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Drag Strip List

A Comprehensive Encyclopedia

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Lewis Farm (Findlay) (1950)
Akron Municipal Airport (1952)
Oregon "Drag Strip" (1953)
Mansfield "Drag Strip" (1954)
Don Scott Airfield (Columbus) 1955
Dahio Airport Drag Strip (Dayton) (1956)
Newark "Drag Strip" (1956)
Powell Drag Strip (Hanover) (1956)
Scioto County Airport (Portsmouth) (1956)
Beechmont Dragway (Cincinnati) (1957)
Columbus Drag Strip (Reynoldsburg) (1957)
Fremont County "Drag Strip" (1957)
Howland Drag Strip (1957)
Hyde Park Drag Strip (1957)
Northway Airport (1957)
Pacemaker Drag Strip/Pacemakers Dragway (Mount Vernon) (1957)
Quaker City Drag Strip/Raceway (Salem) (1957)
Raven Rock Airport Drag Strip (1957)
Bolivar "Drag Strip" (1958)
Clinton County Air Force Base (Wilmington)  (1958)
Edgewater Sports Park (Cleves) (1958)​
Lima "Drag Strip" (1958)
Thompson Drag Raceway/Thompson Raceway Park (1958)
Toledo Municipal Airport/Glass City Dragway (Toledo) (1958)
Kettlersville Drag Strip (1959)
Kil-Kare Dragway (Xenia) (1959)
Magnolia Dragway (1959)
Ro-Ma Midget Speedway (Brown's Lane) (1959)
Dragway 42 (West Salem) (1960)
Dayton Speedway (1961)
El Dora Speedway (Rossburg) (1961)
Powell Speedway (Columbus) (1961)
Tri-State Drag Strip (Hamilton) (1961)
Pence Drag Strip/Shelby Dragway (Sidney) (1962)
Norwalk Dragway/Summit Motorsports Park (1963)
Meander Dragway/Youngstown Drag City (1964)
Riverside Drag Strip (Proctorville) (1964)
National Trail Raceway (Hebron) (1964)
Van Wert Municipal Airport (1965)
Ohio Valley Drag Strip (Marietta) (1968)
Van Wert County Dragway/Wayne Trail Dragway (Middle Point) (1968)
Belpre "Drag Strip" (1960s)
Marion County International Raceway (LaRue) (1970)
Brilliant "Drag Strip" (1972)
Friendship Park Raceway/Steel Valley Dragway (Smithfield) (1973)
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Trio of dealer-sponsored Fords at Dragway 42 in West Salem. Photographer unknown

Akron Municipal Airport

  • Years of Operation: 1952-ca. 1950s

Successful drag races were being conducted at the Akron Airport beginning at least as early as 1952. Ralph Neal held the strip record that first season of 91 MPH in his 1932 Ford. For early photos, see Hot Rod Magazine, (Sep. 1952): 36-37. Newspapers reported a drag race event held there for its second season on May 3, 1953. Several thousand people attended an August 23, 1953, drag race in which competitors came from seven states. The strip was right alongside of the Goodyear Flying Club hangar, just west of the main airport tower. The Cam Jammers car club sponsored the races. In 1954, the Cam Jammers generally held races on a blocked-off city road instead of the airport. The first race in 1954 was held on April 4, with meets held every third Sunday. On August 8, 1954, drag races were held back at the airport for an NHRA regional event. For photos of this event, see Hot Rod Magazine, (Nov. 1954): 24-27.  That event attracted 164 entries. In circa 1956-57, one old timer recalled watching his first-ever drag races at the airport:  "Saw Art Arfons' Green Monster, Ed Schartman's and Ron Hassel's '55, '56 Chevies run gas classes. I was 15 to 16 years old. I went with my brother and his buddy. .Also got to see Otie Smith's AA/Fuel Altered roadster. That pass set the hook on my fish line and I am still hooked."  On May 10, 1959, the Akron Cam Jammers held their first race of the season. Art Arfons turned 142 MPH and 9.76 seconds in his Green Monster. They drew a field of 270 cars to that race. In 1959, they also held races on June 21, July 12, and a championship NHRA meet on August 22-23.
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of drag races held at Akron Fulton Airport, mid-1950s,, 5 minutes
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Beechmont Dragway (Cincinnati)

  • Years of Operation: 1957-61

Beechmont Dragway, a privately owned drag strip near Cincinnati, was open and running at least as early as 1957. It was located in the vicinity of the intersection of Wooster Pike and Beechmont Avenue, near Lunken Airport off the Beechmont levee. On September 1, 1957, Richard Louda was killed at Beechmont when his race car overturned at the end of the race track. He was going about 125 MPH at the time of the fatal accident. The race track was closed by Cincinnati police after the accident. After investigation, the drag strip was cleared of any wrongdoing and permitted to conducting races each Sunday. In circa 1959-61, they held NHRA-sanctioned  races every Sunday. On September 13, 1959, a race between a horse and a drag racing car was featured, a gimmick to attract crowds. On September 11, 1961, a Cincinnati judge ruled that the drag strip be closed for good. He ruled that it had to cease operation because it was a nuisance to nearby residents.
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CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Beechmont, ca. 1958-60, taken by Bruce Moreton, 10:26 minutes, no sound/music only
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Beechmont in 1958, taken by Chuck Klein, 11 minutes, no sound
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Beechmont Dragway, ​​​ 1968 aerial photo
Beechmont Dragway, ​​​ 1971 Topo map
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Belpre Drag Strip, 1971 ​ Historic Aerial Photo

Clinton County Air Force Base (Wilmington)

  • Years of Operation: 1958

The town of Wilmington arranged to hold drag races on a 4,120-foot of asphalt taxi strip on July 4, 1958. The public was admitted without charge. The base was two miles southeast of Wilmington on State Route 73.
 
