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Drag Strip List

A Comprehensive Encyclopedia

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Gowen Field (Boise) (1954)
Pocatello Drag Strip/Drag City Raceway (1954)
Mountain Home Air Force Base (1956)

Firebird Raceway (Eagle) (1968)
Thunder Ridge Raceway (Star) (1968)
Gooding County International Raceway /High Desert Speedway(1972)
Snake River Drag Strip (Blackfoot) (2006)
 
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NHRA Drag Safari race at Pocatello, June 1955. Photographer unknown

Firebird Raceway (Eagle)

  • Years of Operation: 1968-present
 
Bill New filed incorporation papers for Firebird Raceway on May 10, 1968. It was listed in the March 1969 issue of Hot Rod as being under NHRA sanction. Denny Thomas was killed racing his dragster when he lost control after crossing the finish line on April 13, 1969. The track was sanctioned by NHRA. Bill New was an energetic race promoter from the start. In July 1970, Don Prudhomme race there with his top fuel car. New opened the 1971 season on Sunday, April 4, with an event he named the Firebird Ignitor. He brought in four big-name funny cars including Don Prudhomme in his Mattel Hot Wheels-sponsored Barracuda, Ed McCulluch, Kenny Goodell, and Jerry "The King" Ruth in his '71 Mach 1. On May 30, 1971, Chuck Poole's wheelstander shared the track's billing with four fuel altereds including Mike Sullivan, Dave Hough's "Nanook," Randy Bradford, and Ed Moore's "Mob T." On June 19, 1971, Firebird hosted a big stock, super stock, and pro stock event attracting such racers as Bill Bagshaw, Butch Leal, Dave Wren, and Cal Method. On May 13-14, 1972, the track hosted its first NHRA divisional race. On Friday night, July 6, 1973, Don Garlits beat Jerry Ruth in a 2-out-of-3 match race. Garlits logged the best time with 221.04 MPH at 6.51 seconds. In 1974, the track was sanctioned by AHRA. It hosted a Grand National AHRA race in late September 1974. The pro category winners were Gary Beck (top fuel), Don Prudhomme (funny car), and Dick Landy (pro stocvk) Beck established a new track record with a speed of 242.59 MPH in 6.30 seconds.
Did you race here? Tell us about it.
CLICK HERE to see location on a map
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August 11, 1973
CLICK HERE to see video footage of Firebird Raceway in 1999, 1:33 minutes

Gooding County International Raceway/High Desert Speedway

  • Years of Operation: 1972-present
 
In early 1972, interest was expressed by two parties interested in leasing an unused runway at the Gooding Airport, located four miles west of Gooding. The two parties included a California firm called B. C., Inc. and Bill New who owned Firebird Raceway. Mr. New was skeptical of the profit-making claims being made by the California group and advised he city to proceed with caution. Incorporation papers were filed by Craig Muchow, a local Gooding resident and president of the Gooding County International Raceway on August 4, 1972. Twelve days later, Muchow signed an 8-year lease with the city to operated the drag strip. The city would get four percent of gross profits and five percent after five years. Muchow intended to build permanent bleachers in the fall, but in the meantime would borrow movable bleachers and other needed equipment. The first race was held on Sunday, August 20, 1972. Three hundred spectators watched two hundred entries. One of the problems encountered was the lack of a return lane slowed the racing. It was hoped that it could be remedied before the next race. Four hundred spectators attended the second race held on September 17, 1972, at the newly-opened drag strip located four miles west of Gooding. There were 57 entries competing in seven different brackets. Due to organizational problems and lack of big-name drawing cards, the racing program was intermittent in 1973. But on August 25, 1974, the strip featured a match race between two Salt Lake City funny cars driven by Mike Reynolds and Jeff Bost. The track was sanctioned by AHRA that year. Research was unable to find information after 1974 until about 2005, when Mitch Johnson operated it under the name High Desert Speedway. Johnson changed  the name to SoHo Raceway Park in 2012, but has reclaimed the High Desert name again today for 1/8th-mile racing.
CLICK HERE to see a video production about High Desert Speedway, 2009, 4:47 minutes
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Gowen Field (Boise)

  • Years of Operation: 1954-61
 
The Boise Timing Association conducted the Idaho State Championship drag races at Gowen Field on August 24-25, 1957. This may be the site of the Boise Drag Strip, listed in 1963 Hot Rod Magazine (August issue) as having races on July 21, August 11, August 25, September 8, September 22, October 6, and October 20.  In 1959, The WAS dragster set a new track record with a run of 133.33 MPH in 11.24 seconds. The site of this airfield dates back to circa 1936-38 when it was built by the city of Boise. It was used as a training base for bomber crews during World War II, then reverted back to the city after the war. It is leased today to the Idaho Air National Guard.
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Did you race here? Tell us about it.
July 17, 1960
CLICK HERE to see location on a map

