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Drag Strip List

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Garden Spot Airpark/Lancaster Drag-O-Way ​​​(Mountville) (1954)
Johnsville Naval Air Station (Warminster) (1954)
New Castle "Drag Strip" (1954)
Convair Field (Allentown) (1955)
Lincoln Speedway (Abbottstown) (1956)​
Rossville Drag Strip (1956)
Splane Memorial Airport (Oil City) (1956)
Forty Fort Drags (1957)
Green Valley Speedway (Emsworth) (1958)
Hatfield Hi-Speedway (1957)
Uniontown Speedway (1957)
Langhorne Speedway (1958)

New Hanover Airport (1958)
Sanatoga Speedway (Pottstown) (1958)
Wattsburg Dragway/P.I.T.A. Drag Strip/Lucky Drag City (1958)
Happy Ramblers Speedway (McSherrystown) (1959)
Sunset Drag Strip (Charleston) (1959)
York U.S. 30 Drag-O-Way (Thomasville) (1959)
Mountain View Drag Strip (Wind Gap) (1960)
Nazareth Speedway (1960)
Reading Fairgrounds (1960)
Vargo Dragway (Perkasie) (1960)
Allentown Fairgrounds (1961)​
Skyline Drag Strip (New Castle) (1961)
​Hallam "Drag Strip" (1962)
Sunset Riders Motorcycle Club (Butler) (1962)
Maple Grove Raceway (Mohnton) (1962)
Quarter Aces Drag-O-Way/South Mountain Raceway(Boiling Springs) (1962)
Williams Grove Speedway (1962)
Green Pine Drag Strip (Elimsport) (1963)
Heidelberg Speedway (Scott Township) (1963)
Kel-Reca Dragstrip (Still Creek) (1963)
Pocono Drag Lodge (Bear Creek) (1963)
Numidia Dragway (Catawissa) (1964)
Pittsburgh International Dragway (Cuddy) (1964)
Leamersville "Drag Strip" (1965)
Pinecroft Speedway (1965)
Cycle Pals Track (Port Matilda) (1966)
Peterson Memorial Dragway (Tipton) (1966)
Route #194 Dragway (Littlestown) (1966)
Speck Farm (Walker Township) (1966)
Giles Hilltop Drag Strip/Speedway (Beaver Falls) (1967)
Keystone Drag Strip/Raceway Park (New Alexandria) (1967)
Roof Garden Riders Motorcycle Club "Drag Strip" (Shanksville) (1967)​
Westmoreland County Fairgrounds (Owensburg) (1968)
Nu-Be Drag Strip (New Bethlehem) (1969)
Oil City Cycle Club "Drag Strip" (Tippery) (1969)
Pocono International Raceway (Long Pond) (1969)
Truittsburg Cycle Club "Drag Strip" (Knox) (1969)
Handlebar Park Drag Strip (Ennisville) (1960s)​
Kreamer 522 Drag O'Way (Selinsgrove) (1960s)
​St. Thomas Speedway (Chambersburg) (1960s)
Beaver Springs Dragway (1971)
Chimney Rocks Motorcycle Club Grounds (Newry) (1971)
Three Rivers Stadium (Pittsburgh) (1971)
Bedford County Motorcycle Club Grounds (Everett) (1973)
Valley Motorcycle Park (Hollidaysburg) (1973)

Bill Shorts races his Willys gas coupe at Wattsburg Dragway in 1963. Photographer unknown

Allentown Fairgrounds


Drag races were held at the Allentown Fairgrounds speedway. Jerry Fried was the promoter. The first race may have been as early as Friday, August 25,1961. A crowd of 2,800 people watched 125 cars in that first race. They raced on the 1/8th-mile clay-calcium compound straightaway in front of the covered grandstands, which had been improved especially for drag racing for the 1962 season. The races were generally held on Thursday nights in 1962.   Read Neal Hinkle's memories of racing at Allentown .
CLICK HERE to see location on a map
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Did you race here? Tell us about it.
April 17, 1964

Beaver Springs Dragway

  • Years of Operation: 1971-present

Research has found that this quarter-mile drag strip was in operation at least by 1978, but probably years earlier. More research is needed on these early years. The track dates its beginning to 1971, owned and promoted by Bob McCardle. It continues to run as an IHRA-sanctioned track today. In 1988, the dragway was awarded track of the year honors by NHRA in its division. The track stayed with NHRA through at least 1998. At leatst by 2005, the track was under IHRA sanction. The weather conditions at the track are sometimes windy. Racer Clint Corbin, who raced at Beaver Springs in the 1980s and 1990s said, "Crosswinds, down there, can really give you a thrill!" On September 4, 1995, Carol "Bunny" Burkett crashed her funny car at over 220 MPH when her competitor veered over into her lane and forced her off the track. It was a serious accident and left her with partial paralysis, but she was able to continue racing after recovering.
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Listing in ​​National Dragster, Dec. 23, 1977. Courtesy of Mel Bashore
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CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of drag racing at Beaver Springs Dragway, produced by James Amos, footage begins at 8:01 minute mark and concludes at 10:20 minute mark
CLICK HERE to see video footage of Beaver Springs Dragway, 1988, filmed by Kevin Cory, 31:15 minutes

Bedford County Motorcycle Club Grounds (Everett)

  • Years of Operation: 1973-79
  • Status:  Exact location unknown

The motorcycle club grounds were located five miles south of Everett in Black Valley. They held drag races on a dirt strip at their grounds usually in conjunction with a hill climb.
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1973

Chimney Rocks Motorcycle Club Grounds (Newry)

  • Years of Operation: 1971-72
  • Status:  Exact location unknown

The motorcycle club's grounds were located one mile south of Newry. In 1972, night motorcycle drag races were held on their track. See also Leamersville "Drag Strip" entry (below).
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1972

Convair Field (Allentown)


Located in Allentown, the airfield was built about 1943, supporting an aircraft production plant run by Convair during World War II. At the conclusion of the war, aircraft production was shut down and the airfield deemed surplus. Ownership of the airfield was transferred to the city of Allentown in 1947. In spring 1955 Lou "Dopey Duncan" Gehringer, a radio show host, used his influence to get permission to hold drag races on the airfield. Six races were scheduled to be held in 1955. The Allentown Jaycees, Lehigh Valley Timing Association, and Ridge Runners car club sponsored monthly drag races, the first race being held on May 15, 1955. 106 cars competed in that first race, watched by 4,000 spectators. Michael Sforza of Ozone Park, New York, turned in the fastest run with a 100.26 MPH clocking in his Chrysler-powered 1932 Ford coupe. NHRA held a regional drag race event there on August 21, 1955. Eight thousand people watched 282 cars compete in 21 classes. Neal Pruzan of New Rochelle, New York, took top eliminator in his Cadillac-engined dragster. Mick McMillan, driving the Gents car club dragster from York, Pennsylvania, copped the meet's top speed and set a new track record with a 111.66 MPH run. The first race in 1956 was held on April 15. Mike Gurtizen, a member of the Gent's Roadster car club, took the top eliminator prize in the club's rear-engined dgragster on April 29, 1956, with a speed of 105.33 MPH. That race was closed to the general public. Only members of the Lehigh Valley Timing Association, Pennsylvania Timing Association, Jaycees, Lions Club, and city officials were allowed to attend. The first race open to the public in 1956 was held on May 6. Over 8,000 people watched over 300 racers compete. Mike Gurtizen repeated by running the best time of the day in the Gents' dragster with a 104.65 MPH run. To limit the number of entries and give local racers a chance to win, the race on May 20 was only open to racers within a 30-mile radius of Allentown. Don Millard of Spring City turned the fastest speed in his dragster with a 101.91 MPH run. At the race held on June 3, Mick McMillan posted the fastest speed with a 108.3 MPH clocking while Frank Wurtz of Glossen, New Jersey, garnered top eliminator in his T-Bird-engined 1932 Ford. The race on June 24 was only open to those living in the Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton area. Racers had to bring proof of residence in order to race. Mike Gurtizen set a new strip record of 120.84 MPH at the race on July 1. The race on July 15 was limited to the local area racers. Charles McFarland won top eliminator honors at that race in his Cad-powered '32 Ford. With that win, the Lehigh Valley Timing Association awarded him an all-expense-paid trip to the Nationals at Great Bend, Kansas. Another big turn-out of racers (317) drew over 8,000 racing fans to the race on August 12. Howard Bechtel copped top eliminator and Larry Hickey of Washington, D.C. got the meet's top speed in his Merc-engined dragster with a 114.50 MPH pass. The last race of 1956 was a 2-day meet held on October 6-7. It was billed as the First Annual L.V.T.A. East Coast Championship Drag Event. Unfortunately, that turned out to be the last drag race held at the airport when the city decided to not lease it for drag racing any more. Complaints by local residents and objections by the CAA brought a halt to racing. Fittingly, the fastest speed of the day was turned in by Dopey Duncan, the man who did so much to get the city to permit drag races at the airport in 1955. Duncan drove his Olds-powered dragster to a 114.83 MPH clocking. 2,500 people watched 308 entries compete in that final race.  In 1961 Allentown renamed the field Queen City Airport and it continues to serve as a municipal airport.
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These newspaper photos show the wide expanse and large attendance at the race held at Convair Field on April 29, 1956. The bottom photo shows Mike Gurtizen driving the Gent's Roadster club's rear-engined dragster watched by a group of spectators at the starting line. Photos published in ​​York Gazette and Daily, May 12, 1956
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Flagman Gene Jaindl of Allentown starts a race at Convair Field on June 24, 1956, between Joe Williams (dragster) and Everett McFArland (1932 Ford). Photo published in ​Allentown Morning Call, June 25, 1956

