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Drag Strip List

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MISSOURI

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Smartt Field (Portage des Sioux) (1951)
St. Charles "Drag Strip" (1953)
Kansas City Timing Association Drag Strip (1955)
Tri-State Dragway (Kahoka) (1960)
Malden Air Base/SEMO Drag Strip (1961)
Mo-Kan Dragway (Asbury) (1962)
Springfield-Ozark Dragway (1963)
Mid-America Raceway (Wentzville) (1963)
NEMO Dragway (Knox City) (1964)
R.A.D. Drag Strip (Marceline) (1964)
Four-State Dragway (Monett) (1965)
Bethany Dragway/Thunder Valley Raceway (1966)
St. Genevieve Drag Strip (Zell) (1966)
Kansas City International Raceway (1967)
Interstate Dragways/Sikeston Raceway (1969)
Salem Dragway (1969)
Pacific Drag Strip/Raceway Park (1960s)
Sullivan Drag Strip/God's Thunder Valley Raceway (1960s)
I-55 Dragway (Pevely) (1970)
Moark Drag Strip (West Plains) (1970)
Benton Raceway Park (1981)
Mo-Kan Dragway timing tower, in Asbury, Missouri. Photographer unknown

Benton Raceway Park

  • Years of Operation: 1981-2013
 
Located adjacent to the racing complex's 3/8 mile dirt oval, this 1/8th-mile track is about 3 miles southeast of Benton, just off I-55. Both the oval and the concrete-surfaced strip have been closed since 2013, being listed for sale, but so far no takers.
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CLICK HERE to see location on a map
CLICK HERE to see video footage of Benton Raceway Park, 2003, 4:40 minutes

Bethany Dragway/Thunder Valley Raceway

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  • Years of Operation: 1966-68, ca. 1980-present
 
Dale Ruff, Jim McDaniel, and Carl Van Meter, all from Bethany, formed the Midway Timing Corporation to build and operate the strip. Jimmie McDaniel filed incorporation papers for Midway Timing, Inc. on April 29, 1963.  It was located 2.5 miles east of Bethany on U. S. 136. A 125-acre farm was used for parking. This 1/8th-mile track opened for racing on May 14, 1966. Spectator viewing was provided on a hillside, where people could sit in the cars to watch. The track was lit with florescent lights for night riacing. Although not sanctioned by AHRA when it opened, it operated by their rules. Trophies were awarded to class winners in forty classes.  The track was 40 feet wide and  2,000 feet long, with only 1,320 feet paved.  Safety barriers were railroad ties sunk in the ground connected by steel cables, lining the strip in a 100-foot width. Races were scheduled to run each Saturday night from May through September. On July 30, 1966, 84 entries competed. Competitors came from Kansas, Iowa, and Missouri.  Research found racing continued at least through 1968, and possibly thereafter.  But the next documentation research uncovered was races at that location in 1980. The track was then going by the name Thunder Valley Raceway. It has retained the Thunder Valley name to the present, running at 1/8th-mile.
1966
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CLICK HERE to see video footage of Thunder Valley Raceway, 2008, 1:19 minutes

Four-State Dragway (Monett)

  • Years of Operation:  ca. 1965-72
 
Research hasn't uncovered when the first race was held at this quarter-mile airport drag strip, located south of Pierce City. It was located five miles west of Monett at the Monett Municipal Airport at the intersection of Highways 60 and 97. On Sunday, August 22, 1965, a dragster took out the timing lights on the day's first run. Races had to be run without the benefit of timing. Curt Norman of Springfield took top stock honors. It appears that racing at that time was an every-Sunday affair. On September 26, 1965, Ira McMacklin of Sedalia took top stock eliminator with a run of 101.46 MPH and 13.92 ET. On October 17, 1965, Gary Knost of Carthage took top eliminator in his A gas dragster with a run of 10.40 seconds at 164.20 MPH. Terry Ivey of Joplin set a track record in the sportsman class with a run of 119.68 MPH in 11.89 seconds in his hemi-Dodge. Bill Coatney and his wife, who leased the track, were the new track operators in 1967. They operated under AHRA rules for money prizes and NASCAR rules for trophy prizes, both concurrently at each weekly race. On August 27, 1967, Bob Adams of Wichita took competition eliminator with a 9.95 ET at 125.27 MPH. On August 11, 1968, the track booked Hollie's "Back Up Pickup" wheelstander. They held a drawing with the winner getting to ride in the truck on its final exhibition run. Jimmy Collier was the track official in 1972, the last year that information could be found about the track.
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I-55 Dragway (Pevely)

