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History Forgotten Dragstrip: Austin Raceway Park

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by TexasHardcore, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. TexasHardcore
    Joined:
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    Austin, Texas

    TexasHardcore Member

    Austin Raceway Park...from what I heard was a killer dragstrip on the north end of town, and from what photos I've seen was alive & well in the 60's & 70's. It's a personal gratification of mine to find the old dragstrips and see how they look now. After seeing satellite images of Austin Raceway Park over the past few years, I often found myself wondering if it was still there, or if is now part of a new housing subdivision, or if it has been plowed over and is a baseball field, the questions needed to be answered. Today, I was in that area for work, so on my lunch break I was on a mission to locate this ghost track and summon the spirits of nitromethane and the lost souls of the quarter mile.

    I succeeded. I found an access point at both ends of the track, and from what I see, the entire track is intact end to end. Aging and weathered asphalt with brush & trees coming up through the cracks, a mine field of dried cow patties, and the wind blowing down this dusty stretch of Texas drag racing history. It was kind of eerie. I swore I was having random images of dragsters & sounds of horsepower running through my head as I stood there. I couldn't help but imagine all of the hot rods, altereds, stockers, gassers, and dragsters that made their way down the worn asphalt I was standing on. It was kind of spiritual.

    I sure wish this track would re-open. It's saveable. It's surrounded by new commercial warehouses, open land, and one neighborhood a good distance away. It could happen, but I won't hold my breath.

    I took these photos with my phone, so they aren't the best, but I just wanted to share them...

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  2. TexasHardcore
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    TexasHardcore Member

  3. TexasHardcore
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    Austin, Texas

    TexasHardcore Member

  4. curbspeed
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    curbspeed Member

    Now we need pictures of the way it was back in the day. It does look like the earth is reclaiming it though. Would take a ton of capital to return it to it's former glory. We can always dream can't we.
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  5. CJ Steak
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    CJ Steak Member

    Sadly Central Texas is in "yuppy" mode right now.

    Anything historical be damned. Developers are the ultimate evil to sites like this. They don't give a rat's ass.

    My dad leases a ranch from a couple of land developers to at least get some last ditch effort use out of it... and they're about to plow down a mid 1800's stage coach stop that's on it. Farm house, big barn with hayloft, carriage stables etc. Just to build another neighborhood of 90k slap together homes on tiny lots. They don't give a shit.

    -Chris
  6. TexasHardcore
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    TexasHardcore Member

    Most of the old pics are already on the HAMB...I had not seen any recent pics of this track until I took them.

    Here's some old shots swiped from HAMBer 'Herdez'" site...

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  7. CJ Steak
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    CJ Steak Member

    Holy crap! That's just awesome.

    Even sadder now... looking at the pics and all...
  8. dino1
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    austin tx

    dino1 Member

    Where is that? Could you give a street addy?
  9. TexasHardcore
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    Austin, Texas

    TexasHardcore Member

    [​IMG]

    Find this...drive around to the back...you'll see it from the back parking lot.
  10. one37tudor
    Joined:
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    Location:
    Austin, Texas

    one37tudor Member

    Do you know where that tower was originally located prior to moving it to the track?

    It was a part of the old Truck City 24 hour truck stop on Ben White near IH-35.

    Just thought I would throw that out there.

    Scott...
  11. wingnutz
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    wingnutz
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Jeez... I wired a couple buildings back there a few years back... No Shit!!!!

    I lived 5 miles from there... it was the easiest commute to a jobsite that I ever had when living down there.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2009
  12. Dirty30Dodge
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    Argyle, TX

    Dirty30Dodge Member

    Wow. I am dreaming to! Has anyone thought of a coop drag strip! Maybe There is enough action in Austin to do it! Find out how much the dirt is worth on a CAD site! How many other drag strips are in the area! The North Star Drag strip seems to be doing ok! The just had the Texas Nationals they are bringing back! It would take alot of work!
  13. TexasHardcore
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    TexasHardcore Member

    Yeah I heard of the tower coming from the truck stop, and that it was an oil derrick before that...but where is it now? Probably turned into Hyundai. Does anyone know who owned A.R.P.?
  14. TexasHardcore
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    TexasHardcore Member

    I'm down for a co-op dragstrip!
  15. D.W.
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    Austin Tx.

    D.W. Member

    Back when I was in high school, (mid to late 80's) my buddies & I attended parties there.
    There was much less development in the area so we could get away w/ drinking, being loud, teenager shenannigans.

