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Drag Strip List

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Waukesha "Drag Strip" (1952)
Wilmot Hills Road Race Course (1954)
Great Lakes Dragway (Union Grove) (1956)
Lake Geneva Speed Center (1963)
K-K Sports Arena/Wisconsin International Raceway (Kaukauna) (1965)
Tenora Dragway (Comstock) (1967)
Amber Green Dragways/Rock Falls Raceway (Eau Claire) (1969)
Great Lakes Dragaway, circa 1956. Photographer unknown

Amber Green Dragways/Rock Falls Raceway (Eau Claire)

  • Years of Operation: 1969-present

Dr. Ralph C. Frank filed incorporation papers for Amber Green Dragways, Inc. on May 8, 1969. The track was located eight miles southwest of Eau Claire on ninety acres. Bill Frank, Ralph's son, was the strip manager from its opening through 1972. The track was sanctioned by National Association Automobile Racing. The first race was held on June 16, 1969. When it first opened, the strip was only thirty feet wide. They doubled the width of the track for the 1970 season. They also increased the length of the shutdown areal by 1,000 feet, making it a total of 3,900 feet long. The track record was set by Canadian Darrell in his AA/FD with a speed of 230 MPH in 7.42 seconds. In 1972, they averaged 125 entries each Sunday. In 1973, Richard "Whitie" Knutson took over as manager. In 1974, Bill Frank resumed the role of manager, assisted by his brother, Peter.  At the end of the 1978 season, the track was advertised for sale at a price of $105,000. The name was changed to Rock Falls Raceway in 1979, with a change of ownership. On July 4, 1979, Phil Weissenberger from La Crosse  won the bracket 1 race in his '69 Dodge Super Bee with a 12.67 ET. He was a frequent winner that year. Greg Weaver was manager of the track that year. In addition to the usual categories, they had others like High Noon, Last Chance Eliminator, and King of the Hill. Al Corda was the track owner in the early 1990s.
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May 3, 1992
CLICK HERE to see Super 8mm video footage of Amber Green Dragways, late 1970s, 20 minutes, music only/no sound
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CLICK HERE to see video footage of Rock Falls Raceway, 2008, 9:54 minutes

Great Lakes Dragway (Union Grove)

  • Years of Operation: 1956-present

Some sources claim that this venerated old drag strip is the oldest still-continuing operating drag strip in the country. It may be the oldest drag strip still conducting a regular weekly drag racing program, but Pomona and Bakersfield are two drag strips that began before Great Lakes Dragaway. Drag races are still being held at those two old drag strips. The 1/8th-mile Thornhill strip in Kentucky also predates Great Lakes Dragaway and still runs a regular drag racing program (2015). Great Lakes Dragaway's official website also claims that racing began in 1955. However research in old newspapers has not uncovered anything to support that claim. The race track was the brainchild of Bob Metzler and Lynn Bennett. After getting out of the service, they, with two others, pooled their money and raised about $50,000. They found 102 acres of land in Union Grove. On October 7, 1956, two thousand spectators watched 121 racers on this first big day of drag racing. Al Pfeiffer posted top speed of 97.82 MPH in his Cad-engined 1950 Merc. Located in the town of Paris, near Union Grove, newspapers gave its directions as being on the Racine-Kanosha county line road about five miles west of Highway 41. It was 3,000 feet long and 50 feet wide. The Great Lakes Timing Association conducted weekly races through November 11 in 1956. For 1957, the track was repaved and entrances and parking area were graveled to eliminate the objectionable dusty conditions. Two thousand bleacher seats were also installed and a new electronic timer and public address system purchased. The track opened on June 30, 1957, for weekly Sunday racing. Jim Russell of Hammond, Indiana, was awarded a $50 savings bond for being the first racer to top 130 MPH on September 29, 1957. He set the track record with a run of 134.50 MPH in 10.91 seconds in his Packard-powered dragster. On July 11, 1959, Chris Karamesines set a new Wisconsin state speed mark with a 165.137 MPH run. On August 14, 1960, Karamesines faced Don Garlits in a match race. Both garnered a win, but the deciding third race didn't happen as Lyle Fisher blew a transmission and sprayed oil all over the track. Karamesines had the faster speed of the two with a 180.19 MPH clocking. In what was billed as the 1960 National Championship Drag Races, a 3-day event held on July 8-10, Union Grove witnessed some good racing. On Sunday, 8,000 spectators saw Art Malone and Chris Karamesines post identical top speeds of 187.50 MPH. In fact seven entries broke Karamesines's old strip record during the meet. Art Arfons "Green Monster" Allison-engine dragster ran a best of 166.33 MPH in 9.59 seconds. Pete Farnsworth of Milwaukee set a new track record on May 7, 1961, of  8.45 seconds and 171.42 MPH, beating Garlits's old track mark of 8.63 set during the Nationals in July 1960. At the 5th Annual National Championship Drag Races held on July 7-9, 1961, more than 300 entries competed for more than $10,000 in prize money. Eliminations were held at night, the first time for this event. Chris Karamesines had the fastest speed with a 183.83 MPH run and won top eliminator. On October 20, 1963, two people escaped serious injury in a freak accident. Bob Smith, driving the "Untouchable II" jet dragster in a match race against Chris Karamesines made a run in 6.30 seconds, thought to be a world's record. He was unable to stop the car before speeding off the end of the track and into a car carring four people on the county road outside the drag strip. Smith only had a broken nose and facial cuts and a passenger in the car received a broken collar bone and cuts. The jet car sustained the most damage, being demolished after plowing through a steel fence and clipping a telephone pole. Smith had been distracted by his face mask being blown over his eyes. The windshield of his car had been cracked on his first run at 245 MPH, so the windshield was removed for the second run. The lack of a windshield caused his problems with his mask. Over 20,000 people attended the four-day Labor Day National Open of Drag Racing race in 1968. Fred Goeske set a track record for funny cars with a 192.7 MPH run. Joe Krupinski won top fuel with a 211.26 MPH run. Over time, Robert "Broadway Bob" Metzler bought out all the other partners until he was the sole owner at least by the 1970s. Three spectators were killed and eight others injured when a clutch on a dragster exploded at the Olympics of Drag Racing event on May 27, 1979. In a freak accident in the pit area on May 23, 1981, ten bystanders were injured when struck by an out-of-control car.
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October 7, 1956
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May 27-30, 1961
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1963
CLICK HERE to see location on a map
CLICK HERE to listen to old commercial radio spot for Great Lakes Dragway, 1 minute
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of Great Lakes Dragaway in 1962, 10 minutes, music only/no sound