Cycle Pals Track ​(Port Matilda)

  • Years of Operation:   1966
  • Status:  Exact location unknown

Motorcycle drag races were held at this club track in Port Matilda in 1966.
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July 9, 1966

Forty Fort Drags


Quarter-mile drag races were held at the Forty Fort Airport, now called Wilkes-Barre Wyoming Valley Airport, located on the bank of the Susquehanna River, three miles northeast of Forty Fort. The first race was held on November 17, 1957. It was conducted by the Northeastern Pennsylvania Timing Association, sanctioned by NASCAR, and drew 5,000 spectators. The Ridge Runners Hot Rod Club was conducting races there in 1958. Beginning that year, the drag races were held in conjunction with the annual Giants' Despair Hill Climb, a timed event generally held in late July over a measured mile. Luzerne County received $1,436 from the timing association for the races held at the airport in 1959. In 1960, the timing association wanted to hold two other races in addition to the race held in conjunction with the hill climb, but county commissioners weren't in favor of that. So drag races were just a once-a-year event from 1960-64. Until 1964, the drag races were held on Sunday afternoon, but in 1964 they were held on Friday night. Over 7,500 people attended the race held on July 28, 1963, to watch almost 300 racers compete. Although the hill climb continued to be held, the drag race event was discontinued in 1965.
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Forty Fort Airport Drags, November 1957, pan to 3:52 minute mark, goes to 4:20 minutes, from Jim Amos
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Garden Spot Airpark/Lancaster Drag-O-Way (Mountville)

 
Drag races were first held on a runway of Garden Spot Airpark. In fact, it wasn't called Lancaster Drag-O-Way until May 1957. The Red Rose Timing Association conducted the races. The airport was located four miles west of Lancaster south of Pennsylvania State Highway 462 (Columbia Avenue). There are remnants of the old airfield that can be seen east of Donerville Road as it goes in a southeasterly direction south of Leisure Lanes. When first built after World War II, it was a 2,400-foot long turf air strip. After 1954, the runway was paved with concrete and lengthened several hundred feet. They held races on Saturday nights, drawing between 1-3,000 fans. Neighbors raised complaints aobut the noise and bright lights. They went to court to try to get the racing stopped, but weren't successful. The same classes that were run at Lancaster were used at the York Airport drag races in 1959. The Lancaster Kiwanis Club sponsored weekly races at this airstrip in 1957. Eight thousand spectators attended the race on May 25, 1957. They were treated to a "blazing demonstration" by Bob Carroll of Marietta, who was clocked at 120 MPH in his roadster. The proceeds from this race were destined for various children's projects. Earl Bomberger was the top eliminator at the race held on June 1, 1957. Charles Dresden had the fastest time at that race with a 97.192 MPH run. Research didn't uncover any racing after 1959, but old timers contend that racing continued until 1961 or 1962. One old timer said, "I believe it was shut down around "61 or "62. Some farmer had a chinchilla farm next door and the noise was tormenting them." Another old timer had heard the rumor about the chinchillas being the reason the strip had to close, but said that "noise wasn't the problem." The farmer eventually simply "got rid of them." This was the strip where Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins got his start in drag racing.

 
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October 10, 1959
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1992 aerial view of Lancaster Drag-O-Way

Giles Hilltop Drag Strip/Speedway ​​(Beaver Falls)

  • Years of Operation: 1967-68
  • Status:  Exact location unknown

Track owner Roy Giles opened racing at his Hilltop Dragstrip for motorcycle drag racing on April 30, 1967. Research hasn't found information on earlier drag racing. The track was located on River Road between Beaver Falls and Ellwood City, but the exact location needs further research.
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June 10, 1967

Green Pine Drag Strip (Elimsport)

  • Years of Operation: 1963-66

Beginning in 1963, the Green Pine Sportsters Motorcycle Club held weekly Sunday drag races at their new 1/8th-mile paved track located south of Williamsport. It was four miles off Route 15. On July 3, 1963, Deanna Barner won a trophy in her B/G '57 Ford. Will Leitch of Lock Haven won four trophies in five weeks of racing in 1963 in his 1960 Plymouth Ramcharger, running in C Stock.  In 1965, Green Pine conducted races on Saturday evenings. Jack Sampsell of Lock Haven was a frequent D Gas class winner that year with his '55 Chevy. Research uncovered little information about this drag strip; more research is needed.
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1993 aerial view of Green Pine Drag Strip

Green Valley Speedway (Emsworth)

  • Years of Operation:  1958-63
  • Status:  Exact location unknown

The first motorcycle drag race at Green Valley Speedway (also called Green Valley Raceway) was held on August 3, 1958. Directions to the speedway were to take Route 88 and turn off on Ohio River Boulevard at Emsworth. The speedway was on Camp Horne Road. Drag races were again held on August 24 and September 14, 1958. Sportsman motorcycle drag races were scheduled to be held on Saturday night, August 10, 1963, in Green Valley, Ohio Township. An area championship cycle drag race was scheduled for Saturday night, September 14, 1963. The Leap "N" Linx Motorcycle Club held a number of drag races at the raceway. It was being called the Green Valley Kart Track in 1963. Research has not uncovered the exact location or sponsoring organization.
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August 3, 1958

Hallam "Drag Strip"

  • Years of Operation: 1962
  • Status:  Exact location unknown

Located sixteen miles east of York U.S. 30 Dragway, newspapers reported quarter-mile drag racing programs being held here in August 1962. Thorton-Smyser-Strickler won eliminator honors in super stock in mid-August. Another drag racing program was scheduled for Wednesday night, August 22, 1962. The races may have been held at an oval track, although it was being called the Hallam 30 Drag Raceway. More research is needed.
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Handlebar Park Drag Strip ​​(Ennisville)

  • Years of Operation: late 1960s?-1971
  • Status:  Exact location unknown

This motorcycle drag strip, located in Jackson Township just south of Ennisville on Route 26, was owned by Gary R. and Jean Young in association with William M. Peacock, all of State College. Residents of Cumminsville and Altoona brought suit against the park due to the noise. One of the residents who complained said that in addition to the motorcycle racing courses, which included a hill climb, moto-cross, and oval, there was a drag strip for motorcycles on the property in 1971. She said that the park had conducted five moto-cross events and four drag races between November 1970 and March 1971. The court ordered it permanently closed in April 1971.
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April 11, 1971

Happy Ramblers Speedway ​​(McSherrystown)


A motorcycle drag race was on the program of a motorcycle rally put on at the Happy Ramblers Speedway on August 2, 1959. The location of the speedway was three miles west of McSherrystown on Route 116.
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August 2, 1959
1994 aerial view of Happy Ramblers Speedway

Hatfield Hi-Speedway

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There was a 1/8th-mile paved drag strip at the Hatfield Speedway complex. Besides the drag strip, the speedway had a 1/2-mile paved oval with a 1/3-mile dirt oval inside the paved oval. Drag races were first held there in late June 1957. On Sunday afternoon, July 7, 1957, there were 50 entries competing for trophies in five classes--motorcycle, stock, modified, sports car, and fastest time trial. On July 21, 1957, 500 people watched 83 cars compete. The numbers steadily grew as 104 cars and motorcycles entered the race on August 4, 1957. On September 8, 1957, Corky Doan of Morrisville won Class C in his 1956 Chevy for the second straight week, clocking 53 MPH. On September 15, 1957, 1,200 fans watched 168 cars compete. The 1957 season championship races were held on December 1. Winners in four classes were awarded a one-week vacation for two at a Miami Beach htoel.  This predates other research which dates the first drag race to 1958, but that is incorrect.  Controversial George Marshman was the race director in circa 1957-59. As he did in 1957 with his beach vacation prizes, Marshman was creative in the kind of awards he passed out to winners. At the race on October 19, 1958, prizes included 100 gallonss of gas to the top stock winner, an overhead valve engine to the top modified winner, and a new set of racing tires to the fastest car. At the second Winter Championship races on November 23, 1958, beach vacations, a new Buick engine, and free gas were again offered among the prizes to winners. Art Malone, driving for Don Garlits, raced here on October 4, 1959. Dick Heist was the race director beginning in 1960. Art Arfons appeared on March 20, 1960, with his Allison-powered "Green Monster." Twice-a-week races were held on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons in 1961. Garlits ran here on August 18, 1961. He hoped to beat Dick Belfatti's track record of 124.960 MPH. In 1962, racing alternated seasonally between Friday night and Sunday afternoon. The racing was sanctioned by the Professional Racing on Speedways organization headed by Dick Fleck. During winter, spectators watched the races in their cars, which they parked on the infleld. In 1963, the strip offered racing in 65 classes. The track was resurfaced in 1964. In 1965, the drag strip was leased by a threesome who operated the races there on Sundays. They were Bill Yoder, Ron Wellington, and Paul Ruth. In 1966, its final season of operation, the track was called Hatfield Drag-O-Way. One of the last, if not the final, drag race was held on Thursday night, July 21, 1966. Billed as the Mid-summer Championships, one of the featured racers was Ron Smith who drove an altered wheelbase 1965 Mercury Comet.
August 24, 1957 ad in ​​​​​​​​Doylestown Intelligencer
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October 4, 1959
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August 18, 1961
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of quarter midget racing at Hatfield Speedway in September 1956, 2 minutes, no sound/music only​​​​

