LOUISIANA

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De Soto Airport ​​​​​​​​(Mansfield) (1954)
Selman Airfield (Monroe) (1954)

Estherwood Airport (1955) 
Esler Field (Pineville) (1956)​
Pollock Municipal Airport (1956)
Hammond Airport (1957)
Pel State Dragway (Opelousas) (1958)
Houma "Drag Strip" (1959)
Louisiana State Fairgrounds (Shreveport) (1959)​​
LaPlace Dragway (1962)
Lake Charles "Drag Strip" (1963)
Crowley Drag Strip (Estherwood) (1964)
Hilltop Raceway (Haughton) (1964)
Ol' Gator Drag Strip/Shreveport Dragway (Keithville) (1964)​
​D'Arbonne Dragway (Farmerville) (1965)
Bob Harmon Raceway/Twin City Dragway (Monroe) (1965)
Jonesboro Municipal Airport (1965)
Cenla Raceway (Forest Hill) (1969)
Baton Rouge Dragway/State Capital Dragway (Erwinville) (1969)
Southland Dragway (Houma) (1969)
Haynesville Dragway (1969)​​
Lake Charles Dragway (1983)
Louisiana International Raceway Park (Eunice) (1984)​​
Red River Raceway/Thunder Road Raceway Park (Gilliam) (1998)
No Problem Raceway (Belle Rose) (2000)
Candies & Hughes (far lane) at Southland Dragways in Houma, Louisiana. Photograph by Dave McClelland

Baton Rouge Dragway/State Capital Dragway ​​(Erwinville)

  • Years of Operation: 1969-present

W. O. Bergeron, a local pipeline contractor, joined by his brother, Al Bergeron, built this track at a cost of $750,000. Located one mile east of Erwinville and ten miles from Baton Rouge on U.S. Highway 190, it was operated by Pel State’s W. H. David and his wife Jayne. Bergeron's daughter was a horse woman and a horse track was adjacent to the quarter mile, complete with starting gate. The grand opening race was held on Saturday, October 18, 1969--the Louisiana State Championship drag race with a $4,000 purse. Preston Davis, driving Ray Godman's "Bo Weevil" took the top fuel title. Two weeks later, Richard Tharp, driving the Carroll Brothers-Bucher top fueler, set a new strip ET mark with a 6.73 second run. From the beginning, it was sanctioned by NHRA and equipped for night racing. According to a brief online history , "Ned Betts acquired the track three years later. Norman 'Moose' Pearah promoted there from 1971, then bought the track in 1974 for $110,000, which the owners financed. Pearah was the most famous of the many owners/operators of the facility, staging the NHRA Cajun Nationals there from 1977 to 1990. After the last Cajun National, and a default on loans against the property, NHRA bought the track 'on the courthouse steps' to preserve it as a drag strip, and learned of its many idiosyncrasies, such as no sewer system, a suites building built on top of an interstate gas pipeline (a very big No-No), and the fact that the shut off area was not part of the race track, but rather leased from a neighbor. Allen Miller, Ken and Molly Hall, and others leased or managed the facility before NHRA sold the property." The name was changed to State Capital Dragway in about 1972. The track currently operates as a quarter-mile track under IHRA sanction, called State Capitol Raceway. It's website claims that it is the third oldest continuously operating 1/4-mile drag strip in the United States. However,  without even looking hard, I found over a dozen continuously-operating 1/4-mile drag strips that predate State Capital Dragway. These include tracks like Alaska Raceway Park, Speedworld Raceway Park in Arizona, Redding Dragstrip and Sacramento Raceway Park in California, Bandimere and Julesburg in Colorado, Delmar U.S. 13 in Delaware, Palm Beach International Raceway in Florida, Firebird Raceway in Idaho, Cordova and Byron Dragways in Illinois, Cedar Falls Raceway in Iowa, Kansas International Dragway, Mason-Dixon and Cecil County in Maryland, etc.
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Listing in ​​​​​National Dragster, Dec. 23, 1977. Courttesy of Mel Bashore
CLICK HERE to see Diamond P TV footage of 1982 Cajun Nationals at State Capitol Raceway, 45:37 minutes
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Cenla Raceway ​​​(Forest Hill)


