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Drag Strip List

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Garden Spot Airpark/Lancaster Drag-O-Way ​(Mountville) (1954)
Johnsville Naval Air Station (Warminster) (1954)
New Castle "Drag Strip" (1954)
Convair Field (Allentown) (1955)
​Rossville Drag Strip (1956)
Splane Memorial Airport (Oil City) (1956)
Forty Fort Drags (1957)
Lincoln Speedway (Hanover) (1957)
Hatfield Hi-Speedway (1957)
Langhorne Speedway (1958)
Sanatoga Speedway (Pottstown) (1958)
Wattsburg Dragway/P.I.T.A. Drag Strip/Lucky Drag City (1958)
Sunset Drag Strip (Charleston) (1959)
York U.S. 30 Drag-O-Way (Thomasville) (1959)
Mountain View Drag Strip (Wind Gap) (1960)
Nazareth Speedway (1960)
Reading Fairgrounds (1960)
Vargo Dragway (Perkasie) (1960)
Skyline Drag Strip (New Castle) (1961)
Sunset Riders Motorcycle Club (Butler) (1962)
Maple Grove Raceway (Mohnton) (1962)
Quarter Aces Drag-O-Way/South Mountain Raceway(Boiling Springs) (1962)
Williams Grove Speedway (1962)
Green Pine Drag Strip (Elimsport) (1963)
Green Valley "Drag Strip" (1963)
Heidelberg Speedway (Scott Township) (1963)
Pocono Drag Lodge (Bear Creek) (1963)
Selinsgrove Speedway (1963)
Allentown Fairgrounds (1964)
Kel-Reca Dragstrip (Still Creek) (1964)
Numidia Dragway (Catawissa) (1964)
Pittsburgh International Dragway (Cuddy) (1964)
Leamersville "Drag Strip" (1965)
Pinecroft Speedway (1965)
Peterson Memorial Dragway (Tipton) (1966)
Speck Farm (Walker Township) (1966)
Giles Hilltop Drag Strip/Speedway (Beaver Falls) (1967)
Keystone Drag Strip/Raceway Park (New Alexandria) (1967)
Route #194 Dragway (Littlestown) (1968)
Westmoreland County Fairgrounds (Owensburg) (1968)
Nu-Be Drag Strip (New Bethlehem) (1969)
Pocono International Raceway (Long Pond) (1969)
Roof Garden Riders Motorcycle Club "Drag Strip" (Shanksville) (1969)
Truittsburg Cycle Club "Drag Strip" (Knox) (1969)
Handlebar Park Drag Strip (Ennisville) (1960s)​
Kreamer 522 Dragstrip (1960s)
​St. Thomas Speedway (Chambersburg) (1960s)
Oil City Cycle Club "Drag Strip" (Tippery) (1970)
Beaver Springs Dragway (1971)
Chimney Rocks Motorcycle Club Grounds (Newry) (1971)
Bedford County Motorcycle Club Grounds (Everett) (1973)
Valley Motorcycle Park (Hollidaysburg) (1973)

Bill Shorts races his Willys gas coupe at Wattsburg Dragway in 1963. Photographer unknown

Allentown Fairgrounds

  • Years of Operation: 1961-65

Drag races were held at the Allentown Fairgrounds speedway beginning at least as early as 1961. They raced on the 1/8th-mile dirt straightaway in front of the covered grandstands. Read Neal Hinkle's memories of racing at Allentown .
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April 17, 1964

Beaver Springs Dragway

  • Years of Operation: 1971-present

Research has found that this quarter-mile drag strip was in operation at least by 1978, but probably years earlier. More research is needed on these early years. The track dates its beginning to 1971, owned and promoted by Bob McCardle. It continues to run as an IHRA-sanctioned track today. In 1988, the dragway was awarded track of the year honors by NHRA in its division. The track stayed with NHRA through at least 1998. At leatst by 2005, the track was under IHRA sanction. The weather conditions at the track are sometimes windy. Racer Clint Corbin, who raced at Beaver Springs in the 1980s and 1990s said, "Crosswinds, down there, can really give you a thrill!" On September 4, 1995, Carol "Bunny" Burkett crashed her funny car at over 220 MPH when her competitor veered over into her lane and forced her off the track. It was a serious accident and left her with partial paralysis, but she was able to continue racing after recovering.
CLICK HERE to see video footage of Beaver Springs Dragway, 1988, filmed by Kevin Cory, 31:15 minutes
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CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of drag racing at Beaver Springs Dragway, produced by James Amos, footage begins at 8:01 minute mark and concludes at 10:20 minute mark

Bedford County Motorcycle Club Grounds (Everett)

  • Years of Operation: 1973-78

The motorcycle club grounds were located five miles south of Everett in Black Valley. They held drag races on their grounds usually in conjunction with a hill climb.
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1973

Chimney Rocks Motorcycle Club Grounds (Newry)

  • Years of Operation: 1971-72

The motorcycle club's grounds were located one mile south of Newry. In 1972, night motorcycle drag races were held on their track. See also Leamersville "Drag Strip" entry (below).
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1972

Convair Field (Allentown)

  • Years of Operation: 1955-56

Located in Allentown, the airfield was built about 1943, supporting an aircraft production plant run by Convair during World War II. At the conclusion of the war, aircraft production was shut down and the airfield deemed surplus. Ownership of the airfield was transferred to the city of Allentown in 1947. In spring 1955 Lou "Dopey Duncan" Gehringer, a radio show host, used his influence to get permission to hold drag races on the airfield. The Allentown Jaycees, Lehigh Valley Timing Association, and Ridge Runners car club sponsored monthly drag races for a brief time, the first race being held in May 1955. NHRA held a regional drag race event there in August 1955. However complaints by local residents and objections by the CAA brought a halt to racing. In 1961 Allentown renamed the field Queen City Airport and it continues to serve as a municipal airport.
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Forty Fort Drags

  • Years of Operation:   ca. 1957-1962

Quarter-mile drag races were held at the Forty Fort Airport, now called Wilkes-Barre Wyoming Valley Airport, located on the bank of the Susquehanna River, three miles northeast of Forty Fort. A drag race was held on July 29, 1962, in conjunction with the annual Giants' Despair Hill Climb. That tradition of holding the drag races during the hill clim race week began at least as early as 1958. The range of years of its operation is not known; more research is needed.
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CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Forty Fort Airport Drags, November 1957, pan to 3:52 minute mark, goes to 4:20 minutes, from Jim Amos

Garden Spot Airpark/Lancaster Drag-O-Way (Mountville)

  • Years of Operation: 1954-ca. 1962?
 
