NIDBA - Blarney Island History

Blarney Island on Grass Lake (Antioch, IL) is the only location in the world where high performance drag boat racing takes place every Thursday Evening, from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

This is bare-knuckles, heads-up, ‘race-what-you-brung’ drag racing. The racecourse length is approximately 800 feet and it is located on an open lake. The notoriously choppy waters have given Blarney Island racers a reputation for being both fast and fearless.

This racing format is tough on drivers and tough on equipment. Ultra-lightweight race boats do not last long here. Newcomers to the sport will typically race at the Island for several seasons before dialing-in their equipment and becoming truly competitive drag boat racers.

All race participants are members of the Northern Illinois Drag Boat Association (NIDBA), Blarney Island’s race event sanctioning organization, which manages the weekly race events. Blarney Island is the sponsor and race promoter.

History of the Fox Chain-O-Lakes

The Fox Chain-O’Lakes in northeastern Illinois is the world’s busiest waterway on a per acre basis. The Fox Waterway Agency reports that 24,000 to 28,000 boats register to navigate on its 7,000 acres of waterway each year. This title could have been claimed as early as 1924, when there were a reported 5,000 boats operating on the Fox Chain. It has also been home to more national championship title-winning boat racers who have set more speed records on water than from any other body of water in the world.

This 580 page pictorial history, describes 150 years of boating and events in the Fox Waterway Region from the mid-1800s to present.

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Boating History on the Fox Chain of Lakes