The mile-long strip was built at Camp Claiborn, an old abandoned Army camp. It was seventeen miles southwest of Alexandria. It was just southeast of Bringhurst, just off to the east side of U.S. Highway 165 and north of State Highway 112. The principal officers included David Sheffield (president), Jack Gunn, Eddie Johnson, and Ed Pebbles (secretary). Pebbles persuaded the others to join the project. Cenla Raceway gained sanction as an NHRA track in 1969. It opened for racing on November 30, 1969. The paved asphalt track was 4,000 feet long and 60 feet wide. The strip brought in fuel dragsters, funny cars, fuel altereds, wheelstanders, and jet cars to attract spectators. Kelly Chadwick set a track record of 7.78 seconds, just .18 seconds shy of the national record in his Vega funny car on May 21, 1972.  It closed before June 1977. The old strip was visible in aerial photos through 2004, after which the site was obliterated and redeveloped.
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Listing in ​​​​National Dragster, Dec. 23, 1977. Courttesy of Mel Bashore
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November 30, 1969
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Howard Davis leaves the starting line at Cenla Raceway in his B/MP 1957 Corvette. Photo published in ​Crowley Post Herald, Mar. 12, 1971
Cenla Raceway,  ​​​​​​​​​ 1974 topo map
Cenla Raceway,  ​​​​​​​​ 1971 aerial photo

Crowley Drag Strip ​(Estherwood)


Dave Ledford and Edwin W. Edwards filed incorporation papers on March 13, 1964 for Crowley Drag Strip. The location of the racing was the Le Gros Memorial Airport, just southwest of Estherwood. The strip held its first race on April 26, 1964. On May 24, 1964, Buddy Roller drove Melvin Granger's dragster on the quarter-mile track to win top eliminator with a time of 8.96 seconds, winning a pair of trophies and $200. Races were held every fourth Sunday. At a meet on Sunday, March 28, 1965, Albert Waite won top fuel eliminator before over 1,500 people, which was the largest crowd at the strip in 1965. Waite turned 180 MPH in 8.23 seconds. Other fuel dragster drivers who competed included Q-Ball Wale, Pete Mattei, and Dave Ledford. On April 25, 1965, 1,100 spectators watched a field of eleven top fuelers. Pete Mattei of Metairie beat Q-Ball Wale, clocking 8.11 at 186 MPH at the Sunday race. Willis Ragsdale took competition eliminator in his B/A from Pasadena, Texas. The next race at the strip was slated for May 23. It was sanctioned by NHRA in 1967, if not before. In December 1967, John Frith of Kaplan requested permission to conduct drag races in 1968 at the airport. The Acadia Parish Police Jury told him that he would have to get permission from those who were leasing the airport and carry sufficient insurance. But in early January 1968, the Jury changed its mind and decided that no further drag races would be permitted at the airport. 
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April 26, 1964
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D'Arbonne Dragway ​(Farmerville)


The Jaycees sponsored a few drag races at the Lake D'Arbonne Municipal Airport (now called Union Parish Airport) four miles southeast of Farmerville. That airport first opened in 1964. Races were first held in 1965 on February 14. A new lighting system permitted races to first be held at night on June 12. The races may have been held on alternate Sundays. H. W. Thurston was the track director. It had a paved pit area and offered cash prizes. Spectators were charged $1 for admission. The Jaycees were using proceeds from the races toward the construction of two Little League basball fields. Work on the ball diamonds was begun in July 1965, with a cost estimated to be $6,000. The 1966 season opened on January 16. Races were held monthly on the first and third Sundays.
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De Soto Airport (Mansfield)


An NHRA regional championship drag race was held at the airport, built in 1944, three miles northwest of Mansfield on June 27, 1954. (see 1955 Hot Rod Annual, p. 4) The Shreveport Timing Association conducted monthly races in 1955, holding its season-opening race on February 20. Class winners were awarded trophies. Races were held every third Sunday in 1955. On March 13, 1955, Robert Saunders, from Houston, took top eliminator with a speed of 123 MPH in his dragster. On May 18, 1958, a big race at the airport attracted racers from Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. Races were held on a monthly basis in 1958. They were sponsored by the Mansfield Jaycees and conducted by the Shreveport Timing Association. The airport drag races were also sanctioned by NHRA. The Jaycees used profits from the events to buy playground equipment for ever school in De Soto parish and had set up a fund for a school for special needs children in Mansfield. In June 1960 Al Browner set a new track record of 127.86 MPH in his '26 Ford roadster. The Ark-La-Tex Timing Association conducted races on the third Sunday of each month in  1960. The track record had been upped to 153.32 MPH at the time of the running of the 1960 Louisiana Championship Drag Races on October 16. Racing may have continued to 1962, but documentation is sparse.
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Esler Field ​​(Pineville)