Heidelberg Speedway (Scott Township)

 
This 1/2-mile dirt oval track, which first opened in 1948, was located six miles southwest of Pittsburgh. It had a straight-away in front of the grandstands where drag races were held. Ed Witzberger started them on an experimental basis to see if there was enough interest. There were 73 racers competing at the first race held on June 14, 1963. 162 racers entered for the second race on June 21. The track was lengthened 75 feet for that race. Steve Jurick took top stock eliminator. More than 200 cars were expected to compete in the drag races held on Friday, June 28. Trophies were awarded to winners in forty classes. Drag races were held every Tuesday and Friday night during the 1963 season. DSL reader Dan Roney wrote: "Heidelberg only had drag races one year in 1963. Ed Witzberger. who owned the race track, was gauging the interest in opening up a drag strip in the area and thought he'd try drag racing at the dirt speedway to see what kind of support there was. Needless to say, it went over well and PID was built nearby outside the town of Bridgeville. The starting line at Heidelberg was the 4th turn of the 1/2 mile track and the finish line was the first corner of the oval. Winners were determined by a person standing at the end and holding up his hands which had large gloves showing one glove as the winner of lane 1 or 2 gloves as the winner of lane 2. Rich Major raced there with his Corvette called the ''Disabled Vette.'' Rich went on to race at PID and to publish a small newspaper about the area drag racing news." On Tuesday night, August 13, Art Arfons appeared with his "Green Monster" jet dragster. Drag races were only run on the oval in 1963.

 
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CLICK HERE to see video footage of stock car race at Heidelberg Speedway in 1961, 7 minutes​​

Johnsville Naval Air Station (Warminster)

 
Ray Frattone attended a drag race on a runway at the Naval Air Station in 1954 (see Memories ). The Warminster Youth Activities Organization sponsored a drag race on a newly-paved 8,000-foot runway at the Johnsonville Naval Air Development Center on October 20, 1963. The proceeds from the event were to benefit the youth organization's building fund. It was sanctioned by NHRA. A drag race was held on May 31, 1964, on a runway at the Naval Air Station. Two thousand people watched 162 cars compete. The race was sponsored by the Warminster Youth Activities Organization. The race was sanctioned by NHRA. Trophies were awarded to class and eliminator winners. The race was conducted by the Rotary Club and Meter Menders Rod and Custom Club of York. Gary Tomasulo of Philadelphia got top stock eliminator.

 
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Jim Frey flags two cars on the starting line at Johnsonville Naval Air Station on May 31, 1964. Photos published in the Philadelphia Inquirer, June 4, 1964

Kel-Reca Drag Strip ​(Still Creek)

 
This paved 1/8th-mile drag strip was located northwest of Hometown in Still Creek. Ray Poreca and Donald Kellner built the strip. The name of the strip, Kel-Reca, is a combination of the two originator's names. There is no visible remnant of the track, but it was south of Fairview Street, between Mazur Lane and State Route 309. The first race may have been that held on Sunday, July 28, 1963. Top elimator was garnered by Ron Chivinski of McAdoo in D Gas and the top time of the meet was taken by Judson Hill of Tamaqua in Class A-1 Stock. 22 trophies were awarded at that first race. Races were to be held each Sunday. At the race held on August 4, 1963, 39 racers competed, garnering 24 trophies. Ron Mussoline of Hazleton took top time and top eliminator in his B Stock car. On August 18, the track's biggest turnout of racers saw 72 cars take 32 trophies. In those early events, it was hard not to come away with a trophy. Poreca bought out Kellner's interest in the strip prior to the start of the 1964 season.  Races were held every Sunday in 1964. On August 2, 1964, 60 cars competed. As an incentive to bring in more racers, trophies were handed out to every entry on August 9, 1964. The top points winner in 1964 was Judson Hill. Al Senape set the fastest time of the 1965 season on May 16 with a 7.17 second run to take top eliminator honors over a field of 78 cars. The track briefly tried Thursday twi-light drag races, but discontinued them. On June 20, 1965, they began holding go-kart drag races, contending it was a first in the nation. Racing was shortened from 1/8th-mile to 1/16th-mile beginning on July 18, 1965. Improvements to the track included a rebuilt return lane, win lights at the end, and new bleachers. The 1/16th-mile racing lasted about a month before the track changed the racing distance once more to 1/10th-mile. In late August 1965, they added a street eliminator category. On October 17, 1965, the Emert Brothers of Binghamton, New York, set a new track record of 5.74 seconds in their Ford-powered B dragster. Neal Hinkle also won street eliminator in his 1961 Corvette. In flip-flop fashion, in1966 the track reverted back to 1/16th-mile racing. All class winners were awarded Kel-Reca Drags red-lettered jackets on October 16, 1966. It was so popular that it was continued on succeeding races. The track closed for the whole month of July in 1967 to make repairs. Week after week in 1968, Harry Boyer of Freeland posted the top time and speed in his '58 Vette,  On June 30, 1968, Boyer turned 90 MPH in 5.55 seconds. On October 13, 1968, Ed Curilla set a new track record of 4.90 seconds at 103 MPH in his 1958 sports car. Carl Brucker broke the old track record on August 19, 1973, with a run of 4.89 seconds in 106 MPH in his '49 Anglia.   Read Don Hinkle's recollections of racing done at this strip by his father, Neal.

 
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August 22, 1965
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July 3, 1966
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October 30, 1966
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August 18, 1968
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1999 aerical view of remnant of Kel-Reca Drag Strip
August 31, 1969

Keystone Drag Strip/Raceway Park ​​(New Alexandria)

  • Years of Operation: 1967-present
 
First called Keystone Drag Strip, this track opened in 1967. The first documentation research found was about a race on July 23, 1967. Racer John Scaglione suffered abrasions when his race car flipped end over end. On August 6, Art Arfons brought his "Green Monster" to make exhibition runs. In August 1967, the track hosted the first of what would be an annual event at the track--the National Association Automobile Racing National Championships. On August 23-25, 1968, the Keystone Raceway Park hosted the 1968 NAAR national championships. More than 20,000 spectators were expected to attend the three-day affair. Al Czerniak of Philadelphia won top fuel eliminator in his AA/FD with a run of 7.06 seconds at 206.89 MPH. Five jet dragsters put on a show on September 29, 1968.  In the June 1970 issue of Hot Rod, Keystone was listed as an NHRA track. Wolf Mentzer was the track manager then. There were entries from fourteen states that competed in the NAAR Summer National championships on August 7-8, 1971, the fifth consecutive summer that Keystone hosted the event. In 1974, a motocross track was built on the same grounds as the drag strip. By at least 1976, the track was sanctioned by NHRA.  In about 1979, the track was called either Keystone Raceway or Pittsburgh Raceway Park. In 2005 Pittsburgh Raceway Park was owned by Greg Miller and sanctioned by IHRA.

 
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Listing in ​​​​​​​​​National Dragster, Dec. 23, 1977. Courtesy of Mel Bashore
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July 6-7, 1968
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August 23-25, 1968
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Keystone Raceway Park, 1980, 6:53 minutes, no sound/music only

Kreamer 522 Drag O'Way ​(Selinsgrove)

 
This drag strip, located about five miles west of Selinsgrove on Route 522, purportedly ran in the 1960s and 1970s, but research has found little information. It is now a pig farm with long roofed pen buildings sitting on top of the old drag strip. It is just off Sportsman's Drive in  Middlecreek Township. The earliest documentation found dates to 1963. Cloyd Herman operated the strip in the late 1960s to early 1970s. A drag race event was held on Sunday, August 11, 1963. Will Leitch took C/S honors with his 1960 Plymouth. Newspapers reported a minor grass fire near the 522 Drag-O-Way in September 1964. At a race on June 22, 1969, a clutch explosion seriously injured a 21-year-old spectator. In 1971, a jury awarded the injured youth $55,000 for the disabling injuries he sustained.