Drag aces were first held on a runway of Garden Spot Airpark. In fact, it wasn't called Lancaster Drag-O-Way until May 1957. The Red Rose Timing Association conducted the races. The airport was located four miles west of Lancaster south of Pennsylvania State Highway 462 (Columbia Avenue). There are remnants of the old airfield that can be seen east of Donerville Road as it goes in a southeasterly direction south of Leisure Lanes. When first built after World War II, it was a 2,400-foot long turf air strip. After 1954, the runway was paved with concrete and lengthened several hundred feet. They held races on Saturday nights, drawing between 1-3,000 fans. Neighbors raised complaints aobut the noise and bright lights. They went to court to try to get the racing stopped, but weren't successful. The same classes that were run at Lancaster were used at the York Airport drag races in 1959. The Lancaster Kiwanis Club sponsored weekly races at this airstrip in 1957. Eight thousand spectators attended the race on May 25, 1957. They were treated to a "blazing demonstration" by Bob Carroll of Marietta, who was clocked at 120 MPH in his roadster. The proceeds from this race were destined for various children's projects. Research didn't uncover any racing after 1959, but old timers contend that racing continued until 1961 or 1962. One old timer said, "I believe it was shut down around "61 or "62. Some farmer had a chinchilla farm next door and the noise was tormenting them." Another old timer had heard the rumor about the chinchillas being the reason the strip had to close, but said that "noise wasn't the problem." The farmer eventually simply "got rid of them." This was the strip where Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins got his start in drag racing.

 
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Giles Hilltop Drag Strip/Speedway (Beaver Falls)

  • Years of Operation: 1967-68

Track owner Roy Giles opened racing at his Hilltop Dragstrip for motorcycle drag racing on April 30, 1967. Research hasn't found information on earlier drag racing. The track was located on River Road between Beaver Falls and Ellwood City, but the exact location needs further research.
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June 10, 1967

Green Pine Drag Strip (Elimsport)

  • Years of Operation: 1963-65

Beginning in 1963, the Green Pine Sportsters Motorcycle Club held weekly Sunday drag races at their new 1/8th-mile paved track located south of Williamsport. It was four miles off Route 15. On July 3, 1963, Deanna Barner won a trophy in her B/G '57 Ford. In 1965, Green Pine conducted races on Saturday evenings. Research uncovered little information about this drag strip; more research is needed.
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Green Valley "Drag Strip"

  • Years of Operation: 1963

Sportsman motorcycle drag races were scheduled to be held on Saturday night, August 10, 1963, in Green Valley, Ohio Township. An area championship cycle drag race was scheduled for Saturday night, September 14, 1963. Research has not uncovered the exact location or sponsoring organization.
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Handlebar Park Drag Strip (Ennisville)

  • Years of Operation: late 1960s?-1971

This motorcycle drag strip, located in Jackson Township just south of Ennisville on Route 26, was owned by Gary R. and Jean Young in association with William M. Peacock, all of State College. Residents of Cumminsville and Altoona brought suit against the park due to the noise. One of the residents who complained said that in addition to the motorcycle racing courses, which included a hill climb, moto-cross, and oval, there was a drag strip for motorcycles on the property in 1971. She said that the park had conducted five moto-cross events and four drag races between November 1970 and March 1971. The court ordered it permanently closed in April 1971.
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April 11, 1971

Hatfield Hi-Speedway

  • Years of Operation: 1957-66

There was a 1/8th-mile paved drag strip at the Hatfield Speedway complex. Besides the drag strip, the speedway had a 1/2-mile paved oval with a 1/3-mile dirt oval inside the paved oval. On September 8, 1957, Corky Doan of Morrisville won Class C in his 1956 Chevy for the second straight week, clocking 53 MPH. This predates other research which dates the first drag race to 1958, but that is incorrect.  Controversial George Marshman was the race director in circa 1958-59.
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August 24, 1957 ad in ​​​​Doylestown Intelligencer
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of quarter midget racing at Hatfield Speedway in September 1956, 2 minutes, no sound/music only​​

Heidelberg Speedway (Scott Township)

  • Years of Operation: 1963
 
This 1/2-mile dirt oval track, which first opened in 1948, was located six miles southwest of Pittsburgh. It had a straight-away in front of the grandstands. More than 200 cars were expected to compete in the drag races, possibly the first races, held at Heidelberg Speedway on Friday, June 28, 1963. Trophies were awarded to winners in forty classes. Drag races were held every Tuesday and Friday night during the 1963 season. DSL reader Dan Roney wrote: "Heidelberg only had drag races one year in 1963. Ed Witzberger. who owned the race track, was gauging the interest in opening up a drag strip in the area and thought he'd try drag racing at the dirt speedway to see what kind of support there was. Needless to say, it went over well and PID was built nearby outside the town of Bridgeville. The starting line at Heidelberg was the 4th turn of the 1/2 mile track and the finish line was the first corner of the oval. Winners were determined by a person standing at the end and holding up his hands which had large gloves showing one glove as the winner of lane 1 or 2 gloves as the winner of lane 2. Rich Major raced there with his Corvette called the ''Disabled Vette.'' Rich went on to race at PID and to publish a small newspaper about the area drag racing news."

 
CLICK HERE to see video footage of stock car race at Heidelberg Speedway in 1961, 7 minutes​
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Johnsville Naval Air Station (Warminster)

  • Years of Operation: 1954, 1964
 
Ray Frattone attended a drag race on a runway at the Naval Air Station in 1954 (see Memories ). A drag race was held on May 31, 1964, on a runway at the Naval Air Station. Two thousand people watched 162 cars compete. The race was sponsored by the Warminster Youth Activities Organization. The race was sanctioned by NHRA. Trophies were awarded to class and eliminator winners. The race was conducted by the Rotary Club and Meter Menders Rod and Custom Club of York. Gary Tomasulo of Philadelphia got top stock eliminator.