Max Williamson wrote that the Cenla Gents car club of Alexandria conducted races on a runway of the old World War II era airfield, located between Pineville and Libuse. It is called Alexandria Esler Regional Airport today. At a race held on September 9, 1956, racers competed for $160 worth of trophies. The 1957 races were sponsored by the Cenla Rod and Custom Club. At the race on April 14, Russ Riegal garnered the top eliminator trophy with his 1957 Pontiac Chieftan over a field of 100 cars. Over 1,000 spectators viewed the racing. The monthly races, at least by 1957, were sanctioned by NHRA. At the race on July 14, Frank D. Wright of Port Arthur, Texas, got the top speed of the day in his B/Altered with a run of 101.12 MPH.
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1957

Estherwood Airport

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The Estherwood Airport (now called Le Gros Memorial Airport) was the site of a drag races in 1955 on June 5, August 7, October 2, and November 6. The race was sponsored by the Lafayette Rod and Custom Club. The races were NHRA-sanctioned. Trophies were awarded to class winners. Prior to the race on August 7, the strip record marks were 119.20 MPH and 11.8 ET. This was the same site later used as the Crowley Drag Strip (see above).
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June 5, 1955

Hammond Airport


Drag races were held at the Hammond airport as early as 1957. Documentation is sparse. In 1959-61, the Ponchatoula Jaycees sponsored races on the fourth Sunday of each month under NHRA sanction. Research uncovered races being conducted there sponsored by the Jaycee-Hammond Lions Club on June 25, 1961. Marvin Berteau was the track manager for that race. Q-Ball Wale was scheduled to race in his Wale-Candies AA/D. On July 23, 1961, bad weather hampered the racing for Q-Ball, Albert Waits, and several other top-running cars. On March 16, 1954, Julius McCarroll was killed in a freak accident. He lost his footing and struck his head on the pavement, while trying to jump onto his car as it was being driven off the scales by another during tech inspection.
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March 1, 1964
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Racers are positioned on the starting line during a race at the Hammond Airport on April 27, 1958. Photo published in ​Opelousas Daily World, Apr. 30, 1958
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Over 2,600 spectators saw these two Corvettes race at the Hammond Airport on April 27, 1958. Photo published in Opelousas Daily World, Apr. 29, 1958

Bob Harmon Raceway/Twin City Dragway (Monroe)

  • Years of Operation: 1965-present

Incorporation papers were filed for Bob Harmon Memorial Raceway by Jean Bayles  on June 10, 1964. The opening drag races were held on May 1-2, 1965, on a runway of the Harmon Airport. Four thousand spectators viewed 160 entrants in the 2-day race. Eddie Hill turned 171 MPH in his twin-engined fuel dragster. The dragway was located eight miles south of Monroe off Highway 165 on Prairie Road. Whit Alger was the track manager. On July 17, 1965, "Q-Ball" Wale was killed while driving the Wale & Candies AA/FD. After winning the race, he tried to stop the dragster by braking with his parachute.  It failed to deploy and he raced at high speed to an embankment at the end of the drag strip.  It crashed into a deep ditch. It happened on the first day that night racing was inaugurated at the strip with a new lighting system. At a 2-day race on August 7-8, 1965, Eddie Hill set a track ET record with a run of 7.62 seconds in his "Double Dragon" twin-engined dragster.  On Saturday, August 20, 1966, Larry Reyes drove the Cuda "Kingfish" to a strip record for full-bodied cars with a run of 9.15 at 163 MPH. In summer 1975, Harmon Raceway was offered for sale. The newspaper ad stated that it included 99 acres, five staging lanes, paved pit, paved return area, seating for 4,000, a concrete block tower, two concession stands, and ticket booths. On the property was a 5-acre lake, with 60 acres of the property in timber.  One of the last documented races research found when it was called Harmon Raceway was held on September 7, 1975. In 1976, the track opened under new management and a new name: Twin City Dragway. It is now called Twin City Motorsports Park.
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June 19, 1976
March 13, 1966
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CLICK HERE to see video footage of Twin City Dragway, 2008, 8:25 minutes

