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Oklahoma
Drag Strips

Carl Stone's roadster, Oklahoma City.. Photographer unknown.

Frederick

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  • Cherokee Dragway, 1967-70
 
I raced here also from 1967 to 1970.  It was an old WWII training airport.  The flier is from May 1968.  I don't have any pics of my cars racing there, but here are some others.
Doug Waggoner

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Photos of Cherokee Dragway courtesy of Doug Waggoner

Guymon

  • Guymon "Drag Strip," ca. 1969-70
 
I raced at a strip just to the north of Guymon, Oklahoma, in '69 or '70. It was on an old section of highway I think. I doubt that it had any sanction, but it was a fun trip.  I towed a death trap I had built to the track and lucky for me, it broke a trans case after two passes. We had a new Dodge Super Bee so my wife drove it in a two out of three race against some local.
Russ Herrick

Lawton

  • Southwest Dragway/Lawton Motorsports Park/L.A. Dragway, 1967-83
 
I am from Lawton and this was my home track.  It was originally built in 1967 by two TV repairmen, the Warner brothers.  These guys were electronic geniuses who completely built the entire timing system including the Christmas tree and the very first electronic readout digital ET scoreboards in the country.  The track was a quarter mile then.  In the early '70s it was changed to 1/8th mile because of a short shut down area and was operated by Frank Hodges.  In 1977 it was bought by James Stewart and the name was changed to Lawton Motorsports Park.  He added a lot of improvements and this was the most successful period for this track.  In the late '80s it was operated as LA Dragway by the West family until it's sad end.  It is completely gone now.  I will attach some pictures of my race cars running at this track starting from opening day in 1967 till the last time I raced there in 1983 when I moved to OKC.  I raced at the very first race in April of 67.  My dragsters held the track record there from 1978 till 1984.  My '62 Pontiac I raced here from 1967 till 1970.  My '23 T altered roadster I raced there in 1974 and 1975.  My front engine dragster from 1977 to 1980.  My rear engine dragster from 1981 to 1983.
Doug Waggoner

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Doug Waggoner's H/S 1962 Pontiac, named "Wagmobile." Courtesy of Doug Waggoner
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Doug Waggoner's 1923 T-altered roadster. Courtesy of Doug Waggoner
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Doug Waggoner's front-engined dragster. In the 1978 track opener at Lawton Motorsports Park Dragway, Waggoner's front-engined "Carpet Bagger" dragster set a new track record of 5.41 ET for the 1/8th-mile. Courtesy of Doug Waggoner
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Doug Waggoner's 1962 Pontiac; raced at Southwest Dragway, 1967-70. Best time was 13.17 ET @ 106 MPH against a then-national record of 12.95 @ 107 MPH. Courtesy of Doug Waggoner
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Doug Waggoner's 1923 T-altered roadster, named "The Carpet Bagger." Raced at Southwest Dragway, 1974-75. Courtesy of Doug Waggoner

Oklahoma City

  • Oklahoma City Drag Strip, 1958 NHRA Nationals
 
I found a picture of me standing in front of Paul Grimmett’s race car at the 1958 Nationals in Oklahoma. I was 23 years old at the time. I was not driving that car then. But when everyone else tried it and couldn’t make it go, I finally got up enough nerve to try it. After a few runs, I was able to get up to 120 mph and 11.20 ET in A/C class. It was a 1939 Simca coupe powered by a 1951 Cadillac with Herbert roller cam and six Stromberge carburators.  I drove it at the old Chandler drag strip in Arizona. These are the memories of an 81-year-old ex-hot rodder.
Bill Honea

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Bill Honea in front of Paul Grimmett's 1939 Simca, 1958. Courtesy of Bill Honea
  • Frontier International Raceway, 1970
 
My father took my brother and me to the 1970 AHRA Grand American race at Frontier International Raceway in Oklahoma City. This is a picture of my brother and I  standing next to the "Snake." My father has a lot more photos from that day, but this is the only one I have. That day we were in the staging area when the Christmas light tree was run over. We watched in disbelief as he [Roy Pogue] drove off. Track personnel grabbed brooms and swept everything off track and resumed racing with a flag man. A day to remember.
Jeff Bishop

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Jeff Bishop (on right) and his brother, Mike, in front of Don Prudhomme's funny car, 1970. Courtesy of Jeff Bishop
  • Oklahoma City International Raceway Park, 1984-85
 
I am Doug Waggoner.  I was the one that resurrected the old Willow Run track and was turning it into a major NHRA facility again in 1984.  I renamed the track Oklahoma City International Raceway Park. The last nail in the coffin for the original Willow Run [happened] in 1969 when the promoter took off with the gate receipts.  The track closed and reopened in 1970 as Frontier International Raceway and was an AHRA sanctioned track then.  It was not the last nail in the coffin of my effort to rebuild Willow Run in 1984.  That demise came about for several reasons, but mainly due to the greed of the ownership group.  I am attaching my card from 1984 and a picture of me match racing my Coors teammate Mike Felder during the test race we conducted to show the ownership the tremendous potential the track had if it was upgraded.
Doug Waggoner

