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Drag Strip List

A Comprehensive Encyclopedia


Remembering . . .


Drag Strips

Bob Tucker's A/FX, Osceola Drag Strip, 1960s. Photographer unknown


  • Okaloosa Drag Strip, 1969-71
We didn't run at Okaloosa. We started going as soon as Louie and I got our license and that would be the summer of '69. There was hot cars . The "Alabama Jay Hawk" was one of the big ones. Everybody ran four-speeds. Charlie Powell came up with a '40 or '41 Willys that had a straight axle and so much green metal flake in the paint job that the finish was bumpy. He built a bad-ass machine and couldn't drive it to save his butt. That didn't stop him from going to Gainesville where he found a teacher and a pair. When he got back, he would jerk the wheels off the ground at the start and keep them up till fourth gear. Plenty of challengers, but nobody could handle him. He got bored and let some kid named Jay Arseth drive it, but all he could do was miss gears and over-rev the motor.  In 1971, a girl passed us just before a stop sign right at the track and hit a sand  bank that killed her. I think that was the last time we went.
Roger Williams
  • Okaloosa Drag Strip, 1978-79
I was stationed at Eglin Air Force Base from March '78 to March '80. We raced at Baker the summer of '78 and, I think, '79 also.
Russ Allen


  • Sunshine Drag Strip, late 1960s-early 1970s
Ginger and Jimmy Hutchins standing by thei B/FX "Funny II" car.. Courtesy of Jim Wyckoff
Ginger Hutchins drove this car in the Powder Puff category. Courtesy of Jim Wyckoff

Daytona Beach

  • Daytona International Speedway, Flagler Beach Airport, and Spruce Creek Airport, early 1960s
I attended the baackstretch drags at Daytona. My father raced on the 1/8-mile pit road drags. We used the garage area for pits. One story on the backstretch--Art Arfons' jet or airplane-engined dragster bent the frame when it was slowing down in the third turn. Flagler was where NASCAR and NHRA had a joint race. They gave out marble trophies. Garltis threw his on the ground. "Want money, no damn trophy."  My father raced that night. We still have the marble trophy and the news article. We raced at Spruce Creek all the time. Daytona Beach Custsom and Timing Association ran the weekly drags. NASCAR ran them during Speed Weeks.
Rick Goodsell
NHRA/NASCAR Winter Nationals trophy, 1960. Courtesy of Rick Goodsell
Spruce Creek flier, 1960. Courtesy of Rick Goodsell
  • Daytona International Speedway, 1962
I've been to Golden Triangle and the first time I ever drag raced was at Tampa's new strip. At that time, my brother raced his B/G at Daytona Speedway when they had drags there in 1962. He drove it there from Tampa and we raced sixteen 406 Fords at one time on the beach late one night. What a time to live compared to now. I live in the Philippines now so not much racing here.
John Vermillion

Fernandina Beach

  • Buccaneer Drag Strip,  early 1960s
I remember the Buccaneer drag strip in Fernandina very well. I was in high school and I lived about 60 miles from there. Me and some of my friends would go there quite often just to watch. It was just a long wide asphalt runway back in the woods. There were no buildings or planes there. People would park their cars all along the drag strip and watch. Most of the time there were only local people there racing their street cars, but every now and then something special would happen. I remember seeing Dyno Don Nicholson in his '63 Impala and on another occasion, Phil Bonner in his '63 Ford. We were young and we loved it. Oh, I do have one more story. A friend and I went to the Buccaneer drag strip one Sunday and we had to hitch hike there. The last ride we caught was in Fernandina and it just so happens that the guy who picked us up was going to the drag strip . He told us that a Plymouth was going to be there that day and it had never been cut. Now keep in mind that this was 1962. I had never even seen a really bad Plymouth before.  421 Pontiacs, 409 Chevys and 406 Fords ruled. When that '62 Plymouth--413, 2 fours, automatic--made a pass, I knew then that the Chrysler Corp was taking this performance thing serious. I can assure you that no GM or Ford product that was stock could hang with this Plymouth. It was probably a coincidence, but there was a '62 409 Biscayne there that was towed in by a '62 Impala, the same color. His name was Pat Patterson from Cocoa Beach, Florida. Both cars were running Bucrons as I recall. They ran each other and the Plymouth won a really close race. The next run, Patterson installed some slicks that he borrowed from someone there. When they made the next pass you could feel the excitement in the air. As soon as they left the line, people were running out on the track when they went by to get a better look. This time the 409 won a close one. They were both just turning in the 13s, but that was fast back then. That day will always live in my mind. I was messing around on the computer a while back and I typed in  Pat Patterson, drag racer from Cocoa Beach and I actually found a picture of him and the car. It was called the Dixie Rebel.
Cappy Pegram
  • Buccaneer Drag Strip,  early 1960s
My dad was Pat Patterson mentioned in your Fernadina track. Dad held the Super Stock title in '60-63 in Florida with his 409 Dixie Rebel. I have some of his photos that you may be interested in posting. I don't know which tracks these pictures were taken at, but my dad raced all over Florida.
Jerry Patterson
Pat Patterson and his son, Jerry. Courtesy of Jerry Patterson
Jerry Patterson sitting on hood of his dad's 1960 Corvette with some of Pat's racing trophies. In the early 1960s, Pat was president of the Brevard Corvette Club. Courtesy of Jerry Patterson

