6-15) 2-Day GA/Pit Pass Combo $20

Lakeside RV Packages also are available (Must Be Reserved in Advance) for $400. That includes a 20 x 45-foot space, four two-day race passes, one vehicle pass and one golf cart.

Spots in the Lucas Oil Speedway campground are: Reserved with electric and water ($35 per  night), reserved dry (limited availability) $20 per night and dry camping (limited availability) $10 per night.

Tentative drag boat event schedule for the Inaugural Drag Boat Summer Thunder (subject to change without notice):

Saturday, June 13:
7 a.m. - Registration opens
8 a.m. - Spectator gates open
9 a.m. - Round 1 Qualifying Sportsman Session
10:30 a.m. - Round 1 Qualifying Pro Session
12:30 p.m. - Round 2 Qualifying Sportsman Session
2 p.m. - Round 2 Qualifying Pro Session

Sunday, June 14:
8 a.m. - Spectator gates open
9 a.m. - Eliminations

For more information about the Kentucky Drag Boat Association visit KBDA.net.

On the dirt track: The Big Adventure RV Weekly Racing Series on the dirt track resumes on Saturday as iHeartMedia presents round five. The O'Reilly Auto Parts Street Stocks will be featured with a 25-lap, $750-to-win main event.  The Warsaw Auto Marine & RV ULMA Late Models, Pitts Homes USRA Modifieds and Ozark Golf Cars USRA B-Mods also will be in action.  
 
Gates to the dirt track open at 4 p.m. with hot laps at 6:30 and racing at 7:05 p.m.
 
Dirt-track tickets:
Adults (16 and over): $12
Seniors (62 and over)/Military: $9
Youth (ages 6-15): $5
Kids (5 and under): FREE
Family Pass: $30
Pit Pass: $30
 
For ticket questions or information for next weekend or any event this season, contact Admissions Director Nichole McMillan at (417) 282-5984 or email her at nichole@lucasoilspeedway.com for more information.

CONTACT:
Danny Lorton
Lucas Oil Speedway General Manager
Office: (417) 282-5984
DLorton@lucasoilspeedway.com