INDIANA

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U.S. 30 Dragway in Gary, Indiana, ca. 1962-63. Photo by Norb Locke
Columbus Municipal Airport (1954)
Armscamp Speedway (Alexandria) (1955)
​Fort Wayne "Drag Strip" (1955)
Stout Army Air Field ​(Indianapolis) (1955)
Bunker Hill Drag Strip (1956)
Kokomo "Drag Strip" (1956)
Freeman Army Airfield (Seymour) (1956)
Osceola Dragway (1957)
Terre Haute Drag Strip (1957)
U. S. 30 Dragway (Merrillville) (1957)
Sportsdrome Speedway (Jeffersonville) (1958)
Indianapolis Raceway Park (1960)
Muncie Dragway (1960)
Brown County Dragway (Bean Blossom) (1963)
Avilla Dragway (1965)
Harrison County Dragway/Derby City Dragway (Elizabeth) (1966)
Speed's New Hope Dragstrip (1969)
Greater Evansville Raceway/Chandler Raceway Park (1960s)
Action Dragway/Crossroads Dragway (Terre Haute) (1972)
​Fort Wayne Raceways (1973)
​Charlestown Motor Speedway (1981)
U. S. 41 Dragway/No Limit Raceway (Morocco) (1993)
Lyons Raceway Park/Wagler Motorsports Park (1996)

Action Dragway/Crossroads Dragway ​​​(Terre Haute)

  • Years of Operation: 1972-present

Mike Hane filed incorporation papers for this 1/8th-mile drag strip on November 9, 1971. The track was built at a cost of $200,000 north of the Action Track, a half-mile dirt oval, in the Vigo County Fairgrounds (today's Wabash Valley Fairgrounds). It was designed by Bob Daniels, then director of NHRA's Division 3. It was sanctioned by NHRA from the time of its opening.  It initially had bleacher seats to accommodate 3,000 people and a 3-story timing tower. The grand opening race was held on Saturday night, July 8, 1972. One of the featured cars at the opener was Norm Paddack's '72 Vega BB/FC from Indianapolis. Newspaper ads in that opening season stated "Hey gals!!! Have your guy take you where the action is!" At a 2-day event in August 1973, Bob Glidden took pro stock with a 5.76 at 122.28 MPH clocking. It operates as an NHRA-sanctioned track today as Crossroads Dragway, as the track was renamed in 2010.
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July 12, 1972
CLICK HERE to see video footage of Crossroads Dragway, 2010, 1:10 minutes

Armscamp Speedway (Alexandria)


This 1/5th-mile asphalt oval track operated from 1941 through 1967. On Sunday, June 26, 1955, drag races were added to the regular program. Spectators could enter their 1953-and-newer model cars in the races. The fastest cars during timed drag races in the afternoon qualified to race in the evening.
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1955
Armscamp Speedway, ​​ 1961 topo map

Avilla Dragway


This was a 1/8th-mile strip built by Howard Bice next to his oval speedway track. It was on State Road 8, east of Avilla.  In 1977, Bice inaugurated a street nationals event, purportedly the first in the country. The final drag race was held September 15, 1995, eight days before the speedway closed. The drag strip was bulldozed to make way for a McDonald's and a gas station.
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1998 aerial view of demolished Avilla Speedway and Dragway. From this view, we are unable to determine if the drag strip was on the east or west side of the oval.
1971
Avilla Dragway, 1974 topo map
CLICK HERE to see video footage of Avilla Dragway, 1990, filmed by Roger Cole, 5:19 minutes

Brown County Dragway ​​​(Bean Blossom)

  • Years of Operation: 1963-present

According to the track website, this outlaw 1/8th-mile drag strip dates back to a 1963 opening.  Carl Brummett may have been the track's first owner, but at the very least, he was its owner in the 1970s and later. Brummett died in 1995. Located five miles north of Nashville and one-half mile east of Bean Blossom, it is on the north side of Gatesville Road in a wooded rural area. Sandy Fields is the current owner and operator, but the strip has been in her family for many years. She bought the track from her brother, Donnie Allender, and his business partner, Tim Haney, in 1992.
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June 6, 1971
CLICK HERE to see video footage of flag starter drags at Brown County Dragway, 2011, 1:34 minutes

Bunker Hill Drag Strip

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  • Years of Operation: 1956-present