Mountain Home Air Force Base

  • Years of Operation: 1956, 1963
 
The Idaho state championship drag race was moved from Boise's Gowen Field out to a runway on the air base at Mountain Home. Held on September 16, 1956, the race was conducted by the Boise Timing Association. Drag races may have been held between 1956 and 1963, but more research is needed. In 1963, the opening race was March 17. At one time in its history, drag races at the air base may have been called Tumbleweed Drag Strip, but that needs to be confirmed.
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Pocatello Drag Strip/Drag City Raceway

  • Years of Operation: 1954-93
 
It is known that a drag races were held on June 20, August 22, September 12, and October 10, 1954.  The non-profit Southeast Idaho Racing Association, organized in October 1953, asked permission to hold drag races at the old Pocatello Municipal Airport (McDougall Field), four miles west of Pocatello. That is the place where drag races were held in 1954 and after. The racing strip was 175 feet wide and one mile long. Photos of the early strip can be found in Hot Rod Magazine, (Apr. 1954): 51 and (Dec. 1954): 36-37. The airport was used for plane landings and takeoffs prior to its construction in 1928.  The runway was paved sometime between 1937 and 1941. Army and Navy operations were conducted from the airstrip during the war. They began using an electronic timer in 1955 and held races on alternate Sundays during the racing season. They boasted of being the only drag strip in the nation that NHRA had sanctioned for holding a regional championship for two straight years in 1955, having held one also in 1954. 6,850 people were drawn to watch about ten races in 1957. Races were held on a bi-monthly basis in 1958. The Southeast Idaho Racing Association boasted about 30 members in 1958 and met in the group's clubhouse north of the city near the Kraft plant. As of late September 1958, the strip record was 135.32 MPH set by Duane Wignal of Salt Lake City. After five years at the old airport strip, there was some dissatisfaction with its condition and location. There were unfilled chuckholes at one end of the strip and, in the view of many, the strip was too far from town. In August 1959, the Southeast Idaho Racing Association approached the Bannock County commissioners about moving the drag strip to a new location. The commissioners liked their idea. They approved moving the drag strip from its current location at the old airport to a site at the Bannock County Fairgrounds. They favored using a strip of unused land in front of the fairgrounds that was a mile long and 1,100 feet wide. But the idea never had legs. Further study of the matter deemed that the fairgrounds plot was insufficient, so racing stayed at the old airport. In 1961 the Pocatello Valley Timing Association embarked on a door-to-door fund-raising campaign to raise $2000 to repave the strip. Pocatello city kicked in $1000 and the city of Alameda contributed $400 towards the cost of paving. The strip was sanctioned by NHRA in 1961. In 1967, construction on the I-15 Interstate cut about 1,000 feet off the airport strip.  To fix it, the Pocatello Valley Timing Association added 1,000 feet to the other end. They also had to relocate the timing tower, starting line, and power outlets. In 1970, a 2 1/2 year lease of the airport drag strip was granted to Intermountain Raceway, comprised of a three-man partnership of Tim Whiteus, Gary Ratliff, and Jim Parsons. They paid $150 per year for the right to hold drag races at the old airport.  The strip was closed by the city council in spring 1973 when a youngster was killed in a crash after-hours and a lawsuit brought against the city. But legal matters were resolved and the strip re-opened a few months later, with events promoted by Jim Hennessy. The strip was last operated by wheelstanding showman Ed "The Outlaw" Jones. The lease was not renewed because of leaching from the Simplot plant adjacent to the track.
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April 21, 1968
CLICK HERE to see video footage of Drag City Raceway in 1995, 2 minutes

Snake River Drag Strip (Blackfoot)

  • Years of Operation:  ca. 2006?
 
Located fourteen miles west of Blackfoot, this racing complex was to include a 1/4-mile drag strip, 3/8th-mile paved oval, and a motocross track. Paving on the drag strip was planned to occur in spring 2006, but aerial photos in 2009 do not look like the paving was ever done.
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The Snake River Drag Strip in this 2009 aerial photo doesn't look like it was ever paved

Thunder Ridge Raceway (Star)

  • Years of Operation: 1967-73
 
Tom, Jim, and Kenny Foster built this drag strip, about a mile northwest of Star, in about 1967. It was a 4,000-foot long NHRA-approved strip. The Fosters operated the strip for the first three years. The Treasure Valley Timing Assoication operated the strip independent of any official affiliation for two years.  On Friday evening, September 1, 1972, David Chitwood was killed while driving his 1937 Ford pickup race truck. He lost control after crossing the finish line and rolled over several times. Richard Moore was the track manager in 1972. The Idaho Drag Racing Association conducted the races in 1973. Today it is an airport, Foster Field, that supports a skydiving school.
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1969
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1973