Fort Myers

  • Buckingham Drag Strip, early 1960s
The Buckingham drag strip in Florida was promoted and ran by the Fort Myers Quarter Mile'rs. I was a member and raced at this strip. I believe the NHRA sanctioned the Florida State championships one year [1961]. We used a flag starter. The club had a used school bus, which we used at the startling line.  I think it had a PA for announcing the race results. I honestly do not remember how we computed the elapsed time and speeds. I remember setting up a telephone at both the bus and the finish line so we could call close finishes. I had a friend, Bill Slevin, who was a member and later in life became assistant postmaster in Fort Myers.  He can tell you a bunch more because he was more active than I. I was not a highly competitive racer.  I only had a '60 Corvair with a super-charger and a Corvette. I remember the Florida state championships being held in Buckingham because we had to have the track elevation surveyed for elevation change. I also remember Don Garlits bringing his new rail and blowing everything away.  Very exciting. I also remember the first 409 and how it blew away the 390 Fords which had ruled the roost. I left Ft Myers in 1962 for the Army and later got word that a crash on the track had killed someone. Back then a 12+ second et was as fast as I remember it getting.   I was lucky to get my cars below 16. I did win D-Modified Sport with the Corvair in the state races.
Harold Abbott
Harold Abbott's 1960 Corvair (above) with drag racing trophies on its hood and his Corvette (left).. Courtesy of Harold Abbott
  • Buckingham Drag Strip, 1960-64
I raced a Corvette and Willys at the Buckingham Airstrip. It was used in World War II as a training facility. We had all of our time clocks and equipment in an old bus on the starting line. We'd drive that back and forth. Chip Rawlins, Chuck Griswald, Tom Lezay, Denny Gulkin, Ike and Edgar Counts. There was another boy that had a 1960 Ford that he run. I can't remember his name. Kind of a heavy-set boy. Nice kid. It was a quarter of a mile. We had a ET clock. As you went across the line, it would start the timer and when you crossed the end, it would clock in seconds. It had a flag starter. I used to do some flagging. Chip did some flagging. Chuck Griswald did some flagging. At Buckingham, I had a Willys that I put a Mercury engine in, but I blowed it up the first race. Then I had a 1953 red Corvette that had a three-speed transmission with a 327 Chevy engine with tri-power. It was pretty quick back in its day. We had Don Garlits come to Fort Myers. We had Ed Pantley come to Fort Myers. One of our boys had a 1958 Chevy, 348, and he had six two-barrel carburetors on it. A black '58 Chevy. And boy, that thing would run. I flagged Don Garlits off one day and clutch fragments peppered me when he went by me. We had a guy come out of Tampa that had two Chevrolet engines in a dragster. I can't remember his name. We had a person at the end who would signal which lane won, but it was also confirmed by the time clocks. There was two sets of clocks. The Buckingham strip might have got started in '59. I raced a '64 Ford Fairlane 500, so the strip's last year was probably 1964. The Lee County mosquito control took over the strip. They kicked us off because they wanted to use the strip for their airplanes so they could spray for mosquitoes. I seen a boy out there get killed from Miami. He went through the traps at a little over 120 MPH. He was looking down the inside of the strip and he run off the end of the strip into a pile of rocks. The airstrip was in a U-shape. The blower was sitting right on the top of the engine, so we told him he couldn't officially race because it didn't meet standard equipment. He was looking on the inside and he didn't see the strip was ending. He ran into them rocks and it shattered his body. I had an attic full of trophies. I put them in the attic when I quit racing. I got married and had a family, so that ended the drag racing. They all warped up there in the heat of that attic. So I just threw a couple of garbage cans of trophies away that I had won. The Quarter Mile'rs car club just formed to help run the strip. They weren't into anything illegal or immoral. Of course, back in those days, that was unheard of. They were all pretty straight guys. We didn't have any real troublemakers back then.
Bill Sleviin