 
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CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of drag racing at Kreamer's 522 Dragway, produced by James Amos, footage begins at 5:35 minute mark and concludes at 8:02 minute mark
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Kreamer Drag Strip, ​​​​ 1967 topo map

Langhorne Speedway

 
Construction of a 1/4-mile long asphalt drag strip was begun on the infield of the speedway oval in April-May 1958. Races were conducted over an 1/8-mile distance and were sanctioned by the Eastern Hot Rods Association. The track opened for racing on July 4, 1958. Weekly races were held on Sundays from May through December during the first season. There were 42 classes of competition. They regularly had 150 cars entered. The track record of 107 MPH was set in early July 1958. They installed an electronic timing system in April 1959. Bill Winterbottom broke the track record in his Buick-powered B dragster with a run of 7.23 at 127.80 MPH on July 24, 1960. On November 6, 1960, Joe Jacono of Chester, Pennsylvnia, set a new track and national mark for 1/8th-mile with a run of 139.65 MPH in his supercharged Buick-powered dragster. At that same event, Walt Arfons had his first jet-engined "Green Monster" dragster make a 90 MPH pass. On November 5, 1961, promoter Al Gerber brought Art Arfons to Langhorne to make exhibition runs in his "Green Monster II" Allison-engined dragster. The strip traditionally had a 2-day Labor Day race which attracted a good crowd and lots of racers. Gerber brought in other big names like Lyle Fisher's Speed Sport Roadster. Langhorne's location in a prime real estate location was really what doomed the speedway. Drag racing stopped after 1964, but the oval racing continued at least through about 1971. Drag racing was not held in 1965 due to construction work on the speedway oval, and then it was simply never resumed.
 
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October 4, 1959
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August 4, 1963
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of drag racing at Langhorne Speedway in 1959, 4 minutes, old Charioteers racer Roger Leip narrates his memories of that day's racing

Leamersville "Drag Strip"

  • Years of Operation: 1965-67
  • Status:  Exact location unknown
 
The Chimney Rocks Motorcycle Club sponsored a drag race on September 25, 1965, in Leamersville. They sponsored a race at their club grounds on July 9, 1967. More research is needed to identify the exact location and years of operation.

 
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September 25, 1965

Lincoln Speedway ​​(Abbottstown)

  • Years of Operation: 1956-58
 
The Hanover Rod and Kustom Klub held a couple of club-related events at the speedway in 1956. About 500 people attended an inter-club meet on June 10. They held stock drag races on the front stretch of the oval in addition to such other events as sparkplug and tire-changing competitions. It was so popular that they held another drag race-only event open to the public on July 8, 1956. Eddie Krumrine won top honors in competing among about forty cars. These races continued once-monthly  throughout 1956. The last drag race in 1956 was held on November 11. Fred Harman of Silver Run, Maryland, took top honors. The 1957 season's  first drag race, again put on by the Hanover Rod and Kustom Klub, was held on July 7. Hilly Rife was the promoter. Although news reports only said that the race happened in Hanover, racing historian Steve Bubb stated that the races were held at this speedway. Clair Wise of Hanover won top eliminator honors at the race held on August 18,. 800 people watched that race. On June 29, 1958, 600 spectators watched 94 cars compete in the drag races. Bernard Arnold of Camp Hill won top eliminator. Arnold repeated his top eliminator win at the race on July 27. 1958 was the final year of the monthly drag races at the speedway. The old dirt track speedway which opened in 1953, is located at the foot of the Pigeon Hills north of Hanover and about two miles southwest of Abbotstown. The 3/8th-mile high-banked clay oval track still operates today.

 
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CLICK HERE to see video footage of Lincoln Speedway, 2011, 1:30 minutes
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Maple Grove Raceway (Mohnton)

  • Years of Operation: 1962-present
 
A flat, half-mile dirt oval track called Brecknock Speedway opened for racing in 1937 in Maple Grove Park. Albert Stauffer bought the speedway in 1940. In 1957, the Friendship Motorcycle Club got Stauffer's permission to run 1/8th-mile drag races inside the oval track. Stauffer paved the starting line with concrete to eliminate rocks being kicked up by the motorcycles. In 1960, a group of local racers from the Eastern Custom Car Association approached Stauffer about converting the track into a drag strip for race cars. He liked the idea. John and Roy Stauffer constructed a fifth-mile long and 30 foot wide drag strip. Maple Grove Park Drag-O-Way opened in August 1962. In 1963 they widened the track to 40 feet wide and installed a dual-lane timer. In the listing of NHRA-sanctioned tracks in Hot Rod (August 1963), it was called the Custom Car Association Drags. After visiting Cecil County Dragway to get ideas, the Stauffers lengthened the track to 4,000 feet and 60 feet wide in time for the 1964 season. Bob Eveland leased the track that year and NHRA sanctioned the track. The first NHRA National event was held in 1985--and continues to be held annually for over thirty years.
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August 1962
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CLICK HERE to listen to old commercial radio spot for Maple Grove Raceway, 1 minute
November 14, 1965
CLICK HERE to see video footage of funny car racing at Maple Grove on May 27, 1989, 8 minutes
CLICK HERE to see brief 8mm video footage of  Maple Grove, produced by James Amos, pan to 3:14 minute mark thru 3:26

Mountain View Drag Strip ​(Wind Gap)


This 1/8th-mile drag strip was run every Sunday by members of the Hi-Winders car club. It was built next to a 1/3rd-mile clay banked oval track, known as Mountain View Park Speedway. It opened for racing on September 25, 1960. Bob Kutzler of Easton was the top eliminator at the opening race. The top speed of the day was registered by Dick Tittle's flathead engined Crosley.  It was purchased in about 1964 by Rev. Emmet Wentzel and Sterling Rismiller. Rev. Wentzel owned and operated the drag strip according to what newspapers stated was "on a Christian basis." Rev. Wentzel prohibited alcoholic beverages, vulgar language, and encouraged good sportsmanship. Any who couldn't abide by those rules could neither attend or particpate in the races. The drag strip, called "The Sticks" by the old racers, was located off of East Mountain Road out in the woods three miles west of Wind Gap.   Larry Phillips wrote , " The dragstrip shutdown was the oval track. The return road weaved through the woods back to the pits.I raced there from 1960 till about 1964. In 1962 I won $22 in points money! Wow!" The Hi-Wnders car club has been putting on a reunion at the old race track since 1999. According to Fred Riedel, president of the Hi-Winders Car Club, the track closed at the end of the 1976 season.
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CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Mountain View Drag Strip, 1960s, pan to 34 seconds, goes to 1:04 minutes, from James Amos
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1962

Nazareth Speedway

  • Years of Operation: 1960-65

The historic Nazareth Speedway at the Fairgrounds originally was just a half-mile track, located just northeast of the current site of the now-defunct 1-mile track. The large 1-mle, 5-turn dirt track opened in 1966. The two tracks co-existed on the site until about 1988, when the old half-mile track was demolished to make way for the expansion of a large grocery store and its parking lot.  Ed Beers wrote this DSL website:  "They ran 425-foot drags on the clay front stretch at the old Nazareth 1/2-mile track. Jerry Fried was the promoter. Drags started in June 1960 and ran until about 1964. Fried had Don Garlits there in 1961. Actually Connie Swingle was driving, Swingle made one run and set a track record. The next run he ended up crashing the dragster in turn one. Garlits wrote about this in several of his books but he said it was at Reading Fairgrounds. Newspaper coverage of Nazareth tells all about the incident. The following Tuesday night, Chris Karamesines broke Swingle's speed mark but also crashed. There was an ad for Dick Belfatti's "Shadow" going to race at Nazareth, but I could not find any results. One of the Nazareth regulars was Chester Kilmer, Jr., known for his Timberman Pontiacs. Nazareth Speedway is most notable for launching the storied career of Mario Andretti. Unfortunately it was torn down for a shopping center." Jerry Fried thought about adding drag racing to his race program back in March 1959, but didn't pull the trigger on the idea for another year. The very first drag race on the newly-calciumized track was held on the night of  May 31. Bob Buskey of East Orange, New Jersey, was the top eliminator in his '60 Chevy. 130 cars competed in the 1/16th-mile racing. Bob Hawk of Phillipsburg, New Jersey got the fastest time with a 6.23 second run in his 1959 Pontiac. On the next Tuesday night race there were 164 entries. Bruce Bilheimer of Allentown was the top eliminator in his '60 Chevy with a time of 6.85 at 56.2 MPH. The drag strip was lengthened to 480 feet for the race on Tuesday, July 5, 1960. Warren Klipple nabbed top eliminator in his dragster with a speed of 71.42 MPH. They dropped the timing distance back to 1/16th-mile (425 feet) for the race on July 19. On August 16, Pete Jones of Scranton set a new track record and copped his fourth straight top eliminator honors, driving his modified Corvette with a speed of 73.77 MPH. On August 15, 1961, Don Garlits set a new track record with an 84.9 MPH run. On the following week, Chris Karamesines upped the track record to 91.73 MPH. Unfortunately he lost control of the dragster, hit the guardrail, and flipped over several times, totally destroying the race car. In 1962, promoter Jerry Fried expanded the prizes awarded to racers to include wristwatches, transistor radios, cameras, jewelry, and wallets. Class winners could pick from among those prizes or take a trophy.
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May 31, 1960
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1961
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August 15, 1961
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This 1966 ​​​​​ topo map only shows the old half-mile track. The one-mile oval had not been built yet.
This 1972 ​​​ aerial photo shows both tracks, the large 1-mile track and the old half-mile track just to the northeast of it.
August 22, 1961

New Castle "Drag Strip"


