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Drag Strip List

A Comprehensive Encyclopedia



Twin City Speedway/North Star Drag Strip ​(New Brighton) (1958)
Red River Valley Dragways/Interstate Dragways/Top End Dragways (Glyndon) (1959)
Cloquet "Drag Strip" (1959)
Minnesota Dragways (Coon Rapids) (1959)
Brainerd International Raceway (1969)
Iron Range Raceway (Keewatin) (2000s)
Jack Ditmar's "Lil' Screamer" B/A at Minnesota Drags, 1965. Photograph from Tom Fennell

Brainerd International Raceway

  • Years of Operation: 1969-present
Built by George Montgomery, construction started in 1967 on a three-mile road course (called Donnybrooke) that incorporated a 60-foot wide, 4,000-foot long straightaway that served as the drag strip. It was located six miles north of Brainerd along Highway 371. When the track opened it was called Donnybrooke International Speedway. It retained that name until 1976 when it was renamed Brainerd International Raceway.  It opened under NHRA sanction. Excerpt from a brief history on the raceway's website :  "Although road racing was BIR’s focus for the first decade, drag racing gradually became more prominent at the track. The first drag race was in 1969, when the National Hot Rod Association brought its regional points race to BIR’s mile-long straightaway that still doubles as a drag strip today. In 1977, BIR made a significant investment in drag racing by hosting the Crown Auto Funny Car Championship and the Crown Auto Winston Points Championship. In the first Funny Car Championship, Don 'The Snake' Prudhomme took home the championship but was beat the following year by Tom Hoover. By the third year, the event attracted 22,000 fans. With motorsports gaining popularity through the 1980s, BIR began to make major improvements to the facilities, including grandstands, VIP suites and a concessions arcade. In 1982, when the Met Stadium in Bloomington was tore down, BIR acquired its bleachers in preparation for its newest drag racing event, the Quaker State NorthStar Nationals. More than 50,000 fans attended the inaugural NorthStar Nationals as they watched Shirley Muldowney win the Top Fuel Dragster finals and Mark Oswald set a world speed record of 256.41 mph in his Top Fuel Dragster. Other winners in the early years of that event were Kenny Bernstein, John Force, Jim Head, and Joe Amato, the winningest Top Fueler in NHRA history, who won at BIR in 1983, 1984, 1988 and 1989. The NorthStar Nationals eventually became the NHRA Nationals, the largest annual sports events in the Upper Midwest. Attracting over 100,000 people for the weekend, BIR is a favorite stop for the race teams, the NHRA and fans alike mainly because it’s the only track on the NHRA circuit with on-site camping – The Zoo."
June 21-22, 1969
CLICK HERE to see documentary video of BIR, 7:12 minutes
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CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Donnybrooke, ca. 1969-70, pan to 6:02 minute mark, ends at 22:58 mark, no sound

Cloquet "Drag Strip"

  • Years of Operation: 1959
Ernest Luomala, a dairy farmer, was fed up with government controls and regulations. He put all his farm equipment and his dairy herd up for sale to raise $20,000. He wanted to use the money to build a drag strip on 80 acres of his 140-acre farm. He wanted to use the money raised to pay for black-topping the drag strip. Research was unable to find anything further so it is likely that the strip was never built.
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CLICK HERE to see location on a map

Iron Range Raceway (Keewatin)

  • Years of Operation:  ?-before 2008
This drag strip was built just south of Keewatin. Research has found little about this track except what can be seen in historic aerial photos. From those photos, it can be seen that the track was built prior to 2003, but had closed before 2008.
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Iron Range Raceway, 2003 historic aerial photo

Minnesota Dragways (Coon Rapids)

  • Years of Operation: 1959-76

A well-written recent history of Minnesota Dragways paints a nostalgic picture of the excitement of drag racing at what is now a quiet residential neighborhood.  The driving force behind the construction and operation of the strip seems to be a non-profit group comprised of thirteen Optimist clubs in the greater Minneapolis-St. Paul area. The Twin Cities Optimist Club's Timing Association sponsored the races. Located in Coon Rapids (3 miles east of Anoka), Minnesota, the entrance to the strip was near the present-day intersection of Main and Avocet. There were bleachers, but most people lined the chain-link fence bordering the strip. It was sanctioned by NHRA at least by 1960. At the 1963 season-ending race on September 29, Joe Deggendorf of Dubuque set a new strip record of 9.96 seconds and 143 MPH in his A gas dragster.  John Foster was the track manager in 1969. Don Garlits faced Chris Karamesines in a match race on May 26, 1963. In July 1972, 30,000 people showed up when Evel Knievel appeared to jump three vans and eight cars in his steam-powered Harley Davidson.
May 26, 1963
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CLICK HERE to see location on a map
CLICK HERE to see Super 8mm video footage of Minnesota Dragways, ca. 1970s, 7 minutes, no sound
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Minnesota Dragways, ca. 1969-70, pan to 3:07 minute mark, ends at 6:00 minute mark, no sound

Red River Valley Dragways/Interstate Dragways/Top End Dragways (Glyndon)

  • Years of Operation: 1959-present
George Holland built this drag strip five miles southeast of Moorhead in 1959. Under his ownership, it was sanctioned by AHRA. Races were conducted by the Red River Timing Association.  It was listed as one of 325 U.S. drag strips in 1968 published in an issue of the Swedish magazine Start & Strip .   According to the track's website, "In 1969, the track was purchased by Duwayne Engness. He renamed it Interstate Dragways and changed to NHRA sanctioning.  Throughout the early and mid- '70s, Duwayne ran NHRA class cars (Super Comp, Gas, and Street) only. In the late '70s he added bracket classes to the mix for a few years then migrated to running only bracket classes.  Classes that Duwayne ran were Super Comp which ran on a pro tree and the racer dialed their own handicap.  Pro ET, Heavy Street, and Street which all run on a full tree and racers dialed their handicaps.  In '78, they switched to running two day weekends (previous years were one day events).  In 1996, the track was purchased by Ron Johnson who continued to run the track as Interstate Dragways and under NHRA sanctioning. In fall of 2010, the track was purchased by Charlie McCann and renamed Top End Dragways.  Top End continues to run under NHRA sanctioning."
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CLICK HERE to see video footage of Interstate Dragways, 2009, 8:28 minutes
Listing in National Dragster, Dec. 23, 1977.  It was porbably listed by NHRA as being in North Dakota so they could claim having a sanctioned strip in every state. Courtesy of Mel Bashore

Twin City Speedway/North Star Drag Strip (New Brighton)

  • Years of Operation: 1958-70s
Twin City Speedway was a half-mile dirt oval track built in 1950 by Don Voge in New Brighton. A quarter-mile drag strip was built adjacent to the oval. One old drag racer named Gary said that he started drag racing at this strip in 1958. He said, "! started racing in 1958 at Twin Cities Speed Way, arm drop. Don Garlits and Tommy Ivo would show up 1 or 2 times a year."  It was in operation at least by mid-June 1960 because on June 3, 1960, Jerry Toso of Minneapolis was the top eliminator on the Friday night race. He beat 143 entries with a time of 13.69 seconds. The strip operated under Voge's management until he got in trouble with the IRS before the mid-1960s. The strip changed ownership and was known as North Star Drag Strip, operating mainly with bracket racing for many years. It was being called North Star International Raceway in 1978. More research is needed, especially on the Northstar years.
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CLICK HERE to see location on a map
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of North Star Drag Strip, nostalgia race on July 5-6, 2013, 3 minutes, no sound/music only