Fort Walton

  • Eglin Air Force Base Auxiliary Field No. 4, 1960
My dad raced his 1957 Corvette at Sunset Drag Strip in Panama City on July 4, 1960. He told me he raced the day before at Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton, Florida. The race was held on one of the unused aircraft runways. Dad said there were at least four other Corvettes at the event. He beat all the other Corvettes. But, to determine Top Eliminator, he had to run an "Altered Roadster." The roadster was a much faster car, being lighter and had a  stronger engine. I believe the car was like a T-bucket.  Dad said it took ten runs to determine the Top Eliminator of the event. Dad beat the roadster nine times before finally getting beat by the roadster on the tenth run. Dad said he left early each time to try to make up for the difference in power and speed between the cars. Dad said the four other Corvettes at Eglin AFB came to the Sunset Drag Strip event the next day in Panama City and he again beat them. I believe he told me the class was called the "Modified Sports Car" class which was within the "Middle Eliminator" division. Dad had to race the other class cars in middle eliminator to win the brass cup and the $50.00.  Dad said also there was a rail/dragster at the event in the "Top Eliminator" division, but he could remember no information on that race car.
Bill Capps, III


  • Gainesville Raceway, Gatornationals
I was at the Gator Nationals in Gainesville, Florida. The girls that worked time slips there brought a big (18 inches long) black plastic rat. It had raised hair molded into the plastic and orange eyes with black pupils. From 3 foot away it looked real. We put it in the Porta-Potty at the back behind the seat. We watched as people opened the door then jumped back and slammed the door for the whole race. We had so much fun that the timing  slip girls, who were driving on to the Atlanta race, took the rat there.  At the race, Bill Engle worked with me.  He slipped the plastic rat in the tech trailer behind Bob Bentley one night and as Bob saw it, he jumped back. This was funny as Bentley never moved so fast. We then put it in the Porta-Potty by fuel check. Late one afternoon, the pumper truck rolled up to the Porta-Potty. The driver got out.  He had yellow boots on, he put his helmet and face mask on, then his yellow gloves. He unrolled his hose off the truck  and  went to the Porta–Potty. He opened the door and put one foot in. He looked up and in the next second yellow boots, gloves, and hose went flying through the air as he rolled across the return road. He packed his equipment and drove to the next Porta-Potty. He peaked in before he put his equipment on. Then he serviced it. We had laughed so hard, we forgot to take the rat out that night. The next morning it was gone. Then there was the story of Bill Engle picking me up at O’Hare airport. He had already gotten the Pontiac we were using for that race. We went back to the motel in Joilet. Our room was on the second floor facing the parking lot. Elroy Adams called and wanted to use our car to pick up Bob Bentley at O’Hare. Bill gave him the keys and he left.  He did not know I had another set of keys and clicker in my pocket. A while later we saw them pull into the parking lot. They got out and Bill said, "Give me the keys to the car." Elroy and Bentley went to the trunk and opened it and took out Bentley’s suitcase. When Bentley slammed it and went to walk away, Bill hit the trunk release,  It popped open. He went back and slammed it again harder. Bill popped it again before he could walk away. Then Elroy stepped in and showed him how to properly close it. As they walked away, Bill popped it again. This time when Elroy looked up at the trunk latch, he saw Bill and I in the window laughing like crazy. He shook his finger at us and I told Bill you better not pop it again or we will have to go down and close it. Ahh  races were so much fun.   
Dale Schafer, 
NHRA fuel check official