  • Years of Operation:  ca. 1970-93
 
Research has not found when this 1/8th-mile drag strip first opened. It may have been in the late 1960s, but it was in operation at least by 1972. In December 1972, a small airplane crashed after mistakenly trying to land on the strip, the pilot thinking it was Festus airport. He clipped a wire attached to the electronic timing equipment. Newspaper reports referred to the strip as the L-K Ranch racing track. The strip was built on a horse ranch, named for the owner's daughter, Lisa K. Sago. Flooding was a persistent problem and, in fact, finally was the reason that the track closed. The track had been operating for a couple of years, but a flood in the early 1970s caused a lot of damage. One old timer recalled, "In the 70's an elderly lady was leasing the drag strip to a fellow . . . There came a flood and he was paid for the damage done to the strip, tower, out buildings, etc. He repaired what need to be repaired to continue racing and used the left over money to build the dirt track. Some of the old timers will probably remember seeing the track from the Interstate as it progressed, only to find progress stopped. At that time flood insurance was, and may still be, backed, provided by, guaranteed by . . . the Federal Goverernment. They paid off on these insurance policies. Somehow they found out all the money had not been spent on what it was paid out for and wanted the funds returned or the insured property repaired. He figured that rather than repay the money he would fix what the funds were paid to fix. At that point the dirt track layed dormant for a time until he had the money to go forward and finish up. Floods have played a LARGE part in the history of I55 Raceway." The dirt circle track, adjacent to the drag strip, opened in 1975. Jeff Burk was the announcer at I-55 in the 1980s. In 2004 he remembered , "Back in the 1980s for a while," Burk recalled,  "I was the weekly announcer at that track when it was owned by the late Troy Smotherman. It was a hookin' but viciously short eighth mile where, if a car couldn't get stopped, it ran across the main road into the [oval] track. Whenever you drove into the track, as you crossed by the sand trap you always had to keep an eye out for a race car possibly crossing in front of you. It is currently being used as parking for the adjacent dirt track and the occasional swap meet." It was a combination of factors that doomed the strip: flooding in 1991 and 1993, poor attendance, the success of the adjacent oval raceway, and competition from other big drag strips in the area.
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Only the drag strip appears on this 1975 topo map
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Both the drag strip and the oval track are seen in this 1996  aerial photo
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Interstate Dragways/Sikeston Raceway/Jeffers Motorsports Park

  • Years of Operation:  1969-present
 
The first race at this 1/8th-mile track was held on Sunday, April 20, 1969, at the Interstate Dragways of Sikeston track. Some ads mistakenly stated May 20 was the opening race, but it was April 20. Directions to the track in 1969 stated it was located four miles north of Sikeston on Route H (the Blodgett Road) and a half mile on a blacktop road that veered sharply to the left, before coming to the I-55 overpass. The owner and manager was Johnny Brewer. The new concrete-surfaced strip was 30 feet wide and 1,500 feet long, built on an 80-acre tract at a cost of $90,000. It had bleacher seating to accommodate 1,500 spectators. The strip was sanctioned by AHRA. Newspaper ads stated that the track was affiliated with the 3-year-old Batman-A-Go-Go Club. On June 1, 1969, the cash purse was $285, including a $10 prize for the fastest person on foot for 1/8th mile. On Saturday night, June 21, 1969, Herb McCandless took the Super Stock title. He was from Memphis, Tennessee. Racing reverted from Sunday to Saturday night during the summer, then back to Sunday during the cooler-weather months. Dominic and Teri Blasco bought the strip in 2012, renaming it Dyno Dom's Sikeston Raceway. They affiliated with NHRA in 2013. More research is needed to flesh out the history of the track from the late 1970s to 2011. It continues to operate today (2016) as Jeffers Motorsports Park, owned by Larry Jeffers and Randy Merrick.
CLICK HERE to see location on a map
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April 20, 1969
CLICK HERE to see video footage of Sikeston Drag Strip, 2009, filmed by Eric Watkins, 8:58 minutes