The city of New Castle gave permission for the Kust-Ods car club to use land in Cunningham Park for a drag strip, leasing it to the club for $1 per year. The land had already been laid out for a drag strip when leased to the Kust-Ods, but it needed more grading before the Kust-Ods could blacktop it. It was a half mile long and 25 feet wide.  The directions to get to the drag strip were to drive through Deshon Village or via Cascade Boulevard leading from Hamilton Street.
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New Hanover Airport

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The Pottstown Roamers Motorcycle Club conducted its first AMA drag race on a 1/8th-mile oiled dirt strip at the airport on July 6, 1958. They held four drag races in 1958. They also had a quarter-mile oval dirt oval track at the airport. On November 20, 1960, Dick Trythall of Bucktown took top eliminator honors and set a new track record with a 98 MPH run. The old airport has been obliterated and the site remains vacant, although there have been periodic discussions to develop it.
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September 21, 1958
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August 16, 1959
June 5, 1960

Nu-Be Drag Strip (New Bethlehem)

 
Daniel D. McCauley and Paul A. Burford filed incorporation papers for this drag strip on May 12, 1969. This 1/8th-mile track was located on Route 861, on the south side of the highway two miles northwest of New Bethlehem. It was on a 20-acre site in Porter Township. They were the high bidder on some used bleachers from the West Forest School in July 1969. They raced every Sunday on the strip which was sanctioned by the National Association of Automobile Racing (NAAR). In the June 1970 issue of Hot Rod, NuBe was listed as an NHRA-sanctioned track. Different gimmicks were used to attract spectators. In 1970, they held a mini-bike drag race for kids. In 1971 they engaged a sky diver to dive from 8,000 feet into an open car on the strip. The strip was a venue for rock concerts in the 1970s. In 1972, Jeff Foulk of Doylestown set a new track record of 5.60 seconds in his 1970 Mercury funny car.  In 1980, the strip was offered for sale. It eked out an existence for another two years before closing.
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1993 aerial view of Nu-Be Drag Strip
1969
  • Years of Operation: 1964-present

Initially this strip was called Dragways, Inc., when it opened on August 23, 1964. Built on the Knorr farm, it went through a couple of name changes during its history. It was first Numidia Dragways, then Numidia Raceway Park, then to today's Numidia Dragway. At times, they even switched back and forth with one name or the other in scizophrenic fashion within the same year. Rather confusing. Roy Fink and Ellsworth Shultz were two of the early strip managers. It was sanctioned by NHRA beginning in 1965. On April 25, 1965, Bruce Larson was a featured racer. On July 25, 1965, Costlow-Larson took street eliminator honors. The track hosted an NHRA regional points meet on August 18, 1965. A newspaper ad for a race on Saturday, April 22, 1967, enticed people to come with a copy that read:  "Red hot drag racing plus the rails."  On July 16, 1967, the dragway featured the Joey Chitwood Thrill Show in addition to the regular drag racing program.. In 1967, the regular racing program was held every Saturday night with time trial racing every Wednesday night. On May 13, 1967, Ron Rivero drove his "Frantic Four" fuel dragster to a new track record of 215 MPH.  In 1968, some news reports referred to it as Bloomsburg Dragway, because of its proximity to the town of Bloomsburg.  In the 1970s, the track changed to a Sunday racing program.  On May 12, 1974, the strip featured a match race between Don Garlits and Chris Karamesines. On June 2, 1974, the track featured a funny car match between Don Schumacher and Jungle Jim Liberman. Today the drag strip operates under NHRA sanction.
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Numidia Dragway ​(Catawissa)

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May 23, 1965
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CLICK HERE to see video footage of Numidia Dragway, 2011, 8:45 minutes
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April 22, 1967
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May 12, 1974
July 4, 1968

Oil City Cycle Club Drag Strip (Tippery)

  • Years of Operation:  1965, 1969-70
  • Status:  Exact location unknown
 
The venerable Oil City Cycle Club acquired its club grounds in Tippery at least as early as 1965. It was off Route 157, seven miles east of Oil City. They had a 1/3-mile track on the site. However the only drag racing research found held at the grounds took place in 1965 and 1969-70, but drag races probably also took place in 1966-68. They were sanctioned by A.M.A.
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September 20, 1970

Peterson Memorial Dragway (Tipton)


Paul Peterson built a combination airstrip and drag strip on the site of the former historic Altoona Speedway board track oval on Route 220. The strip, also called Tipton Dragway, was 6,000 feet long. It opened on Labor Day weekend, September 4-5, 1966. Walter Mentzer was the track manager when it opened, but by 1967, Ed Anderson was the manager. On July 16, 1967, almost 5,000 spectators saw Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins beat out a strong field at an NHRA Super Stock circuit meet. On June 20, 1971, Jon Pulver of Rhode Island set a new strip record in his junior fueler with a 7.64 at 188.66 MPH clocking.  One old timer recalled, "I grew up about a mile from Peterson's in Tipton, Pennsylvania. I would hang out there all the time. I wasn't old enough to participate but as a young kid would hang out and try to learn from the oldtimers. By the time I was old enough to drive and have my own vehicle it was already shut down. Even after it was closed, all the young hot rodders would hang out there and race. The authorities seemed to overlook the activities." Another fellow recalled the great racing action:  "That strip had some great shows. Jungle Jim, Grumpy Jenkins, great funny car shows, and super stock shows with a ton of cars."
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Listing in ​​​​​​​National Dragster, Dec. 23, 1977. Courtesy of Mel Bashore
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Peterson Memorial Dragway, 3:29 minutes

Pinecroft Speedway

  • Years of Operation: 1965-66
  • Status:  Exact location unknown
 
The Golden Eagle Motorcycle Club held several drag races at their race track near Pinecroft, between Bellwood and Altoona.  The exact location of the track is not known; more research is needed.
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November 14, 1965

Pittsburgh International Dragway ​​​​(Cuddy)

 
Ed Witzberger broached the idea of building a drag strip on a 3,300-foot runway of the old Campbell Airport in 1962. "The success of our drag racing program at Heidelberg Raceway last summer promped us to build this modern drag strip," said Witzberger. But it didn't actually get built for two more years. Chuck Campbell started the track after the airport was moved and built at the top of the hill to the southwest. According to Jerry Gross ,  the track opened May 10, 1964, and  was sanctioned by NHRA on June 28 of that year and closed in May 1976. Chuck Campbell was the promoter when it opened. Gross learned from Bill Truby, the old track photographer, that the old airport was converted to a drag strip because the wind currents played havoc with the airplanes, flipping them over on occasion. "It started as an NHRA track," said Gross, "then switched to NASCAR when Ed and Wally [Parks] couldn't agree on things. Later in the '70s, it returned to the NHRA fold. Many of the top Sportsman drivers got their starts here, including Jim Boburka, Harry Luzader, Tom Myl, and Mike Kosky. . . . The basic track is still there, just all overgrown, and all the structures have fallen down." One of the interesting features that permitted high speeds was that the last 1,200 feet of the strip sloped upwards at 17 degrees. The strip initially cost about $150, 000.  In 1964, Bill Palmer of Belle Vernon, was the top points-maker. He won the season finale on November 8, with a run of 149.75 MPH in 9.48 seconds. It was sanctioned by NASCAR in 1965. On May 22, 1966, Connie Kalitta set a strip record with a run of 200.88 MPH in 7.90 seconds. Al Kunkle set a strip record in his twin-engined gas dragster with a run of 172.08 MPH in 8.94 seconds. An organization holds popular annual reunions and gathers memorabilia to keep the memory of the old raceway alive. 
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Note the misspelling of Connie Kalitta's name for this October 4, 1964 match race
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CLICK HERE to see video footage of interview with Jim Senkewitz about history of PID, with old photos, 3:24 minutes
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Thousands of spectators line both sides of the strip of Pittsburgh International Dragway on its opening day, May 10, 1964, to see more than 500 competitors race. William Palmer of Belle Vernon nabbed the top speed with a run of 123.6 MPH. Photo published in ​Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 11, 1964
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1993 aerial view of Pittsburgh International Dragway, identified by the red dots. Chuck Campbell's airport is just south of the strip.

