Heading 3

Drag Strip List

A Comprehensive Encyclopedia

HOME
LOCATION
MEMORIES
ABOUT
CONTACT

WEST VIRGINIA

125171013
Kanawha Valley Drag Strip (Southside) (1958)
Eldora Drag Raceway (Fairmont)  (1964)
Raleigh County Memorial Airport (Beckley) (1964)
Charleston Memorial Airport (1965)
Grandview International Dragway/Mountaineer Dragway (Beckley) (1965)
Greenspring "Drag Strip" (1966)
International Raceway Park (Ona) (1960s)
Princeton Dragway (1987)
 
 
Kanawha Valley Drag Strip. Photograph by Bill Miller

Charleston Memorial Airport

  • Years of Operation: 1965
 
On Sunday, February 28, 1965, one of the two runways at the airport was used to hold a drag race.
 
 
Did you race here? Tell us about it.
CLICK HERE to see location on a map

Eldora Drag Raceway (Fairmont)

  • Years of Operation: 1964-99
 
This originally began as a quarter-mile track, but dialed back to 1/8th-mile for safety reasons as racing speeds got faster. It ran under NHRA sanction at least as early as 1967, if not before. That year it ran every Saturday night. Kennie Sirk was the track manager. It may have also operated as a 1,000-foot track for a brief time in circa 1977-78. The shutdown area included a curve, which necessitated slowing down before reaching it. One old timer recalled having to wait to run during time trials until they escorted a cow from the shutdown area. It was a tad bit rural. Deer were also a common problem. Late in its life it was called Fairmont Dragstrip. After it closed in October 1999, the track sat vacant for several years. Then the city of Fairmont took it over to make into an industrial park.
 
 
125171013
Did you race here? Tell us about it.
CLICK HERE to see location on a map
1964
CLICK HERE to see video footage of Fairmont Dragway, June 21, 1997, filmed by Todd Victor, 5:37 minutes

Grandview International Dragway/Mountaineer Dragway (Beckley)

  • Years of Operation: 1965-present
 
Chuck Allen built this drag strip, which held races at least by June 1965. Allen owned a construction comnpany and leased the land for the strip from Minor Scott. Construction of the strip was supposed to be finished by mid-May. The strip was 30 feet wide by 3,000 feet long, built on a plateau.  It was really located in Table Rock, east of Beckley. It is still there, northeast of the intersection of I-64 and Grandview Road. At a race on June 27, 1965, 3,000 spectators watched 80 cars compete. Johnny Kirk of Hinton took top time and top eliminator in his '64 Dodge with a best of 10.9 seconds. The track lacked bleachers, which were expected to be built the following week. In 1966, the track opened on March 20 as a 1/5th-mile asphalt track. Allen hoped to widen the strip by five feet on each side and make it a quarter-mile track in order to meet NASCAR standards by early April. This didn't happen as he had planned as the race held on May 15 took place on a 1/5th-mile strip. Herman Lewis from Beckley took top eliminator in his B/G '62 Chevy. On Memorial Day,  Chuck Allen offered a $500 purse and trophies for class winners. Best time was recorded by Frank Boggess in his fuel-injected 427 Hemi-Charger with a 9.54 ET and 118.34 MPH. A Powder Puff category was run for the ladies for the first time. Electronic timing equipment and a Christmas tree were installed in time for the track's West Virginia Stock Classic drag meet on July 3-4. A $3,000 purse was up for grabs for the two-day affair. Newspapers reported that the track was a quarter-mile strip for a big Super Stock and funny car meet on October 9, 1966. Among the thirteen racers who had pre-entered included Malcolm Durham's Corvair, Bruce Larson's Chevelle, Lenwood Craft's Hemi-Mustang, and Gustin Brothers Comet. Newspapers did not report the results of this race. In fact, research in local newspapers found no mention of the track in 1967, which is something of a mystery after such a full inaugural year. The next mention are ads in spring 1968 which state that the track was under new management and abiding by NHRA rules. They also state that they had guaranteed purses, which gives pause for thought about whether the promises of big-money purses were actually paid out in 1966, but that is just speculation. It was called Grandview Dragway through the 1973 season. On May 10, 1974, R. J. Coleman, the track's new owner, filed incorporation papers for the Raleigh County Speedway and Dragway, the name by which the track was known from 1974-77. The first big race staged by Coleman was the first annual Memorial Day Spring Fling, a 2-day affair. Coleman also changed the timed distance from a quarter mile to 1/8th-mile racing. He also built an oval track next to the drag strip, but it was a losing proposition for at least the first four years. In 1977 Coleman said, "The drag strip makes money because it's established." It was sanctioned by IHRA in 1977.
125171013
September 3-5, 1966
125171013
1974
Did you race here? Tell us about it.
CLICK HERE to see location on a map
CLICK HERE to see video footage of Grandview International Dragway, 2:39 minutes

Greenspring "Drag Strip"

  • Years of Operation: 1966-67
 
The Free State Riders Motorcycle Club sponsored drag races in the vicinity of Greenspring. At a race on June 26, 1966, ads stated that the races would be held at their new club grounds one-half mile west of Greenspring. The drag race on August 14, 1966, was held at Motorcycle Heaven, one-half mile south of Greenspring. Over 400 people watched over 60 entries from  eight states on June 25, 1967. Mickey Alvaro took top eliminator honors.
 