K-K Sports Arena/Wisconsin International Raceway (Kaukauna)

  • Years of Operation: 1965-present

Located three miles south of Kaukauna in the town of Buchanan, the quarter-mile paved oval and half-mile dirt oval tracks were built in 1964. Situated on 200 acres, construction was begun that same year on a quarter-mile drag strip. The three principal men in building it were Joe Van Daalwyk, Connie De Leeuw, and Clyde Schumacher. Completion of the drag strip was scheduled for late July 1965. Research was unable to find when the first race was held, but it is assumed that it was in late July or August 1965. The first race in the 1966 season was in early June. Racing was timed for 1,000-foot distance, with speeds projected for a quarter-mile using a calibration table accurate to within two percent. At a race on Sunday, August 7, 1966, Thomas Broas was killed in a fatal racing accident. He lost control of his car at a high rate of speed at the finish of his run during time trials.  In 1967, Ron Leek came to KK. He had lots of experience in drag racing, having been a traveling announcer for the United Drag Racers Association. He became general manager and publicity director of KK. In September 1967, KK hosted a national championship race for UDRA. It appears that by this time, the track was timing races at a quarter-mile distance. On May 5, 1968, Al Fontannini of Highland, Illinois, won the funny car title in his '68 Hemi Dodge Charger, beating Don Miller of Manchester, Missouri. Del Fisher of Milwaukee won top fuel with a run of 7.72 seconds at 197.10 MPH. The track went bankrupt in 1970 and was forced to sell all its assets at the end of the season. But the track was back in business in 1971, albeit with a change in name to Wisconsin International Raceway and new sanctioning under AHRA. That summer they also changed from racing on Sunday to Saturday nights. The track's association with the UDRA lasted through 1976. The track continues to operate under IHRA sanction with its very popular Real Street Drags program and regular featured racing. In 2015, Scott Holdridge set a new jet dragster track record with a 304.28 MPH clocking.
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October 9, 1966
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Did you race here? Tell us about it.
1971
CLICK HERE to see video footage of WIR, 2009, 6:43 minutes

Lake Geneva Speed Center

  • Years of Operation: 1963-77

Located a mile south of Lake Geneva on Highway 12 at Bloomfield Road, the drag strip opened on July 4, 1963, with 600 spectators in attendance. A collective group of contractors who had not been paid formed a group to operate the drag strip from that time until the track's closing in 1977. On May 31, 1964, a newspaper reported that the track's name was Lake Geneva Speed Center. On June 28, 1964, Steve Krumm took the Ultra Stock win with an ET of 12.15 at 120 MPH, again reported as the Lake Geneva Speed Center. In late July 1964, the drag strip went to a 3-day-a-week program, running on Wednesday and Saturday nights and Sunday. On September 6, 1964, the "Green Monster" beat the "Bonneville Avenger" jet dragster in a match race, clocking a best speed of 218 MPH. In 1966, a 1/4-mile asphalt oval was literally built within the drag strip. It made for interesting racing, as the strip went right down through the middle of a paved oval. On June 18, 1967, Dennis Johnson, age 22 from Illinois, was killed while racing his dragster during time trials. He hit a timing light, lost control, and flipped end over end.
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1966

Tenora Dragway (Comstock)

  • Years of Operation: 1967-74

This quarter-mile strip was located ten miles southwest of Cumberland and five miles west of Comstock, just north of Staples Lake. It was built by a drag racer (first name was Gary), who sold it in 1974. Of his Tenora strip, Gary wrote , "It was used for a landing strip for a short while and then turned into a street to go to lake homes. What a shame. I should of never sold it."    John Hugdahl raced a '68 Camaro SS in C/MP at Tenora. He recalled, "I raced there in '68 and part of '69. . . .  I won quite a few trophys and some money too. . . . '68 was a fun summer at Tenora."
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Waukesha "Drag Strip"

  • Years of Operation: 1952

The Milwaukee Motoring Association held drag races in Waukesha sanctioned by the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department in 1952. Exact location of the racing is not known; further research is needed.
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Wilmot Hills Road Race Course

  • Years of Operation: 1954

Kenosha County operated a black-top road race track located a quarter-mile south of the Kenosha County Fairgrounds.  They conducted the first quarter-mile drag race event on the straight-away portion of the race course on September 26, 1954. The final drag race in 1954 was held on October 17. Oval dirt track racing continues at this location in 2015.
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CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of a sports car race starting on the straight-away of Wilmot Hills in 1963, 2 minutes, music only/no sound
September 26, 1954