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Columbus Drag Strip (Reynoldsburg)

  • Years of Operation: 1956-57

The Mid-Ohio Timing Association conducted drag races at a strip located 2.5 miles east of Reynoldsburg on the south side of U. S. Route 40. Bill Hunter, an old member of the Pipers Car Club recalled the history of this short-lived track in a letter written to Josh Quellhorst. Read this interesting letter in the Memories (Ohio) page.   A few races were held in 1956 The first race in 1957 was held on May 12, 1957. They charged 50 cents admission, race entries $1.10, and drivers 90 cents. The 1/5th-mile race track was insured and operated according to NHRA rules. Newspaper ads advertised races on May 17 and June 2 in 1957. The ads declared "see fuel injection in action," whatever that meant. On October 12, 1957, Gordon Collett garnered top eliminator and top speed at the Columbus track.
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1957
1957
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Columbus Drag Strip, 1963 aerial photo. The strip ran due north-south, but is shown here oriented on its side for layout purposes; the starting line on the north is on the left.

Dahio Airport Drag Strip (Dayton)

  • Years of Operation: 1956-60

Organized drag races were conducted by the Montgomery County Timing Association on Sundays on a private airport dragstrip located seven miles west of the center of Dayton. Residents living nearby filed suit to try to halt the racing in July 1956, but without success. Races generally attracted close to one thousand spectators. On August 17, 1957, Tom Heeter of Dayton, was killed at Dahio in a fatal racing accident. He was clocked at 107 MPH before his car skidded and overturned repeatedly. The strip was sanctioned by NHRA by 1959. On April 5, 1959, a March of Dimes benefit quarter-mile drag race was held. Over $250 was made for the charity. Tom Fatherree of Liberty garnered top eliminator in his A/SA 1959 Impala. drag strip closed for good after its timing equipment was stolen in 1960. The field is called Dahio Trotwood Airport today.
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Dayton Speedway

  • Years of Operation: 1961

In 1961, this half-mile paved D-shaped track had a regular weekly program of drag races on Monday nights. Research was unable to uncover anything more about this.
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1961
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Dayton Speedway, 1955,, 5:32 minutes

Don Scott Airfield (Columbus)

  • Years of Operation: 1955

An NHRA drag race was held at this airport (now called Ohio State University Airport), located six miles northwest of downtown Columbus.   Bill Hunter wrote, "The N.H.R.A. Drag Safari came to Columbus to Don Scott Airfield. We had over 10,000 spectators and 400 plus entered to compete."
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Dragway 42 (West Salem)

  • Years of Operation: 1960-present
 
In April 1960, construction was well underway on the $100,000 drag strip on Route 42, a mile northeast of West Salem. The strip was being built by hot rod enthusiasts from West Salem and Wooster. It was an asphalt-surfaced strip 3,400 feet long by 60 feet wide. It was sanctioned by NHRA. The first races were held in August 1960. The NHRA North Central Divisional Championships were held on July 27-28, 1963. On April 12, 1964, a passing motorist, 18-year-old Thomas Southard, was killed when Richard Van Luit's dragster smashed into his car. Van Luit's parachute failed to open after his 171.42 MPH run and he vaulted onto the highway beyond the end of the strip. In 1965, Dragway 42 was sanctioned by AHRA and was scheduled as the site of the AHRA Summer Nationals on September 10-13, 1965. Ads in 1968 touted it as being the "world's only double drag strip." The high number of entries at its races provoked the strip to build another parallel strip to handle the high volume of racers. They also built a new return road, new pit area, and six new staging lanes in 1968. In 2013, drag racer/businessman Ron Matcham bought the strip. He spent about $10 million creating a brand new, world-class drag racing and entertainment complex which re-opened for racing in 2015.
 
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1960
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CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Dragway 42 in 1967-68, 5 minutes, no sound/music only

Edgewater Sports Park ​(Cleves)

  • Years of Operation: ca. 1958-present

Located in Cleves (17 miles northwest of Cincinnati), this long-running drag strip began operation at least as early as August 1958. They ran weekly races on Saturdays. The strip's official website states that the strip began operation in 1954. Documentation has not yet been found to support that beginning date; more research is needed. It presently operates as an NHRA-sanctioned quarter-mile drag strip. Current owner Dick Weinle has owned the track since 1979. On September 21, 1963, Herbie Marx, age 27 from Cincinnati, was racing at Edgewater when he lost control of his car and was severely injured when it rolled many times. He died from the effects of his injuries about five weeks afterwards. The throttle of his car jammed as he tried to slow down for a curve.
CLICK HERE to see video footage of Edgewater Sports Park taken by Bruce Moreton, 3 minutes, music only/no sound
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1961

Fremont County "Drag Strip"

  • Years of Operation: 1957

In spring 1957, Al Jenkins was building a 40-foot wide, 3,500-foot long asphalt drag strip on his property located on County Road 217 (Stahl Road), two miles south of Fremont. The plan was to have it partlly used as an airplane landing field and as a drag strip. Racing was to be conducted by the Sandusky-co Timing Association.  More research is needed.
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"Landing Strip" labeled on site of purported drag strip, 1971 topo map

Friendship Park Raceway/Steel Valley Dragway (Smithfield) 

