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RHODE ISLAND

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Charlestown Dragway (1956)
Tasca Ford 406 at Charlestown. Photographer unknown

Charlestown Dragway

  • Years of Operation:  1956-64

According to the research of Brian Lohnes , in 1956 the Southern New England Timing Association held two test events on a closed runway at an active Naval Auxiliary Landing Field hugging the coast of Block Island Sound on the southern end of Rhode Island. The runway strip was close to the Ninigret salt water pond.  In March 1958, the Navy turned down the request of the Timing Association to conduct six races in that season. The reason they gave was that there was a general feeling of Charlestown residents who were opposed to drag racing. However, racing resumed in 1959, being held on the first Sunday of each non-winter month. Hot Rod Magazine (Jan. 1960, p. 28-29) reported on an NHRA regional event that attracted 317 entries in 1959. The Miller-Gatti A/D from Long Island took top eliminator.  In 1960, seven events were run. In 1961, races were held on May 7, June 4, July 8-9, August 6, and October 1. There was a race on September 15, 1963, featuring a Plymouth factory experimental car that was making a tour of New England strips. Old racers called it Charley Town.  More research is needed. Although runways are still present at Charlestown, the actual runway where the drag strip operated may have since been chopped up and the site turned into bike paths and walkways according to an old timer .
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