 
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Kel-Reca Dragstrip ​(Still Creek)

  • Years of Operation: 1964-?
 
This paved 1/8th-mile drag strip was located northwest of Hometown in Still Creek. There is no visible remnant of the track, but it was south of Fairview Street, between Mazur Lane and State Route 309. Very little has been uncovered about the track; more research is needed. So little is known that even the spelling of the track name isn't known for sure; it may have been spelled Kel-Rica. Read Don Hinkle's recollections of racing done at this strip by his father, Neal.

 
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Keystone Drag Strip/Raceway Park (New Alexandria)

  • Years of Operation: 1967-present
 
First called Keystone Drag Strip, this track opened at least by 1967, if not earlier. The first documentation research found was about a race on July 23, 1967. Racer John Scaglione suffered abrasions when his race car flipped end over end.  In August 1967, the track hosted the first of what would be an annual event at the track--the National Association Automobile Racing National Championships. On August 23-25, 1968, the raceway hosted the 1968 NAAR national championships. More than 20,000 spectators were expected to attend the three-day affair. In the June 1970 issue of Hot Rod, Keystone was listed as an NHRA track. Wolf Mentzer was the track manager then. There were entries from fourteen states that competed in the NAAR Summer National championships on August 7-8, 1971, the fifth consecutive summer that Keystone hosted the event. In 1974, a motocross track was built on the same grounds as the drag strip. By at least 1976, the track was sanctioned by NHRA.  It was about 1968 when it began being called Keystone Raceway Park. The name of the race track was changed in 2014 to Pittsburgh Raceway Park, owned by Greg Miller and sanctioned by IHRA.

 
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Keystone Raceway Park, 1980, 6:53 minutes, no sound/music only
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Kreamer 522 Dragstrip

  • Years of Operation: 1960s-1970s
 
This drag strip purportedly ran in the 1960s and 1970s, but research has found little information. It is now a pig farm with long roofed pen buildings sitting on top of the old drag strip. It is just off Sportsman's Drive in  Middlecreek Township.

 
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Kreamer Drag Strip, 1967 topo map
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of drag racing at Kreamer's 522 Dragway, produced by James Amos, footage begins at 5:35 minute mark and concludes at 8:02 minute mark

Langhorne Speedway

  • Years of Operation: 1958-64
 
Construction of a 1/4-mile long asphalt drag strip was begun on the infield of the speedway oval in April-May 1958. Races were conducted over an 1/8-mile distance and were sanctioned by the Eastern Hot Rods Association. Weekly races were held on Sundays from May through December during the first season. There were 42 classes of competition. They regularly had 150 cars entered. The track record of 107 MPH was set in early July 1958. They installed an electronic timing system in April 1959. On November 6, 1960, Joe Jacomo of Chester, Pennsylvnia, set a new track and national mark for 1/8th-mile with a run of 139.65 MPH in his Buick-powered dragster. At that same event, Walt Arfons had his first jet-engined Green Monster dragster make a 90 MPH pass. On November 5, 1961, promoter Al Gerber brought Art Arfons to Langhorne to make exhibition runs in his Green Monster II Allison-engined dragster. The strip traditionally had a 2-day Labor Day race which attracted a good crowd and lots of racers. Gerber brought in other big names like Lyle Fisher's Speed Sport Roadster. Langhorne's location in a prime real estate location was really what doomed the speedway. It is not known if drag race events continued after 1964, but the oval racing continued at least through about 1971. Drag racing was not held in 1965 due to construction work on the speedway oval.
 
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CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of drag racing at Langhorne Speedway in 1959, 4 minutes, old Charioteers racer Roger Leip narrates his memories of that day's racing

Leamersville "Drag Strip"

  • Years of Operation: 1965-67
 
The Chimney Rocks Motorcycle Club sponsored a drag race on September 25, 1965, in Leamersville. They sponsored a race at their club grounds on July 9, 1967. More research is needed to identify the exact location and years of operation.

 
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September 25, 1965

Lincoln Speedway (Hanover)

  • Years of Operation: 1957
 
Reportedly the first drag race held on the front stretch of this speedway was on July 7, 1957. Hilly Rife was the promoter. Although news reports only said that the race happened in Hanover, racing historian Steve Bubb stated that the races were held at this speedway. The old dirt track speedway which opened in 1953, is located at the foot of the Pigeon Hills north of Hanover and about two miles southwest of Abbotstown. The 3/8th-mile high-banked clay oval track still operates today.

 
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CLICK HERE to see video footage of Lincoln Speedway, 2011, 1:30 minutes

Maple Grove Raceway (Mohnton)

  • Years of Operation: 1962-present
 
A flat, half-mile dirt oval track called Brecknock Speedway opened for racing in 1937 in Maple Grove Park. Albert Stauffer bought the speedway in 1940. In 1957, the Friendship Motorcycle Club got Stauffer's permission to run 1/8th-mile drag races inside the oval track. Stauffer paved the starting line with concrete to eliminate rocks being kicked up by the motorcycles. In 1960, a group of local racers from the Eastern Custom Car Association approached Stauffer about converting the track into a drag strip for race cars. He liked the idea. John and Roy Stauffer constructed a fifth-mile long and 30 foot wide drag strip. Maple Grove Park Drag-O-Way opened in August 1962. In 1963 they widened the track to 40 feet wide and installed a dual-lane timer. In the listing of NHRA-sanctioned tracks in Hot Rod (August 1963), it was called the Custom Car Association Drags. After visiting Cecil County Dragway to get ideas, the Stauffers lengthened the track to 4,000 feet and 60 feet wide in time for the 1964 season. Bob Eveland leased the track that year and NHRA sanctioned the track. 
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1963
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CLICK HERE to listen to old commercial radio spot for Maple Grove Raceway, 1 minute
CLICK HERE to see video footage of funny car racing at Maple Grove on May 27, 1989, 8 minutes
CLICK HERE to see brief 8mm video footage of  Maple Grove, produced by James Amos, pan to 3:14 minute mark thru 3:26