Haynesville Dragway


Drag races were held at the airport one-half mile north of town at least as early as 1969. In 1970, races were held every Sunday starting on February 15, with $2 for admission. Eliminator winners had the option of being awarded cash or a trophy. On April 26, 1970, the track booked in a match race between the funny cars of Gene Snow and Kelly Chadwick. An ad for racing at the Haynesville Dragstrip in early 1977 stated that it was under new management. The first race in the 1977 season was held on March 6. The track booked in a match race between two funny cars on April 24, 1977. It was Frank Cook's '77 Vega against Jack Robbins' '77 Monza. Mad Man Marko made exhibition runs in his Monza funny car wheelstander on April 2, 1978. Jerry Longoria was the strip promoter at least by the late 1970s, if not earlier. A fatal accident occurred on March 25, 1979, when Jerry Malone was killed during time trials. No documentation was found after 1979.
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1969
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1977

Hilltop Raceway ​​(Haughton)

 
This drag strip, also known as Top O' the Hill, was located near Bossier City.  A 3,000 foot long drag strip was incorporated in the 2.2 mile road course, which was ready for racing in 1960. The grand opening of the drag strip was held on June 14, 1964. 3,200 spectators were disappointed when rain hampered finishing the elimination runs. Wiley Fallon was the track director. Drag races were held every Saturday in 1967, with racing going to a night-time affair in late April. Bob Futrell was the promoter then. More research is needed. There is a campground on part of the race track today.
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1964
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An artist's sketch of the sports car road course was published in ​​​​​Alexandria Town Talk, Apr. 16, 1960
Ronnie Goldberg, the flagman, jumps high to start a Corvette and GTO at the grand opening race. Photo published in ​​​Shreveport Times, June 15, 1964

Houma "Drag Strip"


Drag races were conducted by the Houma-Terrebonne Auto Association on the second Sunday. The races were conducted on an abandoned runway of the Houma Airport, an old World War II airfield located three miles southeast of Houma. Read Don Prieto's interesting account of racing at the old Houma strip in Memories (LA) . It is a functioning airport today called the Houma-Terrebonne Airport.
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Jonesboro Municipal Airport


The Jonesboro-Hodge Jaycees sponsored the first drag race on the recently-completed municipal airport runway on Sunday, February 14, 1965. They awarded trophies to thirty class winners and three eliminator classes. Over 150 entries were expected to participate. Races were conducted and timed for a quarter mile. Another race was held on August 22. They did not permit "rail jobs" to race because "of improper facilities." On Sunday, May 8, 1966, the Jaycees held the first drag race of the season at the municipal airport south of town. Trophies were awarded to all class and eliminator winners and prize money totalling $180.  The eliminator winners were Charles Robinson, Ed Purt, Durwood Aldy, and Lloyd Brown. The next race was scheduled for May 22. The Jaycees used profits from the racing for city street projects and to purchase Christmas decorations.
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Lake Charles "Drag Strip"


The Bayou Ramblers Motorcycle Club, organized in 1959, built a half-mile drag strip course as an addition to their oval track on the Swift Packing Plant Road. It was finished and ready for racing by May 1963. Their club racing course was a mile east of State Highway 90.  Demolition of the old Swift meat packing plant began in December 1961. It was being called Lake Charles Dragway in 1964.
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November 12, 1961
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1998 aerial view of possible site of Bayou Ramblers' drag strip

Lake Charles Dragway


After Chennault Air Force Base closed in 1963, the airport served a variety of civilian uses and tenants. It was located four miles east of Lake Charles.  At least by the early 1980s, its unused Civil Defense runway was being used for drag racing.  Steven Broussard filed incorporation papers for Lake Charles Dragway on February 4, 1983, but racing may have been held at the old air base before then. A race was held there on May 7, 1983, as part of the Contraband Days Festival. Research has not uncovered when racing halted, but improvements in the mid-1980s turning the old base into today's Chennault International Airport may have been a factor in racing's closure. David Miller wrote, "It had a portable tower, portable grandstands, generator power, etc., all in case the military had to use the place again. The owner was a guy named Boyd Gaines.  The Houston cars were regulars at the track.  it was an NHRA sanction. It ran all thru the '80s." (see also Jerry Lee's Memories )
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Lake Charles Dragway, circa early 1980s, 3:28 minutes, no sound
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LaPlace Dragway


