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Drag Strip List

A Comprehensive Encyclopedia

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MISSISSIPPI

Williams Airport ​​​​​​(Raymond) (1955)
Keesler Air Force Base (1956)
Gulf Coast Drag Strip/Biloxi Dragway (1957)
Jackson Drag Strip/Delta Raceway/Capitol City Raceway (1957)
Pascagoula "Drag Strip" (1957)
Greenville Air Force Base Auxiliary Air Field (Indianola) (1958)
Joy Drive-in Theater (Greenville) (1961)
​Dragways Race Track (Elliott) (1962)
Collierville Drag Strip (1963)
​Greenwood Army Airfield (1963)
Columbus Drag Strip (1964)
Hub City Drag Raceway/Drag Way (Hattiesburg) (1964)
Greenville Drag Strip/Raceway Park (1965)​​
Nettleton "Drag Strip" (1968)
Little Dixie Dragway (Hazlehurst) (1970)
Magnolia Dragway/Deep South Dragway/Gulfport Dragway (1972)
Riverside Dragway/Jackson Dragway (Pearl) (1972)
Byhalia Raceway (Fulton) (1980s?)
Fulton Dragway (1980s)
​Poolville Drag Strip (1992)
Lake Slip-Away Drag Strip/Tuscola Motorsports Park/Mississippi Motorsports Park (Lena) (1997)
Battlefield Dragstrip (Newton) (1990s)
Jackson Dragway (Byram) (2002)
Holly Springs Motorsports Park (2011?)
 
 
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Herman Moore  in “The Conqueror” S/S Plymouth (near) is going up against Sidney Foster in the Foster Motor Company AWB Thunderbolt at Biloxi Dragway. Photographer unknown

Collierville Drag Strip

 
This track possibly opened on Friday, May 31, 1963. Although it is named for the nearby town in Tennessee to the northwest, it is actually about a mile into Tennessee on U.S. Highway 72. On November 22, 1964, a match race between Joe Lunati and Jerry Inman in his '40 Willys was featured.  It was a quarter-mile asphalt track that is now just a decrepit road in a junk yard . The layout of the old drag strip is seen on a 1969 historic aerial photo .
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1991 aerial view of old ColliervilleDrag Strip
1963
March 6, 1970

Columbus Drag Strip

 
Alabama Governor George Wallace attended a drag race in Columbus on May 31, 1964. The race was co-sponsored by the Jaycees from Columbus and Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Wallace was attending to raise funds for his presidential campaign and to fight the pending civil rights bill.  It was listed as one of 325 U.S. drag strips in 1968 published in an issue of the Swedish magazine Start & Strip .  On January 10, 1969, John Foreman, age 17, of West Point, was a flagman at a drag strip in or near Columbus. He was killed when he was struck by an oncoming race car. Research has been unable to find any more information about this drag strip. Little information has been found about this strip except for recent YouTube videos, the last of which dates to 2012. It is presumed that racing no longer takes place at this strip, but that hasn't been confirmed.
CLICK HERE to see video footage of Columbus Drag Strip, 2010, 1:13 minutes, filmed by Demart Jones
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Dragways Race Track (Elliott)

  • Years of Operation: 1962
  • Status:  Exact location unknown
 
Research uncovered the mention of drag races being held on a couple of occasions at a track about seven miles south of Grenada. There were Sunday races on March 25 and April 1 in 1962. Tyrus Raymond Whitehorn, from Memphis, was killed while riding in a car with three other men on September 30, 1962. They were driving fast on the strip before it officially opened for a Sunday race. The driver lost control of the car. When it  overturned it erupted into flames, pinning the passengers and driver underneath the flaming car. All were severely burned, but Whitehorn's burns were fatal. More research is needed.
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Greenville Air Force Base Auxiliary Air Field (Indianola)

 
The Delta Angels Safety Club was organized by the Air Force Base airmen. They held drag races on the auxiliary airstrip at Indianola every Sunday, the first race being held on March 9, 1958. On July 20, 1958, they staged a race at the air field between Leland and Indianola. Beginning April 5, 1959, the Delta Angels conducted races twice monthly for that season--on the first and third Sundays. They were able to do this because the airfield was not used by the military on Sundays. The October 4, 1959 race was sanctioned by NHRA. The first race in 1960 was held on April 3.
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Greenville Drag Strip/Raceway Park

  • Years of Operation: 1965-present?
 