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Oklahoma City International Raceway Park, 1984 business card. Courtesy of Doug Waggoner
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Doug Waggoner wrote, "This is a picture of me [near car] match racing my Coors teammate Mike Felder during the test race we conducted to show the ownership the tremendous potential the track had if it was upgraded." Oklahoma City International Raceway Park, 1984. Courtesy of Doug Waggoner
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This 2-page 1984 letter from Wally Parks mentions that  NHRA "would be interested in locating one of its major racing events" at Oklahoma City International Raceway Park, but only under the "right circumstances" and with good community support. Courtesy of Doug Waggoner
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Jet dragster making an exhibition run at Oklahoma City International Raceway Park. Courtesy of Doug Waggoner
  • Willow Run Raceway, 1966
 
These photos are of opening day for Willow Run in August of 1966.  The track was still under construction when they ran the first big race there.  Top fuel legends like Eddie Hill, Mike Sorokin with the Surfers, Bobby Langley, Kansas John Weibe, Gene Snow and more were all there.
Doug Waggoner

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All photos of 1966 opening day at Willow Run Raceway courtesy of Doug Waggoner
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Gene Snow put on quite a show with his wheels in the air and about to cross the center line on opening day in 1966 at Willow Run Raceway. Courtesy of Doug Waggoner

Ringwood

  • Sooner Raceway, 1967-74
 
Sooner Raceway in Ringwood, Oklahoma was 1 mile east of US412 & OK 58, then 1/4 mile south through a pasture to the strip. It is 19 miles west of Enid, Oklahoma, on US 412. Built about 1967 by dirt contractor, Earl Janzen on his farm near Ringwood, Oklahoma. Races were held until about 1974. A very nicely built and equipped regional strip. It was well managed and promoted. They had a few match racers and fast cars come in from around the country to draw the crowds. Mostly it was local guys running NHRA rules but not sanctioned. There was excellent participation in the stock classes. Some of the area guys went a little farther with their purpose-built race cars. There were about 6 or 8 local rail dragsters, then a good contingent of modified production and gas classes. Some of the local heroes were Laverne Kelly in his '65 Corvette and his nemesis, Tom Tarrant's Cobra. Ron Reames' Super Cobra Jet Mustang, tuner extrordinaire Del Zahorsky's '67 GTO, Jerry "Tank" Nickel's Super Cobra Jet Torino, Ed Poague's 409's. The local car club visited the remains a few years ago. The concession stand is still standing and the strip has weeds growing in all the cracks. It is beyond repair.
Garen Martens

Springer

  • Ardmore Dragway, 1963
 
My dad, Frank Millsap, was racing at Ardmore Dragway when I was born in 1963. He had a turquoise blue 1938 Chevy coupe. He ran it in, I believe, a C/G set up, and did a lot of match racing with this car at many of the other Oklahoma dragstrips through the mid-60's. Then later he built an Anglia to run in B/G, It was a burnt orange color and he raced it at Ardmore, Sand Valley, and Tulsa, among other places as well. Thank you for the site. I was taken to Ardmore Dragway when I was just 9 days old. Dad had a match race that weekend so we went to the drags to race. I've been around drag racing and hot rods every day since that weekend. I currently have a JR/Fuel dragster and run the Southwest Junior Fuel association.
Mike Millsap

Tulsa

  • Southwest Raceway/Tulsa Raceway, 1968-85
 
I raced on this track from 1968 until 1985.  I qualified number 1 in top comp in 1984. The AHRA Spring Nationals race was held at Tulsa every year in May. It seemed it always rained, but was the biggest race of the year for the Tulsa track.  It would consistently draw 500 cars and 30,000.00 people.  I raced at that race every year from 1976 until 1985.
Doug Waggoner

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Doug Waggoner qualifying at Southwest Raceway in 1984 AHRA Spring Nationals in Top Comp. Courtesy of Doug Waggoner
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Doug Waggoner in staging lanes at Southwest Raceway in 1979. Courtesy of Doug Waggoner
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Reinauer & Cobb 421 GTO Funny Car at the NHRA World Finals at Southwest Raceway in Tulsa, 1965. Courtesy of Doug Waggoner
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Cody Parr (sitting on ground), Liz Parr (behind engine), and Val Cochran (in cowboy hat) at the NHRA World Finals at Southwest Raceway in Tulsa, 1965. Courtesy of Doug Waggoner

Woodward

  • Woodward Drag Strip, 1970-71
 
I don't know many details of ownership or dates of build, but I raced there in 1970 & '71 and have driven by the track many times over the years. I do know they were running there in the mid '60's and it closed somewhere around 1973. The track was located 2 miles east of Woodward on US 412. It was a short track with limited shut down and a dirt path through the sagebrush if you didn't get shut down in time. It ran Saturday nights. NHRA rules but not sanctioned. Mostly local guys running there in stock or MP classes. A few purpose-built cars were there, but the short shutdown prevented the fast guys from running there. Lots of the stockers would run here on Saturday night, then Ringwood (50 miles east) on Sunday afternoon. The track and announcer's tower were in a wheat field and nature took over for many years, then about 5 years ago, the land owner plowed up the asphalt. In 2012, I took some photos of the abandoned track. They don’t show much because there was not much to be seen anymore. I did not use a camera very much back in the '70’s so I don’t have any photos of activities in the day.
Garen Martens

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Views of the former site of Woodward Drag Strip, 2012. Courtesy of Garen Martens
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