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Drag Strip List

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KENTUCKY

Beech Bend Raceway Park  (Bowling Green) (1951)
Thornhill Dragstrip (Morning View) (1953)
Cedar Creek Drag Strip/Bullitt Dragway (1956)
Sturgis Municipal Airport (1956)
Owensboro Drag Strip (1958)
Campbellsville Dragway (1959)
Hopkinsville "Drag Strip" (1960)
Mountain Park Dragway (Clay City) (1963)
Bluegrass Dragway (Nicholasville) (1964)
U. S. 60 Dragway (Hardinsburg) (1964)
Manchester Dragway (1965)
Ohio Valley Raceway/Dragway (West Point) (1965)
Somerset Drag Strip (1965)
McCracken County Drag-Strip/Beacon Dragway (Paducah) (1968)
Richmond Dragway (1960s?)
Owensboro/Windy Hollow Raceway Park (1970)
River Cities Raceway Park (Ashland) (1986)
Mountain Motor Racing Complex Drag Strip (Whitesburg) (2003)
 
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Campbellsville Dragway. Photographer unknown

Beech Bend Raceway Park (Bowling Green)

  • Years of Operation: 1951-present
 
Beech Bend Raceway Park is a complex consisting of a 1/3-mile paved oval and a 1/4-mile NHRA drag strip, located in the Beech Bend Amusement Park near Bowling Green, Kentucky. It was built on the grounds of an area which had been used as a recreational area for some time.  A 1/4-mile dirt drag strip operated from 1951 through 1954, when it was paved. The present drag strip was built in the mid-1960s.  David Garvin managed the track in the early 1970s, operating every Sunday from March through September. One black mark in the strip's history happened during an NHRA national event on May 27, 1979. Eighty-eight people were arrested in what newspapers described as "rioting," when police were pelted with rocks and bottles while trying to quell the situation. A fight began when a man was dragged from his van and severely beaten. His van was burned and pushed into a river. It was a dark day in the track's history. Read Don Jensen's recollections of attending a drag race at Beech Bend in 1957 when the strip was dirt in Memories (Kentucky).
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CLICK HERE to see location on a map
CLICK HERE to see video footage of Hot Rod Power Festival at Beech Bend Raceway in 2001, 7 minutes
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Beech Bend Raceway in 1969, 4:08 minutes

Bluegrass Dragway (Nicholasville)

  • Years of Operation: 1964-81
 
Located on US 27, five miles south of Lexington, this track was sanctioned by NHRA in 1965. In 1967, races were held every Sunday and Roger Ferguson was the track manager. Ronnie Chasteen wrote, "I raced there during the late 60's . . . .Just about every Sunday I went to the drags instead of church." On September 22, 1968, Dave Zachary was killed while driving his '67 Cadillac Eldorado funny car during a match race at Bluegrass. His car barrell-rolled after passing the finish line and the roll cage collapsed. In 1978, the track was sanctioned by IHRA. The track hosted a 2-day IHRA points race on May 6-7, 1978. This track is now on the footprint of Industry Parkway, in an industrial area about two miles north of downtown Nicholasville, just east of Highway 27.
CLICK HERE to see location on a map
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Did you race here? Tell us about it.
October 24, 1965
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Bluegrass Dragway, circa 1973, 5:39 minutes, no sound
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Campbellsville Dragway

  • Years of Operation:  1959-1960s
 
Today's Dragstrip Road, a residential street, marks the site of Campbellsville's old drag strip. Other than that, little else is known about this strip. More research is needed to find out its years of operation and details about its history. A 1960 historic aerial photo shows the layout of the old strip, possibly during its construction.
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CLICK HERE to see location on a map
Campbellsville Dragway, 1960 ​​ historic aerial photo
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1960

