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Drag Strip List

A Comprehensive Encyclopedia


Remembering . . .


Rhode Island
Drag Strips

Bill Lawton driving a Tasca Ford Super Stocker at Charlestown NAS Drag Strip. Photographer unknown


  • Charlestown Drag Strip, 1963-64
My Soap Box Derby car was sponsored by SNETA, which operated the drag strip at the old Naval Air Station in Charlestown, R.I.I don't remember a track name, just a hand-written sign said "Drags," with an arrow to point which direction. I think I was thirteen (1963). I got to the strip with my neighbor's boyfriend before that. I remember Tasca's '63 Galaxy racing Norwood Motors 409 Bel Air and a whole lot more. When I was 14 I would hitchhike there from the North Prov. line on Smith Street (Rt. 44) and back. The late Joe Vanni (Bailey Motors B/S Plymouth ) was my first contact. Later I found out a distant cousin ran the PA system. I would sit on the ground and lean against any available first row spectator car bumper when I was not cruising the pits. Once a 348 Chevy blew it's clutch and I remember like slow motion pieces bouncing toward me across the strip. A pressure plate spring went into the front tire of the car I was leaning on. Later I discovered my ankle bleeding. One of those pieces found me. At least not in the crotch! Jimmy King's blown small block A/D, called El Diablo I think. Al Oats' Hilborn injected, B& M Hydro equipped, B/G Anglia. called "The Growler."
Brian O'Reilly