  • Years of Operation:  1973-present
 
In fall 1973, Anthony D'Aurora, a Steubenville realtor, proposed making a drag strip in Friendship Park, near Smithfield. A local resident objected and asked the Jefferson County Commissioners not to consider it any further. D'Aurora said he represented Youngstown interests who were willing to spend $250,000 to develop the strip. It's early history reveals that it may have doubled as both a drag strip and an airfield, with the Jefferson County Airport, built in 1972, predating its use as a dragstrip.  April Galloway, whose family later managed the track, wrote that Bobby Johns was the original first owner. [Read what Bobby Johns wrote about the early years of Friendship Raceway in Memories (OH) ].  A 1973 topo map marked the airport as a drag strip. On March 4, 1994, James Abrams filed incorporation papers for Steel Valley Dragway.  Incorporation papers were filed on June 1, 1995, for Friendship Park Raceway by Michael A. Zeno and Bobby Johns.  The track was closed in 2004-5 as the county decided not to support the drag strip. The strip was listed for sale in 2005. The track re-opened, under the Steel Valley Dragway name, at least by 2007.  Keith Eckmeyer was the owner at that time, running it from 2004 to 2012, halting when his health wouldn't permit him to continue.  April Galloway's family managed the track in 2012 when it was still called Steel Valley. April wrote, "My family took over management in 2012, when there was a threat of it closing. My Dad had spent much of his five previous summers racing at that track and, like so many other racers, he was devastated at the idea of it closing. We put our heads and hearts together, and in 2013 we leased the property and reopened under the name Friendship Raceway."  The 1/8th-mile Friendship Raceway track continues to operate today (2016) as an outlaw track focusing on bracket racing.
 
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Jefferson County Airport, 1972 ​ aerial photo
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"Drag Strip" labeled on earlier site of airport, 1973 ​ topo map
CLICK HERE to see video footage of Steel Valley Dragway, 2008, 1:19 minutes

Howland Drag Strip

  • Years of Operation: 1957-ca. 1964

Located near Warren in Howland Corners, Howland Drag Strip, began operation in 1957. The concrete starting pad stretched for 100 feet before turning into a 16-foot wide asphalt strip, ending with a dirt shut down area. A housing development is slowly erasing any visible remnant of the old racing strip. Harry V. King was the owner of the strip. King had many problems with the concrete starting pad as it needed constant maintenance. He brought suit against the contractor, but his motion for redress was rejected by the Ohio Supreme Court. The drag strip may have continued running until 1964, but more research is needed.
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Howland Drag Strip, ​ 1963 topo map
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Howland Drag Strip, 1961 aerial photo

Hyde Park Drag Strip

  • Years of Operation: 1957-71

The Newark Timing Association conducted drag races every Sunday at this new asphalt drag strip located east of Route 79 between the towns of Hebron and Newark. Racers were timed on a 3/16th-mile distance. One of the early meets, but probably not the first race, occurred on July 28, 1957. On June 14, 1958, Carroll Booth from Elyria was injured while racing his dragster during time trials. He brought a damage suit for $60,000 against the strip, which went to court in March 1961. He claimed that his crash was the result of hitting a chuck-hole, claiming negligence on the part of the strip. He received a settlement.  Blaine Shively of Strasburg set a new track elapsed time record of 8.08 seconds in early July 1960.  In 1960 drag races were held on Wednesday and Saturday nights and on Sunday. Racer Larry Karshner died in a fatal racing accident on August 8, 1965. Races were held on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights in 1965, conducted under sanction of the National Association for Timing and Acceleration Clubs (NATAC). One old timer recalled that the "the pits were carved out of a hill and had several levels." The site of the old strip is now occupied by the River Oaks subdivision in the village of Heath, Ohio. In 1961, races were held on Saturday night and Sunday.
1957
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February 21, 1971
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Kettlersville Drag Strip

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  • Years of Operation: 1959-71

This 1/8th-mile drag strip located southwest of Kettlersville was apparently operating in 1959, but very little has been learned about its early years. By 1961, racing was being held every Sunday and was operating under new management. On June 22, 1961, they began holding night races every Thursday. In mid-July 1961, they discontinued the Sunday racing, but had night racing on Thursday thru Saturday. In 1962, a group of new owners included D. L. Burch, Fred Calim, Dick Burch, and Ken Ruark. They went to a Thursday and Saturday night schedule, awarding trophies and cash prizes to winners. Ownership was a revolving door, with William and Devoe Meade owning the track prior to it being sold in March 1967 to William and Linda Jones, Raymond Waldron, Carl Girod, and Bruce Simmons. They were also the owners of Van Wert Dragway. They continued the night racing on Thursday thru Saturday. Research couldn't find news of the strip operating after 1971. At some time during its history, the track was owned by Ted Jones, a member of the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame.
 
1961
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Kettlersville Drag Strip, 1962 topo map

Kil-Kare Dragway (Xenia)

  • Years of Operation: 1959-present

Located three miles west of Xenia on old Route 35, the strip opened in 1959. The drag strip had/has an adjoining oval track as it was a raceway complex. Research has not uncovered the actual date it opened in 1959, but the strip record of 145.161 MPH was set in late 1959. Races were conducted by the Dayton Road Knights Custom Club. In 1960, the racing program consisted of races every Sunday and Wednesday night racing during the summer. On four consecutive Sundays in the 1963 racing season, racing was halted for fifteen minutes while Methodist minister conducted a brief religious program. This unusual program was reported in newspapers nationally. The track opted to be sanctioned by NHRA in 1971.
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CLICK HERE to see video footage of Pro Mods at Kil-Kare Dragway in 1989, 9 minutes
October 2, 1965

Lewis Farm (Findlay)