Mountain View Drag Strip (Wind Gap)

  • Years of Operation: 1960-76

This drag strip which opened in 1960 was run every Sunday by members of the Hi-Winders car club. It was purchased in about 1964 by Rev. Emmet Wentzel. He owned and operated the drag strip according to what newspapers stated was "on a Christian basis." Rev. Wentzel prohibited alcoholic beverages, vulgar language, and encouraged good sportsmanship. Any who couldn't abide by those rules could neither attend or particpate in the races. The drag strip, called "The Sticks" by the old racers, was located off of East Mountain Road out in the woods in Wind Gap.   Larry Phillips wrote , " The dragstrip shutdown was the oval track. The return road weaved through the woods back to the pits.I raced there from 1960 till about 1964. In 1962 I won $22 in points money! Wow!" The Hi-Wnders car club has been putting on a reunion at the old race track since 1999. According to Fred Riedel, president of the Hi-Winders Car Club, the track closed at the end of the 1976 season.
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CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Mountain View Drag Strip, 1960s, pan to 34 seconds, goes to 1:04 minutes, from James Amos

Nazareth Speedway

  • Years of Operation: 1960-64

The historic Nazareth Speedway originally was just a half-mile track, located just northeast of the current site of the now-defunct 1-mile track. The large 1-mle, 5-turn dirt track opened in 1966. The two tracks co-existed on the site until about 1988, when the old half-mile track was demolished to make way for the expansion of a large grocery store and its parking lot.  Ed Beers wrote this website:  "They ran 425-foot drags on the clay front stretch at the old Nazareth 1/2-mile track. Jerry Fried was the promoter. Drags started in June 1960 and ran until about 1964. Fried had Don Garlits there in 1961. Actually Connie Swingle was driving, Swingle made one run and set a track record. The next run he ended up crashing the dragster in turn one. Garlits wrote about this in several of his books but he said it was at Reading Fairgrounds. Newspaper coverage of Nazareth tells all about the incident. The following Tuesday night, Chris Karamesines broke Swingle's speed mark but also crashed. There was an ad for Dick Belfatti's "Shadow" going to race at Nazareth, but I could not find any results. One of the Nazareth regulars was Chester Kilmer, Jr., known for his Timberman Pontiacs. Nazareth Speedway is most notable for launching the storied career of Mario Andretti. Unfortunately it was torn down for a shopping center."
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This 1966 ​ topo map only shows the old half-mile track. The one-mile oval had not been built yet.
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This 1972 aerial photo shows both tracks, the large 1-mile track and the old half-mile track just to the northeast of it.

New Castle "Drag Strip"

  • Years of Operation: 1954

The city of New Castle gave permission for the Kust-Ods car club to use land in Cunningham Park for a drag strip, leasing it to the club for $1 per year. The land had already been laid out for a drag strip when leased to the Kust-Ods, but it needed more grading before the Kust-Ods could blacktop it. It was a half mile long and 25 feet wide.  The directions to get to the drag strip were to drive through Deshon Village or via Cascade Boulevard leading from Hamilton Street.
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Nu-Be Drag Strip (New Bethlehem)

  • Years of Operation: 1969-82
 
Daniel D. McCauley and Paul A. Burford filed incorporation papers for this drag strip on May 12, 1969. This 1/8th-mile track was located on Route 861, on the south side of the highway two miles northwest of New Bethlehem. It was on a 20-acre site in Porter Township. They raced every Sunday on the strip which was sanctioned by the National Association of Automobile Racing (NAAR). In the June 1970 issue of Hot Rod, NuBe was listed as an NHRA-sanctioned track. Different gimmicks were used to attract spectators. In 1970, they held a mini-bike drag race for kids. In 1971 they engaged a sky diver to dive from 8,000 feet into an open car on the strip. The strip was a venue for rock concerts in the 1970s. In 1980, the strip was offered for sale. It eked out an existence for another two years before closing.
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1969

Numidia Dragway (Catawissa)

  • Years of Operation: 1964-present

Initially this strip was called Dragways, Inc., when it opened on August 23, 1964. It went through a couple of name changes, first Numidia Raceway Park, then to today's Numidia Dragway. On April 25, 1965, Bruce Larson was a featured racer. On July 25, 1965, Costlow-Larson took street eliminator honors. A newspaper ad for a race on Saturday, April 22, 1967, enticed people to come with a copy that read:  "Red hot drag racing plus the rails."  On July 16, 1967, the dragway featured the Joie Chitwood Thrill Show in addition to the regular drag racing program.. In 1967, the regular racing program was held every Saturday night with time trial racing every Wednesday night. In the 1970s, the track changed to a Sunday racing program.  On May 12, 1974, the strip featured a match race between Don Garlits and Chris Karamesines. On June 2, 1974, the track featured a funny car match between Don Schumacher and Jungle Jim Liberman. Today the drag strip operates under NHRA sanction.
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April 22, 1967
CLICK HERE to see video footage of Numidia Dragway, 2011, 8:45 minutes

Oil City Cycle Club Drag Strip (Tippery)

  • Years of Operation: 1970
 
The venerable Oil City Cycle Club acquired its club grounds in Tippery at least as early as 1967. However the only drag racing research found held at the grounds took place in 1970.
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September 20, 1970

Peterson Memorial Dragway (Tipton)

  • Years of Operation: 1966-77

Paul Peterson built a combination airstrip and drag strip on the site of the former historic Altoona Speedway board track oval on Route 220. The strip, also called Tipton Dragway, was 6,000 feet long. It opened on Labor Day weekend, September 4-5, 1966. Walter Mentzer was the track manager when it opened, but by 1967, Ed Anderson was the manager. On July 16, 1967, almost 5,000 spectators saw Bill "Grumpy" Jenkins beat out a strong field at an NHRA Super Stock circuit meet. On June 20, 1971, Jon Pulver of Rhode Island set a new strip record in his junior fueler with a 7.64 at 188.66 MPH clocking.  One old timer recalled, "I grew up about a mile from Peterson's in Tipton, Pennsylvania. I would hang out there all the time. I wasn't old enough to participate but as a young kid would hang out and try to learn from the oldtimers. By the time I was old enough to drive and have my own vehicle it was already shut down. Even after it was closed, all the young hot rodders would hang out there and race. The authorities seemed to overlook the activities." Another fellow recalled the great racing action:  "That strip had some great shows. Jungle Jim, Grumpy Jenkins, great funny car shows, and super stock shows with a ton of cars."
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CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Peterson Memorial Dragway, 3:29 minutes