Pocono Drag Lodge (Bear Creek)


According to Joe Amato, the Perugino family, from Wilkes-Barre, bought 300 acres in Bear Creek Township  on which to build a drag strip. Previously drag racers had raced on an airport in the vicinity of Wilkes-Barre, but pilots complained about it. Being in the construction business, the Peruginos carved out a quarter mile drag strip in the woods of the Pocono Mountains. Located four miles south of Wilkes-Barre off Route 115, this was a most unusual drag strip that had a surprisingly successful tenure that lasted for close to eight years. It was run by John Perugino, his sons Jim and Joe, and son-in-law Dan Levitsky. On Labor Day 1965, the track featured a demolition derby at the strip. Cecil Yother set a new track factory experimental record with a 171.02 MPH run in "The Melrose Missile" Barracuda on September 10, 1967. In 1968, the strip ran 122 different clases and five eliminator categories. They were drawing between 200 to 500 entries each Sunday. They featured numerous big-name racers there in 1968 including Bruce Larson's USA 1 funny car, Lew Arrington's "Brutus" Firebird funny car, Jungle Jim Liberman, Clare Sanders' "Lime Fire" Barracuda funny car, and the "Untouchable" jet dragster. In the June 1970 issue of Hot Rod, the track was listed as an NHRA-sanctioned track. There was an attempt to revive the drag strip, on land still owned by Perugino, in the late 1990s, but that didn't materialize. Drag strip reunions, minus the racing, have been held there for several years recently.
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September 1, 1968
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May 25, 1969
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Pocono Drag Lodge, 1968, 3:18 minutes
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Pocono Drag Lodge, pan to 4:21 minute mark, from James Amos
CLICK HERE to see interview with Joe Amato about history of Pocono Drag Lodge, with old 8mm movies of racing, 8:56 minutes

Pocono International Raceway (Long Pond)

 
Informal discussions for this raceway started in the mid-1950s. Racing Incorporated was formed in 1957 and the planning was instituted. By 1965, plans had firmed up and were publicly announced. It was hoped that construction could be completed at the 1,025-acre site to permit racing that fall. However construction problems and bad weather caused those optimistic goals to be postponed. They had initially planned to hold eleven drag racing events in 1965, but that had to be put off. The drag strip was to be 3,740 feet long and sixty feet wide, to be lit for night racing. There was to be a return road paralleling the strip. It wasn't until 1969 that work was finished on the drag strip to permit racing. Nine drag racing events were scheduled to be held. The main straight portion of the 2.5 mile tri-oval track was used for the drag races. Work was also completed that year on the 3/4-mile oval and the 1.8-mile road course. Research was only able to find drag races being held in 1969, or at least reports that they were scheduled to be held. The second drag race of the season was held on May 25.  Nick Nash, driving a C/SR beat Ed Hildebrandt to win the UDRA pro gasser meet.  In the June 1969 issue of Hot Rod, it was listed as a sanctioned NHRA strip. On May 18-20, 1979, Pocono scheduled an IHRA Winston All American Spring Nationals event, but got rained out on Friday and Saturday. They tried to pack all three days into racing on Sunday, but were foiled by Mother Nature. Ed Beers said they rescheduled it again, but once again were rained out. The race was never run.
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June 15, 1969
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June 29, 1969

Quarter Aces Drag-O-Way/South Mountain Raceway (Boiling Springs)

  • Years of Operation: 1962-present
 
In 1958, the Quarter Aces Car Club, with the help of H. Robert Davis, a local doctor and community leader, came up with the down payment to buy 44 acres along Petersburg Road in South Mountain Township on which they planned to build a 1/8th-mile drag strip. It took them another four years to work on readying the track to start racing. When it opened in 1962, they charged 75 cents to race. It had a 100-foot asphalt launch pad followed by 900 feet of gravel. The name was changed to South Mountain Dragway in 1971 when the track was sold to Ron Wallace and Ed Stambaugh. That pair owned the track for over thirty years. They built the new tower in 1983 and made numerous improvements and upgrades.  In 1985 they became affiliated and sanctioned by NHRA.  In the early 1990s, they installed lights and added Friday night racing to their regular Sunday drag events. The track was repaved in 1997. Stanley Dye bought the track in 2007, and returned the track to its original name: Quarter Aces Drag-O-Way. After making many improvements, Dye put the drag strip on the market for sale in early 2014. Mike Natoli bought the track, and after revamping and renaming the track to South Mountain Raceway, re-opened the drag strip.
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April 30, 1967
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Quarter Aces Drag-O-Way in 1965, 1:16 minutes, no sound/music only

Reading Fairgrounds Speedway

 
NASCAR-sanctioned drag races were held on a 1/16th-mile straight-away in front of the grandstands on the clay-surfaced half-mile oval track. Races were held every Wednesday night, the first one being held on June 29, 1960. Ed Otto was the promoter. The races regularly attracted over 200 cars to compete for 25 class trophies. AMA motorcycle drag races were held on September 13, 1961, to kick off a week of racing at the Reading Fair. Research didn't uncover any documentation about drag racing activities in 1963 and 1964, but oval track racing was held. Weekly drag racing events were held in the summer of 1965. They were sanctioned by the Reading Stock Car Association and generally drew about 130 entries. Trophies were awarded to class and eliminator winners. Today there is a mall on the site of the old speedway.
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June 29, 1960
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CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Reading Fairgrounds Speedway stock cars heat race, 1972, 3 minutes, no sound
May 10, 1961

Roof Garden Riders Motorcycle Club "Drag Strip" (Shanksville)

 
The Roof Garden Riders Motorcycle Club initially had a 1/8th-mile dirt drag strip on Route 30 west of Jennerstown. On August 4, 1968, they held a benefit drag race at that strip. It was co-sponsored by the Somerset Jaycees and $300 from that race was donated to the Somerset Pool and Park Fund. In April 1969, the club bought twenty acres of land in Stonycreek Township, four miles east of Somerset on Shanksville Road north of Route 31. They built a 1/8th-mile dirt drag strip, holding their first race on Sunday, May 4, 1969. On August 10, 1969, the Roof Riders hosted the Pennsylvania State Championship Dirt Drags at their track. Ron Griffith of Somerset garnered top eliminator honors on his 650 BSA. On August 17, 1969, Alex Varner of Somerset took top eliminator honors on his 650 BSA at the drag strip near Shanksville. Regular drag races were held at least through 1974.
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May 4, 1969

Rossville Drag Strip

 
Ernest Gilbert and Carmen Desputhano started building a 3,500 foot rolled-clay drag strip a mile and a half east of Rossville. They estimated that it would cost $25,000. It was going to be operated by the Pennsylvania Timing Association and sanctioned by the NHRA. It was 90 feet wide. The original plans called for it to be finished by the end of August 1955, but Hurricane Connie caused damage to it that delayed its opening. The Warrington Park Hot Rod Club became the major group to help getting it built. Newspapers reported that the strip was "nearly completed" in late March 1956, but they were hoping to raise enough money to have the surface paved. To that end, the Warrington Park club invited five other car clubs in the York area to join in with them. Those York area clubs included the Peerless Competition, Gent's Roadster, Duces, York's Little Stinkers, and Asphalt Arabs. Steve Bubb, a Pennsylvania racing historian, said that this drag strip opened in 1956. Today the site of the old track is covered by woods. Research in newspapers wasn't able to find any information about actual races being held at this track.
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Route #194 Drag Strip ​​(Littlestown)

  • Years of Operation: 1966-68
  • Status:  Exact location unknown
 
Barbara Brand, a librarian at the Adams County Library in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, was very helpful in researching this drag strip. She found that Francis P. Smith applied for a license to operate Dragway Rt. 194 in early March 1966. Neighbors filed a suit against Smith on March 16, 1966, to try to stop him from opening the strip on their rural road. The suit was dismissed. Barbara Brand searched local newspapers to try to find out if the strip ever opened, but found nothing. Without further documentation, she questioned whether the strip ever opened. It was listed in a listing of U.S. drag strips in 1968 published in an issue of the Swedish magazine Start & Strip .  In the news article about the law suit, it stated that the strip was accessed via Route 194 by way of Christ Church Road in Littlestown. Smith, who died in Florida in 1982, operated a junkyard on his property at least as early as 1975. A feature that might have been part of a racing strip shows up in a 1992 aerial photo.
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Possible site of the drag strip Christ Church Road on 1992 aerial photo
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St. Thomas Speedway (Chambersburg)

 
Steve Bubb, a Pennsylvania racing historian, said that this old speedway, located west of Chambersburg, held drag races on its front straightaway. The site of the speedway is now overgrown. It had been a quarter-mile dirt oval track that opened in 1960. Research in newspapers by DSL did not find anything to confirm that drag races were held at the speedway.
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CLICK HERE to see the old racing announcer Mike Donald describing the old speedway while taking a lap around it, now overgrown in 2015, 1:55 minutes
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1994 aerial view of St. Thomas Speedway

Sanatoga Speedway (Pottstown)

 
Sanatoga Speedway was a 1/5th-mile oval that dated back to 1939. It was located in Sanatoga Park, east of Pottstown, Pennsylvania.  Owner George "Kilroy" Marshman began building a paved drag strip to complement his oval racing in May 1958. He started the project prior to gaining approval from the Pottstown zoning board. However formal approval was granted in late July and construction continued. However construction slowed when torrential rains caused delays. It was hoped that the strip would be able to open by at least August 9. But construction delays plagued the track. An opening date of September 6 was finally announced. The actual racing was slated to happen under the lights at night. It was anticipated that 300 racers would compete from several surrounding states, with trophies to be awarded in thirty-five classes. The Chester Times newspaper (Aug. 30, 1958) mentioned the details about this grand opener only a week before it was slated to happen. But then, the opening date was pushed back one more week to September 13. But before that race could happen, newspapers reported that the opening was being "postponed indefinitely." In December 1958, news about the strip focused on the legal entanglements. A group of Sanatoga residents had tried again to squelch the drag strip. In July 1959, the zoning board of adjustments upheld their earlier decision to permit the drag strip construction to go ahead. The Montgomery county court then upheld the decision of the zoning board. The coast was then clear for the strip construction to be completed. But at a cost of $60,000, Marshman apparently decided to forego the drag strip and just continue with the oval track racing. No traces can be seen of the old speedway in aerial photographs. It was located on South Park Road in Sanatoga.
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September 13, 1958
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1958
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of stock car racing at Sanatoga Speedway in 1951, 7 minutes, not drag racing, but a contemporary look at the old speedway

