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Old 04-01-2009, 12:54 PM   #1
Toby Denham
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Default Just for fun - A couple of legendary Georgia dragstrips

The photos I posted may be of interest to some of you, especially if you're from the southeast (particularly Georgia). The first two attachments are sets showing before and after shots of 2 legendary (now defunct) dragstrips in central Georgia. The third is an additional photo to acompany the second set.

The one showing the 2 rails at the starting line with Buster Couch is of the Atlanta Speed Shop Dragway in Newton County, Georgia. It was the site of the Atlanta $10,000 event, which was one of the richest drag racing events in the country (ca. 1964 - 1971). I can still remember hearing the "Sunday ... Sunday" radio ads about this one. The old strip is now the main street running through a subdivision.

The other showing the 2 old style Funny Cars is Yellow River Dragstrip in Rockdale County, Georgia. I also included a third modern shot looking down the old Yellow River strip.

The significance of Yellow River is the funny car crash that took place there in 1969, which killed several people and injured many others. This event has been considered to be one of the worst (if not the worst) mishaps in drag racing history. Yellow River was one of those rural unsanctioned strips that I'm sure many an oldtimer can remember. To make matters worst, the promoter had little or no insurance. The strip is still there, running through a trailer park ... complete with speed bumps.

All old views are courtesy of Fred Simmons and GeorgiaDragracing.com. The newer "after" photos are mine, taken about 4 years ago. I tried to approximate the earlier Simmons' shots.

I thought it would be fun to share this. If any of you have similar photos, post them. Hope y'all enjoy.

P.S. As an after thought, I posted a fourth shot courtesy of Ernie Scott. This photo shows just how safe Yellow River was!!! You could get right up close to the action ... boy, those were the days.
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Old 04-01-2009, 02:50 PM   #2
JasonB
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Default Re: Just for fun - A couple of legendary Georgia dragstrips

Man, I used to go to the Speed shop back in the late 70's with my Dad. He had a black '72 Mustang with a 427 in it. We would ride up there in it, take the street tires off and put the 14x32s on it (they would hang out of the fenders about 3") any way I found this video from 1968........

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjDXIFze7wo


Do you have the address of the tracks now? I would love to drive by....Jason
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Old 04-01-2009, 03:07 PM   #3
Rich Venza
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Default Re: Just for fun - A couple of legendary Georgia dragstrips

Thank's for posting. While not a native, I love seeing all the old tracks and photos. The GeorgiaDragRacing is a wealth of great old informatoin and history.
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Old 04-01-2009, 03:24 PM   #4
Toby Denham
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Default Re: Just for fun - A couple of legendary Georgia dragstrips

Quote:
Do you have the address of the tracks now? I would love to drive by....
I don't have addresses, but the Atlanta Speed Shop track is now called Ewing Road. Take 278 west out of Covington. Look for Old Hwy 229 on on the right. Go a mile or two and Ewing is on the left. The old entrance is just before you turn on Ewing (it's overgrown).

Yellow River is now known as Sycamore Trail. You can actually see down the old strip from I-20. To get there, go west from Conyers on I-20 and get off at the Almon exit. Go straight down the frontage road and turn on East Dollar Circle. Thats the old entrance to the track. All of the original roads and etc. are still there, but it makes up the trailer park complex. The strip is the straight main road through the complex. It's fun to drive down the road and imagine the old A/FX cars that use to burn it up.
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Old 04-01-2009, 03:39 PM   #5
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Default Re: Just for fun - A couple of legendary Georgia dragstrips

Anyone remember Camp Wheeler in Macon? Flagman start and speed only...no ET. Saw Art Arfons, "The Michigan Madman" E.J. Potter, Richard Petty, Hubert Platt, Houston Platt, and other notables race there. Everything was run heads up by classes. A lot of fun from a time we will never see again.
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Old 04-01-2009, 03:53 PM   #6
Toby Denham
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Default Re: Just for fun - A couple of legendary Georgia dragstrips

Here's a great video someone posted on Youtube. It shows the Atlanta $10,000 at the Atlanta Speed Shop Dragway in 1968. There's no sound, but ...boy, oh boy ... there's some great footage!!! Toby

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qjDXIFze7wo
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Old 04-01-2009, 03:59 PM   #7
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Default Re: Just for fun - A couple of legendary Georgia dragstrips

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Anyone remember Camp Wheeler in Macon?
I've only read about Camp Wheeler. However, I remember those names you mentioned. What ever happened to the the colorful characters with colorful nicknames that made up drag racing in the 60s and 70s??
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Old 04-01-2009, 06:07 PM   #8
Customline Vicky
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Default Re: Just for fun - A couple of legendary Georgia dragstrips