Kansas City International Raceway

  • Years of Operation:   1967-2011
 
Located on 93 acres in Kansas City at 8201 S. Noland Road, this drag strip essentially replaced the old Kansas City Timing Association Drag Strip. It operated as an NHRA-sanctioned track as early a January 1968, but switched to AHRA a few months later. Jim Rodgers was the track manager in 1968. It ran every Sunday from March through November. It hosted an AHRA Grand American points race on July 20, 1968 and the AHRA Finals on October 4-6, 1968. The track hosted an AHRA Grand American race on July 4-7, 1974. It was co-owned and operated by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Harmon, Jr. in 1980. In that year, it ran races on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It held its last race on November 27,. 2011. The city of Kansas City purchased the property to build a public park.
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CLICK HERE to see video footage of KCIR, 1986 Summer Nationals, 7 minutes

Kansas City Timing Association Drag Strip

  • Years of Operation: 1955-66

There were thirty-one hot rod clubs in the Kansas City Timing Association. To help curb illegal street racing, businessmen and city officials decided to construct a drag strip. They spent $70,000 building a first-class drag strip north of the city near the Missouri River in what newspapers described as a "lonely section of the city." It was located in what is today the area called the Northeast Industrial District. Brian McGuire, who grew up in Kansas City, researched its location for this project. The drag strip ran north and south. McGuire's research places the location of the drag strip on what is now Southern Road north of Front Street, then northward towards the Missouri River. Construction was completed in four months. They obtained the land at a cost of $2 a year from the Kansas City Southern Lines. Paved with asphaltic concrete, it was 3,850 feet long with an added 1,000-foot runoff area. Money was lent by the businessmen for the project. The track was finished for quarter-mile racing in July 1955. After seven weeks of racing, the Timing Association was able to pay back $20,000 of the loan.  There was some regret among the businessmen when street racing continued to be practiced.  Positive newspaper reports about the project were published in newspapers throughout the nation. This helped change the image of drag racing in the public eye and spurred other cities to permit the construction or sponsorship of drag racing tracks.  In 1956, NHRA moved its national championship race from Great Bend, Kansas, to the new race track at Kansas City. Dubbed "The Olympics of Drag Racing," Melvin Heath, from Oklahoma, took top eliminator honors with a run of 144.23 MPH and 10.53 seconds. On the opening day, Art Arfons' Allison-powered Green Monster No.6 became the first member of Hot Rod Magazine's new 150-mph Club with a 150.00 MPH pass. Overall attendance was about 35,000.  Bob Alsenz drove Kenny Lindley's "Misfire" dragster to a national record of 159.01 MPH. Of the 352 entrants, some thought the strip's shutdown area was too short and too dangerous so they left and entered the AHRA national championships being held that same four days (August 31-September 3) at Great Bend. Although documentation could not be found about racing in 1957-58, in 1959 trophy-awarded races were held on the first and third Sundays of each month. On the second and fourth Sundays, the track ran grudge races. But the track was also open seven days and nights a week as a place for racers to speed. Between 60 and 100 cars were there each summer evening. This had greatly helped reduce illegal street racing in Kansas City. On April 15, 1962, Walt Arfons ran his "Green Monster" jet car at the race track, clocking 206 MPH in 7.10 seconds. On May 19, 1962, three people were killed in a racing accident: the driver and his two passengers. They died from injuries sustained  when the car overturned and burned.
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CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of the U.S. Nationals in 1956 at Kansas City, pan through to the 4:30 mark to see the Kansas City segment; that segment concludes at the 11:20 mark

Malden Air Base/SEMO Drag Strip

  • Years of Operation: 1961-68

The first drag race on the Malden Air Base runway happened on June 11, 1961. It preceded an air show. But the first really big race of what was called SEMO Drag Strip (or S. E. Mo. Drag Strip) was held on July 30, 1961. That and subsequent regular races on the second and fourth Sundays of each month were sponsored by the Southeast Missouri Dragsters and Malden Jaycees. They were held on a 3,000 foot runway on the back of the base. To reach the racing strip, one took a turn-off one mile north of the main air base entrance on Highway 25, then drovbe west 1.5 miles to the strip entrance. In 1961, only stock and super stock cars were allowed to race. Trophies were awarded to class winners. On October 8, 1961, Ray Godman's "Tennessee Boll-Weevil" made a race appearance. The strip was sanctioned by NHRA in 1964, and possibly earlier, too. The Malden Dragway races were managed by Jim New in 1967. It was listed as one of 325 U.S. drag strips in 1968 published in an issue of the Swedish magazine Start & Strip .
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March 25, 1962

