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Drag Strip List

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Kansas
Drag Strips

1960 AHRA Nationals in Kansas City.From left to right, Art Malone & Al Williams, Bobby Langley, Bob Sullivan, Don Garlits and Chris Karamesines. Photographer unknown

Arkansas City

  • Strother Field, 1970s
 
I grew up at the strip at Strother Field west of Arkansas City, Kansas. My dad and some friends started running it in 1973.  I was only 3 at the time. The Mid-America name did not come around until sometime in the 80's I believe it was.
Gary Samms

Edna

  • Edna Municipal Airport, 1957-58
 
My dad, who is 90 and is still involved in cars raced a '34 Ford with a Lincoln flathead in about '57-58. Him and his brother pulled it to Edna from Springfield, Missouri, with a '57 Chevy. I think the Edna track was a WWII emergency air field.  After he stopped building cars for drag racing he built "stock cars," then late models for asphalt and dirt.  We raced in and around Springfield, Missouri, and traveled some to tracks in Odessa and Rolla, Missouri.  After he quit building race cars, he started building street rods.  The last one he built is a '47 Mercury coupe which he still has.
Terry Davis

Garden City

  • Garden City Dragway, 1965
 
I remember somewhat of the drag strip at Garden City back in 1965. I had a new '65 Buick Skylark with a 300 cubic inch engine, 250 horse, and a 4-speed that run there a couple of times. It was a pretty neat place. I also run several times at the Great Bend drag strip during that time.
Daryl Downing
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Daryl Downing's 1965 Buick Skylark. He later totaled the car out in Carey Park, located in Hutchinson, Kansas. Courtesy of Daryl Downing
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  • Garden City Dragway, 1960s
 
 I was a member of the Gallahad's and raced at the track in the sixty's. I am 71 years old and still drag race and own and operate Greenie's Speed Shop here in Garden City and have since the sixty's. 

Dennis Green
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Flier for 1964 race at Garden City Dragway. Courtesy of Dennis Green
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Gallahads car club plaque. Courtesy of Dennis Green
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Courtesy of Dennis Green

Great Bend

  • Great Bend Airport, 1955
 

I went to the first NHRA championship in Great Bend, Kansas, in 1955. Almost half of the racers were from California. They took most of the trophies! The top time was made by the "Bustle Bomb" at 150mph. I had  the best time of all the street coupes at 99mph. On Monday, heavy rains flooded the strip so there was no Top Eliminator run off.
Don Jensen
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Don Jensen's 1940 Ford, all painted and ready to go to Great Bend for the NHRA national chapionships in 1955. Courtesy of Don Jensen
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Courtesy of Don Jensen
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Lloyd Scott set a new American top speed drag racing record of 151 MPH in his two-engined "Bustle Bomb" dragster at the NHRA National Championships at Great Bend in 1955.   Courtesy of Don Jensen

Liberal

  • Sundown Dragway, circa 1984-85
 
Sundown Dragway was located at the former site of Liberal Army Air Field, which was a WWII Heavy Bomber training facility.  It was a triangular configuration.  It worked great for a drag strip.  One leg was for staging and strip.  The second leg was the return road and the third were the pits. I don't know when it opened or closed as I only ran there a few times in '84 or '85.  Great track, lots of fun, good folks.  It couldn't keep up financially with the NHRA safety mandates I am told. The car pictured is my 1970 El Camino.  540 ci Rodeck on Alky with a Turbo 400. Wheelie bars?  What wheelie bars?  Wheelies are fun!
"Texa$ Don" Zielinski
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Olathe

  • Olathe Naval Air Station, 1972
 

In the late '60s and early '70s I was a part-time pit crew member of Kimball Brothers Racing Team. They raced mostly AHRA, and won several championships. They raced at all AHRA tracks and races,  They also raced at St.Louis, Bristol, Scottsdale, Springfield, MO, Oltathe Air Base, west coast, and east coast. They usually ran GT1 and GT2 and hot rod.   Won several championships, and LOTS of money.
Mark Magel

Topeka

  • Heartland Park, 1992
 
I was watching NHRA Pomona qualifying last night and remembered this story as John Force came up to run.  I think we were at Topeka, Kansas. I do remember it was the year that Cruz  Pedregon won the NHRA Funny Car Championship.  John Force made a great run, but the engine blew up and caught on fire in the lights. The car went burning into the sand trap. His crew towed the car to the scales to weigh it for the run to count.  It was dripping oil and other fluids on the scale. While they were weighing the car, John got out of the tow vehicle. His fire suit dirty, burned, sandy, and oily. A bunch of young spectators ran over and wanted autographs. John started signing autographs. When they were through weighing, Austin Coil hollered, "John, let’s go.” John continued to sign. Coil hollered again, “John, come on.” John continued to sign for the kids. Austin Coil hollered, “John, we have a lot of work to do on the car,. Let's go.”  John signed one more and as John Force walked to the tow truck, he told Austin Coil, “You never know. One of them might be a sponsor someday.”   This was the real John Force.   
Dale Schafer,
NHRA fuel check official
  • Kaw Valley Dragway, 1960s
 
This was my father's drag strip. He owned Kaw Valley Drag Strip in Topeka, Kansas. His name is William Ash. It was probably 1969 when he sold it. I know it was before 1970 because we moved to Kansas City that year. I was born in 1967. My dad had several cars, but his '62 Plymouth with a 413 Stage II Max Wedge was his favorite. The original engine is in California in his shop on a stand. The light tree was a stoplight from the corner of 10th and Kansas Avenue in Topeka that they cut the pole on to make it short enough. That original light tree is in my garage.  Dad raced pro stock, but helped with many other racers as well. I spent most of my youth working on cars of every style with my dad. His trophy collection is huge, all Mopar or Chevy cars. The original light tree is in my garage. The timing lights are in my dad's shop in California along with tons of 8 mm films with sound from the strip. I still have some old fliers advertising races and some signage. Most of the older drivers I grew up seeing with my dad are gone now. Only a few are still with us, but they have fond memories of family weekends at the strip.
Doug Ash

Troy

  • Pony Express Dragway, 1970s
 

My father raced the family's 1971 Vega hatchback at Pony Express Dragway with physical head starts for class handicaps. Vega vs. big Mopar had dad so far down track, he fully reclined the seat to see the bulb on the guardrail, used to start the down track car.
Wayne Darlington

Victoria

  • Walker Army Airfield, 1960s
 

I was at the Walker Timing Association races in Kansas in the early 60"s. I lived about sixty miles away.
Russ Herrick