Skyline Drag Strip (New Castle)

 
Mike Pollio, owner of Hickory Speedway, built a drag strip in 1961 on the Youngstown Road (Route 422), seven miles west of New Castle (mid-1960s newspaper articles say it was five miles & in 1972 it was reportedly four miles). It was a quarter-mile black-topped track, with bleachers to seat over 2,000 spectators. The opening race was on June 25, 1961, featuring Art Arfons and his "Green Monster" jet car. They put on a 3-day race from July 2-4, 1961. Almost 2,000 fans watched over 160 racers on the last day of that event. Buddy Ferris and Don Blockinger set a new track record in their Olds-engined dragster on July 9, 1961, with a 10.91 ET at 140 MPH. Featured racers were brought in to attract spectators. In the first year of the track's operation, they included Akron's Otie Taylor with his A/R. He was a class winner at the U.S. Nationals in 1960. In the mid-60s, feature racers included Tom Sturm, Dick Landy, the Ramchargers, and others. Research next found racing being held here in 1972 when the track was called New Castle Drag Strip. However, the New Castle Drag Strip name dates back to as early as 1963. By at least 1969, the strip had changed to 1/8th-mile racing. Night racing was introduced at least by 1969, when it held races on Friday nights. Gil Walters was the promoter in 1969. A Christmas tree starting system was first installed in 1969. Prior to then, the strip had employed a flag starter. In 1972, they held races on Wednesday and Friday nights and Sunday afternoons. At a race on Sunday, May 14, 1972, they offered a $1000 purse. Races were conducted using National Association Automobile Racing (NAAR) rules. Research was unable to find information about this track after  the 1972 season. More research is needed to identify the exact location of the old strip.
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June 25, 1961
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May 14, 1972

Speck Farm (Walker Township)

  • Years of Operation: 1966
  • Status:  Exact location unknown
 
James Galloway was testing his car on a private asphalt drag strip owned by Dallas Speck on September 4, 1966. The drag strip was on the Speck farm in Walker Township, Huntingdon County. He had started down the strip and as he neared the end, he lost control of the car, which turned over. He was thrown from the car into a nearby field. He was transported to the J. C. Blair Memorial Hospital where he died about three hours later. Galloway resided in McConnellstown. Research hasn't found anything more about this drag strip.
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Splane Memorial Airport (Oil City)

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The Draggin' Dragons car club conducted three drag races at the old airport. The first race was held on June 17, 1956. The second race was held on July 8, with Dick Benson's '56 Chevy turning the fastest time with a 17 second pass. Those first two races were only for members of the club, but they decided to open the racing to the general public for their third race. That race, on July 29,  drew over 1,500 spectators to watch 40 racers. Racers were charged a $1 entry fee and spectator admission and pit passes cost 50 cents. Robert Doverspike took top honors in the modified stock division with his Corvette-powered '56 Chevy.  In August 1956, the Pennsylvania Aeronautics Commission ruled that no airports in the state could conduct drag races, effectively halting any more racing at the Splane airport. The old airport was built in the late 1920s, four miles in a northwesterly direction from Oil City. It had a paved 2,160-foot east-west runway and by 1945, was owned by the city of Oil City. The airport was closed by the city in 1972. The airport site is now only used by Oil City as a mulching/composting site for its leaf removal program.
July 29, 1956
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These photos show the start and finish areas of a drag race held on June 17, 1956, at the Splane Memorial Airport. Bucy Mooney was the flag starter. Photos published in ​Franklin News-Herald, June 19, 1956

Sunset Drag Strip (Charleston)

 
The strip is located about half way between Sharon and Mercer, one mile north of Route 62 in Charleston. It was founded by Alex and Marie Theofilos and Alex's brother, George. On August 28, 1960, Frank Zarienga of New Castle garnered top eliminator honors in the Sunday racing. Before the start of the 1961 season, the strip was widened to forty feet, lengthened and newly paved. The Corvette Club of Western Pennsylvania held a race there on April 22, 1961. An old timer remembered that in the early 1960s you could get into any class that you wanted by giving the tech inspectors a six-pack.  The strip lays claim to being the birthplace of bracket racing in 1961. Races in 1964 were sponsored by the Tri-State Hot Rod Association. On November 1, 1964, Frank Venturelli drove Dr. Robert Marvin's A/MSP car to a 7.06 ET at 105 MPH. At various times, the track did 1/6th-mile racing, but mostly timed runs for an 1/8th-mile distance. Although the 1/8th-mile track mainly catered to the sportsman racers, occasionally they brought in prominant racers for match races or exhibition runs. In 1965, they began holding what they called the Funny Car Nationals, an annual event that was held for at least sixteen years. In its first four years, they called it the Super Stock Nationals. In the 1967 season opener, the "Seaton Shaker," a fuel-injected blown Corvair from Royal Oaks, Michigan, was brought in for a match race. On July 25, 1967, Walt Arfons ran his jet-powered funny car. Friday night bracket racing was also inaugurated in 1967. On June 23, 1968, Anthony Barry, age 18, was killed when he lost control of his car after the finish line and began rolling over and over. It has been the track's only fatal accident. In 1983 the strip was renamed Charleston Raceway Park. The track closed for almost ten years after 1994, but then Alex re-opened it in 2003. With the passing of the Theophilus brothers, the race track stopped operating. Some buildings remain, but the track itself is quickly disintegrating.
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1964
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1979
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CLICK HERE to see video footage of old photos of Sunset Drag Strip in early 1960s, 2 minutes, no sound
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1983
1993 aerial view of Charleston Raceway Park
  • Years of Operation: 1962-70
  • Status:  Exact location unknown

On May 13, 1962, the Sunset Riders Motorcycle Club sponsored their annual motorcycle drag races at their club farm, located on Route 38, north of Butler. The races benefited the Butler County Crippled Children's Fund. In 1963, they began holding night drag races. In 1964, they built a new half-mile track to supplement the drag races.  DSL reader, Dan Roney, noted that their farm had a mailing address of Chicora, but was really closer to the city of Butler. 
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Sunset Riders Motorcycle Club ​​(Butler)

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May 18, 1963

Three Rivers Stadium ​​(Pittsburgh)

 
On the nights of July 2-3, 1971, the first Tri-State Stock Drag Racing Championships were held at Three Rivers Stadium. The stadium was brand new in 1970. The top drag racers in the stock classes from drag strips in a 3-state area competed for a $1500 purse and trophies. Other events were also held including the U.S. Wheelstanding Championships, a car show, a horse vs. car race, fireworks, etc. The racing took place inside the stadium and was poorly attended. Photos of some of the racing action show very few people in the stadium seats . The stadium was demolished in 2001, making way for the construction of new baseball and football stadiums on either side of it. The Heinz Field football stadium is just west of the former site of Three Rivers Stadium.
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1993 aerial view of Three Rivers Stadium
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Truittsburg Cycle Club "Drag Strip" ​​(Knox)

 
The motorcycle club held 1/8th-mile drag races at its club grounds raceway located 3.5 miles west of Knox on Kline Road south of Route 208. The track was lit for night racing. The club grounds were located on the area of an old strip mine.
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May 30, 1970
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1993 aerial view of Truittsburg Cycle Club grounds

Uniontown Speedway

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Uniontown, Pennsylvania, was home to a famous wooden speedway oval for auto races from 1916-22. In 1946, a half-mile dirt track was built next to where the old board track had been. However, by 1957, the oval track had been paved. On July 4, 1957, a drag race was promoted for the first time as an added attraction on the stock car race card. 
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July 4, 1957

Valley Motorcycle Park (Hollidaysburg)

  • Years of Operation: 1973-76
 
The Motorcycle Park was located on the Middle Loop Road (2.5 miles from Route 22 at Frankstown) about one mile past Price's Poultry Farm southeast of Hollidaysburg. The Park had five motorcycle racing tracks including a drag strip. Races were first held at the Park on March 18, 1973. 
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1975

Vargo Dragway (Perkasie)