Pinecroft Speedway

  • Years of Operation: 1965-66
 
The Golden Eagle Motorcycle Club held several drag races at their race track near Pinecroft, between Bellwood and Altoona.  The exact location of the track is not known; more research is needed.
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November 14, 1965

Pittsburgh International Dragway (Cuddy)

  • Years of Operation: 1964-76
 
Ed Witzberger opened a drag strip on a 3,300-foot runway of the old Campbell Airport in 1962. According to Jerry Gross ,  the track opened May 10, 1964, and  was sanctioned by NHRA on June 28 of that year and closed in May 1976. Gross learned from Bill Truby, the old track photographer, that the old airport was converted to a drag strip because the wind currents played havoc with the airplanes, flipping them over on occasion. "It started as an NHRA track," said Gross, "then switched to NASCAR when Ed and Wally [Parks] couldn't agree on things. Later in the '70s, it returned to the NHRA fold. Many of the top Sportsman drivers got their starts here, including Jim Boburka, Harry Luzader, Tom Myl, and Mike Kosky. . . . The basic track is still there, just all overgrown, and all the structures have fallen down." An organization holds popular annual reunions and gathers memorabilia to keep the memory of the old raceway alive. In 1964, Bill Palmer of Belle Vernon, was the top points-maker. He won the season finale on November 8, with a run of 149.75 MPH in 9.48 seconds. It was sanctioned by NASCAR in 1965. On May 22, 1966, Connie Kalitta set a strip record with a run of 200.88 MPH in 7.90 seconds. Al Kunkle set a strip record in his twin-engined gas dragster with a run of 172.08 MPH in 8.94 seconds.
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CLICK HERE to see video footage of interview with Jim Senkewitz about history of PID, with old photos, 3:24 minutes

Pocono Drag Lodge (Bear Creek)

  • Years of Operation: 1963-72

According to Joe Amato, the Perugino family, from Wilkes-Barre, bought 300 acres in Bear Creek Township  on which to build a drag strip. Previously drag racers had raced on an airport in the vicinity of Wilkes-Barre, but pilots complained about it. Being in the construction business, the Peruginos carved out a quarter mile drag strip in the woods of the Pocono Mountains. Located four miles south of Wilkes-Barre off Route 115, this was a most unusual drag strip that had a surprisingly successful tenure that lasted for close to eight years. It was run by John Perugino, his sons Jim and Joe, and son-in-law Dan Levitsky. On Labor Day 1965, the track featured a demolition derby at the strip. In 1968, the strip ran 122 different clases and five eliminator categories. They were drawing between 200 to 500 entries each Sunday. They featured numerous big-name racers there in 1968 including Bruce Larson's USA 1 funny car, Lew Arrington's "Brutus" Firebird funny car, Jungle Jim Liberman, Clare Sanders' "Lime Fire" Barracuda funny car, and the "Untouchable" jet dragster. In the June 1970 issue of Hot Rod, the track was listed as an NHRA-sanctioned track. There was an attempt to revive the drag strip, on land still owned by Perugino, in the late 1990s, but that didn't materialize. Drag strip reunions, minus the racing, have been held there for several years recently.
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September 1, 1968
CLICK HERE to see interview with Joe Amato about history of Pocono Drag Lodge, with old 8mm movies of racing, 8:56 minutes
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Pocono Drag Lodge, 1968, 3:18 minutes
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Pocono Drag Lodge, pan to 4:21 minute mark, from James Amos

Pocono International Raceway (Long Pond)

  • Years of Operation: 1969
 
Informal discussions for this raceway started in the mid-1950s. Racing Incorporated was formed in 1957 and the planning was instituted. By 1965, plans had firmed up and were publicly announced. It was hoped that construction could be completed at the 1,025-acre site to permit racing that fall. However construction problems and bad weather caused those optimistic goals to be postponed. They had initially planned to hold eleven drag racing events in 1965, but that had to be put off. The drag strip was to be 3,740 feet long and sixty feet wide, to be lit for night racing. There was to be a return road paralleling the strip. It wasn't until 1969 that work was finished on the drag strip to permit racing. Nine drag racing events were scheduled to be held. The main straight portion of the 2.5 mile tri-oval track was used for the drag races. Work was also completed that year on the 3/4-mile oval and the 1.8-mile road course. Research was only able to find drag races being held in 1969, or at least reports that they were scheduled to be held. In the June 1969 issue of Hot Rod, it was listed as a sanctioned NHRA strip. On May 18-20, 1979, Pocono scheduled an IHRA Winston All American Spring Nationals event, but got rained out on Friday and Saturday. They tried to pack all three days into racing on Sunday, but were foiled by Mother Nature. Ed Beers said they rescheduled it again, but once again were rained out. The race was never run.
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Quarter Aces Drag-O-Way/South Mountain Raceway (Boiling Springs)

  • Years of Operation: 1962-present
 
In 1958, the Quarter Aces Car Club, with the help of H. Robert Davis, a local doctor and community leader, came up with the down payment to buy about 40 acres along Petersburg Road in South Mountain Township on which they planned to build a 1/8th-mile drag strip. It took them another four years to work on readying the track to start racing. When it opened in 1962, they charged 75 cents to race. It had a 100-foot asphalt launch pad followed by 900 feet of gravel. The name was changed to South Mountain Dragway in 1971 when the track was sold to Ron Wallace and Ed Stambaugh. That pair owned the track for over thirty years. They built the new tower in 1983 and made numerous improvements and upgrades.  In 1985 they became affiliated and sanctioned by NHRA.  In the early 1990s, they installed lights and added Friday night racing to their regular Sunday drag events. The track was repaved in 1997. Stanley Dye bought the track in 2007, and returned the track to its original name: Quarter Aces Drag-O-Way. After making many improvements, Dye put the drag strip on the market for sale in early 2014. Mike Natoli bought the track, and after revamping and renaming the track to South Mountain Raceway, re-opened the drag strip.
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CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Quarter Aces Drag-O-Way in 1965, 1:16 minutes, no sound/music only