The track opened on May 1, 1962, north of New Orleans on Highway 61. Built on land owned by the Haydel family, it was operated by Tom and Bertele Lasseigne. Louis Haydel was president of the strip. The track was 60 feet wide by 3,500 feet long, with an asphalt surface on a shell base. They permitted both gas and fuel racing. In April 1963, Connie Swingle drove Paul VanderLey's A/FD to top eliminator honors with an 8.50 ET and 171 MPH. A month later VanderLey upped the track record to 173 MPH. On September 8, 1963, Bob Lace, age 28, from Dallas, was killed in a fatal racing accident during time trials. He was traveling over 100 MPH when his car veered off the race track and rolled over and over. In late September 1963, a divisional NHRA race was staged at LaPlace. An NHRA divisional meet took place on May 7, 1967. On October 20, 1968, Chris Karamesines beat Tommy Ivo in a match race, with a best time of 6.94 seconds and top speed of 221.66 MPH. The track had its largest crowd ever on March 30, 1969, when 8,000 spectators watched David Chenevert of Metairie come out on top over a field of fuel dragsters including then-world champ Bennie Osborn. In 1970, Ron Godfrey was appointed the track manager.  According to a brief history of the track , they employed a pair of Chevy-engine-powered roller starters, elimiinating the need of push-starting up a fire-up road. Tom Sanford bought the track in the early '70s, but sold it shortly to Norman "Moose" Pearah, the owner from 1974 until the track's final hurrah on March 22-23, 1980. The track hosted the first Cajun Nationals, April 23-25, 1976. Results of that race have been hard to pin down, but Lee Shepherd won pro stock and Richard Tharp, driving for Candies and Hughes, won top fuel.
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Listing in ​​​​National Dragster, Dec. 23, 1977. Courttesy of Mel Bashore
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of LaPlace Dragway on May 2, 1965, 3:54 minutes, no sound
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Don Garlits racing Marvin Schwartz at LaPlace Dragway on January 23, 1972, 1:30 minutes
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LaPlace Dragway,  ​​​​​​​​​​​ 1981 topo map
LaPlace Dragway,  ​​​​​​​​​​ 1972 aerial photo

Louisiana International Raceway Park (Eunice)

 
An online source dates this quarter-mile track's opening to 1986, but research by DSL shows that to be incorrect. That research shows that Louis Doucet and a dozen investors bought the site of the old Lindzay Downs horse race track in October 1982. Doucet filed incorporation papers for Acadiana International Raceway Park on February 3, 1984. In May 1984, even before the strip had been paved, Doucet announced that the AHRA World Finals were scheduled to be held there in late September. The first drag race, serving as a shakedown race, happened on September 2.  Three thousand people turned out to watch the race. The race track opened under the name of Acadiana International Raceway. The 4-day AHRA World Finals was held at the strip on September 27-30, 1984. It featured a star-studded lineup in most of the pro categories. Don Garlits set a new AHRA world record of 257.14 MPH in the semi-finals, besting Gene Snow. He then defeated Chris Karamesines in the finals to take the top fuel title. In the funny car final, Mark Oswald, driving the Candies & Hughes car, defeated John Force with a new AHRA funny car world record speed of 257.87 MPH. However, Force had enough points to take the overall AHRA Funny Car Points Champion. Jerry Yeoman took the pro stock win and championship. But the strip didn't do well financially with the World Finals event. Doucet layed that at AHRA's doorstep. About the time that Acadiana was awarded the World Finals, AHRA split into two factions. The faction that split off formed the American Drag Racing Association, leaving AHRA on poor financial footing. As a result, the race at Acadiana didn't get proper nationwide publicity to draw more of the big-name racers, especially in the pro stock ranks. At the race's conclusion, the week-long Tri-Parish Fair was held on the drag strip grounds, with a drag race being held on Friday during the fair. To make matters worse, the twelve investors who put up $700,000 to build the track moved to declare bankruptcy at the end of 1984. Doucet saved the track from bankruptcy by assuming all the debts and becoming the sole owner. Doucet was only a minor investor in the project, but when the others pulled out, he was left holding the bag. "I'm not a rich man by any means," he said. "But I don't have any other choice but to try and get the money, pay the bills and re-open. I think I can do it." Before going out to look for new investors, he inked a deal with IHRA, awarding him a national event every year after the 1986 season. He was able to get a small business loan to give him some working capital for the 1985 season. He was able to run weekly Sunday races, a 2-day IHRA Winston World Title Series race in April, the Tri-Parish Fair, the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival, and a 3-day motorcycle drag race and a 3-day truck and tractor pull event. Doucet went all-out to try to make it work. As part of the stipulation to avoid bankruptcy, the name of the track was changed to Louisiana International Raceway Park in March 1985. The first IHRA Bayou Nationals were held at the strip on April 11-13, 1986. Mark Oswald set a track record and posted the quickest time in the opening round of funny car qualifying in the Candies & Hughes "Old Milwaukee" Pontiac  with a run of 5.775 seconds at 254.23 MPH. Ed McCulloch garnered the second spot. Bruce Allen took the top qualifying spot in Pro Stock. In 1987, Russell J. Stelly and Harold Dupre, two CPAs, bought the strip and renamed it Louisiana Raceway Park. They hired Gary Carter to be the track manager. The track operated until 2006, when it was sold for development. David Miller, who was a photographer at the track for awhile, wrote an article about the strip in the Decemeber 1985 issue of Super Stock and Drag Illustrated Magazine. He wrote, "Nestled in the bean fields just west of Opelousas, LA, lays an 83 1/2-acre tract of land that's a major topic in drag racing today. Louisiana International Raceway Park, formerly Acadiana International, is easily one of the most beautiful raceplants in the world. Once a quarterhorse track, it's now a true gemstone of a dragstrip. The main building houses suites, timing tower, covered seating, a patio setting, concessions and offices. A crossover bridge leads to the pits and one big section of grandstands, all on the starting lines. Approximate seating is 8-10 thousand, easy. The pit area features concrete roadways, lakes, and converted stables which are now garages for the first hundred racers who enter the gates. The strip itself is 75 feet wide guardrail to guardrail. It has a 6-inch thick concrete bed under the asphalt, and there's a 180-foot concrete starting pad that is reinforced with steel rods and is over 6 inches thick.."  Read Miller's recollections sent to DSL
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The race track opened in 1984 under the name Acadiana International Raceway, hosting the AHRA World Finals.
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1985
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April 11-13, 1986
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The finishing touches are being done just prior to the opening of Acadiana International Raceway. Flanking the drag strip on the left were bleachers to seat 8,00 and the old main building from horse race track days on the right. Photo published in ​​​Opelousas Daily World, Aug. 22, 1984
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A couple of race cars bolt off the line in 1988.. Photo published in ​​Alexandria Town Talk, Sep. 19, 1988
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Louisiana Raceway Park, 1994 aerial photo

