HAWAII

Kahuku Point Airfield ​(Oahu) (1950s)
Maui Raceway Park (1963)
Hawaii Raceway Park (Honolulu) (1964)
Mana Raceway/Kauai Drag Strip/Kauai Raceway Park (1971)
Kona Drag Strip (1977)
Hilo Drag Strip (1978)
 
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Top fuel racing at Hawaii Raceway Park, Honolulu. Photograph from Earl "Safari" Char

Hawaii Raceway Park (Honolulu)

 
The drag strip was built on what became a racing complex comprising a dirt oval track, road course, and sand drag strip. Racer Jimmy Pflueger, the track owner, was the motivating force behind its construction at the Campbell Industrial Park. $225,000 was spent on its construction. It opened under NHRA sanction on July 4-5, 1964. 8,500 people saw Don Prudhomme turn 184.80 MPH despite bucking stiff headwinds. In April thru August 1959, the Aloha Timing Association rented and conducted races, but then Pflueger let Clay Miller manage the track. In December 1970, Raceway Enterprises under the management of Jerry Simoes took over management of the track.  In 1973, the track briefly closed when the promoters failed to keep up with their lease rent. This was just the first of an on-again, off-again history of racing at the track. After their lease with the James Campbell Estate ran out, the drag strip had to close.
 
 
CLICK HERE to see video slide show of Hawaii Raceway Park in the 1960s, 6:12 minutes, music only/no sound
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CLICK HERE to see location on a map
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CLICK HERE to see brief 8mm video clip of Hawaii Dragway, produced by James Amos, pan to 6:24 minute mark thru 6:39 minute mark
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2004 aerial view of Hawaii Raceway Park
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1986. Courtesy of Tracy Arakaki
July 4-5, 1964

Kahuku Point Airfield (Oahu)

 
Drag races took place on a runway of the WWII airfield at the very northern-most tip of Oahu. There were three old WWII airfields in close proximity to each other on the northern part of the island. The Kahuku Point Airfield at the very tip had the most facilities of the three. It had two paved runways and a taxiway paralleling the northern runway. Walter Dick recalled, "I was one of the group that initiated drag racing at the Kahuku strip. I was a 'founder' of the local hot rod club (circa 1952). We negotiated with the local Philipino farmer leaseholder for access to the site. We used the end of the South segment of the strip. We had to chase the cows off before we could race. The North segment of the strip had the antenna field for the RCA short-wave transmitting site and also served as a National Guard summer campground.
Most of the middle was covered in blowing sand then.” It appears from his description that drag races were held on the wide strip that was oriented northwest/southeast. That strip on the eastern side of the point is still visible in aerial photos. The earliest documentation that DSL found was a report of a race held on December 5, 1954. Jimmy Pflueger had the fastest car, winning two out of three races from David Blight to take top eliminator. In March 1957, Drag-Racing Limited filed articles of incorporation and leased the airstrip from the Campbell Estate to hold races. Their races were conducted by the Hawaiian Timing Association. We are fortunate to have home movies of the racing in 1957 (see below). A hotel, golf course, and wildlife refuge occupy the site of the old arifield today.
 
 
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July 4, 1961
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Did you race here? Tell us about it.
CLICK HERE to see location on a map
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage of drag racing at Kahuku in 1957,  4:17 minutes, music only/no sound
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Henry Lee at Kahuku Air Strip, where he died in a fatal accident in 1958 in this 160 MPH dragster. Photo published in Honolulu Advertiser, Nov. 17, 1958
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Kona Drag Strip

Listing in ​​​​​​​​National Dragster, Dec. 23, 1977. Courtesy of Mel Bashore
 
Research help is needed to determine the years this strip operated and details about its history. Races were held at the Kona Airport, which had been built and opened in 1970. Drag races began at least as early as 1977, when the strip operated under NHRA sanction.
 
 
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Mana Raceway/Kauai Drag Strip/Kauai Raceway Park

  • Years of Operation:  1971 - present
 
Drag races began in 1971 under NHRA sanction. It was first called Mana Raceway. Located just northwest of Kekaha, It still runs quarter-mile races today, called Kauai Raceway Park, under NHRA sanction and operated by the Garden Isle Racing Association. It is also locally called Mana Drag Strip. In 2013, the strip was renovated and resurfaced with $1.3 million from the state legislature. The racing surface had deteriorated greatly, last being resurfaced back in 1972. It reopened in 2014, after 18 months of refurbishing and track improvements.
 
 
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Listing in ​​​​​​​National Dragster, Dec. 23, 1977. Courtesy of Mel Bashore
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CLICK HERE to see TV news feature on Kauai Raceway in 2010, 1:43 minutes

Maui Raceway Park

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  • Years of Operation: 1963-present
 
This quarter-mile NHRA-sanctioned drag strip is located at the old Puunene Army Airfield north of Kihei.  Drag racing on Maui dates back to probably the 1950s when racers used the old airfield for impromptu racing. In 1963, the Valley Isle Timing Association was founded and VITA sponsored racing on the airfield that year. Racer Kenneth Souza was killed on July 27, 1969, when his car overturned while racing at the old Puunene Airport drag strip. Accoriding to the track's official website, VITA-sponsored racing at Maui is (in 2016) in its "42nd consecutive race season." This calculates to 1974 for continuous racing operation. Maui Drag Strip first came under NHRA sanction in 1977.
 
 
Listing in ​​​​​National Dragster, Dec. 23, 1977. Courtesy of Mel Bashore
Did you race here? Tell us about it.
CLICK HERE to see location on a map
CLICK HERE to see video footage of Maui Raceway Park, 2011,  8 minutes