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Virginia
Drag Strips

Roanoke Drag Strip, 1960s. Photographer unknown

Bassett

  • Lakeview Drag Strip, 1961-62

I raced at the drags here in 1961 with my 401 HP Ford, I have three trophies for winning super stock The quarter mile was asphalt, but then it was dirt and gravel, tricky stopping.  I won four-1st places in Super Stock there. Average time was 12.03 et and speed of 112 mph. The other is Roanoke, Virginia, drag strip. I won several 1st places in Super Stock, same car--1961 Ford Starliner 401 hp. Best time was 12.01 et and 115 mph. This was in 1961 and 1962. I was winning pretty often till the Hemi’s came out, then I retired. This was back in the day when most cars were pretty much true stock. Tto win you had to be creative. I used ether and pure octane mixture, a 5.12 ratio rear end and polished heads, welded the spider gears together in the rear end, moved the battery to the trunk, had two 6 inch inlet tubes that blow air to the carbs, also had a metal box made to fit over the fuel pump, used dry ice to keep cool and prevent vapor lock. I ran Atlas Bucron soft rubber tires, had lifetime warranty. I went through five sets of tires in one season. I sprayed belt dressing spray on the tires before the run up the track. Had the fun to race against Ronnie Sox and Richard Petty's Cuda in Greensboro, North Carolina. Didn’t win, but had a lot of fun.  I also bought a 1963 Mercury Marauder 427 fastback which is very rare today. And also a 1964 Mercury Comet with 271 hp Cobra engine. I never got outrun by any GTO’S. Only 200 were released to the public. I sure wish I had held on to these cars.  I am 75 years old.  Still love the hot cars.
Mike Smith
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Mike Smith's Lakeview trophies. Courtesy of Mike Smith
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Mike Smith's Roanoke Drag Strip trophy and advertising poster. Courtesy of Mike Smith
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Mike Smith standing beside his 1963 Mercury Marauder 427. Courtesy of Mike Smith
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1964 Mercury Comet. Courtesy of Mike Smith

Cedar Bluff

  • Big Al's Dragway

My grandparents, Jerry and Norma Richardson, owned it and gave it the name of Big Al's Dragway. Big Al is their son (my uncle) whose real name is Allen Richardson. They also had ownership when Rick Rhea had his accident. All that's left of it are decrepit building such as the restroom and concession buildings. The stands and all the guardrail are now gone as well. The land is completely residential now and they do not allow anyone else on the property due to that.
Destini Patrick

Colonial Beach

  • Colonial Beach Drag Strip, 1970s

I was Tod Mack's partner at Budd's Creek MD (MIR), but worked Colonial Beach which was sold to Richard Clark in 1977. At that time it was a full ¼ mile.
Larry Clayton

Emporia

  • Emporia Dragway, 1960s
 
I never raced there, but attended as often as I could. It was at the old air field just east of town. It seems that one of the local sponsors was Charles Bottoms with Coca Cola. I remember seeing Jungle Jim Liberman go into the woods when his parachute didn't open. I also watched Kenneth Lucy and some others try to fly a wingless airplane there.
Bob Ranson
  • Emporia Dragway, early 1960s
 
I raced at Emporia Drag Strip in the early '60s. My car was a ’56 Chevy with a ’59 Chevy 348 with 3 2 barrel  carbs. Looked neat but wasn’t very fast. Ran in a gas class and rarely won.  My recollection is that the people who built Richmond Dragway operated it and closed it upon Richmond's opening. It was an old airstrip.
Monte McCraw

Louisa

  • Louisa Dragway, 1960s
 
My dad, Charlie Shifflett, raced at Louisa Dragway in the early '60s in a 1961 Starliner in B stock. This is a picture of one of the trophies that he won.
Charlie Shifflett
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Courtesy of Charlie Shifflett

Richmond

  • Richmond Dragway, 1960s

I won the 1968 Spring Nationals in C Gas and raced at Richmond Dragway for four years. My car was a '55 Chevy with a 389 Pontiac bored over to 400 cubic inches.
Bruce Vecchioni
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Bruce Vecchioni (on right), with his C Gas '55 Chevy and trophies won at Richmond Dragway. The other person (on left) is Larry Ambrio, who helped build the car. Courtesy of Bruce Vecchioni
1968 Spring Nationals trophy for C Gas class, with close-up of base plaque. Courtesy of Bruce Vecchioni
  • Richmond Dragway, 1960s

My dad raced his funny cars at Richmond Dragway, even racing against Richard Petty.
Brian Hankins
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Hank Hankins racing against Richard Petty at Richmond Dragway in his 1964 Dodge funny car. Courtesy of Brian Hankins
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Hank Hankins's Dodge funny car at Richmond Dragway. Courtesy of Brian Hankins
  • Richmond Dragway

I run my '55 Chevy 2-door hardtop with a Chevy 230 ci 6-cylinder inline engine. I was in M-Stock class. My car was green and another '55 was yellow called "The Outlaw," which was a C Modified Production record holder. I got about a eight-car spot. I almost beat. He went by me a short distance from the finish line. My speed was 68 MPH. I don't remember the time or speed for "The Outlaw." I later put a 265 ci Chevy in the '55. I never run that at drag strip.
Henry Selden

Roanoke

  • Roanoke Drag Strip, ca. 1960s

I went to the Roanoke, Virginia, Drag Strip. I remembered it because of the fact that the shut down area was uphill and the return lane was a dirt road.
Glenn Goss

Suffolk

  • Suffolk Raceway, 1967-72

My dad ran his funny cars at Suffolk Raceway from '67 to '72.
Brian Hankins
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Hank Hankins (in the middle in driver's firesuit) at Suffolk Raceway with one of his funny cars. Photo taken by track photographer, courtesy of Brian Hankins

Sumerduck

  • Synchronizers Dragway, 1960s
 
My dad, Charlie Shifflett, raced at Synchronizers Dragway in the early '60s in a 1961 Starliner in B stock. This is a picture of one of the trophies that he won.
Charlie Shifflett
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Courtesy of Charlie Shifflett

Virginia Beach

  • Pungo Airfield, 1955
 
I have some old pictures of cars racing on Pungo Airstrip given to me by a local racer, Tobi Theiven of Portsmouth, Virginia. He took the photos. He stated locals would line up and then would race to the top end, then back.
Brian Hankins
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Pungo Airstrip, circa 1955. Photo taken by Tobi Theiven, courtesy of Hank Hankins
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Pungo Airstrip, circa 1955. Photo taken by Tobi Theiven, courtesy of Hank Hankins
  • Freedom 7 Dragway, 1960s
 
My dad raced here in the 60's.  Bill Trueblood in a gold '55 Chevrolet called "Goldfinger," written on the trunk. If anyone has any pictures or info please contact me. [Note from DSL administrator: Please contact Drag Strip List to get in touch with Melissa.]
Melissa Trueblood Brown