  • Osceola Drag Strip,  early 1960s
Dad [Clifford C. Lord] passed in August 2013, but he had a good bit of his trophies still. He mainly raced a 1958 Chevy 4-door Bel-Air (that he called old Betsey) at Osceola, Florida.  After the drag strip days, Dad said it became a road race course for smaller cars.  We never seen it used that way, because being in the military, Dad received his commission in 1964. Then he hauled us all to to Athens, Georgia, for school. He still raced there while attending school, then went out to San Diego. He only raced once out there, and then back over here to Jacksonville. He raced once at the Thunderbolt. He never really got back into drag racing cause he was just too busy raising all us kids. He loved to sing. So country music took all his spare time.  He moonlighted all over Jacksonville singing.  He received orders to Viet Nam in late 1969-70.  He came back to Jacksonville, and back to singing.  During all these years of not racing, he would buy engine parts for his car; cams, lifters etc. hoping to someday, as he said, make his car fly. I noticed the other day as I visited mom, . . . on her mirror has been an old sticker that says Osceola Drag Strip TA [Timing Association].  Peeling on the ends a little, but still there.  When dad passed in 2013, his brother took most of his trophies.  Mom kept a few. Sure miss the old man. 
John Lord
Clifford Lord with drag racing trophies on the hood of his 1958 Chevy Bel-Air, circa 1963-64. Courtesy of John Lord
Clifford Lord's class-winning momentos from NASCAR's 1964 Daytona Beach Winter Nationals held at Spruce Creek Dragway.  Courtesy of John Lord


  • Amelia Earhart Field, 1959-61
I raced at Amelia Earhart Field in 1959 thru 1961. I drove my 1959 Chevrolet Impala convertible ( 335 HP -Tri Power w/4 speed & 4:11 rear).  My best time was : ET: 13.93 at 103.54 mph. Thank you for all your efforts on bringing back the memories of the early years of drag racing!
Bob Plotkin
Bob Plotkin racing his 1959 Chevy Impala at Amelia Earhart Field. Courtesy of Bob Plotkin
The engine in Bob Plotkins's '59 Chevy Impala. Courtesy of Bob Plotkin


  • Palm Beach International Raceway/Moroso Motorsports Park,   1980s-1990s
i knew the first owners/builder of PBIR, the Bucheck brothers, Joe Bucheck. Later after Dave Rupp, Dick Moroso bought it and I painted all the signs at the facility and was there at track rentals. I saw many celebrities. I painted all the signs until a few years after his death. Lots of good stories over the 20 plus years. Dave Rupp had a rock concert at PBIR. The Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin, etc. A thousand photos from PBIR and Moroso Motorsports Park. I don't go there any more.
Rick  Goodsell
  • Palm Beach International Raceway
There is a group of us in and from the Pittsburgh area that have been trying to keep the spirit alive for the local tracks and racers in the local Tri-State area. Sadly every year we're losing many of the old racers and it seems the younger generation has no interest in what was our passion when we were younger. I raced for a short while in 1968 and in July I started working a 7-day rotating shift schedule and did that until I retired in 2005. Needless to say, that took care of my racing endeavors. Luckily in 2007 I was able to join up with a T/S car that developed into a 2-car Mountain Motor Pro Stock team. I was with them until 2014 and had to quit because of problems I started having with CO2 poisoning I got in my working days.
Dan Roney
The two pro stock cars and transporter that Dan Roney was associated with from 2007-14. Photo taken at PBIR when they got the Amsoil sponsorship. Courtesy of Dan Roney
  • Palm Beach International Raceway, 1960-82
I raced at many of the tracks in Florida written about in DSL and was from West Palm Beach. I raced at Davie, Masters Field, Amelia Airheart Field, Valkaria, and Palm Beach International strips from about 1960 till about 1982. All but P.B.I.R. of course closed up much earlier. I ran a Norton motorcycle at "BIG GO SOUTH" in Miami, a '34 Ford coupe, '55 Chevy, '56 Chevy, '62 Nova, '66 GTO, and a '61 Ford pickup. We were just a poor family drag racing and raising a family. I am 73 years old and remember a lot of it, but I'm sure I have already forgot a bunch as well.  The entry in DSL on Palm Beach International Raceway was a little confusing to me though. It said a car club, the Piston Poppers, had helped in getting this strip formed, but I grew up with the building of it and never heard of this club.  I was a member of THE GOLDEN GEARS car club in West Palm Beach as was Jack Crozier who you mentioned in the entry. The VAGABONDS and the DRIFTERS were the only other car clubs in West Palm Beach at the time of the track being built (to my knowledge). I worked with Dave Rupp when he purchased it from Ed and Joe Bucheck and knew them as well. Our carclub sold "house straw sweeping brooms" with a paper wrapper on them that said something to the effect, "LETS HAVE A CLEAN SWEEP OF STREET DRAG RACING" to help promote the building of the strip. The only reason I am writting this is to say I never remember the PISTON POPPERS, or wherethey were from. Thanks again for the great coverage. [DSL Compiler's note: Thanks to this information from Doug Roberts, the compiler deleted the reference to a Piston Popper car club in the Palm Beach International Raceway entry.]
Doug Roberts