Reading Fairgrounds Speedway

  • Years of Operation: 1960-65
 
NASCAR-sanctioned drag races were held on a 1/16th-mile straight-away in front of the grandstands on the clay-surfaced half-mile oval track. Races were held every Wednesday night, the first one being held on June 29. Ed Otto was the promoter. The races regularly attracted over 200 cars to compete for 25 class trophies. AMA motorcycle drag races were held on September 13, 1961, to kick off a week of racing at the Reading Fair. Research didn't uncover any documentation about drag racing activities in 1963 and 1964, but oval track racing was held. Weekly drag racing events were held in the summer of 1965. They were sanctioned by the Reading Stock Car Association and generally drew about 130 entries. Trophies were awarded to class and eliminator winners.
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CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Reading Fairgrounds Speedway stock cars heat race, 1972, 3 minutes, no sound

Roof Garden Riders Motorcycle Club "Drag Strip" (Shanksville)

  • Years of Operation: 1968-73
 
The Roof Garden Riders Motorcycle Club initially had a 1/8th-mile drag strip on Route 30 west of Jennerstown. On August 4, 1968, they held a benefit drag race at that strip. It was co-sponsored by the Somerset Jaycees and $300 from that race was donated to the Somerset Pool and Park Fund. In April 1969, the club bought twenty acres of land in Stonycreek Township, four miles east of Somerset on Shanksville Road north of Route 31. They built a 1/8th-mile dirt drag strip, holding their first race on Sunday, May 4, 1969. On August 10, 1969, the Roof Riders hosted the Pennsylvania State Championship Dirt Drags at their track. Ron Griffith of Somerset garnered top eliminator honors on his 650 BSA. On August 17, 1969, Alex Varner of Somerset took top eliminator honors on his 650 BSA at the drag strip near Shanksville. Regular drag races were held at least through 1973.
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May 4, 1969

Rossville Drag Strip

  • Years of Operation: 1956
 
Steve Bubb, a Pennsylvania racing historian, said that this drag strip opened in 1956 and was located 1.5 miles east of Rossville. Today the site of the old track is covered by woods.
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Route #194 Drag Strip (Littlestown)

  • Years of Operation: 1968
 
It was listed in a listing of U.S. drag strips in 1968 published in an issue of the Swedish magazine Start & Strip .  More research is needed to find out its years of operation, details, and specific location.
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St. Thomas Speedway (Chambersburg)

  • Years of Operation: 1960s
 
Steve Bubb, a Pennsylvania racing historian, said that this old speedway, located west of Chambersburg, held drag races on its front straightaway. The site of the speedway is now a baseball field. It had been a quarter-mile dirt oval track that opened in 1960.
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Sanatoga Speedway (Pottstown)

  • Years of Operation: 1958
 
Sanatoga Speedway was a 1/5th-mile oval that dated back to 1939. It was located in Sanatoga Park, east of Pottstown, Pennsylvania.  Owner George "Kilroy" Marshman began building a paved drag strip to complement his oval racing in May 1958. He started the project prior to gaining approval from the Pottstown zoning board. However formal approval was granted in late July and construction continued. However construction slowed when torrential rains caused delays. It was hoped that the strip would be able to open by at least August 9. But construction delays plagued the track. An opening date of September 6 was finally announced. The actual racing was slated to happen under the lights at night. It was anticipated that 300 racers would compete from several surrounding states, with trophies to be awarded in thirty-five classes. The Chester Times newspaper (Aug. 30, 1958) mentioned the details about this grand opener only a week before it was slated to happen. Since the oval track reportedly continued to hold races up until September 12, 1958, it seems puzzling that reports of the drag race opening were not mentioned in newspapers. However no documentation has been found about this opening drag race. It's kind of an unsolved mystery. No traces can be seen of the old speedway in aerial photographs. It was located on South Park Road in Sanatoga.
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CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of stock car racing at Sanatoga Speedway in 1951, 7 minutes, not drag racing, but a contemporary look at the old speedway

Selinsgrove Speedway

  • Years of Operation: 1963
 
This half-mile dirt track was built in 1945 in Penn Township, just south of Selinsgrove. It is not known when they first began holding drag races, but they did hold a drag race event on Sunday, August 11, 1963. Bob Richwine was the promoter in 1963. More research is needed about drag racing at this oval.
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CLICK HERE to see video footage of stock car race at Selinsgrove Speedway in 1985, 3:27 minutes, not drag racing, but a glimpse of the track twenty years after it opened

Skyline Drag Strip (New Castle)

  • Years of Operation: 1961-67, 1972
 
Mike Pollio, owner of Hickory Speedway, built a drag strip in 1961 on the Youngstown Road (Route 422), seven miles west of New Castle (mid-1960s articles say it was five miles & in 1972 it was reportedly four miles). It was a quarter-mile black-topped track, with bleachers to seat over 2,000 spectators. The opening race was on June 25, 1961, featuring Art Arfons and his "Green Monster" jet car. Featured racers were brought in to attract spectators. They included Akron's Otie Taylor with his A/R, class winner at the U.S. Nationals in 1960. In the mid-60s, feature racers included Tom Sturm, Dick Landy, the Ramchargers, and others. Research next found racing being held here in 1972 when the track was called New Castle Drag Strip. They held races on Wednesday and Friday nights and Sunday afternoons. At a race on Sunday, May 14, 1972, they offered a $1000 purse. Races were conducted using National Association Automobile Racing (NAAR) rules. Research was unable to find information about this track after  the 1972 season. More research is needed to identify the exact location of the old strip.
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June 25, 1961
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1972