    We didn't know of it's history @ the time but we could tell that it had been a dragstrip.

    I remember we had to take a small dirt road to get to what I assume was part of the return road cause it was paved & it still had old tires lining the sides of it.

    The tower was gone by then.
  16. TexasHardcore
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    TexasHardcore Member

    It wasn't just a dragstrip but an autocross course as well. So the "return road" for the dragstrip was the rest of the road course...atleast that's what I've gathered.

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  17. RAY With
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    Montgomery ,Texas

    RAY With Member

    Texas H could you figure out if the warehouse was at the start or finish line? Some cool shots you took there. Thanks for posting all of this for us to see. Houston raceway park is also a vast area of brush and graded up race track now.
  18. HOT ROD BILL
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    HOT ROD BILL Member

    Some of us ran out there at nights somewhere around 70-71. If you were around The Holiday House on Burnet Road back then we would meet there or the Safeway across the street. We raced in front of IBM on 1325 for years at Summit School. At some point we started going out to ARP with a small group which got large real quick. Track was still in good shape and the snack bar was still there but the tower was gone, the road race part was the return road. Soon it became a Friday Nite event which brought all the roudy group having too much fun. A few reports of gunfire and underage drinkin and the fun was over. The property owner covered the track with truckloads of rocks every couple of 100 feet. I think sometime after that they used it to make and dry cinder blocks on, this track was very flat and smooth. Back then I had a gray primer 55 chevy, 292, solid cam, 780, 4 speed ect.
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2009
  19. TexasHardcore
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    TexasHardcore Member

    RAY With...

    In the 2nd to last recent photo..the warehouse you see off to the left in the distance is the "Raceway Crossing" on Bratton Ln. on the east end of the track.

    In the last recent photo the warehouse is at the end of Quick Hill Ln. on the west end of the track.

    I don't know which direction they raced out there so I really don't know which end is which.
  20. RAY With
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    RAY With Member

    Thanks I never made it to that track but knew of it. I imagine one of the local readers will be able to figure it out. I was just curious.
  21. HOT ROD BILL
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    HOT ROD BILL Member

    The end of the track was 1325, sand pit right to the fence.
  22. TexasHardcore
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    TexasHardcore Member

    Thanks Bill...thats what I figured.
  23. MR. FORD
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    Milwaukee, Wi

    MR. FORD Member

    Thats so bad-ass........
  24. geemann51
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    La Mesa, California, USA

    geemann51 Member

    wow, thats cool...
  25. ChevyRat
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    Marion, Texas

    ChevyRat Member

    That's depressing seeing those pics. Great find on some drag racing history.
  26. mctim64
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    mctim64
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I love old Drag strips! Some started out as old runways from WWII and now a few of them are land marks on sectional charts, I can find at least three here in the central valley on the SF chart.
  27. Austin Bubbletop
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    Round Rock

    Austin Bubbletop Member

    After hearing stories from my dad, we pulled off 1325 one night and found some pavement under the weeds. That was at least 15 years ago. That area, like most of this place is hardly recognizable. Thanks for the pics, both old and new. I will show these to my dad tomorrow. I can still remember him telling me he had a bill with South Austin Machine bigger than the National debt. lol I assume he met Hands and Butch at ARP.

    I also find it strange how impossible it is to have a successful drag strip in this area.
  28. Casey
    Joined:
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    Austin & dripping springs Texas

    Casey Member Emeritus

    It`s a dam shame to let a track go like that
    let`s all take a cruze out there and weed eat
  29. BELLM
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    BELLM
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I went there once back in the mid '60s, once, as a spectator. Don't remember much about it, long time ago. Do remember some serious cars and that it was a nice track.
  30. one37tudor
    Joined:
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    Location:
    Austin, Texas

    one37tudor Member

    The racing was slightly down hill or toward 1325.

    The track closed because (as per the American Statesman local newspaper) there was a dairy farm nearby and the owner was convinced that the racing on the weekends made his cows give less milk on Monday? At any rate he got an injunction that stopped the racing and it was fought for a while but for whatever reason the track never held Drag racing again although there were organized road racing there for years afterward.

    The tower was damaged in a storm and was actually removed before the track closed as I recall. The remains of the tower (a shorter version) was erected again at the Truck City Buda location where it was again storm damaged and removed.

    The track was built and owned at that time by Armstrong Johnson Ford (later Lief-Johnston Ford).

    Scott...

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