The Delta Angels switched racing locations from the auxiliary airstrip at Indianola to the 4,000-foot asphalt former Runway 4 of the Greenville Municipal Airport, located southeast of Greenville. That airport dated back to the WWII era, but reverted to civilian use after the war. It stopped being used as an airport between 1962 and 1967. In early 1965 (and probably a year or two before), the Delta Angels were racing on a narrow access road at the Greenville Industrial Fill. In February 1965, the Delta Angels requested permission from the city council to have a sanctioned drag strip at the Municipal Airport. The 1965 industrial racing site was deemed unsafe by news reporter John Childs. He said there was less than one foot between the spectators and the strip and "in some cases the spectators were wandering into the raceway." (Greenville Delta Democrat Times, Feb. 1, 1965)  Discussion among members of the city council was favorable, believing that a sanctioned drag race operation at the airport, if sanctioned, would be better supervised and safer.  The first race at the airport was held on April 18, 1965. Almost 2,000 spectators watched the grand opening. On Sunday, March 20, 1966, 1203 spectators watched 73 entries compete for trophies. Buster Couch, from NHRA, was in attendance and made suggestions for improving safety. On August 7, 1966, before 3,000 spectators at the NHRA-sanctioned meet, John Hughes of Atlanta set a new strip record in his fuel dragster with a run of 202.70 MPH in 7.81 seconds. Today the site of the airport serves as a recreation complex with baseball fields, livestock pens, and the drag strip.  Incorporation papers were filed for Greenville Drag Strip on March 30, 1967, by John F. Rose, Leroy Black, and Sterling Long, but that seems to have been a formality as racing started back in 1965. In 1971, the Washington County board of supervisors approved the lease of the old airport to A. D. Felts and George Baroni, operators of the strip that year. Vic Fava was the owner/promoter in 1973.  DSL is not sure if the track is still open.
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August 1, 1965
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September 18, 1966
CLICK HERE to see video footage of Greenville Raceway Park, 2009, 6 minutes, no sound

Greenwood Army Airfield

 
In early March 1963, a few men asked the Greenwood city council for permission to hold drag races on the east-west runway of the old army air base.  The city council said they would first have to check with the FAA and the Mississippi Aeronautics Commission before they could grant permission. But racers showed up on Sunday March 17 and started racing. The unsupervised racing continued the following Sunday, with over 400 cars showing up to race and watch the action. The races were drawing cars from Mississippi, Tennessee, and even Texas. Although the city had posted signs saying the airport was closed and trespassers were not allowed, that did not deter the racing. The local police said they did not have enough manpower to police and prevent the racing. In late May, the city entered into a lease with the Moose Lodge to operate weeklly drag races at the airport.  This raised the ire of one Greenwood woman who complained to the city council that the races were being held during the morning church hours and were terribly noisy. Undeterred, the racing seems to have continued at the airport through 1963, but not thereafter.
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June 30, 1963
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Gulf Coast Drag Strip/Biloxi Dragway