Cedar Creek Drag Strip/Bullitt Dragway

  • Years of Operation: 1956-72
 
Soon after C.W. "Wally" Sunderhauf bought a farm on Cedar Creek Road in northern Bullitt County, some young men approached him about building a drag strip in November 1955. According to an excellent historical article , they visited drag strips in other states and Wally thought it held promise. They entered into an agreement and began working to level and grade the track. They had it ready to open in late April 1956. Thousands of people showed up to see the opener, causing a massive traffic situation on the narrow dirt road leading to the track. The track was strictly a dirt track for several years before getting paved. Wally had to battle complaints and lawsuits for several years to keep it going. Those legal problems discouraged the young men, so Wally and his wife, Frances, had to shoulder all those challenges and operate the strip on their own. But with increased insurance costs and federal safety regulations, Wally decided to pull the plug on the drag strip operation.  The race track is a corn field today. Hay is stored on what's left of the track to keep airplanes from mistaking the old strip for a part of the Bluelick Airport, lying just due west. Local racers used to call the race track "Cheater Creek."
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CLICK HERE to see location on a map
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Cedar Creek Drag Strip in 1960, 3 minutes, music only/no sound

Hopkinsville "Drag Strip"

  • Years of Operation: ca. 1960

On May 29, 1960, newspapers reported that an airplane landed by mistake on an unlighted drag strip near Hopkinsville. The pilot thought he was landing on Outlaw Field in Clarksville, Tennessee. The  airport today called Hopkinsville Christian County Airport, built in 1952, located two miles east of Hopkinsville, may have been the site of drag races. Research is needed to identify this early Kentucky drag strip.
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CLICK HERE to see location on a map

McCracken County Drag Strip/Beacon Dragway (Paducah)

  • Years of Operation: 1969-1974, 2008, 2013-present
 
Incorporation papers were filed for McCracken County Drag-Strip by Merle S. Shemwell on July 15, 1968. It operated as McCracken County Drag Strip from 1969 to 1974. It was called Western Kentucky Dragway from 1974 to 1976. It then converted to a small private airport called Grow Airpark. There was a race or two put on in 2008, again being called Western Kentucky Dragway. Keith Murt and Dr. Blaine Grow, one of the co-owners of Grow Airpark,  built the 1/8th-mile NHRA-sanctioned Beacon Dragway on the site of the old Farrington Airpark and a portion of Grow Airpark, opening it to racing on May 18, 2013. It is seven miles southeast of Paducah.
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CLICK HERE to see video footage of Western Kentucky Dragway in 2008, 7:29 minutes
CLICK HERE to see location on a map

Manchester Dragway

  • Years of Operation: 1965-?

Incorporation papers were filed for the Manchester Dragway on June 4, 1965. It may have begun earlier. Research has found little about this drag strip, except for reminiscent memories of old timers. Here is a summary of recollections taken by a son from his elderly father:   "My family are all from Manchester. I called my dad today and told him I needed to know something about his youth. He laughed and said good luck. He's getting close to 80 and can't remember his own kid's name half the time. I asked him if there was ever a race track in Manchester. His quick reply was yes. I asked when was this and he said when he was really young. I said you never told me that . . . . I kept trying to get more out of him and asked where it was. He blew my mind and told me, 'you know where the park is and the hospital is?' 'Yes.' 'None of that was there. The roads have been moved around to get there, but you turned there.' He said he thinks they are called different streets now, but back then it was 'take a left on Green Brier Road and then right on Dead Engine Hill.'  What a cool name, huh! He said you went up that hill and the race track was on a flat that was on the top of the mountain.
Thinking about it, I remember going up that hill and back down it. It was steep. . . . Dad went on about sitting on the porch when he was 17 or 18 in Pennington holler, which is called Pennington Hill now. It was pretty far from the track and he could still hear the pipes open up when they gunned it. Too Cool!"   Another racer told about his friend who raced his stock Chevelle at Manchester. He related, "He said he got to the finals and had to run the local hot shot in a super stock "stocker". . . . and was told to never come back by the sheriff. Another guy said he got his slicks slashed in the staging lanes. Also heard of having to be pulled up the hill just to be able to race."
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CLICK HERE to see location on a map

Mountain Motor Racing Complex Drag Strip (Whitesburg)