Mid-America Raceway (Wentzville)

  • Years of Operation: 1963-2004
 
The drag strip, which had its opening race on August 11, 1963, was the first part of a $1 million racing plant to be finished. The 2.89-mile road course was finished in late 1965. It was located between Highway 70 and Highway 60, west of Wentzville. In early 1967 and before, it was running every Sunday under NHRA sanction. Ben Lindenbusch was the track manager. At least by July 1967, it operated under AHRA sanction. Those who raced there included Don Garlits, Gene Snow, and Dickie Harrell (the latter two who the compiler of this encyclopedia saw there in about 1970).  It was sold in 2005, and designated for development. The last drag race was held on October 31, 2004.
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1967
CLICK HERE to see video footage of Mid-America Raceway in the 1990s, 13 minutes
CLICK HERE to see video footage of photos taken at Mid-America Raceway in 1968, 3:45 minutes

Moark Drag Strip (West Plains)

  • Years of Operation:  circa 1970-?
 
This drag strip was located north of West Plains next to Highway 14. On Sunday, July 26, 1970, Arnold Theodore Sondergregger of St. Charles was unable to stop his dragster after being clocked at 149 MPH in the quarter mile. He hit an embankment and went flying over the highway, which was at the end of the strip. He was hospitalized. The track may have run quarter-mile races in 1970, but later was shortened to 1/8th-mile races. It may have run on what is marked on old topo maps as Sky Haven Airport. More research is needed to flesh out its history and years of operation.
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This 1954 topo map shows Sky Haven Airport's location, west of Highway 14, north of West Plains

Mo-Kan Dragway (Asbury)

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  • Years of Operation: 1962-present
 
Jim and Ron Wilbert were two of the original owners of Mo-Kan Dragway, the oldest continuously-operated drag strip in Missouri. According to its website, it has been in operation in the same location, ten miles southeast of Pittsburg, Kansas, since 1962. The strip was located two miles north of Asbury. On October 27, 1963, Walt Arfons ran his "Green Monster" jet dragster at Mo-Kan. Arfons returned to make exhibition runs on June 21 and October 4, 1964. Races were held every Sunday. On May 8, 1966, Benny Osborn and Don Garlits were featured in a match race. The track hosted an AHRA Grand American divisional points race on May 19, 1968. The long success of this track has much to do with putting on good shows, evident in the big-names it regularly brought in. Others who appeared here in the 1960s and 1970s included Jack Chrisman, Dickie Harrell, Stone-Woods-Cook, Tommy Ivo, and E. J. "The Michigan Madman" Potter.  In 1999 Carl Blanton purchased the track from the Wilberts. 
June 30, 1963
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CLICK HERE to see superb video footage of Mo-Kan Dragway, Labor Day Classic on August 31, 2013, 24 minutes

NEMO Dragway ​(Knox City)

  • Years of Operation: 1964
 
A new asphalt track for drag racing opened in Knox City by at least August 1964. Races were held every Sunday. More research is needed to find the exact location of the races and the years of operation.
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1964

Pacific Drag Strip/Raceway Park

  • Years of Operation:  1960s
 
This 1/8th-mile drag strip was in operation at least by 1966. It was located about three miles south of Pacific, Missouri, on the southern outskirts of Catawissa. Races were held on Saturday night. It hosted the AHRA 1/8th Mile Super Stock Nationals. Dick Harrell is one of those prominant racers who raced here. More research is needed to identify the range of years of operation and track details. Today it is a road in the Evergreen Estates  housing subdivision. On September 26, 1963,  Eric Frey was killed in a dynamite explosion while trying to fill an old well on the property. Frey was a business partner in the drag strip with Glennon Engleman, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in the mid-1980s on murder charges. Authorities suspected Engleman, a South St. Louis dentist, was involved in the death of Frey, but couldn't pin that death on him. Engleman was sent to prison on two life sentences, having been convicted of two murders and pled guilty to three other murders.
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Class winner trophy from Pacific Raceway Park. Courtesy of Cliff
CLICK HERE to listen to a 1-minute 1966 KXOK radio ad for a match race between Curt Wasson's blown-nitro '62 Corvette and Claude Bradshaw's 426 Hemi Cuda at  Pacific Raceway Park, pan to the 7:45 minute mark to hear it