This drag strip was built by a group of local Biloxi businessmen and women. It was located five miles north of Biloxi on Highway 55 and its intersection with Krohn Road. The strip was 3,375 feet long and 40 feet wide. On either side of the pavement was a space of 115 feet to a 3-foot embankment. The Gulf Coast Timing Association conducted the races. Small races were held while the strip was still under construction. On May 11, 1957, they held a charity race to benefit the Red Cross. They had a Labor Day weekend race one week prior to the grand opening, which took place on September 8. J. D. Gagliano of New Orleans took top eliminator at the opener when he ran 111.11 MPH and 14.05 ET in his Chev-powered 1934 Ford. Admission was 99 cents for adults and 55 cents for children under the age of 12. At the Mississippi Open race on December 1, 1957, 190 racers from Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Texas, Illinois, Georgia, and California took part in the action. Albert Waits from New Orleans set the track record on his motorcycle with a clocking of 113.222 MPH and 11.47 ET. The racing was watched by 1,500 people. At the Automobile Timing Association of America regional championships on February 23, 1958, Albert Waits set a new track record of 115.384 MPH in 11.73 seconds on his fuel bike. 1,094 spectators watched racers from five states. The Keesler Coasters Club officiated at the meet. On August 31, 1958, C. J. Kearney set a new track record of 122.016 MPH in his Olds-powered A/MR. On July 5, 1959, Si Burgess set a new track elapsed time record with a run of 11.104 and 129.35 MPH in his Chevy-powered dragster. Albert Waits of New Orleans set a new national record on May 1, 1960 in C dragster with his injected Chevy dragster of 10.39 seconds at 140.624 MPH. Al Waits set a new ET strip record on November 20, 1960, with a time of 9.48 seconds. However the speed record set by Q-Ball Wales's speed record of 165.66 MPH still held. On January 8, 1961, Chris Karamesines clocked 175.79 MPH on his best-of-three runs. On May 13, 1963, Charles Sitton from Houston, driving Paul Vanderley's fuel dragster, claimed a world's speed record with a 196.07 MPH clocking. One old timer remembered, "In '64-'65 I was stationed in Biloxi, Mississippi. On Saturday afternoons we would go to a little strip about 20 miles or so northeast (I think) of town, and we would run well into the night. Some light bulbs were strung along the dirt return road. . .  we saw a lot of famous cars (for the time) run there. Garlits, Little Red Wagon, Connie Swingle, Hemi Under Glass." The Biloxi Dragway Official Website is an excellent and long-time resource on this venerable old drag strip.
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1960
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Did you race here? Tell us about it.
August 13, 1966
CLICK HERE to see location on a map
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CLICK HERE to see video promo showing old photos, etc. of Biloxi Dragway
CLICK HERE to see video clip of photos of Biloxi Dragway, 4:40 minutes
1992 aerial view of the location of Biloxi Dragway

Hub City Drag Raceway/Drag Way (Hattiesburg)

  • Years of Operation: 1964-present

This dual-lane strip opened for racing on September 20, 1964. Paul VanderLey took top stock eliminator with a 127.5 MPH run. Located north of Hattiesburg, it was owned and built by Odell McLaurin. O. A. Drennan was the vice president. It was on Eatonville Road, one-half mile from the I-59 Eatonville exit. They had over a hundred acres for free parking. An early raceway advertisement stated, "for colored patrons--we will have an area finished in a few weeks." Races were held every Sunday. On November 1, 1964, the track held a Super Stock Invitational, attracting racers like Bill "Maverick" Golden in his 426 Hemi Dodge and Paul VanderLey with his 427 Comet. The purse was worth $250 for first place. In fall 1965, Mr. and Mrs. O. A. Drennan purchased the track outright.
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1964
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CLICK HERE to see video promo Hub City Dragway, 2012, produced by El Jones
This newspaper ad notes Hub City's "first All Negro Drag Races" held on May 28, 1966
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September 29, 1973