  • Years of Operation: 2003-14

Located near Isom, this racing complex near Isom includes a 3/8th-mile dirt oval and 1/8th-mile drag strip. Barry Lane Proffitt filed incorporation papers for the strip on July 29, 2003.  The strip appears to have closed in 2014, but that is not certain. Research help is welcome.
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CLICK HERE to see location on a map
CLICK HERE to see video footage of Mountain Motor Racing Complex Drag Strip, 2010, 9:45 minutes

Mountain Park Dragway (Clay City)

  • Years of Operation: 1963-present

Built and owned by the Kennon family, the track continues to operate under IHRA sanction, with both 1/8th and 1/4-mile racing. It opened in 1963 running on Sundays under NHRA sanction. It began staging the Ken-Mor Bluegrass Nationals, a continuing tradition, in 1970. On Saturday, July 16, 1977, the track hosted an IHRA National Title Series race with a $15,000 purse attracting over 300 competitors. The track underwent a complete overhaul and renovation in order to stage the event. The track underwent further improvements in 2001 including new grandstands, bathrooms, concrete barriers, etc.
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CLICK HERE to see location on a map
CLICK HERE to see TV video footage about Mountain Park Dragway, filmed in 2004, 1:18 minutes
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Mountain Park Dragway, ca. 1964-65, 1:51 minutes

Ohio Valley Raceway/Dragway (West Point)

