By Jeff Lehr
ASBURY, Mo. —
The theft of about $2,000 worth of race fuel from the Mo-Kan Dragway left track operator Carl Blanton smokin’ mad.
Thefts have been a problem for the race track near Asbury, but this was the first time anybody stole fuel, Blanton told the Globe.
Someone apparently managed to open and drive through the locked front gate of the track sometime between midnight Saturday and 3 p.m. Monday and accessed the track’s fuel storage area. More than 240 gallons of Sunoco race fuel was stolen from an above-ground tank, Blanton said. The wholesale value of the fuel was put at $1,867, but the retail value easily tops $2,000, he said.
“It’s hard enough to keep this place alive without these thefts going on,” Blanton said.
The comment referred to a break-in at the concession stand just a week ago in which candy, tools and some two-way radios were stolen.
“I’m not going to let it go this time,” he said.
The repeat victimization has Blanton angry enough to be offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for the theft of the fuel. He posted the reward offer on Facebook on Monday and received a quick tip.
A woman who was driving past the Mo-Kan Dragway about 4 p.m. Sunday said she saw a truck, trailer and race car in the pit area of the track, Blanton said. She described the color of the race car as “flat black,” he said.
That perplexes Blanton since the only way a truck and trailer could have gotten inside is through the front gate, and he knows the gate was locked at both 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday as well as 3 p.m. Monday when the theft was discovered. That suggests that someone either has a key to the gate or picked the lock, he said.
Blanton’s posting on Facebook encourages people to keep their ears and eyes open for anyone offering race fuel for sale and asks that they email any tips to firstname.lastname@example.org. He said he will be turning the tips he receives over to the Jasper County sheriff’s office.
In the meantime, he is taking additional measures to ensure that the thefts stop. He intends to post a guard at the track every night, he said.
“He’ll be keeping an eye on the place, and he’s armed,” Blanton said.
THE OPERATOR OF THE MO-KAN DRAGWAY keeps race fuel on the premises for sale to the racers who compete there, although some provide their own fuel.