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Sunset drag strip, Mercer, PA

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Andamo, Oct 7, 2011.

  1. 70chev
    Joined: Apr 14, 2013
    Posts: 21

    70chev
    Member
    from knox, pa.

    Well, my buddy and I went to the old strip today [8-26] and shot the short video I have been talking about doing, it will be posted on youtube as soon as somebody's kid shows us how to do it. Thanks, Andamo, for the updates and advice, suffice to say that anyone wanting to visit Sunset for old times sake best do it soon. Scenario; Sign on route 62 north pointing to Sunset still there, southbound sign gone. Garage still looks way good, ditto the timing tower that I think is fairly new. Bleachers are fading fast. Lots of nostalgia still there, the sign just before the burn out pit stating 'fasten seat belt, roll up window' is still there, a lot of rubber on the burnout area peeling up. Both entrances to the area are thoroughly blocked off. Return and pit roads are going back to nature. Saddest thing is the track itself; When I was over there earlier this summer the track looked pretty good, now, weeds are taking over big time, more weeds than pavement visible. The lighting systems are still hanging in, and the finish line light boxes are there. Launch area blocked off with Jersey walls and debris...
    One more great old track gonna be gone soon...Too bad but, as I think Andamo stated, maybe it's just as well, as Alex and Geo. are gone too. We parked my '70 Chevelle convert at the pit entrance, a few locals slowed down to look at it, and us maybe, I was a bit uptight but no problems. Will notify per youtube video.
     
  2. ssmilekc
    Joined: Sep 17, 2013
    Posts: 2

    ssmilekc
    Member

    Here's some pics I took of Sunset on 9-16-2013 in the afternoon. I was working in the area, & drove up Charleston Rd & was surprised to find a drag strip! My dad did a lot of drag racing in the late 50's, early 60's, & I seem to remember him mentioning racing at this strip, but I'm not sure. He's traveling to Alaska now, so I can't ask him. I do know Howland in Ohio was his favorite track. Anyways, here's the pics!!
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  3. ssmilekc
    Joined: Sep 17, 2013
    Posts: 2

    ssmilekc
    Member

    A couple more pics. What I imagine was the staging lanes, & what is left of the bleachers. [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  4. Andamo
    Joined: Jan 10, 2006
    Posts: 498

    Andamo
    Member

    Wow, it didn't take long for the place to go that far downhill. You mentioned that your Dad liked the track at Howland, OH. I don't think that track was in existence very long. I have a picture of a dragster taken there in 1958.
     
  5. dangelo7
    Joined: Aug 3, 2013
    Posts: 6

    dangelo7
    Member
    from youngstown

    Can anyone post something or let me know what's going on??? If anyone knows? Sunset was a big part of my childhood and it seriously puts me down thinking about it.
     
  6. Andamo
    Joined: Jan 10, 2006
    Posts: 498

    Andamo
    Member

    Sunset, and then later Youngstown Drag City, were owned or run by Alex and his brother George. Something happened in the later years and Alex and George stopped speaking to each other. After George passed away there was a lot of tension between Alex and George's daughter who's house is right beyond the track. I had heard that right before Alex passed away he and his niece had patched things up, but she never wanted the track there to begin with. So after Alex was gone she must have ended up with the property and sold off the logging rights. Face it, the place was going downhill pretty quick and Alex wasn't going to do any improvements so it's kind of fitting that once Alex was gone, so is Sunset.
     
  7. Andamo
    Joined: Jan 10, 2006
    Posts: 498

    Andamo
    Member

    Jeff, I have a CD of still pics of Sunset from 1959 to the present. If you want me to burn you one, send me your home addy in a PM and I'll get one out to you.
     
  8. dangelo7
    Joined: Aug 3, 2013
    Posts: 6

    dangelo7
    Member
    from youngstown

    If anyone has a green 71 nova picture please post it! My dad's nova raced there when I was a child.
     