  • Years of Operation: 1950
 
On Sunday, August 6, 1950, drag racing (termed accleration races) were held as a part of a rally at the Lewis farm, located on the Port Clinton Road, two-and-a-half miles northeast of Findlay. The event was put on the by the Northwestern Ohio Motorcycle Association and the Millstream Riders of Findlay. Paul Weimerskirch was the winner of the acceleration race.
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Lima "Drag Strip"

  • Years of Operation: 1958
 
Gerald Sisler and Ross Crites donated land for a drag strip on Route 117 between Kemp and Coon Roads, southwest of Lima. The Northwest Ohio Timing Association was granted a ten-year lease. It was designed to be built sixty feet wide by 3,700 feet long. No date for completion was set. More research is needed to find out if the drag strip was completed and racing started.
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Magnolia Dragway

  • Years of Operation: 1959-77, 1994-present
 
The Magnolia airport was built sometime between 1945 and 1951. It had a paved northeast-southwest runway, which was used for the drag racing. According to the recollections of  track manager, Jim Kinney , it was Dan Larsen who pitched the idea of running a drag race program on the airport runway. He operated the quarter-mile racing at the airport until the late 1960s. There were some races preceding April 12, 1959, but that was the first big race of the season. The grand season-opening race was held on May 3. There were 215 cars and 2,800 spectators at that opening race. Doyle Doolin from New Philadelphia took top eliminator with a run of 112 MPH and 12.50 ET in his roadster. On May 17, Bob Moughler of Akron turned in the fastest time with a 100 MPH run in 12.8 seconds on his motorcycle. The 1959 season championship race was held on June 28. In July 1960 Blaine Shively set a new track record of 144.25 MPH in his A/FD. Races were held on Sundays in those early years, but transferred to Saturdays when Gary Ralston was running the show. Regular super stock, modified, and bracket racing was a staple in the 1970s along with occasional match races. Ralston was getting ready to open the 1978 season when he had a falling out with the airport owners. This was the death knell for drag racing at Magnolia for the next seventeen years! In 1994, Bruce and Dixie McCreery got the OK to start up drag racing again. Because of the fast times and speeds, they limited racing to an 1/8th-mile distance for safety reasons. Dixie McCreery decided that it was time to retire from racing in 2011. That is when Tad Ries and Jim Rankl bought the remaining two-year lease and everything associated with the drag strip operation. It continues to run today (2015) as Tad and Jim's Dragway of Magnolia.
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April 12, 1959
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September 14, 1974
CLICK HERE to see recent video footage of Magnolia Dragway, beautiful aerial shots, September 2, 2013, 3 minutes

Mansfield "Drag Strip"

  • Years of Operation: 1954-58

A car club named "The Gents," having 75 members in Mansfield, Ohio, received permission (for a 2-year period) from the Mansfield Municipal Airport to use a 2,200 foot portion of old State Route 13 adjacent to the airport landing strip for holding drag races. The Gents were enthusiastic and energetic, hoping to ready the road for racing by July 1954. Two officials from NHRA inspected the club's strip in August. The Gents' plans called for installation of automatic timing equipment, construction of pits and grandstand, and hoped to repave the road in 1955.  The first drag actually happened on September 12, 1954. The drag strip was a 1/5th mile distance, not a quarter mile. The race was sanctioned by the NHRA. Trophies were awarded in sixteen classes. Entry fees were $2 per vehicle and 50 cents for spectator admission.  More than 1,500 people watched 80 entrants compete. Most of the entries were from Ohio, but there were two from Pennsylvania and one from Indiana. One of the competing cars was a supercharged Model A Ford with eight carburetors. The Akron Cam Jammers helped The Gents conduct the race. They did not have any timing equipment, but elimination heats were run to determine winners. Grandstands were hopefully to be in place by the next race on October 24. That race attracted 1,200 spectators and 92 competitors. Otis Smith, president of the Akron Kammerjammers Club, posted the top speed of 89.65 miles per hour. In early 1955, the Gents reported that they were planning on asphalting an additional four feet on each of the 22-foot wide strip. They also hoped to build bleachers in time for a May 1955 opening. The only race scheduled in 1958 was a 2-day statewide championship extravaganza on September 13-14. For this race, they were permitted to use the east-west runway at the airport.
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June 24, 1956
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Marion County International Raceway (LaRue)

  • Years of Operation: 1970-present

In 1969, brothers Bill and Tom Guthery put on a successful motocross race. The success of this event gave rise to an idea to build a drag strip, which they did near Gallion, 40 miles east of Lima. It was 3,500 feet long and 60 feet wide. From the beginning they were sanctioned by and affiliated with AHRA, although they appeared in the March 1970 issue or Hot Rod in a list of sanctioned NHRA tracks. On Sunday, May 16, 1971, "The Michigan Madman" E. J. Potter was booked in for an exhibition on his fuel bike. Saturdays were reserved for grudge racing. The track staged a 32-car invitational funny car show on May 30, 1971, with a $20,000 purse. On July 9-11, 1971, MCIR hosted a 3-day AHRA Grand National race. It attracted such racers as Don Garlits, John Wiebe, Gene Snow, and Dick Harrell. Unfortunately rain spoiled eliminations so the race was re-scheduled for August 27-29. Garlits was the top qualifier before the rains came with a track-record 6.73 ET. The AHRA Marathon Nationals were held on July 7-9, 1972, with Garlits again one of the entrants. In 1976, Shelby Guthery became a partner with her husband, Bill. Four years later, MCIR affiliated with IHRA, with which organization they continue to be sanctioned by today. Bill Guthery passed away in 2005, and Shelby retired two years later. Her son, Mark Primavera, took over.  In 2013, the family-owned drag strip was offered for sale.
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CLICK HERE to see video footage of Funny Car Nationals at MCIR, 2013, 10:31 minutes
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April 8, 1973