Built on Lee Beauchamp's farm by Jim Hollinger, this drag strip was one mile south of Bunker Hill, and 1.5 miles east on U.S. Highway 31. Beginning with its first race on August 22, 1956, races were conducted by the Central Indiana Timing Association. Races were held weekly on Sundays during the season. Jim Hullinger was the strip owner and operator through 1996, when the strip was sold to Steve and Darleen Daniels. When he started in the drag strip business, Hullinger was naieve about the sport. "I had never been to one [a drag strip]," said Hullinger, " so I didn't have the slightest idea what I was doing." He used 24 cases of dynamite to clear the tree stumps off the property. The site had been a storage area for street cars previously. On the September 30, 1956 race, Phil Hobbs set a new track record with a run of 107.91 MPH. A month later, Bob Peele, a racer from Kokomo, bested that mark with a run of 112.50 MPH in his dragster. In 1964, the strip spent $12,000 on resurfacing work. In that year, Hullinger invented the "Safe-Start" roller starter and installed it at Bunker Hill, the first such set-up in the nation. Up to that time, the track record was 191.580 MPH, set by Ralph Tear of Detroit.   One old timer remembered the short shutdown area: "Really short shutoff. They had a guy at the end with a flag  It turns out that a railroad track crossed the shutoff and his job was to hopefully flag down the train if it came with a car in the shutdown area."  On Saturday, July 17, 1965, Ray Thomas drove Walt Arfons's "Green Monster" jet dragster to a track record-setting 213 MPH. Two drag racers were killed in fatal accidents within four months of each other in the 1965 season, one due to a heart attack. Different car clubs conducted the races in 1965, such as the Kokomo Shifters Auto Club or the Idler's of Flora. It was listed in the June 1968 issue of Hot Rod as operating under NHRA sanction. Another resurfacing job was done in 1970 at a cost of $13,000. At least by 1972, racing was conducted on just 1,000 feet.
September 30, 1956
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July 17, 1965
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CLICK HERE to see video footage of Super Stock racing in 2014 at Bunker Hill, 4 minutes

Charlestown Motor Speedway

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  • Years of Operation: 1981-83

Spectator drag races were held at the 1/2-mile clay oval in Charlestown. The oval had opened for racing in 1980.
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June 26, 1981

Columbus Municipal Airport


Six hot rod clubs in the Indianapolis area and in other parts of the state banded together to form the Southern Indiana Timing Association under the guidance of the Automobile Timing Association of America. They scheduled races at the old Atterbury Army Airfield.  Although newspapers didn't specifically name the airport as the location, the fact that they stated that the strip was 4,800 feet long, narrows the site to the airport. They were going to employ NHRA rules in governing the racing. On April 25, 1954, sports cars held a drag race meet at the Air Force Base. Fifty-five sports cars competed in the drag racing and a Cad-Allard driven by Mark Dietsch from Columbus, Ohio  took top honors.
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Fort Wayne "Drag Strip"

  • Years of Operation: 1955
  • Status:  Exact location unknown

Drag races were being held weekly at a site near Fort Wayne. One race was held on Sunday, August 28, 1955. The fastest speed of the day was turned in by John Hellis, who turned 87.54 MPH in his Ford roadster. He was a member of the Muncie Rod Benders. The races may have been held at the old World War II air field, which was eight miles southwest of Fort Wayne. It is now Fort Wayne International Airport.
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Fort Wayne Raceways

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  • Years of Operation: 1973
  • Status:  Exact location unknown

Incorporation papers were filed for Fort Wayne Raceways, Inc., on December 22, 1972. Newspaper ads promoted a drag race on May 20, 1973, advertising a $10,000 purse for an invitational race.  Research was unable to find out anything about whether this race was held or its outcome. The racing complex included a half-mile paved oval track, located on the south edge of Fort Wayne on Indiana 1. The racing plant, comprising 32.9 acres east of Baer Air Field (now Fort Wayne International Airport) was to be auctioned off on July 13, 1974. Buildings on the site included an air-conditioned and heated press box and a concession stand. During its brief history, the facility was used for horse races and shows, go-kart races, thrill shows, motorcycle, bike, sports car, and dune buggy races. 
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May 20, 1973

Freeman Army Airfield ​(Seymour)