  • Years of Operation:   1965-present

This 1/8th mile track opened on May 15, 1965 as Ohio Valley Raceway.  The track was built by brothers, Wayne and Jim Williams. Wayne Williams wrote about those beginning years :  "Ohio Valley Raceway was built and opened in the spring of 1965 by my brother, Jim, and me, Wayne Williams.  Jim passed away in 2003 which leaves me to try to recall how it all got started, forty-five years ago.  Jim and I always shared a love of fast cars, but in order to watch, or participate in drag racing we had to travel to Hardinsburg, Sturgis or Seymour.  From our teenage years of cruising the parking lots of drive-in restaurants, we knew there were as many fans of hot cars in the Louisville area as anywhere else, but who had nowhere to legally drag race.  We heard opportunity at the door but until we opened the gates to our track that first night, we could not have imagined how loud it was knocking.       Jim was twenty years old at the time and I was twenty-six.  Together, we could not have scratched up enough money to build a go-cart track, let alone a drag strip.  So we approached our father who was certainly no fan of fast cars.  Over the years, any time my '57 Chevy or Jim's 409 powered Corvette pulled into the parking lot of his hardware store in Orell, Kentucky, he merely shook his head.  It took many grueling sessions with our dad to convince him that this was a viable venture, but in the end, he conceded but with strict provisions on a pay-back schedule. The grass airport off Dixie Highway on Katherine Station Road was owned by a man named Huff.  We knew him as a customer at Dad's hardware store.  To us it seemed an ideal place to build a race track and after several weeks of negotiations, we agreed on a price.  Around Christmas of 1964, we put shovels to the ground.  Everything we were spending was borrowed so it was low-budget all the way.  We painted the old aircraft hanger and house.  Excavating and paving of the main strip, return strip, and a few other small areas was finished as soon as weather permitted.  We built a 16'x16' wooden two-story tower near the starting line.  The windows were simply plywood flaps that opened to the inside and left the operations crew exposed to the elements.  We used farm fencing to separate the spectator areas from the track. The Christmas tree and timer was a home-grown monster and the source of many headaches later.  In mid-April of 1965 we opened on a wing and a prayer.  Absolute pandemonium would probably best describe opening night - total chaos.  Katherine Station Road was the only access to the track and it was at a total standstill by 6:30 - cars with nowhere to go, double-parked all the way back to Dixie Highway, the south lane of which was at a standstill all the way back to Al's Bait Shop, a distance of over two miles.  So, with nowhere else to turn -we went to racing.  The farm fencing we installed to keep the spectators safe, was about 15 feet from the track. By the time we started a match race between two wheel-standing 'A'gassers, 'spectators' had broken off every T post at grass level, flattened the fence and were standing with their toes on the edge of the pavement.        From the git-go, this opening night was a family affair - our wives running the concession stand and friends selling tickets and directing traffic.  Needless to say, we were sorely understaffed. The next Monday morning brought the need for some changes - in a hurry.  A new 7-foot chain-link fence was installed from the start line to the finish, keeping the fans off the track.  We opened more entry gates for the pits and increased the waiting area.  Security was a big problem so we hired two of the hardest-nosed security people we could find, solving, forever, that glitch.  A tribute here to Emmet Crane and J.T.S. Brown.  They kept me in beer. In the weeks, months and years to follow, other problems were solved by updating everything, it seemed.  A new timing system solved the Christmas Tree snafu.  More paving improved the staging area.  A more powerful PA system allowed everyone to hear.  A professional announcer kept things running smoothly.  The competition procedures were enhanced.  We improved everything to the point where we thought we might get the nod for a NHRA sanction.  With the help and guidance of Bob and Eileen Daniels, Ohio Valley Raceway became the first sanctioned 1/8th mile track - anywhere.           I would like to list some of the high points over the years in no particular order:  The concession stand developed the best chili dog I have ever had, to this day.  When the floods came, so did the snakes: Big Daddy Don was there and so was Grump. There were many more national heroes who passed through the Valley, too many to mention.  I especially remember with fondness, the deer that crossed the track during eliminations, and Jim Cusic's big left turn at the finish line at 100 mph.  And who could forget the night we searched in the weeds for 15 minutes, for Bill English after his brakes failed. We got to see Frakes & Funks' twin-engine Chrysler-powered front engine car, John Carter's Willys eating up the first third of the track on rear wheels only.  We were the origins of 'Honest' in John's Carter's name.  The Valley went toNational Trails and impressed everyone at the first 1/8th mile Championship.  Many national record holders came from the Valley because fierce competition breeds champions.  There were some low points, most, better forgotten, but the name Ed Payne always comes to mind.  In 1970 we sold the track to a great racer and good friend, Jessie Ballew."   Jessie Ballew and Charlie Meyer wrote about the years 1970-85 , when it was owned by Ballew:  " I purchased Ohio Valley Raceway from Jim and Wayne Williams in 1970 on a five year contract with two years extra if weather was really bad and prevented a lot of racing. I was able to pay it off in the five year window. Wayne stayed on to help run the track. Mom and Dad worked there, also my wife Jenny and brother Eugene. I think they all enjoyed it. Juanita Baker ran the concession stand and kept everything top quality, and she was a great friend of the Ballew family. We had a very good crew including Travis Miller, Huey Darnell, Charlie Meyer, and many others.  Always tried to improve the track and operations. We built the new tower and tore down the old house then built the new garage and restrooms.  Added bleachers bought in Terre Haute, In. Later we added an extension to the track for the shutdown area. We usually started the program with the competition and modified eliminations then on to stock and super stock.  Always kept the action moving with no delays when possible, giving spectators the best show. We tried to book in many top racers for match races, etc.  Such as Don Garlits, Bill Jenkins, John Lingenfelter, Blue Max, Dick Lahaie, Bob Glidden, Don Prudomme, Raymond Godman, Tennessee Bo Weevil, Shirley Muldowney and the Frakes and Funk AA/FD.  The Louisville and Southern Indiana area has many top racers, some of the best in the country still come from right here, along with a lot of National Record Holders. We had 15 years of very good racing at first as an NHRA track and then as a IHRA track.  I was always in attendance for the first 12-13 years. Racers didn't always agree with everything we did, but we always tried to be as fair as possible and would have reruns when needed. We started the Door Slammer Nationals in 1975, it became the largest Sportsman Event if the time and still continues today with the 36th annual in October, 2010. When the floods would come and cover the track, we would bring hoses and pumps and stay there 24/7 to keep the track washed off as the water went down.  I always enjoyed fast and nice appearing cars, and raced a lot of cars, including Corvettes, 57 Chevy's, Kellison and one old Studebaker. Frank Spencer and I became close  friends and we raced together a long time. We held the SS/I record for a long time with a 68 Corvette.  Frank worked very hard on the race car, and became a very talented engine builder. I have very many good memories of the track and racing in general and still have many friends from those days. I may do a little racing again this year myself.  I have always remained friends with Jim & Wayne Williams and in 1985, I sold the track to other friends, Mike Kayrouz and Fred Everitt."
CLICK HERE to see location on a map
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1965
CLICK HERE to see video footage of Ohio Valley Dragway, 2009, 2:42 minutes
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Otter Lake Drag Strip (Madisonville)