Speck Farm (Walker Township)

  • Years of Operation: 1966
 
James Galloway was testing his car on a private asphalt drag strip owned by Dallas Speck on September 4, 1966. The drag strip was on the Speck farm in Walker Township, Huntingdon County. He had started down the strip and as he neared the end, he lost control of the car, which turned over. He was thrown from the car into a nearby field. He was transported to the J. C. Blair Memorial Hospital where he died about three hours later. Galloway resided in McConnellstown. Research hasn't found anything more about this drag strip.
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Splane Memorial Airport (Oil City)

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  • Years of Operation: 1956

The Draggin' Dragons car club conducted three drag races at the old airport. The July 29, 1956 race drew over 1,500 spectators to watch 40 racers. Racers were charged a $1 entry fee and spectator admission and pit passes cost 50 cents.  In August 1956, the Pennsylvania Aeronautics Commission ruled that no airports in the state could conduct drag races, effectively halting any more racing at the Splane airport. The old airport was built in the late 1920s, four miles in a northwesterly direction from Oil City. It had a paved 2,160-foot east-west runway and by 1945, was owned by the city of Oil City. The airport was closed by the city in 1972. The airport site is now only used by Oil City as a mulching/composting site for its leaf removal program.
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July 29, 1956

Sunset Drag Strip (Charleston)

  • Years of Operation: 1959-94, 2003-11
 
The strip is located about half way between Sharon and Mercer, one mile north of Route 62 in Charleston. It was founded by Alex and Marie Theofilos and Alex's brother, George. On August 28, 1960, Frank Zarienga of New Castle garnered top eliminator honors in the Sunday racing. Before the start of the 1961 season, the strip was widened to forty feet, lengthened and newly paved. The Corvette Club of Western Pennsylvania held a race there on April 22, 1961. An old timer remembered that in the early 1960s you could get into any class that you wanted by giving the tech inspectors a six-pack.  The strip lays claim to being the birthplace of bracket racing in 1961. Races in 1964 were sponsored by the Tri-State Hot Rod Association. On November 1, 1964, Frank Venturelli drove Dr. Robert Marvin's A/MSP car to a 7.06 ET at 105 MPH. At various times, the track did 1/6th-mile racing, but mostly timed runs for an 1/8th-mile distance. Although the 1/8th-mile track mainly catered to the sportsman racers, occasionally they brought in prominant racers for match races or exhibition runs. In the 1967 season opener, the "Seaton Shaker," a fuel-injected blown Corvair from Royal Oaks, Michigan, was brought in for a match race. On July 25, 1967, Walt Arfons ran his jet-powered funny car. Friday night bracket racing was also inaugurated in 1967. The Professional Drag Racers Association staged the annual Super Stock Nationals in 1967. On June 23, 1968, Anthony Barry, age 18, was killed when he lost control of his car after the finish line and began rolling over and over. It has been the track's only fatal accident. In 1983 the strip was renamed Charleston Raceway Park. The track closed for almost ten years after 1994, but then Alex re-opened it in 2003. With the passing of the Theophilus brothers, the race track stopped operating. Some buildings remain, but the track itself is quickly disintegrating.
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1979
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1983
CLICK HERE to see video footage of old photos of Sunset Drag Strip in early 1960s, 2 minutes, no sound
  • Years of Operation: 1962

On May 13, 1962, the Sunset Riders Motorcycle Club sponsored their annual motorcycle drag races at their club farm. DSL reader, Dan Roney, noted that their farm had a mailing address of Chicora, but was really closer to the city of Butler. The races benefited the Butler County Crippled Children's Fund.
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Sunset Riders Motorcycle Club ​​(Butler)

Truittsburg Cycle Club "Drag Strip" (Knox)

  • Years of Operation: 1969-72
 
The motorcycle club held 1/8th-mile drag races at its club grounds raceway located 2.5 miles west of Knox on Route 208. The track was lit for night racing.
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May 30, 1970

Valley Motorcycle Park (Hollidaysburg)

  • Years of Operation: 1973-75
 
The Motorcycle Park was located on the Middle Loop Road (2.5 miles from Route 22) about one mile past Price's Poultry Farm southeast of Hollidaysburg. The Park had five motorcycle racing tracks including a drag strip. Races were first held at the Park on March 18, 1973. 
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Vargo Dragway (Perkasie)

  • Years of Operation: 1960-69
 
When Convair Field (see above) was closed to drag racing in 1956, hot rodders in the Allentown area were left without a local place to race. According to a history of Vargo Dragway , Lou Gehringer learned about Jake Vargo, an auto racing enthusiast who owned a large farm about two miles northeast of Perkasie on Elephant Road. Gehringer broached Vargo with the idea of building a drag strip on his farm. Vargo, a contractor/entrepreneur, liked the idea. In March 1958 the Lehigh Valley Timing Association and the Sidewinders hot rod club from Allentown purchased or leased  the Jacob Vargo farm property in Bedminster Township and contracted to build a drag strip. When local residents learned about it, they overwhelming opposed it and sought a court injunction to halt construction. Despite ongoing court battles, construction optimistically proceeded. On April 24, 1960, the first 1/8th-mile drag race event was run as the track was not yet completed to hold quarter-mile racing. However the track was finished in a few months and at least by September 11, 1960 or before, quarter mile racing was being held every Sunday with the sanction of NHRA. In March 1963, Bedminster Township brought suit against the drag strip, on the charge that it violated a township ordinance and Sunday Blue Laws. The drag strip attracted many big-name racers during the decade, but likely succumbed to continued political pressure to close the operation. Several reunions have been held at the site by former racers. It has been used as a private airstrip since about 1981.
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July 19, 1964
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Vargo Dragway, 1958 aerial photo
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Vargo Dragway in 1960s, 6 minutes, no sound
CLICK HERE to see brief 8mm video footage of Vargo Dragway, produced by James Amos, pan to 3:26 minute mark thru 4:08 minute mark