  • Lakeland International Raceway, 1972
I won Modified Eliminator at the 1972 IHRA Winter Nationals. I remember finishing eliminations on Monday night. We finished around 2 am. Tues. morning in about 30 degree weather.
Scotty McLendon
  • Lakeland Drag Strip, 1990s-2017
I have been attending this track since the late 90's. Six years ago Ozzy Moya took over the lease and made huge improvements to the track. Hurricane Irma came through on 9/11/17 and did some damage to the facility. The land owner has accepted a bid on the property from a developer. The track has been closed since the hurricane and appears to be gone for good very soon.
Scott _______


  • Master Field
My father raced at Masters Field when I was a kid. I do have some pictures of the cars. I now work in a Dade County School's building located on the old field.
Edward Bruce


  • Twin City Dragway, 1971-74
I raced at Twin City Dragway on Mobley Road off Racetrack Road near Oldsmar, Florida, from 1971 to 1974, winning the Modified class of the then-Florida State Motorcycle Drag Championships in November 1974. I won overall Modified Eliminator with my home-built 1966 Honda CB450 (500 cc, 12.5:1 pistons, MegaCycle drag grind cams, total loss ignition, 4" Avon slick, ported and polished myself, running 36mm Mikuni carbs and K&N filters (return road there was dirt), Tomaselli clip-ons, CB175 front forks to reduce weight. It weighed in at 305 lbs, turned 10,500 rpm through the traps.  Best time was 12.43 at 104.77 mph but very consistent, so I was able to win a lot of weekly bracket money and the points series championship in 1974 as well, running all year there every Friday and Saturday night.  I made hundreds (if not a thousand) runs there in close to four years.   Bob Scadron, the principal owner, was an awesome guy and kept the knuckleheads and riff-raff out of the place.  It was a great place to run and I still miss it. Noise issues in the growing area caused it to close, the Sheriff's Office locked the owner out of the property in the '74 to '75 offseason. The land is now a multi-sport park for baseball, soccer, etc.
Tom Hernden
Race program of 2nd Annual Florida State Motorcycle Drag Championships, Twin City Dragstrip, November 16-17, 1974. Courtesy of Tom Hernden
Tom Hernden on his 1966 Honda CB450, Twin City Dragway, 8x10 photo with a time slip from a run. Photograph by the track photographer, courtesy of Tom Hernden
  • Twin City Dragway, 1960s