Louisiana State Fairgrounds (Shreveport)

 
In 1957, big-time stock car racing capitalized on the popularity of drag racing. They began holding drag races in conjunction with some of the major stock car races around the country. Drag races were held on the straight-away of the half-mile dirt oval track. In 1958, the drag races were only run on a 50-foot stretch of the front main straight-away, making for very short races. Ads stipulated that the racing was for local entries. They didn't want out-of-town fast cars racing on their short strip. The first drag race may have been held on April 14, 1957. Drag races were held on Saturday night, April 11, 1959, before the running of the Pelican 300 the next day. The event proved successful, so much so that they ran a 2-night drag race program in conjunction with another big stock car race a month later. On May 10-11, night drag races were run with the Gulf States Championship 200. In 1971, the fairgrounds strip changed its name to Shreveport Dragway. Newspapers said the drag racing occurred on the Fair's "lightning-fast half-mile hard-surfaced track." Newspapers also stated that the races were "much shorter than a quarter-mile." In fact, they were less than 1/8th mile. The old dirt track oval is not at the fairgrounds today.
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April 11, 1959
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The Hirsch Memorial Coliseum (bottom left) still stands, but the old dirt oval track is no longer, 1969 aerial photo
This ad promotes the new location and name change of the Fairgrounds drag strip beginning on August 1, 1971. Drag races were held there also in 1974 and 1978.
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It's hard to imagine Gene Snow driving his funny car on the dirt straight-away  of the fairgrounds oval track in 1974, but that is what this ad states

Ol' Gator Drag Strip/Shreveport Dragway ​(Keithville)


