Richmond Dragway Reveries

Richmond Dragway Reveries

I was just getting into the world of cars when my dad first told me about Richmond Dragway. “On Saturday nights and Sunday mornings, you could hear the cars running from the farm,” he’d say. Although my dad was born and raised in Detroit, he spent many a summer with family in rural Virginia in the ’60s and ’70s. The track was fairly new then, with its freshly paved 1/4-mile strip and three-story brick timing tower. As far as I know, he never went to a race there.

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Half a century later, I found myself standing where he stood all those years ago. It was a sunny Sunday afternoon, and hot rods were the last thing on my mind. Then, all of a sudden, I heard an unmistakable sound echo through the trees. RRRRRRRRRRRRUVMMMMMMMMMM. RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRUVMMMMMMM. I felt the hair on the back of my neck raise. “Could it be?” I asked myself. “It has to. That’s coming from Richmond Dragway!”

Even though I wasn’t able to watch any racing that Sunday, I did wander over to the track the following week. It was closed, but it was immediately apparent that it retained much of its classic charm. I snapped these two pictures to give you an idea.

These days, Richmond Dragway is an IHRA-sanctioned strip that is active from March through November. Founded by the father/son team of Dan and John “Pop” Weis, the little track hosted NHRA, NASCAR and plenty of match races in the ’60s. I wasn’t around then, but I was able to find some 8mm footage from RD’s second season in 1965. This video helps paint a colorful picture of the cars, track and racers, as well as their friends and family who came to cheer them on. It looks like a whole lot of fun—and all it needs is the sound of the engines.

Joey Ukrop

 Video by DanObx64

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