Meander Dragway/Youngstown Drag City

  • Years of Operation: 1964-1990s

The May 1963 issue of Hot Rod stated that this strip was under construction and should open that month. Although there isn't good documentation, the strip more likely opened in 1964. They purportedly couldn't qualify for NHRA sanction because of a too-short shutdown area. On June 1, 1969, William Davis, age 52 from Sebring, Ohio, was killed while racing at this track. His tire blew out and his car rolled numerous times. News reports at the time stated that the strip was called Executive Airport Drag Strip, a nod to the track's simultaneous use as an airstrip. Von Shears , who attended races when he was young, remembered, "Sometimes the races would be put on hold for a moment while a farmer landed a small airplane." In 1971, a group of area residents sued to have racing halted. They were bothered by the noise and lights. The Mahoning County Common Pleas judge refused to grant an injunction. He noted that the residents had put up with the races for five years without seeking any legal action. That would have made the Executive Airport strip's beginnings dating to 1967. More research is needed to clear up the history of the strip's early years. As Steve Baker noted in writing to DSL, "Meander drag strip, Youngstown drag strip, and Youngstown Executive Airport are all the same place." He also wrote that the strip was run by Alex and George Theofilos, the same brothers who ran the Sunset Drag Strip, east of Sharon, Pennsylvania.
CLICK HERE to see video footage of Youngstown Drag City, 1980s, 2 hours
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National Trail Raceway (Hebron)

  • Years of Operation: 1964-present

Clark and Grace Rader purchased the 174-acre Vera Peters farm located between Hebron and Kirkersville (and one mile west of Luray) on which to build a $200,000 drag strip. Clark Rader, Sr., along with sons Ben and Clark, Jr., began construction work on the facility in September 1963. It was just off of U. S. Route 40. At the time, U.S. Route 40 was known as the National Road or the National Trail, which is why it was called National Trail Raceway. The strip was 3,500 feet long and 60 feet wide when first built. It opened for racing on June 21, 1964. In 1972, NHRA's Springnationals was first held at National Trail. In 1996, Eighteen people were arrested at the 1975 Springnationals following a rock and bottle throwing incident. NHRA purchased the track from the Rader family. The Springnationals was renamed the Pontiac Excitement Nationals and then the Pontiac Performance Nationals.
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April 11, 1965
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of National Trail Raceway, 1960s, 5 minutes

Newark "Drag Strip"

  • Years of Operation: 1956-57

Beginning with the first race held on August 12, 1956, the Newark Timing Association conducted races every Sunday. The drag strip was located on Route 668 in the direction of Perryton on Route 15, east of Newark. The exact location of the track is not known; more research is needed. In December 1957, a half-mile long asphalt drag strip on a 128 acre farm (with 3,000 pine trees) was being offered for sale in the Newark Advocate newspaper. The ad stated that the strip was "a real money maker." This may have been this drag strip. The Newark Timing Association also conducted races at the Hyde Park Drag Strip in 1957, located between Hebron and Newark. This seems to be in a different location than this Newark "Drag Strip." To confuse matters more, ads for the Powell Drag Strip (see below) also gave its location as being east of Newark, but off Route 16 (not Route 15). In October 1958, a 121-acre farm that included a $12,000 blacktop drag strip was being offered for sale. It was 12 miles from Newark, the ad again stating that it was a "money-maker for some one" at a "bargain price of $18,500." Could this have been the same farm/drag strip that was being offered for sale in December 1957?
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1956
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Nicholsville Drag Strip

  • Years of Operation:  ?-?

This drag strip, which was probably a 1/8th-mile strip, was located a quarter mile southwest of Nicholsville on State Route 222. The distance would place it in the vicinity of the Laurel Nicholsville Road, but it may have been further southwest of that location. Races were conducted by the Modified Chariots car club of Bethel. Races were held every Sunday. More research is needed to find out the years of operation, specific location, and details about its history.
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Northway Airport

  • Years of Operation: 1957

Northway Airport was a private airport located somewhere north of Columbus. County commissioners had been battling the airport's dual use as a drag strip in court since spring 1957. Their arguments were bolstered when a small plane trying to land crashed upside down on September 29, 1957, while trying to dodge two drag racers. The plane only missed hitting the drag racers by ten feet while trying to land on the grass runway which crossed the paved drag strip. The three occupants of the plane escaped serious injury. The exact location of the airport is not known and more research is needed.
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Norwalk Dragway/Summit Motorsports Park

  • Years of Operation: 1963-present
 
In mid-July 1963, construction started on a 3/4-mile long drag strip located on Route 18 at the intersection of Route 601, two miles east of Norwalk. When it opened, it was a paved strip, 3,750 feet long and 60 feet wide, with an additional 1,000 feet of leveled shutdown. Walter Herzog and Vincent Schubert leased one hundred acres of land for the strip to Walvin, Inc. It was a $150,000 project. Norwalk Dragway opened for racing on October 13, 1963. At the time it opened, it was the only NHRA-sanctioned strip between West Salem and Toledo.  The track opened without spectator seating or concessions in its first abbreviated season. At the second race on October 20, the Olds-powered dragster of Tibboles-Shane, driven by Bill Tibboles from Bellevue, took top eliminator with a 9.07 ET and 164.53 MPH. In 1964, the track had a new two-story timing tower. The track opened for weekly Sunday racing in 1964 on May 10. Four national records were set at an NHRA regional meet on August 8-9, 1964.  Gordon Collett set a new ET record in A/GD of 8.35, tying Jimmy Nix's mark. Joe Schubeck set a new top speed track record of 187.88 MPH. In 1966 the track was sanctioned by AHRA, which held a Grand American championship event on July 24. Over 500 cars competed, setting fifteen AHRA national records. Wayne Fanndon from Toronto took top fuel and Dick Harrell took the super stock funny car class. In January 1968, the track shifted to NHRA sanction. Walter Herzog managed the track that year. Goodyear briefly used the track for tire testing in the early 1970s. In 1973 the track was sold to a joint venture between Wayne Sergeant and Bill Bader. Sergeant pulled out of the deal the following year and Bader continued as the sole owner. The track was reopened on April 28, 1974.
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1964
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Norwalk Dragway, 1968, first 5 minues of 9 minute film (second half is Dragway 42), no sound