  • Years of Operation: 1956-58

On March 25, 1956, the Hoosier Time Tuners car club sponsored and conducted the first drag races at Freeman Field. Racing was timed over a 1/5th-mile distance. The electric timing mechanism involved two rubber hoses, 132 feet apart, at the end of the track that computed the speed.  The car club sponsored and conducted races on a runway at the airfield, located a couple of miles southwest of Seymour. Certificates for free gasoline were awarded to winners in nine different classes. More than 1,000 people watched 105 cars compete at this first race.  Racers came from throughout Indiana and Kentucky.  Clubs from Indianapolis included the Cluster Busters, Robots, Motorheads, and Flywheels. Other participating hot rod clubs included the Knights of the Road from Columbus, Shifters from Mitchell, and the Rebels from New Albany. At the race on September 9, 1956, John Lawrence recorded the fastest speed of 85 MPH in his supercharged '56 Ford.  Five thousand people watched 219 entries compete in nineteen different classes on March 31, 1957. They obtained timing equipment from the ATAA which they used for the first time at their fourth race held on Sunday, July 7, 1957. They had about twenty classes in the racing program. Dick Lauf was the announcer. The last drag race held at the track took place on April 6, 1958. After that race, drag races were banned at the airfield. One likely reason for their suspension was the fact that two teenage boys who were driving to the race were killed when their car overturned. Their deaths received much attention in news reports. The airfield is now city-owned, called Freeman Municipal Airport.
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The starter drops his flag at Freeman Field. Photo published in ​Columbus Republic, Sep. 10, 1956

Greater Evansville Raceway/Chandler Raceway Park

  • Years of Operation: 1960s-2014, 2016-present

Melvin C. Greer, Sr. and Melvin C. Greer, Jr. owned this 1/8th-mile track. It opened for racing probaby in 1964 or earlier, called Greater Evansville Raceway. It was located in Chandler, about nineteen miles northeast of Evansville. Among its amenities were wooded picnic grounds with picnic tables. At a race on July 19, 1964, the Evansville Road Knights dragster turned a top speed of 173.07 MPH. On July 9-10, 1966, it hosted the AHRA 1/8th-mile world championships. It is adjacent to a 3/8th-mile oval dirt track. Super Stock racing was popular in the 1970s. John Ramsey, known as the Super Stock king of Evansville, was a frequent winner. On April 11, 1971, Ramsey clocked a run only .07 seconds above the national record. On March 19, 1972, 2,500 spectators saw Ken Holthe of St. Louis beat nine other Pro Stock cars in his '71 Camaro.  Harold Baker bought the drag strip and oval track in 1976. He decided to close the drag strip operation in 2015, although the oval track still ran, sub-leased to Kevin Bayer. This was perplexing to many racers. In the 1970s and 1980s, Don Meece ran the drag strip for Baker. Baker also leased the track to Bobby Harper for a few years. Jeff Meece, Don's son, ran the strip from 2000 to 2005.   Don Meece witnessed a fight between two famous drag racers during his tenure:  "I saw Shirley Muldowney punch Connie Kalitta in the pits. They went after each other. I had to break it up. It was interesting, to say the least.” The strip reopened in June 2016 as Greater Evansville Dragway.
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June 13, 1965
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May 22, 1966
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Greater Evansville Raceway, ​​​ 1981 topo map
1992 aerial view of Chandler Raceway Park
CLICK HERE to see video footage of drag racing at Chandler Motorsports Park, 2009, 9:29 minutes

Harrison County Dragway/Derby City Dragway (Elizabeth)


Located about three miles east of Dogwood, this was a 1/8th-mile track. A racer who lived in Elizabeth recounted the track's roots:  "Jimmy Troutman owned and built the track. I lived at Elizabeth until 1969 and knew Jimmy and helped talk him into building the raceway. He first only had enough money to asphalt two 100-foot lanes, where we did burnouts. He later got the 1/8-mile paved and shutdown was gravel." Roger Brown also may have had a hand in getting the track started. According to an old timer who raced there in the early 1970s, it had "a barn at the top end, you had to go around the barn to get to the return road."  It was being listed for sale in April 1970, incorporating the drag strip and picnic area on seventeen acres. Incorporation papers were filed on May 15, 1970, but the track had been in operation for several years prior to that. It was a sanctioned NHRA track throughout the 1970s and into the early 1980s. It began being called Derby City Dragway in 1980. More research is needed to determine exactly when the track closed.
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1998 aerial view of Harrison County Dragway
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Harrison County Dragway, ​​​ 1977 topo map
May 8-9, 1976