 
125171013
Did you race here? Tell us about it.
CLICK HERE to see location on a map
June 26, 1966

International Raceway Park (Ona)

  • Years of Operation: 1969?-early 1970s?
 
According to "Old Timer," a drag strip, adjacent to a stock car oval track, was purportedly opened in the mid-1960s and closed in the early 1970s. "Old Timer" said it is listed in the 1970 NHRA track guide. However, newspaper articles in 1969 state only that a drag strip was in the planning stages. In 1969, Dick Clark, popular TV disc jockey, became a co-owner of the strip and oval on the 300-acre tract of land, in partnership with Gary and Phillip Lashinsky and Rick Bowen. At the press conference, the new lessees of the property, said that 60-foot wide, 4,000-foot long drag strip would be constructed in the center of the racing complex next to the old West Vriginia International Speedway. That oval track had opened in 1963, but folded in 1965 and had lain dormant until being leased by the new promoters. 1967 historic aerial photos show no drag strip. Darwin Doll, a division director for NHRA, was present at the press conference. He dangled the prospect of a "fifth national drag meet at IRP in 1970." Racing on the big 7/16th-mile oval began in early May, but construction was delayed on the drag strip awaiting approval on details from NHRA. Research didn't find reports that the drag strip was ever built. However in late 1987, Ona Airpark, adjacent to the speedway oval was opened as a public airport and is still in operation today. It's runway is only 3,100 feet in length. One online source speculated that "a quarter mile dragstrip operated in 1969-1970; this probably used the Ona Airpark." The source's speculative guessing does not comport with information found in other documentation. More research is needed to determine if a drag strip ever got off the ground. The compiler's current thinking is that the drag strip never moved beyond the planning stage and was never built. Questions need to be answered about the airport. Was it built and opened in 1987 or was it built earlier and used for a drag strip? Reader input is invited on this.
 
 
Did you race here? Tell us about it.
CLICK HERE to see location on a map

Kanawha Valley Drag Strip (Southside)

  • Years of Operation: 1958-77, to present
 
The Southern West Virginia Timers' Association began conducting regular weekly Sunday races on May 30, 1958. Merrill Casdorph took top eliminator with a run of 89 MPH in his 1957 T-Bird. The new half-mile long strip was located on Winfield Road (Route 17), ten miles below St. Albans and a mile south of Winfield. It was between St. Albans and Point Pleasant. Through the years it was also called Winfield Drag Strip or Route 17 Drag Strip. Due to the short overall distance of the asphalt strip, races were only measured for 1/5th of a mile instead of a quarter mile. They conducted racing for fifteen classes in the first year of racing. On August 17, 1958, Carl Hardin of South Webster, Ohio, set the track record in his altered with a 106.60 MPH run. Ads in 1958 claim that it was West Virginia's only drag strip at that time. 1975 ads gave directions to take Route 35 to the Winfield exit, then turn left.  On August 11, 1963, Jim Hundley of Charleston set the track record with a run of 141.06 MPH in 8.4 seconds. In 2009, it became Greg Chandler Motorsports Park, a 1/8th-mile IHRA track. By 2015, it had reverted back to being called Kanawha Valley Dragway Motorsports Park, operated by Danny and Denise Clagg.
125171013
Did you race here? Tell us about it.
CLICK HERE to see location on a map
CLICK HERE to see video footage of a '69 Chevelle running on June 18, 2009, views of both sides of track and pit area, 7 minutes

Princeton Dragway

  • Years of Operation: 1987-99
 
This IHRA-sanctioned drag strip was located north of Princton west of I-77, adjacent to and just south of the Princeton Speedway, a clay oval track. The old drag strip is today's Ginger Lane, a road in a mobile home park. One of the roads circling the trailer park is called Princeton Dragway Road. Melvin and James Bishop, brothers and co-owners, bought the Bolton farm in December 1986 with plans on building a 1/8th-mile drag strip. They installed lights for night racing, 40-foot wide strip, and 1,200 feet of stopping area after the finish line. The first race was held on May 23, 1987, with almost $2,000 offered in the purse. The two-day race on the Memorial Day weekend attracted almost 6,000 spectators, despite poor weather. In the 1990s, vandalism and theft were an ongoing problem.
 
 
Did you race here? Tell us about it.
CLICK HERE to see location on a map

Raleigh County Memorial Airport (Beckley)

  • Years of Operation: 1964-65
 
Located three miles east of Beckley, on at least two occasions over the course of four months, the airport manager allowed drag races to be held at the county airport. He permitted it, because in his view, weather conditions prevented normal airport activity. State troopers tried to stop the racing, but the airport manager said they lacked authority to halt the racing. In late February or early March 1965, the county court ruled that no further racing could take place at the airport. This gave rise to the organization of the Beckley Auto Club. Fortuitously, Chuck Allen said that he was building the Grandview drag strip in Beckley that year.
 
 
Did you race here? Tell us about it.
CLICK HERE to see location on a map