Ohio Valley Drag Strip (Marietta)

  • 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 .  Races may have been held on a runway of the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport located about two miles south of Marietta, but in the state of West Virginia. However that is purely speculation as there is no documentation to support that. More research is needed.
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Oregon "Drag Strip"

  • Years of Operation: 1953

The Northern Ohio Timing Association conducted drag races on a two-lane concrete road on the outskirts of Toledo at least as early as 1953. The exact location of this site is not known, and more research is needed. An old photo of the strip is found in Hot Rod Magazine, (May 1954).
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Pacemaker Drag Strip/Pacemakers Dragway (Mount Vernon)

  • Years of Operation: 1957-present

The Pacemaker Drag Strip was located on Columbus Road, southwest of Mount Vernon. The date of the first race has not been determined, but it was sometime prior to September 29, 1957. On that date, Harold Smith drove Massillon's Blue Angels car club's dragster to its third consecutive top eliminator win at the drag strip with a top speed of 120.54 MPH. It continues operation today (2015) as an NHRA 1/8th-mile drag strip. 
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May 29, 1976
CLICK HERE to see aerial view of Pacemakers Dragway Park, filmed by Chad Sims on May 9, 2015, from a drone, 2 minutes

Pence Drag Strip/Shelby Dragway (Sidney)

  • Years of Operation: 1962-77

This drag strip was located six miles southwest of Sidney in what is today Lockington. Research hasn't uncovered when this strip opened, but there were races in 1962 reported in newspapers. Larry Miller of Dayton took top eliminator honors on June 10, 1962. In that same year, on September 2, Ray Timmerman took top eliminator in his dragster with speeds over 150 MPH. In 1972, the track was purchased by United Enterprises. Ted Jones and Raymond Waldron were the principals in United. This marked the fourth drag strip that they had acquired. The other strips were Van Wert County Dragway, Muncie's Mid-America Dragway, and Kettlersville Drag Strip. The new Shelby strip was sanctioned by IHRA. They named Jim Musson of Dayton to be the track manager. Sunday afternoon racing was scheduled. They featured an energetic program of match racing and exhibition cars in the 1970s. George Montgomery raced there several times in his A/GS coupe. On April 9, 1972, he beat Jr. Thompson in a best two-out-of-three match with a time of 8.54 and 152 MPH. On June 7, 1972, they featured four jet dragsters on the program including Art Arfons, Dave Corey, Roger Gustin, and Mike Evegens. Having four strips in their stable, United Enterprises devised a points chase, whereby racers could accumulate points by racing at all four strips. In that way, the owners were able to attract a good field of race cars to all four strips. Research was unable to find information about this strip after 1977, so it is presumed that is the year it closed.
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July 14, 1963
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April 9, 1972
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CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Pence/Shelby Dragway intermixed with footage of U.S. Nationals, pan to 1:20 mark to see first Shelby segment and later, 15 minutes, no sound/music
Pence's Drag Strip, ​​​ 1962 topo map
Pence's Drag Strip, ​​​ 1972 aerial photo

Powell Drag Strip (Hanover)

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  • Years of Operation: 1956-58

Robert Powell built a half-mile long drag strip on his farm located five miles north of Hanover, Ohio. He turned it over to the Newark Timing Association, a group of 80 car owners, to conduct the races. The track started holding races in early August 1956. Located on County Road 232, the September 2 race attracted 129 vehicles and 1,850 spectators. Trophies and cash prizes were awarded to thirteen class winners. After some kind of falling out, the Newark Timing Association quit conducting the races. They published a newspaper notice on October 10, 1956, that they were no longer associated in any way with the operation of the Powell Drag Strip. Powell continued holding races and advertised that Art Arfon's Green Monster jet car would appear at the drag strip on October 21. Ads for the May 5, 1957 opener stated that the track had been newly resurfaced. On July 20, 1957, the strip held its first night race under the lights. On the first Saturday night drag race in 1958 (May 10), Gordon Collett (later to get a nickname of "Collecting") set a new track record with a run of 120 MPH. The race was conducted by the newly-formed Accelerators Club of Newark. The track sported new asphalt and a new return road in 1958. There is no visible trace of this old private drag strip today. 
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October 21, 1956

Powell Speedway (Columbus)

  • Years of Operation: 1961

On Thursday night, May 25, 1961, this half-mile paved oval track began running a drag race program over a 1/8th mile distance. On June 1, 1961, Bob Andrews of Newark  won the drag race with a speed of 87.90 MPH in his Chevy-powered 1915(!) Ford roadster.
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Quaker City Drag Strip/Raceway (Salem)