  • Years of Operation:  ?-?

Research has found nothing about this track, except the fact that it existed. More research is needed to determine the years it operated, its location, and details of its history. Input is needed.
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Owensboro Drag Strip

  • Years of Operation: 1958-70

history of this drag strip states that the track was built by Hal Miller on Veach Road in Owensboro. It opened in 1958. As the story goes, a group of hot rodders asked Miller if he had a place where a drag strip could be built. He did. Miller built the track, the hot rodders conducted the races, and Miller ran the concession stand as a lease payment. When it was first built, it was a two-lane track with a chip-and-seal kind of surface and a dirt shutdown area. One old timer recalled: "it was located just outside town, past the Owensboro Country Club, off of Veach Road. It was a 'modest' operation, with an old stop-light starting system and because it had no 'Christmas tree' for handicap starts the time-honored car length spotting system was used. So, if you had an A/Stock 427 Ford racing a V/Stock '52 Studebaker the Stude was positioned almost halfway down the track."  With Owensboro experiencing growth, Miller started getting pressure from city leaders about his race track. In 1970 Miller built a dirt short track oval at the Windy Hollow Fairgrounds. He decided to vacate Owensboro and in 1970 moved his drag strip next to the dirt track at Windy Hollow (see enty below). It was called Windy Hollow then.
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CLICK HERE to see location on a map

Owensboro/Windy Hollow Raceway Park

  • Years of Operation: 1970-present

history of this drag strip states that Hal Miller moved his 1/8th-mile drag strip from Owensboro to Windy Hollow Fairgrounds in 1970. Dallas Jones leased and operated the track from 1973 through the 1987 season. During this time, Jones changed the drag strip name to Owensboro Raceway Park. The track also became affiliated with NHRA and bracket racing replaced class racing. Gary Brantley was killed while racing on the 1/8th-mile strip on August 21, 1976. A track record of 5.23 was set in 1986. From 1988 to 1993, Evelyn Miller McCarty, the daughter of Hal Miller, ran the drag strip. In 1989, Chuck Baird of Assumption, Illinois, shattered the track record with a 4.542 run at 151.49 MPH. That was the first time anyone had run over 150 MPH on the track.  The next year, Baird upped his record to 4.465 at 156.81, a record that still stands as an ET bracket record. In 1990, the name of the strip was changed to Windy Hollow Raceway Park. From 1994-95, Francis Libs operated the drag strip.  Evelyn McCarty resumed running the drag strip from 1996 to 2004. In 1996, Bill Bartkus in a jet-powered racer was the first to top 200 MPH with a 218 MPH run. Randy and Kim Booker were the new strip promoters in 2005. They were followed by Phillip Oakley, who ran the track from 2006 through 2011. Johnathan Jones ran the track in 2012. After only a single race in 2013 because of the lack of a track operator, the drag strip resumed operation under the helm of Curtis Howard in 2014.
CLICK HERE to see video footage of Windy Hollow Raceway in 2012, 5 minutes
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Richmond Dragway 

  • Years of Operation: ?-?