I was drivin' around just north east of Bainbridge about 10 years ago and ran across an old dragstrip out in the middle of no where. I ran my Honda Civic down it. I have looked and looked and I can't find it again to save my ass. Any old GA natives know about that one?
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Old 04-01-2009, 07:59 PM   #9
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Default Re: Just for fun - A couple of legendary Georgia dragstrips

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Originally Posted by rtden View Post
I've only read about Camp Wheeler. However, I remember those names you mentioned. What ever happened to the the colorful characters with colorful nicknames that made up drag racing in the 60s and 70s??
I guess they're no longer "sponsor friendly", or some other politically correct, newspeak nonsense.
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Old 04-01-2009, 08:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: Just for fun - A couple of legendary Georgia dragstrips

Cool then/now pics. Thanks.
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Old 04-01-2009, 08:30 PM   #11
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Default Re: Just for fun - A couple of legendary Georgia dragstrips

When I was 15 years old Gene Cromer live right down the road from us and was/is my childhood hero,,,he slipped across the border and won a few races in his Willys,,that was a fast car,,,he still owns it to this day but it has been taken apart and never went back together. HRP

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Old 04-01-2009, 09:59 PM   #12
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Default Re: Just for fun - A couple of legendary Georgia dragstrips

This is a trip! My father and I were just talking about Atlanta Speed Shop and Yellow River today. They used to go all the time as teenagers before I came along. We watched two 60's drag racing videos on the YouTube today at the office. Yea, were that busy. Seems like good times.

Unfortunately, just about everything within 50 miles of Atlanta has been laid to waste in favor of your standard strip malls and neighborhoods. Drag tracks included. I guess the closest now are Commerce and Eatonton. I have heard there is a new place just across the state line in AL though.
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Old 04-01-2009, 10:13 PM   #13
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Default Re: Just for fun - A couple of legendary Georgia dragstrips

my dad owned the BIG A dragway in abbeville,al 2 or 3 different times and was also part owner for a short while of the Albany,Ga dragstrip with "Big Daddy" Ellis Milner. don't knwo what became of the albany track bt i rode by the BIG A a few years ago and it was all over grown. sucks i spent pretty much every weekend there from birth to about 10 after my folks split and my dad let the track go in the divorce...ken....
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Old 04-01-2009, 10:25 PM   #14
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Default Re: Just for fun - A couple of legendary Georgia dragstrips

Hey I live near Albany Ga, the only strip around here is US19 dragway, been here since i was little, is that the same one?
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Old 04-01-2009, 10:32 PM   #15
luckystiff
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Default Re: Just for fun - A couple of legendary Georgia dragstrips

probably. he was involved with that in the early 70s or so. may have even been out of it by the time i was born in '72. i seem to remember going a coupla times when i was REALLY young but that could have just been to run one of his cars...ken....
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Old 06-19-2009, 09:57 AM   #16
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Default Re: Just for fun - A couple of legendary Georgia dragstrips

Remember watching Gene and the Willys race at Jaycee's strip in Greer, SC. Those were the days!
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Old 06-19-2009, 10:43 AM   #17
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Default Re: Just for fun - A couple of legendary Georgia dragstrips

In the mid-80's my sister lived near Augusta, in a little burg called Hepzibah. Off to one side of the neighborhood there was an old drag strip, and the remains of an oval track. I walked that old strip many times thinking about what used to be. Locals told me (then) that it'd only been a year or two since the place was dug up, all the tracks had been sitting unused since maybe 1970 or '71.

There's a website dedicated to that place now, but I can't remember the name of it.
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Old 06-19-2009, 11:09 AM   #18
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Default Re: Just for fun - A couple of legendary Georgia dragstrips

US 19 is the old albany strip. I was in the military when it was built. we used to break the lock in the early 60s and race on sundays. I lived about 2 miles from it. I remember seeing a ford race there when his 4 speed gave up, and he put in a back up trans with 3 ears broken off. the old narrow pattern. Great videos, thanks.
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Old 12-02-2009, 08:47 PM   #19
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Default Re: Just for fun - A couple of legendary Georgia dragstrips

Hey y'all: Has anybody come up with the location of Camp Wheeler Drag Strip? MY dad, Charlie Bush, used to race there (among other tracks in the southeast). He still has one of his trophies from CW. Anyway, I was looking to go there since I am only about an hour away from Macon. He may know where it is (haven't asked him yet) If so, I'll post directions if no one else knows.

Thanks.
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Old 07-27-2010, 04:11 PM   #20
TomP64
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Default Re: Just for fun - A couple of legendary Georgia dragstrips

Camp Wheeler is southeast of Macon off #16 , it runs parallel and to the north of Joe Tamplin Industrial Blvd. Looks to be still there.

That Hugh Greeson video is great! Love the funny car dry hops.

Ken, where abouts in town was Abbeville? I assumed a place a mile or so east but it doesn't look long enough.
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