  • Years of Operation: 1957-present

Dick and Vivian Mossey were the founders of this venerable race track. Research has uncovered little except newspaper ads for races. The track featured jet dragsters on occasion in 1963: Arfons on July 12 and Lee Pendleton on October 6. Located at 10225 South Range Road in Salem, Ohio, it is presently sanctioned by IHRA and is called Quaker City Motorsports Park. It has previously been sanctioned by NASCAR and NHRA, too.
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October 6, 1963

Raven Rock Airport Drag Strip

  • Years of Operation: 1957-76

When the county built a new airport at Minford, north of the city of Portsmouth, the Raven Rock Airport in West Portsmouth became available for drag racing. The first drag race held at the airport was on June 16, 1957. Only 150 feet at the starting line of the quarter mile runway strip was black-topped. The remainder of the track was gravel-coated with heavy oli. It proved to be an unsatisfactory surface for the 39 cars that entered that first race. A fair-sized crowd watched Bob Warren of Columbus take top eliminator in his 1934 B gas coupe. The race was conducted by the Kustom Kouriers Club of Portsmouth.  Fast cars had caused damage to the un-blacktopped slag base, so something had to be done. Before the next race the following Sunday, Charles Bracken and Taylor Lawson invested $26,000 in the airport dragstrip, paving the remainder of the surface with asphaltic concrete. It was 22 feet wide and 2,500 feet long. They also purchased better timing equipment because their timer could only clock speeds up to 120 MPH and several cars exceeded that on the first event. Word got out about the new paving job and 109 vehicles showed up for the race on June 30, a big jump over the previous week. Bob Warren won top eliminator for the third straight week. Gordon Collett, who would later become a nationally known top gas dragster driver, won frequently at Raven Rock during the fall of 1957. On October 20, 1957, he garnered his sixth straight victory as top eliminator. He kept increasing the track record almost each week, making a run of 116.83 MPH on October 20. The strip was widened and resurfaced in 1962. On the 1963 Labor Day weekend, Raven Rock staged what the called the "Poor Man's Nationals."
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1957
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Raven Rock in 1959, filmed by Rick Beckett, 12 minutes, no sound
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CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Raven Rock in 1961, filmed by Dennis Massey, 5:26 minutes, no sound

Riverside Drag Strip (Proctorville)

  • Years of Operation: 1964-78
 
Located three miles east of Chesapeake on Route 7, this track opened at least as early as 1964. Arthur Suiter remembered that opening night, "The first night the track was open I was outside playing in my yard and they ran a jet car. We thought something had blown up!" Paul Wireman was the owner. One old timer recalled the corn field at the end of the strip. He said, "Man, when the brakes failed the corn flew. . . . we used to fish right back of the start line in the creek there."  On May 24-25, 1964, Eugene Gahm of Lucasville, took top eliminator honors both days, hitting a best clocking of 160 MPH in 9.51 seconds in his dragster. On November 6, 1966, the strip held a big funny car meet, with a $1000 purse for the winner. In 1967, Paul Wireman built a 1/4-mile stock car oval adjacent to the drag strip. On August 27, 1976, Greg Jude, a 17-year-old Chesapeake boy, was electrocuted when he put his hands on a piece of machinery that had shorted out at the dragway. He had been unloading limestone for a construction company that was doing work at the strip. Research hasn't uncovered the exact years of the strip's operation; more research is needed. It purportedly had to close because of the noise and being directly across the Ohio River from St. Mary's Hospital in Huntington, West Virginia.
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August 23, 1964
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June 14, 1969
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Riverside Drag Strip in circa 1963-64, pan to 4:27 mark for Riverside footage, 15 minutes, no sound
CLICK HERE to see video footage of Riverside Drag Strip, 1965, 35 seconds, no sound

Ro-Ma Midget Speedway (Brown's Lane)

  • Years of Operation: 1959

Robert Jacobs opened the midget portion of his 10-acre racing complex on South River Road south of Coshocton on May 10, 1959. He had laid out a 1/5th-mile drag strip in addition to a 3/10th-mile oval track. Research has not uncovered whether the drag strip was completed or operated.
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Scioto County Airport (Portsmouth)

  • Years of Operation: 1956

Before the airport finished being built in 1957, hot rodders were permitted to hold drag races on the 4,200-foot runway. It is called Greater Portsmouth Regional Airport today.
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Thompson Drag Raceway/Thompson Raceway Park

  • Years of Operation: 1960-present
 
The track reportedly opened in 1960, although Thompson Raceway Parks' website claims that it opened in 1958. The website also incorrectly states that Thompson was the first drag strip in Ohio, but there were a half dozen drag strips that pre-dated it that were not fly-by-night operations.  It appears in a listing of NHRA tracks in the September 1961 issue of Car Craft magazine, holding races every Sunday. Although research hasn't found contemporary reports of the founding year, a 1978 newspaper article stated the track was celebrating its 19th season that year; thus 1960 was the opening year for TDR (see Elyria Chronicle Telegram, Apr. 14, 1978).  It was generally called Thompson Drag Raceway in the 1960s through the 1990s. It was 60 feet wide and 4000 feet long.  In 1963, the strip had 252 classes, the largest number of any strip in the nation. In 1964 it operated under the sanction of AHRA and the International Drag Racing Association. On May 16, 1965, Doug Rose drove Walt Arftons's "Green Monster" to a speed of 214.32 MPH in 7.75 seconds. Night racing began in 1968. Match races and exhibition cars were a staple of the racing action in the 1960s through the 1970s. The strip saw the likes of E. J. Potter ("The Michigan Madman"), Wild Willy Borsch, Dickie Harrell, Gene Snow, Shirley Muldowney, Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins, Ronnie Sox, Roger Lindamood, etc. In 1978, the track added a new concrete starting line and return road. The Pro Gas Circuit was big in the late 1970s, possibly giving rise to the strip being today called "Home of the Gassers.". A poor economy made times tough for TDR in the 1970s, resulting in the track going through a period of neglect. Bill and Bonnie Clemson purchased the track in 1991 and made significant upgrades to the property during the next fourteen years in which they owned it. The strip has come under the umbrella of various sanctioning bodies over the years: AHRA in the 1960s 1970s, and 1980s, and NHRA in 1979-80, and in 2004) The track today runs under the sanction of IHRA.

