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Drag Strip List

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MAINE

Sanford Dragway (1955)
Winterport Dragway (1967)
Norridgewok Dragway (1968)
Oxford Plains Dragway (1969)
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Dragster at Sanford Drags. Photographer unknown

Norridgewock Dragway

  • Years of Operation:   1968

It was listed as one of 325 U.S. drag strips in 1968 published in an issue of the Swedish magazine Start & Strip .  Racing probably took place on the old miltary airfield located west of the town, but more research is needed.
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Oxford Plains Dragway

  • Years of Operation: 1969-present

Oxford Dragway's website claims that 1969 was the year the 1/8th-mile track opened. It is nestled in behind and north of the speedway oval.  On Friday night, May 7, 1971, Don Garlits faced Rhode Island's Jimmy King in a match race. King had won the Gaternationals just a few months previous and was runner-up that year to Garlits at the Winternationals. It was Garlits second appearance at the track. In 1977 Garlits set a track record at 180.74 MPH. Twenty years later, Donny Johnson of North Waterboro, Maine ran a 3.88 at 191mph to break Garlits's old mark. On September 3, 1971, the track booked in five funny cars including Bob Cain's '71 "Hurri-Cain." On May 19, 1972, Lew Arrington's "Brutus" faced the Hill Brothers funny car.  On July 14, 1972, Don Garlits faced Don Prudhoome in a match race. The dragway put on an energetic program on Friday nights. For instance, in 1976-77 cars that were booked in included Doug Rose's "Green Mamba" jet dragster, Jungle Jim Lieberman, Kosty Ivanoff's "Boston Shaker," "Hemi Under Glass" wheelstander, Don Nicholson, Arnie Karp's "Boston Strangler," Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins, etc. The track continues to promote a balanced program of feature cars and local sportsman schedule.
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July 14, 1972
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CLICK HERE to see Jack Chrisman's 1965 Cyclone Comet at Oxford Plains Dragway, 2012, 2:45 minutes

Sanford Dragway

125171013
  • Years of Operation: 1955-66

The New England Hot Rod Council had been searching for a permanent drag racing track for two years when they successfully obtained use of an abandoned Sanford Airport runway. The first official drag race was held on July 8, 1955. The Shaft Twisters club of Portland conducted the races, sanctioned by the New England Timing Association. They ran a half dozen races in 1955, drawing over a thousand fans each Sunday. At the August 28 race, Ralph Bannister of Billerica, Massachusetts, got top speed of the meet with a 112.5 MPH run in his Ford-engined dragster. The 1955 season concluded with the Northern New England Drag Race Championship on October 2, drawing 150 competitors. In 1956, the New England championship races were held on October 7. On October 13, 1957, Emil Nelson, who claimed to be the oldest active hot rod driver in the country, turned 101.70 MPH, the fastest speed of the meet for a Maine driver. In 1959, Art Malone, driving for Don Garlits, set a new top speed national record with a 183.66 MPH run. Sanford was an NHRA track circa 1959-61 and ran on the second and fourth Sundays. One drag racer attended his first drag race at Sanford in June 1964:  "My first races ever was June 1964, Sanford, Maine. Don Garlits was supposed to run a best of 3 with Art Malone, but stiff cross winds forced Malone into the top end timing lights and destroyed his front end in round 1. Totally un-advertised, 'Sneaky' Pete Robinson had turned up to challange Malone for the #8 spot on Drag News. Instead he ran Garlits using his controversal jack stand starting system. Needless to say, I was hooked for life,and was back in 2 weeks to see Ivo match race A&B Speed Shop." Another old timer recalled being at that very same race:  "I was there that day as well! I remember it was June 18th because on June 20th I was headed for Great Lakes Naval Training Center and had delayed entry into the Navy just to see that match. Pete pulled a gigantic hole shot on Garlits and turned (if I remember correctly) an 8 flat, 177 mph and Big Daddy just caught him in the eyes and turned a 7.8, 195 mph! The first run Malone hit a couple of cones in the eyes and bent a front wheel. Eldon Sidebotham loaned him a spare so he could compete and on the second run he hit the lights. Supposedly the A&B Speed Shop was in Somerville." On June 18, 1966, Don Garlits headlined a 2-day race. One old timer recalled a time when Garlits raced:  "I remember when the anouncer said Don Garlits had just arrived and within a few minutes he was looking at the track and starting line. Then came back with the car and made his first run. Set new strip record of 195 mph. I think the et was around 6.5. Garlits said Sanford was one of his favorite strips because of long shut down area. The runway was 5000 feet long."
June 18, 1967
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Winterport Dragway

  • Years of Operation:  ca. 1967-present

This drag strip opened on or before 1967 as a quarter-mile strip. One online source gives its opening year as 1967, but lacks source documentation. One old racer who raced there in the 1960s recalled:  "Winterport is one of those out of the way place that time just never caught up with. I raced there in the '60s, '70s, '80s and then went back with the coupe three years ago for the August nostalgia event. While unloading the car, I stood on the trailer and closed my eyes for a second, opened and looked around. It was 1967 all over again!"  The first reference research could find in newspapers dated to 1972 about some young fellow who won a trophy in F/SA with his '67 Cougar. It operates today as an unsanctioned, outlaw, non-profit 1/8th-mile track owned by eleven racers. Further research in Maine newspapers is needed.
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CLICK HERE to see video footage of Winterport Dragway, 1990s, 2:59 minutes