Poplar Bluff Drag Strip

  • Years of Operation:  1960s-after 1969
 
Located in the vicinity of Thomas Street and Highway 53, it was on the  southeast side of Poplar Bluff. Racing stopped shortly after young Paul McClure was severely injured by an out-of-control race car. Young McClure was at the far end of the track, flipping the switch to show spectators the lane of the winning car. Eugene Brittain was the track owner in 1969. In July 1969, an injunction was filed against the track on the grounds of being a public nuisance.  Research was unable to determine when the track closed, but it may have been shortly after this court hearing or in the early 1970s. More research is needed to determine the years this track operated. 
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R.A.D. Drag Strip (Marceline)

  • Years of Operation: 1964-65
 
On Sunday, June 28, 1964, drag races were held at the Marceline airport, on the north edge of town. This airport was built between 1945 and 1953. The races were sponsored by the Linn County Rural Area Development organization and races were conducted by the Marceline Jaycees. This gave rise to the name of the drag strip: R.A.D.  Trophies were awarded in five stock, three gas classes, and top eliminator. Seven hundred spectators watched 38 entries compete. Chuck Aronson won top eliminator in his '62 Super Stock Ford. Another race was held on July 12, seen by over 800 people. Ron Thompson of Chillicothe won top eliminator in his '64 Plymouth ultra stocker at that race. On the season's opening race on Sunday, May 2, 1965, 1,500 spectators watched 53 entries saw Jerry Wolcott set top time in the quarter mile at 12.40 seconds in his '64 Corvette. The track used their new Chrondek timers for the first time. Racing was sanctioned by the AHRA. Research was unable to uncover any racing after 1965.
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St. Charles "Drag Strip"

  • Years of Operation: 1953

A quarter-mile drag strip in the vicinity of St. Charles conducted its first drag race in November 1953. Two thousand spectators watched 140 competitors. It was sanctioned by the Automobile Timing Association of America.
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St. Genevieve Drag Strip (Zell)

  • Years of Operation:  1966-ca. 1977
 
This 1/8th-mile concrete drag strip was located in Zell, a small hamlet six miles west of St. Genevieve. It was a dual lane strip with grass in the middle. According to reader, Lyndel Revelle, the track was built by Les Trautman, first opening in about 1966. Herb McCandless drove his '68 Hemi Cuda in 1968 at St. Genevieve. Another who raced there a number of times was Bill Hielscher in one of his "Mr. Bardahl" cars. Eddie Banes remembered a 1969 match race between Guthrie & Burton's "Hemi Hoss" and Steve Manhart. He said, those "were the fastest cars I had ever seen." There are just a few patches of the old pavement from the strip left, located just off Highway 32, close to the golf course, which is just south of the little hamlet of Dell.   Jeff Burk visited the old concrete strip in 2004. "St. Louis racers like Bill Kuhlmann, Jerry Hass and others ran the St. Genevieve track in the Sixties," Burk said, "and most of them tell stories about golf balls from the adjacent fairways flying onto the track during racing.  It was the fastest track in the area and even today standing at one end you can see why. It is distinctly uphill from halfway down the track looking toward the old starting line. Just for grins we stepped off the width of the track and it was just a hair over 23 feet wide with about a foot drop-off. The old tower is still standing as a signpost for the old track."  More research is needed to identify the specific years of operation and details of its history.
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Salem Dragway

  • Years of Operation:  1969-after 1971
 
Incorporation papers were filed for Salem Dragway by Gary Morton on July 14, 1969. The race track was located on Highway 72. On Sunday, May 16, 1971, the Salem Jaycees sponsored and hosted the first annual Ozark Drag Racing Championship races, with a $2000 total purse. It was a 1/8th-mile track. There is a likely-looking site that could have been a drag strip just northwest of the hospital, designated Private Lane 303, going in a southwesterly direction off County Road 3210, but that is pure speculation.  More research is needed to find where races were held and the range of years racing took place.
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Smartt Field (Portage des Sioux)