Nothing is known about this old drag strip, except that it existed, but is no more. Research is needed to find out the years of its operation and details of its history.  Andrew Thornton pointed out that it ran on the old Port Richmond Airfield, which is adjacent to the Richmond Speedway dirt track. One old racer shared a funny memory of racing at Richmond in 1963:  "I ran there at Richmond when I was 15 with a '56 Chevy wagon and my '55 Studebaker pickup with a 289 stud engine. You did your burnout going down the track, and then you backed up and got on the starting line. Well I forgot to put it in low.  My foot was shaking kind of bad, if you know what I mean.  I tacked her up to about 5000 and the flagman dropped the flag, I dropped the clutch. Look out boys.  Back then people would stand behind you, like 3 feet behind your truck. Well, by the time I got stopped, I had four men in the back of my truck. The other car was long gone, but back then they would help out. So after we got everybody out of my stud-o-baker pickup, we got someone to run the other car down and talk him into coming back.  I used low gear this time. We had a race. He beat me by one car. I know you boys want to know what kind of car it was. It was a new 63 1/2 Ford Falcon Sprint convertible, 260 V8, 4 speed, Black on Black." Another recalled , " A friend of mine has some old home movies from the Richmond Dragway! Its two one lane strips side by side with grass in the middle. It looked scary!"
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Richmond Dragway, 1979 topo map

River Cities Raceway Park (Ashland)

  • Years of Operation: 1986-early 1990s

Drew Hester filed incorporation papers for River Cities Raceway Park on April 4, 1986. It was located 2 miles up State Route 5 from U.S. 60, then west on Green Springer Road. Those who helped build and operate this 1/8th-mile strip include Lester Blackburn, Jack Metz, Steve Hester,  and Jack Riggs. C. D. Stiltner was a co-owner at least by the late 1980s. During the course of its history, it was sanctioned by NHRA and IHRA at different times. The site of the drag strip is now used for raising emus.
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July 4, 1992
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Somerset Drag Strip

  • Years of Operation: 1965-early 1970s?

Located a few miles west of Somerset on Route 80, on what is today called Raceway Drive, a residential road of a mobile home park. One old timer recalled, "The 'hot cars' would usually turn around and drive back up the track after a run. One night an Anglia came back up the track a bit too fast and skidded right out the gate, across route 80 and came to a stop in front of the building across the road." Another old racer remembered, "They closed Somerset when someone came back up the wrong way and hit one going down the strip. I think one got killed. . . .  at the end of the track you drop over a hill, and that was where the shut down part was. You had to have a hell of a set of brakes to get stopped before you went through the fence."
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The drag strip appears just to the right of the mobile home park in this 1972 aerial photo

Sturgis Municipal Airport

  • Years of Operation: 1956-59, 1961-63

The Sturgis Kiwanis Club sponsored drag races at the airport.  It had a 5,000-foot concrete runway. The races were timed by A.T.A.A. officials and trophies were awarded to all class winners. At least three races were held in 1956 on July 1, August 5, and September 2.  The Kiwanis Club held a race at the airport on August 4, 1957. Another documented race was held on June 1, 1958. By 1959 the racing schedule had been solidified to happen on the first Sunday of each month. By that year the track record was 133 MPH set by Bill Roberts of Nashville, Tennessee. The Road Knights car club conducted the races. NHRA-sanctioned drag races were held in 1961 on August 6, August 27, September 17, and October 1 and October 15. Races were held on the first and third Sundays in 1963. The airport was built in 1941 by the U. S. Army for pilot training. It is today a public-use airport located two miles east of Sturgis.
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CLICK HERE to see location on a map

Thornhill Dragstrip (Morning View)

  • Years of Operation: 1953-present

Thornhill touts itself as the oldest continuously-running drag strip in the nation. Pomona, Bakersfield, and other strips predate it, but they don't operate a regular schedule of continuous races. The 1/8th mile strip is located at 14114 Kenton Station Road in Morning View (near Kenton). The track opened as Thorn Hill Lake Drag Strip and was run by a local northern Kentucky car club. The club received some tires to raffle off for the drag strip they were trying to get going. The track was originally the Thorn Hill Airfield. It was built during Prohibition by bootleggers who were transporting moonshine by a small airplane. The early drag strip was operated by Ralph Payne. The surface was graded dirt that was oiled down to eliminate dust. Eventually the starting line area was paved. Sections of the strip were paved over the years until the entire track was paved by 1958. Due to a 1973-court-mandated noise ordinance, they only are permitted to hold races for six hours a week on Saturdays. It is a family owned and operated business.In 2008, Gerald Meyer purchased the facility, and made improvements to the burn out boxes. 
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CLICK HERE to take a video tour of the Thornhill Strip in 2009, 8 minutes