Indianapolis Raceway Park

  • Years of Operation: 1960-present
 
This venerable drag strip has been the home of NHRA's U. S. Nationals since 1961. Located 10.5 miles west of downtown Indianapolis in the town of Clermont, it occupies a 250-acre multi-purpose racing complex. It is located about four miles west of the Indianapolis 500 Speedway.  Initial difficulties with zoning were settled after neighbors were assured that there would be no night racing. The 4,400-foot long drag strip was the first to be completed in the million-dollar complex. On September 8, 1960, Red Dyer, driving Ray Godman's "Tennessee Bo-Weevil" A/MR, tested the track. After speeding over 150 MPH, Dyer said, "There'll be no end to the records set here!"  He was right. A testing "break-in" race was held on September 11, and the grand opening was held on October 1-2, 1960. Bruce Andrews and Tom Prosser both set new national records at that regional race. In spring 1961, races started being held every Sunday. Mickey Thompson had set the track record prior to June 1961 with a 166.55 MPH clocking. A bonus of $100 had been offered to any gas dragster that could break that record. The races were being conducted each week by the Indianapolis Timing Association. Before the U.S. Nationals, Wally Parks said, "This is the finest drag strip I've seen anywhere in the world." The NHRA U.S. Nationals found a home at Indy in 1961, and have remained there ever since. Conducted on September 1-4, the nitro ban NHRA had instituted was still in effect. "Sneaky Pete" Robinson garnered top gas eliminator with an 8.86, 170.77 MPH effort. He also took top eliminator, besting Dode Martin driving Dean Moon's Mooneyes A/D. But most of the national press focused on 150 thirsty unruly race fans who had to be quelled as they marched on a closed tavern (state liquor laws closed bars and liquor stores on Sunday) shouting, "We want booze. We want beer." Seventy-five policemen and reserves finally broke up the demonstration, arresting sixteen. In 1965, the Nationals was prepared for trouble with added security, but the event ran smoothly for the record 1,222 competitors. There had been a massive traffic jam at the event in 1963 when gasoline was spread across U.S. 136 and set afire. Some fans had thrown empty beer bottles at people in the stands in 1964, leading to a ban on any kind of bottles at the event. And rumors that the Hell Angels might show at the event didn't materialize. But the fuel ban was lifted in 1964, the first year since 1956 when fuelers were permitted to race at the Nationals. At the 1968 Nationals, four people were injured when part of a temporary bleachers seating about 300 people erected near the starting line collapsed. The U. S. Nationals at IRP continues to be regarded as the grand-daddy of all drag races, held every Labor Day weekend. In 2006, the track was renamed O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis and in 2011, the name was changed to Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis, which name it continues to be known as.
 
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October 1-2, 1960
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Ad in ​​​​​​​Drag Racing Magazine, Sep. 1965. Courtesy of Mel Bashore
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CLICK HERE to listen to old commercial radio spot for Indianapolis Raceway Park, 26 seconds
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage taken by John Camfferman at the U. S. Nationals in the late 1960s, 6 minutes, music
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage taken  at the U. S. Nationals in 1967-68, 1:38:34 minutes
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage taken  at the U. S. Nationals in 1969, 8:41 minutes
CLICK HERE to see 8mm video footage taken  at the U. S. Nationals in 1970, 8:21 minutes
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This 1960 aerial view identifies the layout of IRP racing plant, only the drag strip of which had been finiished at that time. Photo pblishedf in ​Indianapolis News, Sep. 15, 1960

Kokomo "Drag Strip"

  • Years of Operation: 1956
  • Status:  Exact location unknown

In the summer, the police blocked off old State Road 22 out of Kokomo (probably to the west where it was more rural) to hold drag races. They did this to try to reduce illegal street racing. More research is needed.
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Located about 80 miles southwest of Indianapolis, this 1/8th-mile NHRA-sanctioned strip was built by Lloyd and Tim Thompson and their families. It may have been called E. T. Raceway at one time. The track passed through various owners. In recent years, it was owned by Ohio Oil, Inc. and managed by the company CEO, Brent Jones. He abruptly announced that the property was being sold and racing would cease operation on July 1, 2016. However, DSL reader Daniel Marlow wrote that the sale fell through and they are "still open intermittently for special events. . . . . Farmtruck from Street Outlaws raced here and they have gasser events and some diesel vs. gas events." Justin Norris, who handles marketing for Wagler Competition Products, wrote DSL in 2018 that the Wagler company just purchased the strip. That company is principally going to use the strip as a private testing facility, but has scheduled a limited number of public racing events.
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Lyons Raceway Park/Wagler Motorsports Park