Wattsburg Dragway/P.I.T.A. Drag Strip/Lucky Drag City

  • Years of Operation: 1958-present

Built at a cost of $33,000 and completed before September 1956, the Presque Isle Timing Association conducted drag races at a drag strip just north of Wattsburg, Pennsylvania. The track was built by Don Jensen and Buck Ackerman.Dan Roney is certain that it opened in 1958.  A nephew of Jensen recalled the old strip's early years: "It was an interesting track that ran uphill slightly, then downhill, then just past the finish line it ran very uphill to slow down the faster cars. Surprizingly, the uphill downhill worked out to correct times compared with other tracks. The place stayed open into the early '70's when my uncle decided it wasn't feasible to keep it open anymore. My parents and a few other uncles and aunts ran the concession stand, which meant I was dragged along every Sunday from the time I was 3 yaers old. Man, what a place to grow up. I got to see Ohio George Montgomery, the Arfons brothers, Romeo Palamides, the Little Red Wagon, the development of the funny car era, as well as loads of others. My uncle even got a ride in the Little Red Wagon, and what a ride it was with a full 1/4 mile wheel stand, turned it around and came back down the other way on the rear wheels. I witnessed Walt Arfons crash an Allison powered propeller driven dragster, E.J. Potter wipe out a Pontiac powered motorcycle, and the Hill brothers destroy a Willys gasser." Another old timer recalled helping out at the races in 1959:  "In the Summer of 1959, Buck Ackerman hired our entire car club ( Quads of Erie) to work at the drag strip. We worked the quarter mile telling which lane won ( only one set of traps for timing), we worked the pits helping to inspect and classify, we worked the gate. And we also flagged (no Christmas tree lights). Buck paid our club a flat fee. None of us received individual compensation. What a great opportunity for a bunch of teen-aged car enthusiasts. I remember every time Art Arfons ran the Green Monster it got into the saplings at the top of the hill. I usually worked the quarter mile. Dave Snajder (Pimo) flagged a lot. One member (Sonny Calkins) was inspecting the helicopter powered coupe and mistakenly put a hole in the oil pan...embarrassing." To celebrate its fourth anniversary, the strip held a big drag meet on July 3, 1960. They featured the fuel dragsters of Lou Cangelose and Bob Stuckey and George Montgomery's A/GS coupe. It continues operation today as a 1/8th-mile track called Lucky Drag City, but also was known as Lowville Drag Raceway. The track gets its name from the owner, Lucky Foley.
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July 3, 1960
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Lucky Foley, the owner of today's Lucky Drag City, ran the 1936 Chevy coupe shown in this photo taken by Jack Bleil. Bleil wrote this article published in Drag News about a race at P.I.T.A. held on June 7, 1964. Foley won Street Eliminator at that race. ​ Read Jack Bleil's recollection of P.I.T.A in the Memories (Pennsylvania) page . Courtesy of Jack Bleil
CLICK HERE to see video footage of Lucky Drag City in 2011, 12 minutes, slow motion shots, high quality views of track

Westmoreland County Fairgrounds (Owensburg)

  • Years of Operation: 1968-69, 1975
 
On Sunday, September 8, 1968, the Flying Tigers Motorcycle Club of Mt. Pleasant sponsored a drag race. The drag race events were won by Don Custer, Norm Peters, and Bill Osselburn. On Friday, August 22, 1975, six thousand people watched motorcycle drag races during the fair.
 
 
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Williams Grove Speedway

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  • Years of Operation: 1962-63
 
This venerable 1/2-mile dirt oval track opened in 1939. It was located ten miles southwest of Harrisburg, between the towns of Mechanicsburg and Dillsburg. Bob Richwine was the owner. In mid-June 1962, they held an organizational meeting at the race track, according to newspaper reports, to determine "what will be done about drag racing at the Grove this season." There was an interest in having drag races on the oval. They raced on a 1/16th-mile course on the front stretch every Thursday night. Darwin Doll managed the drag races. They held the first race on June 28, 1962. The field of cars at each race steadily increased in size. On July 12, there were over two hundred entries. It proved to be popular, so they ran a full season of drag races on Thursdays in 1963. That was the final season of drag racing at the Grove.
 
 
1962
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CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of midget car racing at Williams Grove in 1962, 1:45 minutes, no sound

York U.S. 30 Drag-O-Way (Thomasville)

  • Years of Operation: 1959-79
 
The South Penn Hot Rod Council, comprised of five Hanover car clubs, began conducting drag races on a runway at York Airport on May 3. The strip was the only track sanctioned by the NHRA at that time in Pennsylvania or Maryland. The airport was six miles west of York at Thomasville. On October 18, 1959, they held a special meet to benefit the Hanover Kiwanis Club's underprivileged children's fund. They held races on every other Sunday in 1959 and 1960. Cork Allison was the strip manager.  In 1961 they held races every Saturday night. That same year, the track hosted an NHRA regional meet (see Hot Rod Magazine, Jan. 1962, p. 88-89). On August 13-15, 1971, the track hosted an AHRA Grand American points race with a $100,000 purse. On May 21, 1972, track co-owners William Holz and John Reynolds hired seventeen girls to be topless hostesses in the pit area at the Funny Car National Races. However when NHRA got wind of their plans, they threatened to pull their insurance. The track had the girls wear see-through blouses instead. Not discouraged by NHRA's threat, the owners looked into going with a New Jersey insurance company that wasn't averse to what attire (or lack of) that the girls would wear for a meet scheduled for July 9, 1972. Research wasn't able to uncover (pun not intended) what happened with their plans. The York Airport, owned by a private corporation, used income from the drag races to help pay their expenses. In 1979, the FAA wanted to install more sophisticated landing instrumentation, but were reluctant to do so because of the drag racing program. Airport manager Eugene Tate defended the drag racing program, saying it had never interfered or been a problem for airport operations. "Businesses which use the airport say the drag races have never held them up or made the airport unsafe," Tate said. Drag races at that time were being held on about twenty Saturday afternoons per year and spectator attendance numbered about 1,000.
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May 3, 1959
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CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of York U.S. 30 in the 1960s, 44 minutes, no sound
CLICK HERE to see location on a map
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of York U.S. 30 in the early 1960s, gp tp 1-"51 minute mark of clip, finished at 13:55 mark