 
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CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of TDR in the 1960s & '70s, 6 minutes, music only/no sound
CLICK HERE to listen to 1971 commercial WIXY radio spot for Thompson Drag Raceway, 1 minute

Toledo Municipal Airport

  • Years of Operation:  1958-late 1960s

The 1955 Hot Rod Annual (p. 10) states that a drag race event was held in Toledo in 1954. After seven long years of negotiations with city officials, the first NHRA-sanctioned drag race was held on the runway of the old municipal airport called Metcalf Field (today's Toledo Executive Airport) in July 1958. Races were conducted by the Northwestern Ohio Timing Association, which leased the old airport from the city. The runway was 150 feet wide and 3,800 feet long. Art Arfons set the track record with a 10-second run in the "Green Monster." A photo article showing its first season of racing appeared in the January 1959 issue of Hot Rod.  In its early years it was called Vettesville Dragway, then later (circa 1964), Greater Toledo Dragway. On May 8, 1960, Glass City Dragway affiliated with the Detroit Dragway, sponsored the first race of the season at the old Municipal Airport. Jack Pfeifer was the racing director. About 250 entries were expected with trophies to be awarded in forty divisions. On November 1, 1964, Jay Howell, driving the "Little Red Wagon" A/FX compact pickup truck faced Roger Lindamood's "Color Me Gone" Dodge Super Stocker in a best-of-five match race. Howell took the win in three straight with a best run of 10.55 ET at 127 MPH. The track held a two-day season championship meet on November 7-8, 1964, with a purse of $3,500. They charged $1 per car to race. George Montgomery was booked to run his A/GS Willys. It was called Toledo Dragway in a 1968 Swedish magazine called Start & Strip .
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Tri-State Drag Strip (Hamilton)

  • Years of Operation: 1961-present
 
This 3,300 foot long drag strip (now called Tri-State Dragway) opened with time trials held on May 27, 28, and 30, 1961. On June 25, 1961, the Music brothers from Dayton took top eliminator and set a new track record of 155.17 MPH in 9.90 seconds in their dragster. In that first season, cycle drags were held on Saturdays and cars on Sundays. In the February 1969 issue of Hot Rod, it was listed as a sanctioned NHRA strip. Don Loos operated it in 1973. On July 9-10, 1977, the track hosted the IHRA Title Series race with over 350 entries from 27 states. The drag strip is located three miles south of Hamilton. off Highway 128 (Hamilton Cleves Road), just west of Great Miami River. It is IHRA sanctioned today.
 
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May 1961
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Tri-State Dragway on October 26, 2008, 10 minutes

Van Wert County Dragway/Wayne Trail Dragway (Middle Point)

  • Years of Operation:  1968-ca. 1984?
 
Located just east of the Middle Point dump adjacent to and on the north side of the Penn Central Railroad east of the town of Van Wert, the $100,000 track had its grand opening race on Sunday, July 14, 1968. One thousand spectators saw 119 competitors. Ted Jones, general manager of United Raceways, Inc.,  was the track manager. United Raceways also owned and operated Kettlersville Drag Strip. The track opened with the cloud of a pending court case filed by adjoining property owners opposing the strip.  On July 28, 1968, Gerry Schwartz turned 173.52 MPH in 9.23 seconds in his Mercury Cougar funny car. On October 13, 1968, national record holders in U/S (Sam Stockwell from Michigan) and Q/S (Sam Shinabery) opposed each other in the Junior Stock Eliminator. Shinabery won, clocking a run three-tenths under the national record. On October 20, 1968, Pee Wee Foster took competition eliminator with a run of 10.01 ET at 124.41 MPH, which was under his national record mark. In about 1976 or 1977, the name of the track was changed to Wayne Trail Dragway. Incorporation papers were filed for Wayne Trail Dragway on April 24, 1979 by Bill Kessen, but he may have bought the track back when the name was changed. There is little of the original track left today except the timing tower, track equipment, and remnants of the paving near the start line. It was a dual-lane track divided by a grass median.
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September 15, 1968
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Van Wert County Dragway, circa 1974, 6:01 minutes, no sound/music only
CLICK HERE to see video footage of defunct Van Wert County Dragway in 2015, 10:52 minutes

Van Wert Municipal Airport

  • Years of Operation: 1965
 
The Van Wert Police Athletic League sponsored a Drag-Jamboree drag race on Saturday, June 26, 1965, at the airport located in the southwest part of the city. Proceeds from the race were going to be used to buy equipment for PAL football and baseball teams. Spectators and drivers were charged $1.25 for admission and $1 for competing cars. Trophies were awarded to class and eliminator winners. Cecil Darnell's jet dragster "The Red Demon" was also scheduled to make three exhibition runs in a match race against his other jet dragster (probably "Magnum 500."
 
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Oregon "Drag Strip"

  • Years of Operation: 1953

The Northern Ohio Timing Association conducted drag races on a two-lane concrete road on the outskirts of Toledo at least as early as 1953. The exact location of this site is not known, and more research is needed. An old photo of the strip is found in Hot Rod Magazine, (May 1954).
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