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Whats the oldest eastcoast dragstrip?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by marq, Feb 14, 2004.

  1. marq
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    marq Member

    Ok guys anyone know what the oldest eastcoast dragstrip is where is it ?who started it?and when did it start....................Mad Marq
  2. shoebox72
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    shoebox72 Member

    I'm not sure about the whole east coast, but the first in New England (northeast US) was in Sanford ME at a small airstrip. NETA was the sanctioning body.

    Billy
  3. safariknut
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    safariknut Member

    [ QUOTE ]
    I'm not sure about the whole east coast, but the first in New England (northeast US) was in Sanford ME at a small airstrip. NETA was the sanctioning body.

    Billy

    [/ QUOTE ]
    While I agree that Sanford was one of the first,I think there were actually several before that.One was located at Beverly Airport in Beverly Massachusetts and another was in southern New Hampshire in the early 50's.Sanford was probably the best venue though.All the big names liked to run there because of the extremely long(almost a mile)shutoff area.This was before the advent of parachutes.There is a good overview of early strips in the Schuman Brothers book,Cool Cars and Square Roll Bars"
    Ray
  4. 286merc
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    286merc Member

    I ran at Westhampton, NY as far back as 57 and it was old then.
    Ran Sanford 64-7, it was an abandoned WW2 airport. Now a very active small airport surrounded by yuppie development.

    Where was a strip in Southern NH back then? Lots of old circle tracks back in the day.
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  5. Guest

    US30 in York was started in the mid fifties.
    Clark
  6. safariknut
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    safariknut Member

    [ QUOTE ]
    I ran at Westhampton, NY as far back as 57 and it was old then.
    Ran Sanford 64-7, it was an abandoned WW2 airport. Now a very active small airport surrounded by yuppie development.

    Where was a strip in Southern NH back then? Lots of old circle tracks back in the day.


    [/ QUOTE ]
    According to the documentation in the Schuman Brothers book,there were drag races at Beverly Airport as early as 1950.There was some activity at Sanford some time after that and there were two unofficially sanctioned meets at Newington NH airport in September of 1953.Jere Sheehan was one of the participants.
  7. marq
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    marq Member

    I got it started keep it coming ,anyone with old pictures? also may i remind you of states and towns please things like ma and intitials mean nothing to me .You can call me a heathen but i still won't know what the initials stand for...................Mad Marq
  8. safariknut
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    safariknut Member

    [ QUOTE ]
    I got it started keep it coming ,anyone with old pictures? also may i remind you of states and towns please things like ma and intitials mean nothing to me .You can call me a heathen but i still won't know what the initials stand for...................Mad Marq

    [/ QUOTE ]
    Sorry about that Marq;the initials are abbreviations for the states.In the New England area there are 6 states:Maine,New Hampshire,Vermont,Massachusetts,Connecticut,and Rhode Island.They are:ME,NH,VT,MA,CT,and RI.New York is NY.Hope that clears it up for you.
  9. AHotRod
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    AHotRod Member

    Marc,
    I don't know, but I posted the question to my friends on the Gasser Maddness site to see what I learn !
    Glenn
  10. TagMan
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    TagMan
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Oldest 2-laner I know of around central-Upstate New York was/is the old Savannah Speedway track in South Butler, New York. It was running back around 1957 or maybe a little before - don't recall exaxctly. They had a "nostalgic" drag there just last year on the opriginal blacktop!! Amazing that, considering our climate, the black top has lasted all those years. Here's a couple of pics of kustomolds taken a spin down the lanes.......


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

  11. Paul2748
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    Paul2748 Member

    There was a drag track at Charlestown, RI (Naval Base) that ran in 55 at least - may have been sooner. Used to work there.
  12. 59BuickWagon
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    59BuickWagon Alliance Vendor

    There was (is) also Oxford Plains in Maine plus Orange Massachusetts and Dover New York.
  13. safariknut
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    safariknut Member

    [ QUOTE ]
    There was (is) also Oxford Plains in Maine plus Orange Massachusetts and Dover New York.

    [/ QUOTE ]
    And don't forget Norwood MA in the 60's(I was in the Navy then)
    Ray
  14. Deyomatic
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    Deyomatic Member

    OldCarPilot's father used to race at Orange, Mass in the 60's.
  15. HOTROD30
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    HOTROD30 Member

    In the mid 50's, my brother-in-law ran at the old Dunkirk Airport at Dunkirk, NY. I don't know when the races first started there.
  16. Gracie
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    Gracie Member

    Here's an article on my home strip, Lassiter Mountain Dragway in Birmingham, Alabama.

    Birmingham Dragway, born and built as Lassiter Mountain Raceway in the late 1950s by the Black Widows car club, is the only active drag strip I've ever seen that has no guard rails on either side. None are needed. The Widows carved the track out of the head of Lassiter Mountain, leaving a 30-foot cliff on one side and a smaller one on the other. Give a good geologist a tall ladder and a free afternoon and he could have a field day with Lassiter Mountain's left-side guard "wall." It is nothing but exposed aggregate and hard sandstone and earth.

    Lassiter Mountain was the first drag strip I ever went to, in the autumn of 1961. I would never dream that 25 years later, its leasee, David Neatherton, would be handing me an envelop full of $20 bills, 50 in all, for winning Super Pro on a Friday night in September. Nowadays, Birmingham Dragway hosts the kids of the fast and furious following, grudge racers all.