Jackson Drag Strip/Delta Raceway/Jackson Sports Arena/Capitol City Raceway


Guy Burroughs and Floyd Garrison built a hard-surface drag strip in Jackson located two miles north of the intersection of Highway 49 and Northview Drive, on Highway 49 North.  The track opened for its first race on April 28, 1957.  There was a "grandstand" (probably bleachers) for spectators and admission was $1.25 for adults. The ads reflect the time and place, where racial segregation was the cultural norm. There were separate days for blacks and whites to race. When races were held when both blacks and whites could attend, there were different prices in effect. At one of those races, black spectators were admitted for a dime less than white people, but the racing was restricted to "white contestants only." The "hard surface" may have been packed dirt when it first opened as several races had to be postponed because of heavy rains affecting track conditions. But by early June, it was paved. A race onJune 2, 1957, was televised for a half hour segment on WJTV. More than 2,000 people attended that race. Ival Cooper set a track record with a run of 110 MPH. In July, the track owners were notified that they couldn't start racing earlier than 1 PM on Sundays. A half-mile oval track was built adjacent to the drag strip in 1958. New management in 1958 also changed the name of the strip to Delta Raceway. A year later, the name was changed to Jackson Sports Arena, undoubtedly reflecting the oval track and drag strip racing complex. Organized go-kart races were run at the strip in 1961. In 1962, the Dixie Coachmen car club conducted the races, but disassociated themselves with the strip when they had differences with the management.  In its last few months of running beginning in July 1968, the track changed its name to Capitol City Raceway, its fourth different name. The track announced that all the gate receipts at a big super stock meet to be held on September 29, 1968, would be given to a charity to fight cystic fibrosis. Drag races at this strip seem to have ended in October 1968.
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This newspaper advertisement mentions two separate racing events:  racing for blacks on Friday night, May 10, 1957, and on Sunday for "white only."
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The race on May 19, 1957, was only open for "white contestants," but spectators of both races were admitted, but white spectators had to pay 10 cents more than black spectators.
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This March 23, 1958, race denotes the name change to Delta Raceway
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April 28, 1957
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In 1968, the track name was changed to Capitol City Raceway
This ad for a September 11, 1966, race denotes the name change to Jackson Sports Arena, which happened in 1959

Joy Drive-in Theater ​(Greenville)


Drag races were held at a drive-in movie theater located on Highway 82 on the east side of Greenville. It was on the northeast corner of Highway 82 and Beauchamp Avenue. Little is known about this; more research is needed.
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A two-day drag race was held on the main runway on the base on December 29-30, 1956. The race was sponsored by the Ground Safety Section. With the success of this first race, the base commander approved the staging of a second race on February 23, 1957. The race was to be held on the northeast-southwest runway. Spectator stands were to be set up in front of the Naval Reserve Park.

Little Dixie Dragway (Hazlehurst)

  • Years of Operation:  ca. 1970
  • Status:  Exact location unknown

Research uncovered races being held at this strip on two consecutive Sundays: February 22 and March 1 in 1970. Research could find little else; more research is needed.
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Magnolia Dragway/Deep South Dragway/Gulfport Dragway

  • Years of Operation:  1972-present
 
Located about a mile west of the Gulfport airport and north of Gulfport, this track opened in 1972. Built and managed by Fred Cospelich, they began holding grudge races on Sunday, June 25, 1972, at the new strip east of Canal Road. From the beginning, the track was sanctioned by NHRA. On July 1, 1973, Leroy Goldstein driving the Candies & Hughes AA/FD won a best of three match race against Clayton Harris. A crowd of 3,000 people saw Harris set a track (and state of Mississippi) record, despite losing the match, with a 6.30 second run. In 1974, the name of the strip was changed to Deep South Dragway, while retaining its NHRA sanction. On June 22-23, 1974, the track hosted the NHRA first annual Rebel National Open. The new category of Pro Comp was run at this event. Cospelich sold the track in 1979 and the new owners changed the name to Gulfport International Dragway. On August 24-26, the track hosted the Mississippi State Championship drag race with a $30,000 purse. In 1980, it hosted the IDBA Nationals for drag bikes. The track continues operating today under IHRA sanction.
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November 19, 1972
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1974
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2015
CLICK HERE to see International Drag Bike Association Nationals at Gulfport International Dragway, 1980, 16:16 minutes
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Nettleton "Drag Strip"

 
The year the drag strip opened has not been found, but Jimmy Riley, age 26, of Fulton was killed at the strip on Sunday, April 28, 1968.  He lost control of his car, crashed, and his car wedged between three trees. The strip was located four miles southeast of Nettleton on Highway 6. Research has been unable to find anything more about this drag strip. A DSL reader, Carolyn Cooley, remembers it being called Bud's Racetrack.
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2004 aerial view of site of the drag strip located southeast of Nettleton on Highway 6