  9. FSTFBDY
    Joined: Apr 8, 2014
    Posts: 1

    FSTFBDY
    Member

    I know this is a OLD OLD post. I use to help alex with running the place on weekend in the early 2000's before he passed away.

    I have TONS of photos from when he 1st opened back up and it ws good ol fun Hand drop and run. To when the christmas tree and time lights went back in.

    I have stacks of DVD's from taking pic's etc..

    I registered to add some info here. since this thread came up on a search. Prob wont post much on this site so if any of you that are regulars here were at sunset would like copies of what i have Email me. I can make another master copy to give someone to pass out to everyone.

    I can also upload a ton to my server for viewing pleasure.

    Chris
    FSTFBDY@GMAIL.COM
     
  10. fms427
    Joined: Nov 17, 2006
    Posts: 855

    fms427
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Just seeing this post for the first time......I raced Sunset in the early 60s in my 55 chev - as I remember it was 1/5 mile then. For my first run, I dropped the pipes from the manifolds - not noticing the left manifold was dumping on the brake line......you guessed it - no brakes at the end of the strip - and a really wild ride around the downhill right turn at the end of the strip.......:eek::eek: Also remember you could get in any class you wanted by giving the tech inspectors a six pack. Good times !
     
  11. Andamo
    Joined: Jan 10, 2006
    Posts: 498

    Andamo
    Member

    I can't say for sure, but I don't think Sunset was ever a 1/5 mile track. Possibly a 1/6th mile at 880' That 1056' seems way too long for that place.
     
  12. gkeeton
    Joined: May 3, 2014
    Posts: 4

    gkeeton
    Member

    As of October 2013, the bleachers have been taken down, but the scoring tower, and all the buildings are still there. I spoke with a former event promotor that had races at the track at the January 2014 World of Wheels Car Show, and he said the The Theofilis Family still owns the track, and are looking into staff to reopen the track.
     
  13. dangelo7
    Joined: Aug 3, 2013
    Posts: 6

    dangelo7
    Member
    from youngstown

    So is it gonna re open again?
     
  14. DaPeach
    Joined: Apr 22, 2009
    Posts: 255

    DaPeach
    Member
    from NE OH

    I srsly doubt it. There's nothing left of the place.

    I keep meaning to take a spin by, never have the time.
     
  15. Andamo
    Joined: Jan 10, 2006
    Posts: 498

    Andamo
    Member

    I seriously doubt it also. If Alex' niece stills owns the property, it'll never re-open. And I'm sure if she sells it, there will be something in the agreement that will keep it from ever being a track again. I'm sure with the past winter we had, the track surface, along with the trucks hauling timber out, have broken it up pretty good.
     
  16. 70chev
    Joined: Apr 14, 2013
    Posts: 21

    70chev
    Member
    from knox, pa.

    Never got the video posted on youtube that we did last summer.. The pics ssmilekc posted are excellent [though sad to see] and pretty much tell the story. Might go by the track this summer enroute home from Bike Nite if the rain ever stops and we can get out there. I talked to a couple of old guys in a bar in Mercer last April about the track and they stated that they had heard there were some people in Ohio who had interest in leasing the place..Hard to tell about the accuracy of bar BS; A lot of money would be required to get it going again, and with Alex's niece opposed to reopening it, well...
     
  17. Andamo
    Joined: Jan 10, 2006
    Posts: 498

    Andamo
    Member

    I understand that the township has let people know that since the place has been closed so long, whomever would want to try and re-open the place will now have to abide by the newest rules the township has on the books. I'm guessing this has to do more with the sewerage which was always in question. I'm hearing this 3rd and 4th hand, so I'm sure each time it's passed on it becomes more ''embellished''. This is what I understand what happened at Y-Town Drag City and the story might have grown legs and it applies to Sunset also. Sunset has gone the way of Nu-Be, Youngstown Drag City (Meander), Peterson, PID, and Fairmont and I'm just glad I was able to be around when they were active.
     