This strip was first owned and operated by Duaine Bamburg and sanctioned by NHRA. One of the first races was held on February 2, 1964, when more than 3,000 spectators watched almost 200 racers. Timing clocks had not yet been installed for that early event. Pat Lentz won the Super Stock class in his 1963 Dodge.  On March 22, 1964, Jerry Birdwell won top eliminator in his Chevy-powered dragster. An old timer recalled it being one of the drag strips in the Shreveport area.   In May 1964, work was being done to try to lengthen the paved strip to 4,000 feet. Work was being rushed to finish the strip in time for a 2-day NHRA divisional race on July 4-5, 1964. The meet had been transferred from Jaycee Dragway at Oklahoma City because their strip was only 3,600 feet long. The strip name was changed to Shreveport Dragway by the time of that NHRA event. Wilie Redford won top fuel eliminator in the Carroll Brothers top fueler with a 9.48 ET at 176.00 MPH. Frank W. Matthews bought the strip in 1965 for $300,000. It was sanctioned by NHRA in 1967, if not before. That year it raced on the first, third, and fifth Sundays. Jerry Longoria managed the track beginning in 1966. "Old Timer," an accomplished researcher of old drag strips, found it listed in the NHRA drag strip guide. They were timing races at 1,000 feet in 1967. In a 1969 aerial photo, the track appears to have run in a southwest to northeast direction.  That guidebook located the strip five miles south of Shreveport on Highway 171. It can be seen on a northeast-southwest diagonal now called Drag Strip Lane in an area called Staples, east of Highway 171.    Read Carl Cochran's overview of Old Gator in Memories (Louisiana).The year of its closing may have been 1970, but that is uncertain. In 1971, Shreveport Dragway apparently moved its operation and location to the State Fairgrounds.
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1964
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1970
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Old Gator Drag Strip, ​​​​​​​​​ 1969 aerial photo
Some of the 3,000 spectators who attended the race on February 2, 1964, rush onto the strip to see two cars leave the line. Photo published in ​Shreveport Times, Feb. 3, 1964

Pel State Dragway (Opelousas)


The St. Landry Parish Police Jury voted to rent a runway of the St. Landry Airport at Opelousas to the Lafayette Rod and Custom Club for $500 per year. They permitted them to use the airport once or twice a month for eight months of the year. The contract also stipulated that if the races were successful, that the yearly rent could be increased. The track opened on May 4, 1958, attracting 132 racers and 2,200 spectators. Joe "Q-Ball" Wale recorded the top speed of 121.62 MPH in his dragster. Races were held on the second and fourth Sundays of the month. The races were run by W. H. and Jayne David and members of the Pel State Timing Association, sanctioned by NHRA. It was also called the Pelican State Automotive Club. In 1959-60, it was sanctioned by NHRA and races were held on the first and third Sundays.  According to a short history , it was a time-consuming process for the operators, who had to set up and take down the equipment before and after each event. There was only a temporary wire fence (no guardrails) protecting the spectators from the race strip. 150 cars competed at the race on May 15, 1960. On January 15, 1961, Al Waits turned the fastest time-ever at Pel State with a 168.53 MPH clocking in his A dragster. Complaints by air pilots caused the St. Landry Parish to discontinue the drag races after 1969. In 1979, the Parish turned down a request for a one-time drag race, but in 1980, they permitted Louis Doucet to hold a drag race on June 8, 1980. That was the last time that drag races were held at the airport.
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Tire Marks, July 5, 1959 issue, front page of a news sheet published after racing events at Pel State Dragway, by the Pelican State Automotive Club, in Lafayette, Louisiana. See also close-up of back page of this issue in Pel State entry in Memories (Louisiana) section. Courtesy of Max Williamson
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CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of AA fuelers at Pel State Drag Strip, 1 minute, no sound
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April 19, 1959
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March 8, 1964
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The opening day of racing at the St. Landry Airport was viewed by 2,200 people. In the foreground in the photo to the right is Russ Riegal, winner of the B Stock trophy in his '58 Pontiac Chieftan. Photos published in ​Opelousas Daily World, May 6, 1958 
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Joe "Q-Ball" Wale (far lane) tied his own strip record on July 6, 1958, at Pelican State Drag Strip with a run of 128.57 MPH and 11.41 secnds in his "Mis-que II" dragster. He won top eliminator against Frank Wright's '32 Ford B altered coupe (right). Photo published in ​​Opelousas Daily World, July 9, 1958 
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Gerald Jones of Houston drove his B/Gas panel delivery truck to a win at Pel State Drag Strip on April 5, 1959. Photo published in ​​​​Opelousas Daily World, Apr 19, 1959 
Lawrence "Slug" Thibodeaux (top right) took top eliminator in his '30 Chevy B/Roadster on April 19, 1959, from Al "Red" Brawner (bottom left). Brawner had the top speed of the day with 107.52 MPH in his B/Altered '32 Ford coupe. Photo published in ​​​Opelousas Daily World, Apr 21, 1959 
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Almost 2,000 spectators watched 180 racers from Texas, Arkansas, and Louisiana compete at the Pel State 1963 Mid-Winter Drag Races. Photo published in ​​​​Opelousas Daily World, Feb. 5, 1963 
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A drag race was held in conjunction with a car show at the St; Landry Parish Airport on June 8, 1980. The one-time event was promoted by Louis Doucet.