Tompkinsville Dragway

  • Years of Operation: 1968-?
 
James A. Clarke of Campbellsville filed incorporation papers for a Tompkinsville Dragway Corporation on August 1, 1968. Nothing more than that tidbit of information and the existence of a Dragstrip Road in Tompkinsville, leading to an old tarmac drag strip is known. More research or help is needed on this.
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CLICK HERE to see location on a map

U.S. 60 Dragway (Hardinsburg)

  • Years of Operation: 1964-present
 
This 1/8th-mile strip is located two miles southeast of Hardinsburg on the south side of U.S. Highway 60 near Harned. It celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014.   Eddy Kannapel wrote a brief history :  "US 60 Raceway was opened on July 31, 1964 by Hardinsburg resident and future Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame member, Keenan O' Connell. O'Connell stated that he was invited by a friend to attend the drag races at the old Owensboro Dragstrip. As he sat on top of the hill watching the cars and the people pour in to the racetrack, he saw the possibility of a good financial opportunity along with bringing the sport of drag racing to the Breckinridge County area.   At that time O'Connell owned a go kart track that he had purchased from the Ditto family and decided that the location would be a good place for the dragstrip. Although he did not know at the time where the financing for the track come from, plans were made to build US 60 Raceway.  On opening day, O'Connell stood at the gate and looked up and down US Highway 60. As far as he could see in both directions, cars were lined up to enter the racetrack. He knew then that US 60 Raceway was going to be a success.     Farm fencing had been installed to keep race fans from getting to close to the dragstrip. Before the racing had started, fans had pushed the fences down and where lined up right next to the racing surface as cars blasted down the track. Chainlink fencing was installed in short order.      Many of the sports top drivers of the day appeared at US 60. Some of the more notable were, Pro Stock superstar Bob Glidden, Super Stock ace Herb McCandless, Top Fuel driver Dale Funk, Top Gas star Gordon Collett, Modified and Comp eliminator driver Joe Williamson, Funny stars Randy Walls, Bruce Larsen and Kelly Chadwick, Bill "Maverick" Golden, driver of the famed wheelstander, "The Little Red Wagon" and scores of others.  The first 1/8 mile Nationals were held at US 60 Raceway with cars appearing from 37 states.  O'Connell recalled some of the more memorable events that occurred at US 60 such as the night the lights went out as two dragsters crossed the finish line. The two cars bumped together in the dark but were bought to safe stop by their drivers.  Another time two dead heats occurred between the A Street Roadster driven by Jerry Basham and the A Gas Henry J driven by Doug Greenfield. A third runoff was held with Greenfield taking the win.      Match racing was big at the time and the fans at US 60 Raceway enjoyed some of the best in the country.  Match races between the Golden Angel owned by Ed Payne and driven by Henry Putman and the Roadrunner Henry J   owned and driven by Doug Greenfield were crowd favorites.  O'Connell operated US 60 Raceway from 1964 until 1974 when it was then leased to Dallas Jones who now owns and operates Beech Bend Raceway. The track was leased to several different operators over the years including Noel Davis, Kevin Brown, Harvey Davis, Eddie and Bruce Lampton and J.D. and Judy Snead. The track was sold to the Sneads who continue to operate it to this day.   O'Connell stated that there was a lot of joy and a lot of heartaches to running US 60 but it was a great experience and he still loves racing and drove a race car until he was 73 years old.
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1964
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of U.S. 60 Dragway, early 1970s, 3:52 minutes