 
When Convair Field (see above) was closed to drag racing in 1956, hot rodders in the Allentown area were left without a local place to race. According to a history of Vargo Dragway , Lou Gehringer learned about Jake Vargo, an auto racing enthusiast who owned a large farm about two miles northeast of Perkasie on Elephant Road. Gehringer broached Vargo with the idea of building a drag strip on his farm. Vargo, a contractor/entrepreneur, liked the idea. In March 1958 the Lehigh Valley Timing Association and the Sidewinders hot rod club from Allentown purchased or leased  the Jacob Vargo farm property in Bedminster Township and contracted to build a drag strip. When local residents learned about it, they overwhelming opposed it and sought a court injunction to halt construction. Despite ongoing court battles, construction optimistically proceeded. On April 24, 1960, the first 1/8th-mile drag race event was run as the track was not yet completed to hold quarter-mile racing. However the track was finished in a few months and at least by August 28, 1960, quarter mile racing was being held every Sunday with the sanction of NHRA. In March 1963, Bedminster Township brought suit against the drag strip, on the charge that it violated a township ordinance and Sunday Blue Laws. The drag strip attracted many big-name racers during the decade, but succumbed to continued political pressure to close the operation. Another factor that could have played a part in the strip closing was the death of Jake Vargo in June 1968. Several reunions have been held at the site by former racers. It has been used as a private airstrip since about 1981.
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July 4, 1960
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July 31, 1960
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CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Vargo Dragway in 1960s, 6 minutes, no sound
August 14, 1960
CLICK HERE to see brief 8mm video footage of Vargo Dragway, produced by James Amos, pan to 3:26 minute mark thru 4:08 minute mark
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Vargo Dragway, 1958 ​​​​​ aerial photo
July 19, 1964

Wattsburg Dragway/P.I.T.A. Drag Strip/Lucky Drag City

  • Years of Operation: 1958-present

Built at a cost of $33,000 and completed before September 1956, the Presque Isle Timing Association conducted drag races at a drag strip just north of Wattsburg, Pennsylvania. The track was built by Don Jensen and Buck Ackerman. Dan Roney is certain that it opened in 1958.  A film of racing at the track in its beginning years was made by photographer George Stroupe. It was shown on Pittsburgh area TV stations and to area service clubs in fall 1959.  A nephew of Jensen recalled the old strip's early years: "It was an interesting track that ran uphill slightly, then downhill, then just past the finish line it ran very uphill to slow down the faster cars. Surprizingly, the uphill downhill worked out to correct times compared with other tracks. The place stayed open into the early '70's when my uncle decided it wasn't feasible to keep it open anymore. My parents and a few other uncles and aunts ran the concession stand, which meant I was dragged along every Sunday from the time I was 3 yaers old. Man, what a place to grow up. I got to see Ohio George Montgomery, the Arfons brothers, Romeo Palamides, the Little Red Wagon, the development of the funny car era, as well as loads of others. My uncle even got a ride in the Little Red Wagon, and what a ride it was with a full 1/4 mile wheel stand, turned it around and came back down the other way on the rear wheels. I witnessed Walt Arfons crash an Allison powered propeller driven dragster, E.J. Potter wipe out a Pontiac powered motorcycle, and the Hill brothers destroy a Willys gasser." Another old timer recalled helping out at the races in 1959:  "In the Summer of 1959, Buck Ackerman hired our entire car club (Quads of Erie) to work at the drag strip. We worked the quarter mile telling which lane won ( only one set of traps for timing), we worked the pits helping to inspect and classify, we worked the gate. And we also flagged (no Christmas tree lights). Buck paid our club a flat fee. None of us received individual compensation. What a great opportunity for a bunch of teen-aged car enthusiasts. I remember every time Art Arfons ran the Green Monster it got into the saplings at the top of the hill. I usually worked the quarter mile. Dave Snajder (Pimo) flagged a lot. One member (Sonny Calkins) was inspecting the helicopter powered coupe and mistakenly put a hole in the oil pan...embarrassing." To celebrate its fourth anniversary, the strip held a big drag meet on July 3, 1960. They featured the fuel dragsters of Lou Cangelose and Bob Stuckey and George Montgomery's A/GS coupe. It continues operation today as a 1/8th-mile track called Lucky Drag City, but also was known as Lowville Drag Raceway. The track gets its name from the owner, Lucky Foley.
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July 3, 1960
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Lucky Foley, the owner of today's Lucky Drag City, ran the 1936 Chevy coupe shown in this photo taken by Jack Bleil. Bleil wrote this article published in Drag News about a race at P.I.T.A. held on June 7, 1964. Foley won Street Eliminator at that race. ​​ Read Jack Bleil's recollection of P.I.T.A in the Memories (Pennsylvania) page . Courtesy of Jack Bleil
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CLICK HERE to see video footage of Lucky Drag City in 2011, 12 minutes, slow motion shots, high quality views of track
This Allison aircraft engined dragster is seen on a 144 MPH run at the Wattsburg Drag Strip on August 20, 1961. Photo published in Warren County Observer, August 21, 1961

Westmoreland County Fairgrounds (Owensburg)

 
On several Sundays in1968, the Flying Tigers Motorcycle Club of Mt. Pleasant sponsored a drag race. The drag race events on September 8 were won by Don Custer, Norm Peters, and Bill Osselburn. On Friday, August 22, 1975, six thousand people watched motorcycle drag races during the fair.
 
 
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1968

Williams Grove Speedway

 
This venerable 1/2-mile dirt oval track opened in 1939. It was located ten miles southwest of Harrisburg, between the towns of Mechanicsburg and Dillsburg. Bob Richwine was the owner. In mid-June 1962, they held an organizational meeting at the race track, according to newspaper reports, to determine "what will be done about drag racing at the Grove this season." There was an interest in having drag races on the oval. They raced on a 1/16th-mile course on the front stretch every Thursday night. Darwin Doll managed the drag races. They held the first race on June 28, 1962. The field of cars at each race steadily increased in size. On July 12, there were over two hundred entries. It proved to be popular, so they ran a full season of drag races on Thursdays in 1963. That was the final season of drag racing at the Grove.
 
 
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1962
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CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of midget car racing at Williams Grove in 1962, 1:45 minutes, no sound

York U.S. 30 Drag-O-Way (Thomasville)

 
Three thousand people watched 450 racers at a race held at the airport on May 12,  1957. It was conducted by the White Rose Timing Association. The meet's top speed was made by a competition coupe of Custom Auto Parts of Marietta that was clocked at 113 MPH. Matthew Herbert of Fords, New Jersey, won top eliminator laurels in his B roadster. The next race was held on June 9 with other races in 1957 being held every month on the second Sunday through October. The east coast championships were held on July 6-7. Over 1,000 people watched 80 cars compete on July 14, 1957. The Custom Auto Parts entry took top eliminator and set the meet's top speed with an average of 116.88 MPH. Over 1,500 people watched more than 200 vehicles compete at the race held on August 11, 1957. Joe Jacono was one of the 36 trophy winners. The race was sanctioned by the Eastern Hot Rod Association and the American Motorcycle Association. On September 15, 1957, 1,000 people watched 250 cars and 40 motorcycles compete. Custom Auto Parts again won top eliminator and clocked the fastest speed of 132 MPH. On October 13, 1957, the winning streak of Custom Auto Parts was broken as Ed Fisher of Parkesburg won top eliminator on his motorcycle, beating a field of 200 cars and cycles. Don Seabrook posted the fastest average speed of 125 MPH. The track held a first-ever half-mile drags on October 27, 1957, limited to stock cars only. The Maple Grove, New Jersey, entry of Aristone-Berslosky-Callaway-Dutton won top eliminator with a best speed of 115.3 MPH. The South Penn Hot Rod Council, comprised of five Hanover car clubs, began conducting drag races on a runway at York Airport on May 3, 1959. The strip was the only track sanctioned by the NHRA at that time in Pennsylvania or Maryland. Richard "Corky" Allison was the strip manager. The airport was six miles west of York at Thomasville. Fred Zepp of Marietta took top eliminator at the state championship races on August 30, 1959, with a clocking of 11 seconds at 128.20 MPH. The race was watched by 2,500 people. There were 234 entries. On October 18, 1959, they held a special meet to benefit the Hanover Kiwanis Club's underprivileged children's fund. They held races on every other Sunday in 1959 and 1960. Cork Allison was the strip manager.  In 1961 they held races every Saturday night. That same year, the track hosted an NHRA regional meet (see Hot Rod Magazine, Jan. 1962, p. 88-89). On August 13-15, 1971, the track hosted an AHRA Grand American points race with a $100,000 purse. On May 21, 1972, track co-owners William Holz and John Reynolds hired seventeen girls to be topless hostesses in the pit area at the Funny Car National Races. However when NHRA got wind of their plans, they threatened to pull their insurance. The track had the girls wear see-through blouses instead. Not discouraged by NHRA's threat, the owners looked into going with a New Jersey insurance company that wasn't averse to what attire (or lack of) that the girls would wear for a meet scheduled for July 9, 1972. Research wasn't able to uncover (pun not intended) what happened with their plans. The York Airport, owned by a private corporation, used income from the drag races to help pay their expenses. In 1979, the FAA wanted to install more sophisticated landing instrumentation, but were reluctant to do so because of the drag racing program. Airport manager Eugene Tate defended the drag racing program, saying it had never interfered or been a problem for airport operations. "Businesses which use the airport say the drag races have never held them up or made the airport unsafe," Tate said. Drag races at that time were being held on about twenty Saturday afternoons per year and spectator attendance numbered about 1,000.
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July 14, 1957
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September 15, 1957
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October 27, 1957
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May 3, 1959
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CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of York U.S. 30 in the early 1960s, gp tp 1-"51 minute mark of clip, finished at 13:55 mark
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of York U.S. 30 in the 1960s, 44 minutes, no sound