When I was a small boy, my dad had a Harley Sportster. A man named Horace Davis ran my dad's motorcycle at Twin City Dragway in Oldsmar in the early 1960s. I remember going to the drags and watching when I was about 4 or 5 years old. I loved every minute of it. One time there was a jet car. I think it was named the "Green Monster." It scared the s___ out of me and some other kids. We hid under the stands, but it was so cool. My dad's name is John Smith, Sr. He told me that their best MPH was 119 in  the quarter mile. They also ran at Tampa Drag Strip. I wish I knew more, but my dad has passed 30 years ago.  I used to ride in his lap when he and his friends would go for a ride. He was a member of the Golden Triangle Club. We lived on Hanley and Waters Avenue in Tampa. They raced dirt bikes on my dad's land. That was also cool. if anyone knew my dad and can let me know more, please do.  My dad had a lot of trophies. When I was about 8 or 10 years old, I wanted to use my dad's tools. It took about three days, but I took his trophies all apart. That was one of the worst things I ever did. Stupid kids do things and don't realize just how bad of a thing it is. I do have a piece of one that I saved. 
John Smith, Jr.
Part of what is left of the trophy won by John Smith's father at Twin City Dragway. Courtesy of John Smith
  • Twin City Dragway, 1974-78
After racing an A/MP Corvette at Central Florida Dragway, we began racing a D/MP Corvette at Twin City Dragway in Oldsmar, Florida, just outside of Tampa, Florida. It was known as Modified City, as the modified production class headlined all their races. We raced there from around 1974 until it closed in 1978 due to Hillsborough County's sound ordinance, which shut down Tampa Dragway a few years prior. This track began running two events, one on Friday night and another on Saturday night for about the last two years it was open. If you got winner or runner-up on Friday night, you would sit out eliminations until four cars were left and then run on a ladder. There was some cheating going on with a Corvette coming from the east coast that was running under weight and adding weight at the far end of the track when the crew would go down in their motor home to tow it back. Many racers knew it, but the owner of the track was friends with him. Tthis caused many of the racers to leave and not come back. I witnessed what I thought was going to be an all-out brawl one night after the final at the scales, when the suspect Corvette was found to be under-weight, but was still given the win. The car count went down, and the track subsequently closed. Once closed, it could not be re-opened because of the sound ordinance.
Allen Dillman
  • Twin City Dragway
Jimmy Hutchins (near car) raced at Twin City Dragway. Courtesy of Jim Wyckoff

Orange Park

  • Thunderbolt Raceway,  early 1960s
I also went to Thunderbolt Raceway in Jacksonville sometimes. I remember we went there to see a match race between Ronnie Sox in his AWB 1965 Plymouth and Phil Bonner in his 1965 AWB Falcon. Ronnie tore up his transmission or something and couldn't fix it so Bonner ran some local guy and naturally it was no contest. I remember that he turned 9.50 at 140 mph. I'm now 70 years old and I never miss the Gatornationals in Gainesville. When Chrysler first came out with the 10 AWB cars in 1965 I was totally stoked. I never really got over that so a couple of years ago I bought a 1965 two-door hardtop Falcon. It was pretty rough and I have been working on it for about 2 years. I installed a 9-inch Ford and moved it forward 10.5 inches, put a straight axle in front (it was actually a dropped straight axle), a Lenco street tranny and a 520 ci Ford with Kaase Boss heads and stack injection coming through the hood. I've come a long way with it, but it's still not finished. I haven't even cranked the motor yet because I'm still working on all of the computer wiring. It ain't no sipping tea. I will probably just take it to shows if I ever get it finished. I'm sure this will be my last hurrah.
Cappy Pegram


  • Orlando Speed World Dragway, 1964-65
When in the service based in Orlando about 1964-65, I raced at several Florida drag strips: Speed World (AKA Orange County Drag Strip), Spruce Creek Airport, and Sunshine. Also after the service when living in Kentucky, I raced at Thorn Hill Drag Strip, Bluegrass, Ohio Valley and Clay City. I know several of these tracks are closed, but I remember those and many others, being a racer for over 45 years in so many classes I can't name them all.
Stan Budke