    Lassiter Mountain has seen it all. There are Indian relics scattered about, plus abandoned coal mines and diggings, and its owner, the late Tony Lee, a television personality and once president of the IDBA, told me that he had found a moonshine still or two located near the track.

    In the 1960s through the '80s, Lassiter Mountain was famous as THE place to race in Birmingham -- I personally saw "Dyno Don" Nicholson race his Super Stock wagon there, plus his "Eliminator I" flip-top Funny Car, plus Stone-Woods-Cook's A/Gas Supercharged Willys, Mr. Norm's Grand Spalding Dodge, Sox and Martin, Bill Mullins (whom I went to work for later when he had a fuel car), and many others.

    They used to run "the Mountain" quarter-mile until cars got too fast. One time in the '60s an out-of-town dragster racer who had had too much to drink climbed into his slingshot to make a pass. "How do I know how far to go before shutting off?" he asked somebody. "Just go down there a ways and you'll know," came the reply. So he got his push-off start, turned the car around and headed it back up track. He blasted off and kept going. They found him and the digger hanging in the bushes a half-mile away. The first thing he was asked was, "Why did you drive it so far?" "I was looking at those lights up ahead and I thought that was the finish line," he said. The lights were from a television tower located a good 20 miles away, on Red Mountain overlooking downtown Birmingham.
  17. Gracie
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    Gracie Member

    This isn't a pic of Lassiter Mountain, but just to give you an idea of what I'm used to in the South... this is why I feel so disconnected at tracks out here in the west... you just can't get close enough!

    Attached Files:

  18. LIMEY
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    LIMEY Member

    Went to little strip year before last, right out in the woods....Dallas GA about 20 miles or so outside Atlanta.
    I know its old but not sure how old, it was made a little infamous by Petty who had bad crash wiping out some spectators.
    If you get a chance its a really cool place to go & on most weekends i think.
    almost forgot its 1/8th mile too.
  19. Jimv
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    Jimv Member

    I think Dover Dragstrip opened in the late fifties, early 60's.It was in Wingdale NY, & its still there but used by a contractor to store his equippment.
    Heres a early picture of Garlits smoken em off the line at Dover & it looks like theres a 62 chevy in the background.
    JimV

    Attached Files:

  20. Jimv
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    Jimv Member

    Heres another picture of Garlits(Dover) without the smoke.And it is a 62chevy. I myself did go there in 1961 & it was open awhile then.
    This is alittle off the topic but I remember going a watching "unsanctioned races" in the parking lot for Freedomland, an old themepark in the Bronx thats now co-op city.Saw some wild shit run there!!Anyone else remember that?
    JImV

    Attached Files:

  21. Cannibal
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    Cannibal Member

    What about Island Dragway in Hackettstown(sp) New Jersey.
    Garlits broke the 200 mph barrier there .I`m not sure what year he has a sign in his museum.

    Its a small no frills strip in a farmers cornfield.
    My dad raced there in the early 60`s .
    I`d like to find more about this track myself.
    Thanks for the great topic!!
  22. marq
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    marq Member

    Sounds like you guys are all startin to remember your youth,sounds like a very exciting time and i'm wishing i was there.I grew up with mullet haircuts and lots of 80's bad taste kinda stuff and although i was into rock n roll and there was a big rock n roll revival here in the uk it don't make up for the real thing.My mom tells me the UK in the late 50's early 60's was quite boring here hence the mods v rockers fights in brighton,it was also very wet and drab here at that time..............awe you guys with ya sunshine n stuff..............Mad Marq
  23. lotus
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    lotus Member

    I think Virgina and North Carolina both have paved dragstrips from the 50's...I could be wrong though...just going off what family has said over the years.
  24. tommy
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    tommy Member

    I remember being at York in the early sixtys when they stopped the racing so that a small plane could land. York had been around a while then. I'd bet that the oldest organized track was on an airport or a deserted one.
  25. marq
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    marq Member

    paul2748 what does R I stand for?..................Mad MArq
  26. 59BuickWagon
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    R I = Rhode Island, one of the six states collectively known as New England. See Ray's post above.

    Dennis
  27. 59BuickWagon
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    Got an e-mail from Arnie Shuman (Cool Cars and Square Roll Bars) as follows:

    >Dennis,
    >
    >If he'd read the book, he'd remember that the earliest in New >England was (ta-dah) Beverly Airport in 1950. Then Sanford >(NETA), Orange (MTA), Newington and Lackanookie/Laconia, >Cowhampshuh (NEHRC) and then Stanfort, er Sanford (NEHRC). >But, that's just off the top o' mee head.
    >
    >Old Man in the T
  28. Mutt
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    Mutt Member

    I looked through my old Hot Rod magazines for info, but there wasn't much about the eastern drags prior to 1955 - I think mainly because HRM was pushing NHRA, which was a fledgling organization then, and wanted to unite all strips under the banner of safety. Keeping in mind that my collection isn't complete, here's two examples of drags in the early days. 1st one is Long Island, N.Y. - That's the official starter in the top picture...
  29. Mutt
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    Mutt Member

    Second page of the story. These drags were held on a city street alongside a high school football field. It was 1953...
  30. Mutt
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    Mutt Member

    This one is Akron Ohio, 1952..

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