Pascagoula "Drag Strip"

  • Years of Operation: 1957
  • Status:  Exact location unknown
 
Drag races were purportedly conducted in or near Pascagoula in 1957, but more research is needed. They may have been held at the Jackson County Airport located northeast of Pascagoula.
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Poolville Drag Strip

  • Years of Operation: 1992
  • Status:  Exact location unknown
 
Little is known about this Union County drag strip. What little is known mostly comes from news reports of a death that happened at the strip in 1992. On August 22, 1992, spectators got close to the finish line of the track as there was no fence to keep them back. Timothy R. Graham, age 32, was one of those close to the cars racing by the finish when he was struck by a car going about 100 MPH. Reports said the strip was on Mississippi Highway 30 near New Albany. The strip was owned by Jim Hall, a Union County independent truck driver.
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Preston Raceway

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Incorporation papers were filed for Preston Raceway on May 12, 1987, by C. Victor McTeer and Jacquelyn Moore. Newspapers reported that 1988 was its second full season of operation. Don Simmons was the track owner. It was a 600-foot racing strip. Including burnout, launch pad, race course, and shutdown area, the track comprised 1,700 feet in length. Track news was published monthly in the Winston County Journal. At least by 1991, the track record was held by Scott Fricker in his altered roadster with a 5.16 ET. The track closed in about 1993 and by 1997, was being used as a landing strip for planes, called Preston Airways.
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1988
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Riverside Dragway/Jackson Dragway ​(Pearl)

 
James Alford built the strip in Pearl, opening it to racing in 1972. Don Garlits was pitted in a match race against Keith Craig's T/FD from Tulsa in 1982 (see YouTube video below). This may have been the race that   Zack Methvin described when he first saw Garlits run. He said, "Does anyone remember the dragstrip in Jackson, Mississippi called Riverside Dragway? I spent a good many years there. This was where I met Don Garlits for the first time. I thought I was a millionaire when he autographed my pit pass sticker. The track was on the east side of Jackson right on the north side of Interstate 20."  Pearl High School sits on the site of the old drag strip. One old timer raced at Riverside during the entire course of its history. He said, "It opened in 1972 and ran up into the 90's before the lease was terminated and and the track was leveled and the new high school built. It was a NHRA Division 2 or 4 track for most of its years and ran a points meet every year until Norman 'Moose' Pearah took it over and then let the track get closed . . .  It was a common sight for Mississippi Highway Patrol cars to be parked along I-20 all day when racing was going on. The track staging lanes ran right along the I-20 right of way and the track ran north. Pits and return road were on the right side of the track and very hilly." In 1982, the track name was changed to Jackson Dragway. The building of Pearl High School obliterated much of the old drag strip, but some remnants of it remain on the western end.
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Listing in ​​​​​National Dragster, Dec. 23, 1977. Courtesy of Mel Bashore
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August 11, 1979
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April 25, 1982
CLICK HERE to see video footage of Don Garlits in a match race against Keith Craig's T/FD from Tulsa at Pearl Dragway, 1982, 15:15 minutes

Williams Airport ​(Raymond)


Drag races were first held in Mississippi at Williams Airport (or John Bell Williams Airport), located eighteen miles west of Jackson.  The second race at the airport was held on July 10, 1955. The date of the first race has not been learned. The races were sanctioned by NHRA. Three hundred spectators watched 27 cars compete. Gerald Franklin's Ford Thunderbird was the fastest with a clocking of 16.7 seconds at 108 MPH. On July 31, almost 500 people watched 51 cars and three motorcyles in the third of the track's races. Ken Jones on a Norton motorcycle had the best clocking with a 17.4 second run. Fifty cars competed at a race held on August 28, 1955. Races were conducted bi-monthly in 1955. It was conducted by the Jackson Timing Association and was sponsored by the Jackson Police Department and Mississippi State Highway Safety Patrol. 
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