Panama City Beach

  • Sunset Dragway, early 1960s
My father raced at Panama City a few times in the early 1960's. He ran a 1957 Corvette in some sort of eliminator division. The drag strip was called "SunSet Drag Strip." The track ran in an east-west orientation with the racers running west.  I was born in  October 1960.  My dad was racing then. I remember he once told me he and mom (who was pregnant with me), drove to the Panama City Beach beach one summer weekend in 1960. He was almost broke of money. He went to the drag strip and ran some sort of middle eliminator class and won the event. I believe the winnings was either $25 or $50.  He said that money made he and mom feel like they were on top of the world.  Dad told me it was hard to see the flag man or starting lights because of the glare of the sunlight in the western sky. The location was near "Laird Street' off Thomas Drive in your map section. My mom told me it was a terrible place to watch races in the summer nights, because the strip was next to a swamp and all the race track lights attracted biting insects and was annoying. I heard Art Arfon's Green Monster ran there once. The top racers would load up their cars on their car haulers and ride up and down Panama City beach with loud speakers promoting the race to all the beach goers. It was exciting. When i was young, like 5-8 years old, Dad would drive past the drag strip when we visited the beach in the summers. We would roll down the windows and drive real slow past the drag strip. The starting line and starting tower was real near Thomas Drive (like less than 75 yards). They had a fence up to control the crowd. But people would park their cars all along Thomas Drive and stand on the hoods and roofs to watch the racing action. The cars would make burn outs and launch near Thomas Drive and race toward the west off into a woody swampy area.  I read a post were Billy Jacobs owned the track and was going to move the track due to police and city ordinances. This makes sense, because Thomas Drive became clogged with onlookers and it was a danger to motorists.  Panama City was growing and the summers became full of bumper to bumper traffic.  It was special to me as a kid.  Dad also told me about the preparation he would make for a race. He drove the Corvette to the beach towing a small aluminum boat on a trailer. In the boat were his drag slicks, jack and hand tools. He would get to his motel or drag strip and unhook the boat trailer and put his slicks on, open up the headers, loosen up the generator belt, take off the air filter, adjust the timing and head to the race.
Bill Capps, III
Bill Capps wrote:  "I spoke to my father and took this photo of two trophies he won at Sunset Drag Strip. The "cup" style trophy once had a Bakelite black plastic base, but over time it had cracked and fallen away, but the brass cup is still here. Dad said he won that cup trophy on the July 4th weekend of 1960.  The prize money was $50. The other trophy was won at Sunset at another event, but he was unable to remember the exact date. The Corvette in the background is a copy of the car he owned and raced when he was 24 years old back in 1960."
  Courtesy of Bill Capps, III
Bill Capps standing next to the 1957 Corvette that he bought several years ago to replace the original car that he had sold in 1962. This car is in the exact matching colors as his original Vette. He has his original drag slicks that he bolted on for racing in 1960 in storage. Courtesy of Bill Capps, III

Pembroke Pines

  • Miami-Hollywood Speedway,  1967-69
My older brother and his friends would all follow one another from Pompano Beach to the strip In Miami/Hollywood, exit 2 off the turnpike. This is fron '67 thru '69 before bracket racing and the new staging lanes. I remember during certain parts of the year they were open on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. The tech lines were long, but pretty fast. My brother had a '55 Chevy that ran in D/MP (no front bumper). Mr. Donahee was the local funny car favorite in his topless Corvair. There was one bad '68 or '69 SS/AA Cuda called "Hemi Inc." It ran like 10:70's easy. I remember watching the small dragsters get push-started down the track, then turned around to come back. They had some great Saturday night match races. The best was a two out of three between a Opel Cadet (big block Chevy) funny car against a Charger--Fontanani and Nanini. The Charger won. But the biggest memory was the night a funny car flipped and everyone ran down to see. My brother actually got a hunk of the engine block. Years went by after the class racing days were over before I went. Then in '75, while stationed at Homestead AFB, I ran my '70 340 Swinger. Ran a decent mid-15 on 323 gears and no mods of any kind. It was the coolest three years of my life. I couldn't wait for the weekend, knowing we were going. I-95 wasn't there yet so we took several ways there to hop on the Pike. Interestingly, the rides home were the coolest. In the car, with my brother and every known muscle car from that tear wanted to pass each other on the way out. I'm 60 now, but I'll never forget. Oh, I remember when they made the oval track and that was cool, too. The figure 8 races were the best. Then they'd have the Joey Chitwood Stunt team do tricks for the crowd, on those "Good Cooper Tires" the announcer would say.
Eldon Raison
  • Miami-Dragway,  ca. 1967
This is a photo of Gene Cromer's 1966 Mustang funny car from his scrapbook, racing at Miami Dragway.
Frank Taylor
Photograph from Gene Cromer's scrapbook. Courtesy of Frank Taylor


