UPDATE | Lucas Oil Drag Boat Racing announces scheduled boat races around the nation

Monday, July 17, 2017

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Although the Augusta Southern National event is still cancelled, Lucas Oil Drag Boat Racing has released a statement confirming 2017 boat racing events going on around the nation after all.

The following statement was released by Race Director Mike Chastain on the Augusta Southern National website:

"To ensure the continuing viability of the Lucas Oil Drag Boat series the decision has been made to shorten the 2017 Race schedule by three events," said Chastain. "We apologize for the late notice but the economies obtained by the cuts will help us move forward to construct a more robust race series in 2018."

The following events are still cancelled:

-July 21-23: Augusta, GA.
Augusta Southern Nationals.

-September 30-October 1: San Angelo, TX.
Lucas Oil Fall Shootout.

-October 13-15: Parker, AZ.
Lucas Oil Thunder on the River.

The following events are on the 2017 schedule and will take place:

-August 11-13: Marble Falls, TX.
Marble Falls Lakefest 2017.

September 1-3: Wheatland, MO.
7th Annual Diamond of the Drag Boats Nationals.

November 3-5: Phoenix, AZ.
Lucas Oil Drag Boat Finals.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- After 31 years, one of Augusta's most lucrative events has been cancelled.

Darby Carpenter, General Manager of Farmhaus Burger said "Nobody really knew whether to believe it or not, they're like come on that's not real but sure enough it is."

Lucas Oil's cancellation of the Augusta Southern Nationals has hit many people hard, including Augusta Southern Nationals Boat Racer Terry Olson.

"I was disappointed for myself and disappointed for the other racers because we look forward to this you know all winter long this is what we look forward too," said Olson.

Without Augusta Southern Nationals, Olson says the City of Augusta won't be the only one taking a hit.

"All the proceeds from the race go to the Special Olympics and you've got vendors there, it creates a large amount of money for the city of Augusta," said Olson.

Many local business owners made more money as people came to town to watch the "boat races".

McKie Smith, Beamie's at the River Manager said "Southern nationals it gets pretty crazy."

Beamies at the River is normally a seat yourself restaurant, but when the southern nationals rolls around they have to make some changes.

"A lot of times we'll actually have to take a server out of rotation and just have them host, make a list and have people in order so they can sit down in a timely fashion," said Smith.

But now no races, means less money for the city, Beamie's and several other business owners.

"Especially with us having three restaurants downtown it's gonna be a huge hit, and i think that goes for everybody downtown the hotels, the restaurants, the bars everything," said Carpenter.

"We'll probably see a little bit of a hit, just for that weekend in particular," said Smith.

Augusta Southern Nationals has left many people feeling empty handed, and they have several unanswered questions.

"I've sent them emails, I've contacted them by telephone, or left a message of course nobody's going to answer the phone," said Olson.

Now Olson is trying to get Lucas Oil's attention and convince them to make the races happen, by telling them how big of an impact this event has on the Augusta community.

Friday, July 14, 2017

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- It came as a surprise to everyone.

Jennifer Bowen, Destination Development for the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau said, "We reached out to the southern nationals to learn more and definitely have learned that it is cancelled for this year."

For 31 years Augusta Southern Nationals has been a source of good fun for the residents of Augusta.

Bryan Howie, North Augusta Resident said, "We have a pretty good party and we raise money for the Special Olympics and it's a great event for everybody."

It has also brought money a large amount of money into the Augusta Community.

"The direct visitor impact of that the 5.5 million not to see that will be a huge loss for the city and for our area especially the month of July was looking to be a very good month," said Bowen.

Organizers say their sponsor Lucas Oil, backed out with hardly any notice.

"Lucas oil has realized that they are suffering losses in that division of sponsorship and so from what i understand they have decided to cancel the rest of the drag races for drag boat season and so Augusta is one of those races that will not be able to continue," said Bowen.

100-thousand dollars has already been spent on the event and organizers cannot get that money back.

"Pretty disappointed, i'm pretty sure there is a lot of people that have lost some money, i know there are a lot of local sponsors that dig deep in their pocket and use their hard-earned money to pay to keep this event happening and to be cancelled at the last minute, i think its just awful for Lucas Oil to do that," said Howie.

Now the whole community is feeling a loss with a lot of unanswered questions.

Dean Durand, North Augusta Resident said, "We're not going to have anything to do next weekend and it's a pretty good money hit to the city of Augusta and North Augusta there's people on this side of the river that spend a lot over here."

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- The sanctioning body for the Augusta Southern Nationals Drag Boat Race has cancelled their remaining races for 2017. This includes the Augusta race.

In a press release from officials with Augusta Southern Nationals, the cancellation is due to reoccurring financial losses Lucas Oil is incurring for the race series.

Race Chairman, Dayton Sherrouse, stated that this is extremely devastating news for everyone concerned with this annual event particularly with the short notice involved. He assured those that had purchased tickets in advance of the race that they will be refunded. Without the sanctioning body and the tasks they perform for the race such as course setup, timing system, rescue boats, driver registration, technical inspection, safety personnel, insurance and scheduling of general race activities the, race cannot be held.

The race, which is one of the top five biggest grossing events in the city, will be $5.1 million dollar loss because of the cancellation, but will be repaid according to Lucas.

Already, there are more than $100,000 spent on non-refundable items such as t-shirts, advertisements and more.

As far as the future of the race in Augusta the Augusta Southern Nationals will continue to monitor the situation with Lucas and any other sanctioning bodies.

The races were scheduled for July 21-23. It would've been the 31st time the races were held.

This is a developing story.

Read the original version of this article at www.wrdw.com.