Pollock Municipal Airport


Drag races were conducted by the Cenla Gents car club of Alexandria on a runway of this old World War II airfield located four miles southwest of Pollock. An NHRA-sanctioned race was held on August 12, 1956. Races were offered in 26 classes and all class winners received trophies. Then passed more than a dozen years before drag races were again held at the airport when Ronnie Paul and Manuel Willett organized and sponsored races there. It was the only drag strip in Louisiana with a concrete pit area then. The Pollock Dragway held the first race on August 31, 1969. Two thousand-five hundred spectators watched 200 competitors race. Herb Starks took the top competition class in his C/GD. In 1970, Donnie and Ronnie Paul resurfaced the runway track, bought new timing equipment, and resurfaced the pit area. They offered over $2,000 in cash prizes for a funny car meet on March 1, 1970 at the Pollock Drag Raceway. No documentation was found after 1970.   Read Max Williamson's account of those Pollock Dragway races. 
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1970

Selman Airfield (Monroe)


The Twin City Ramblers held a drag race for about 25 motorcyclists at Selman Field in Monroe, Louisiana, on September 19, 1954. They held another drag race on October 2, 1955. In 1956 the Road Angels car club conducted weekly drag races at the airfield for several weeks, regularly attracting over 1,000 people to their NHRA-sanctioned events. They used the main road which passed through the airfield for racing. But when people who wanted to use that road complained about not having access, races were curtailed in April. City officials of Monroe and West Monroe were sympathetic to the Road Angels and, after a few weeks, permitted racing to continue at the airfield on alternate Sundays until another racing strip could be obtained. Attendance averaged at about 1,000 people at the races.
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Southland Dragway (Houma)

  • Years of Operation: 1969-77
 
Located on West Park Avenue in the town of Gray, northwest of Houma, the track was built on a former golf course by Luke Grezzafi. In fact, the old golf pro shop became the track's office. It held its opening race on July 4, 1969, with Glenn Menard as its manager. It sported covered grandstands, an octagon-shaped control tower, and scoreboards at the finish line. On Sunday, September 14, 1969, Don Prudhomme beat Arthur Ingleharte of New Orleans in a best-of-three match race. Prudhomme's best run was a 7.06 ET at 207.37 MPH. Ingleharte set a track record low ET mark of 6.90 seconds in the second round, the one race when he beat Prudhomme. A $10,000 purse was offered at the first annual Bayou Championships in early November 1969. When Menard left to go to college in 1970, renowned announcer Dave McClelland took over. In 1971, Menard returned to take the reins when McClelland was lured to Dallas International Raceway. On May 22-23, 1971, Southland hosted an NHRA divisional points race, attracting over 400 entries. In early July 1971, a second NHRA divisional points meet was held at Southland after financially-troubled Dallas International Motor Speedway transferred to IHRA, and the points race had to quickly find another home, which Southland was happy to host. This willingness to pitch in when difficulties arose went a long way to NHRA awarding Southland the track of the year honors in the South Central Division in 1971. On Sunday, February 27, 1972, 5000 spectators saw Don Schumacher beat the Ramchargers funny car in a match race with a top speed of 209 MPH. At the NHRA divisional points race on May 27-28, 1972, a dozen national records were set. Leonard Hughes won funny car in the Candies & Hughes "Cajun Cuda" with a final run of 6.74, 221.64 MPH over Grover Rogers. The track began hosting rock concerts in 1972, but a rock festival at the track on October 21, 1973, got out of hand when police arrested marijuana users. Extra police had to be called in to quell order among the 10,000 fans. Newspapers referred to it as a riot. A number of different track operators followed Menard including Ralph Baker (one of the original founders), Norman "Moose" Pearah, and a local bunch headed by Joe Teuton. The latter group installed lights for night racing, but a season of race rain-outs killed the track and forced its closure. Racer Duke McDonald had fond memories of Southland:  "Southland was a West Coast-style track in the South. round 3-story tower and score boards way ahead of its time. I got the honor to race there when Norman owned it. It was very bumpy then, but I loved racing there."
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Listing in ​​​​​​National Dragster, Dec. 23, 1977. Courttesy of Mel Bashore
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Southland Dragway, 1969-72, filmed by Rusty Melancon, 39:22 minutes, no sound/music only
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The 1969 grand opening was postponed twice before finally being held on July 4.
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1989 aerial view of Southland Dragway
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Southland Dragway, ​​​​​​​​ 1981 topo map
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View of Southland Dragway's bleachers and tower in starting line area during the first year of operation. Photo published in Morgan City Daily Review, Aug. 13, 1969