  • Pensacola Drag Strip, 1960-61
i was in the Navy, stationed at Sherman Field, NAS Pensacola. I raced at Pensacola Drag Strip in 1960-61. We pulled up to the line and waited for the flags. This was an old auxiliary Navy field. It was crude, but always fun.
Don Ritchie
  • Corry Field and Pensacola Drag Strip, 1960s
My dad took me to Corry Field many times. They also held sports car racing as well. Big names raced there, e.g., Jim Hall, Roger Penske, Dan Gurney.  I went to Corry while in elementary school. I think I went a few times to Klondike Dragway around the time Corry was running. I might be mistaken. I do remember Don Nicholson's name being announced at Klondike one time. There was a speed shop in Pensacola years ago called Frank Butlers. He was a legend for that area. He is deceased, but had a son who might be alive there. Shop is no more. There was also a shop called Johnny's Tuneup. He did race car work. Bobby Likis is in Pensacola. He had some "bad" cars. Very interesting to chat with. He also set a national record in the 1970's at IHRA.  I talked to a lady years ago who was a Vannoy and told me a lot about the Klondike track. 
Art Thaxton


  • Tampa Dragway,  late 1950s, early 1960s
My step-grandfather was Frank Herndon, Billy Herndon's uncle. He used to take me to Tampa Dragway. We got in for free and I had a great time as a kid. Billy's brother, Joey, was into racing and that's how I first got introduced to drag racing. Later on, I came to know Don and Eddie Garlits and hung out at Don's speed shop near Himes Avenue for years and learned a lot about cars. I remember Joey Herndon had a Plymouth Belvedere called the "Rebel Rouser," a  gray car wilth Hilborn injectors and a Confederate flag painted on it and a twin-engine, two Buick V8 rail [Tommy Ivo].
Frank DeWitt
  • Tampa Dragway, 1972-ca. 1976
Being born and raised in the Tampa area. I had the opportunity to race at the Tampa Drags and Twin City Drags in Tampa. As mater of fact, I lived on a dirt road off Highway 92 heading north off 92 at the end of Tampa Drags. On Sunday morning, when I heard the first race car with open headers fire up, that was my alarm clock to get out of bed and go racing. I ran  a 1969 RS/SS Camaro with a 331 small block with Ford top loader 4 speed, 5.13 12 bolt rear. It ram 12.90's at Tampa, which was I thought was 66 feet short, but I have since read it was more like 120 feet short. But it did run 13.07  at Twin City. I do remember that old '69 Camaro had the original window sticker in the glove box. It cost $3975.00 when it was new and came with a aluminum head 396 with a 4-speed and a fold down rear seat!  The old race track was part of the old Highway 92 road. I once couldn't stop and ran out of track, crossed Highway 579 and wound up in the Texaco gas station! Man those were the good old days!
Roy Riveiro
  • Tampa Dragway, early 1960s
My dad, Pat Patterson, held the Super Stock title in '60-63 in Florida with his 409 Dixie Rebel. 
Jerry Patterson
Bob Tucker and Pat Patterson (wearing hat) at Tampa Dragway. Courtesy of Jerry Patterson
Pat Patterson at Tampa Dragway. Courtesy of Jerry Patterson
  • Tampa Dragway, 1967-72
My father raced at Tampa Dragway on Sundays from around 1967 until NHRA outlawed Corvettes in stock eliminator in 1972. The track was closed in 1975 due to a sound ordinance put into law by Hillsborough County. This eventually caused Twin City Dragway in Oldsmar to be shut down also, after their lease expired. Tampa Dragway ran on Sundays, as the promoter Billy Herndon also ran Central Florida Dragway. My father's A/Stock 427 Corvette used to clean house at both tracks. I was 7 when I first went out there.  This track was actually on the south side of Interstate 4, and it ran uphill. They claimed it was flat, but you could look down the track and see from about 700 feet that it was an uphill grade. The cars ran slower ET's and slower MPH here than they did at Central Florida Dragway. After this track closed, it became a flea market for a number of years before being sold to a developer.
Allen Dillman
  • Tampa Dragway, early 1960s
I raced at Tampa Dragway in the early '60's before going in the service. I know that the junkyard right next door probably lost inventory every race day that it was closed. Wow! A dragstrip next to a junkyard! Paradise.
Dennis Lopez