  18. dangelo7
    Joined: Aug 3, 2013
    Posts: 6

    dangelo7
    Member
    from youngstown

    well we all have one special memory that nobody else has had of this drag strip, even though it's gone we all had the best times and memories here it's ashame that how it ended but things happen for a reason. Alex was a good guy that brought sunset to be a family and always looked happy. Maybe one day it will be running again just keep hoping I guess.
     
  19. Domchevelle6
    Joined: Dec 1, 2014
    Posts: 1

    Domchevelle6

    I know this is an old post but I used to race my car here and if anyone has any updates or any updated pictures of what it looks like now please post them thank you,
     
  20. Andamo
    Joined: Jan 10, 2006
    Posts: 498

    Andamo
    Member

    I don't have any new pics of the place myself, but I've seen some that were taken this past summer and Mother Nature is slowly reclaiming the place. Word is that George's daughter, who ended up with the place, sold the property to someone else. There was a logging company that hauled out logs down at the end of the track and that area is all torn up. Again, this is only rumor, but from what's been said, the township will never let the place become a race track again because it's sat idle for too long. So Sunset is gone and so are Alex and George.
     
  21. dangelo7
    Joined: Aug 3, 2013
    Posts: 6

    dangelo7
    Member
    from youngstown

    I may take a ride past it next weekend I'm sure it's mostly gone but I still want to know what happened to the tree and stuff like that.
     
  22. Andamo
    Joined: Jan 10, 2006
    Posts: 498

    Andamo
    Member

    The original tree disappeared and the guys that were helping at the track built a new one out of PVC. Who knows where that one ended up. I have a friend that a was talking with George's daughter after Alex passed and he was interested in buying all the old pictures that were in the metal building. But she never got back to him and again it's hard to say what's left in that building. A word of warning about going there. Stay out at the road and don't be wondering onto the property. I understand she keeps a eye on the place for the new owner and you'll be asked to leave.
     
  23. 69Camarogirl
    Joined: Mar 3, 2018
    Posts: 2

    69Camarogirl

    I need help finding someone named Ron, in his 70's, from the Pennsylvania/Ohio area. He used to hang out and race cars with a guy named Lynn DeCamp. They raced at Sunset Drag Strip and Thompson Drag strip. Ron drove a blue 1966-1967 Chevy II and Lynn drove a white 66-67 Chevy II.
    Any help is greatly appreciated! Please contact me at coralandsteve@roadrunner.com with any information.
     
  24. Andamo
    Joined: Jan 10, 2006
    Posts: 498

    Andamo
    Member

    I don't know if you belong to Facebook, but there is a Sunset group on there. If you don't belong, I can put this message on there for you, just let me know.
     
  25. DaPeach
    Joined: Apr 22, 2009
    Posts: 255

    DaPeach
    Member
    from NE OH

    Coral, I messaged you.

    I took a spin by after getting this message over the weekend & snapped some current pics before the weeds start growing again...


    sun.jpg sun1.jpg sun2.jpg sun3.jpg sun4.jpg sun5.jpg sun6.jpg sun7.jpg sun8.jpg sun9.jpg sun10.jpg
     
  26. 69Camarogirl
    Joined: Mar 3, 2018
    Posts: 2

    69Camarogirl

  27. Ramblur
    Joined: Jun 15, 2005
    Posts: 2,105

    Ramblur
    Member

  28. Ramblur
    Joined: Jun 15, 2005
    Posts: 2,105

    Ramblur
    Member

  29. 27 Tall T
    Joined: Dec 16, 2005
    Posts: 243

    27 Tall T
    Member
    from Butler Pa.

    I would like a copy , many memories of Sunset.
     
  30. '34 Terraplane
    Joined: Jul 11, 2011
    Posts: 148

    '34 Terraplane
    Member
    from Western PA

    I'm thinkin' this is a close-up of the 'Vette pictured ..."Illegitimate". This photo was taken at Quaker City Dragstrip
    Scan.jpg
     
    Ramblur and Elcohaulic like this.

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