  • Years of Operation: 1951-52

Timed quarter-mile drag races were being held at Smartt Air Field in Portage des Sioux, Missouri, as early as May 1952. An article in Hot Rod Magazine, (Mar. 1952): 14-17, suggests that drag races were held on the air field probably in 1951. The Mound City Timing Association conducted those early races. The air field was located on the east side of the Grafton Ferry Road, fifteen miles west of Alton, Illinois.  The Aero Ranch Hot Rod Club conducted the Sunday weekly racing in 1952.
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1952
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Springfield-Ozark Dragway

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  • Years of Operation: 1963-mid 1970s

Located in Ozark, this drag strip was sanctioned by AHRA circa 1963-64.  In fact, several AHRA records were set there at a meet in October 1963, including the B/GD record set by Pusch & Crews out of Kansas City that turned 170.77 MPH. The shutdown area on the east side veered into a dangerous bend on the strip. On June 27, 1965, at an AHRA divisional race, Lou Cangelose was killed while trying to negotiate this curve after a 197 MPH run in his "Missouri Missile" AA/FD. He was unable to slow the dragster in time because his parachute was torn from the car after he deployed it. He was 52 years old and had planned on retiring at the end of the 1965 racing season. Most unfortunate. Many of the best racers ran here including Don Garlits, Connie Kalitta, Jimmy Nix, Bob Sullivan, etc. The strip is now in a country residential setting with the old strip now called  Indian Valley Road.
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May 25-26, 1968
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This 1971 topo map shows the dangerous bend on the east end of the strip

Sullivan Drag Strip/God's Thunder Valley Raceway

  • Years of Operation:   ca. 1960s-1970s
 
This was an 1/8th-mile track located at 2717 Ridge Road, not quite three miles due north of Sullivan. Research hasn't found when it first opened, but it was operating in the 1960s. In circa 1972-73, it was called God's Thunder Valley Raceway. R. L. Steel used to race there with his '63 Comet and remembered those fun times, "We would take 5 or 6 car loads of people to the races and on the way home have bottle rocket fights going down I-44." It was designated by the Environmental Protection Agency as a superfund site, as it once posed a potential risk because of contaminants or hazardous wastes. It was inspected in 1985 and deemed to warrant no further clean up action. Research was unable to identify whether the contaminants were dragstrip-caused or otherwise. It has been used in recent years as a surface to store farm equipment. More research is needed to determine the range of years of operation and details about its history.
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Tri-State Dragway (Kahoka)

  • Years of Operation: 1960-82
 
Located on the Clark County Fairgrounds in Kohoka, this 1/8th-mile asphalt strip had its opening day on June 26, 1960. They began awarding trophies in fourteen classes, but upped it to twenty-six classes by July. The following year they were running Saturday night and Sunday races regularly. The track record was broken on June 23, 1962, by John Kranenburg, driving the Chicago-based Don Mattison  "Guzler" A/FD. He turned a 5.72. On August 11, 1962, Kranenburg returned and clocked a 152.37 MPH run, a world record if he could back it up the following week (not found in newspapers) On June 8, 1963, Jack Sharkey from Chicago, bested Arnie Beswick for stock eliminator honors, and in doing so, set the track record with a 7.46 ET and 93.84 MPH run. In September 1963, Don Garlits beat the "Guzler" A/FD in a best two-of-three match race. On September 8, 1963, Garlits set a new 1/8th-mile world record with 5.14 at 160 MPH, the first time the 160 MPH barrier had been cracked. The "Guzler" set a low time mark with a 4.96 second clocking. This was the first time any dragster had dipped into the 4's on an 1/8th-mile strip. On June 13, 1964, Art Arfons broke the strip speed record in his "Green Monster" jet dragster with a 5.12 at 165 MPH clocking. In 1965, the track affiliated with AHRA. Match races and special exhibition features were regular fares on an almost weekly basis during the 1960s. The wild times of the 1960s quieted down in the succeeding years. The last information that research could find happened in 1982, when racing seemed to be more local-based. But this 1/8th-mile track in rural northeast Missouri put on quite a show in its early years.

 
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July 10, 1960
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September 6-8, 1963
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