CLICK HERE to see video footage of Lyons Raceway Park, 2013, 2:05 minutes
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Muncie Dragway

  • Years of Operation: 1960-present
 
A drag racing database  incorrectly states that the track opened in 1959. The August 1960 issue of Hot Rod  states it was due to open on July 3, 1960 (the correct track-opening date), as did the Muncie Evening Press.  It is located six miles northeast of Muncie on Highway 67. Prior to June 1961, Larry Miller held the strip record at 164 MPH. On October 8, 1961, featured racers included Mickey Thompson and Chris Karamesines. Match racers were brought in regularly in the 1960s to draw crowds. In summer 1963, it was running every Saturday night. It was sanctioned by NHRA in the 1960s, but switched to IHRA in the early 1970s. In the 1970s, it was called Muncie Mid-America Dragway. On Juy 21-22, 1973, the track hosted the IHRA World Record Championship Drag Races with a $20,000 purse. In late 1979, Jerry Runyon sold the track to Dr. Ross Egger and Norman Day. They renamed it Muncie International Raceway and made a number of improvements including a large concrete starting pad. They stayed with IHRA sanctioning. Today it is an NHRA-sanctioned track with the quicker cars being timed for 1/8th-mile and sportsman cars running the full quarter-mile.

 
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1961
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CLICK HERE to listen to commercial radio spot for Muncie Dragway, 36 seconds
October 14, 1962
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CLICK HERE to see brief 8mm video footage of  Muncie Drag Strip, produced by James Amos, pan to 6:39 minute mark thru 6:47 minute mark
CLICK HERE to see video footage of the 1973 IHRA Northern Nationals at Muncie Dragway, 9:56 minutes
Muncie Drag Strip had just been completed when this aerial view was taken in July 1960. Photo published in ​Muncie Evening Press, July 25, 1960
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Paul Biery (right) was the winner in C Modified Sports at Muncie Drag Strip on August 20, 1961. Photo published in ​Muncie Star Press, Aug. 26, 1961
John Hellis sits in his dragster in front of one of the entrance signs to Muncie Drag Strip. Photo published in ​​Muncie Evening Press, July 25, 1960

Osceola Dragway

  • Years of Operation: 1957-present

Located at 56328 Ash Road in Osceola, it was founded by Arthur Chizum. When he died in 2000 at age 81, he had been the owner-operator of the drag strip for 43 years. At the time of his death, it was the oldest one-operator drag strip in the country. His widow, Ruth, continued to operate the race track after his death. During the track's history there have been two fatal accidents, one in 1969 and the second in 2008.  At the beginning, the direction of the  track ran towards State Route 219, ending just short of the road. There was a dirt berm at the end of the shutdown area to block cars from going onto the highway. Unfortunately several cars jumped the dirt mound and went across the highway. Because of this, the track decided to reverse the direction of racing and run the other way toward a less dangerous corn field. It is presently an IHRA-sanctioned track, but for a few brief years it was affiliated with NHRA.
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CLICK HERE to see Fred Sibley's White Lightning dragster running at Osceola in the mid-60s, 21 seconds, no sound
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Osceola Dragway, ​​​ 1971 topo map

Speed's New Hope Dragstrip 


This concrete 1/8th-mile drag strip opened at least as early as 1969. It was built, owned, and operated by Kenneth "Speed" Wise, who passed away in 1990. It is located a couple of miles southeast of Freedom, just south of the village of New Hope. Research in newspapers found that the track held a Super Stock match race on April 15, 1969, between Jerry Rone's Camaro and Richard Bowen's Barracuda. On Sunday, June 11, 1972, John Cary of Linton, Indiana, set a track record in AF/SA with a time of 8.73 seconds. The day before, he had set an IHRA 1/8th-mile record of 8.70 seconds at Kettlersville, Ohio. In the 1980s it was often referred to as Freedom New Hope Drag Strip under NHRA sanction. The strip, known for its friendliness, continues to operate weekly. 
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April 15, 1969
CLICK HERE to see video footage of racing at New Hope Dragstrip in 2014, 0.44 minutes

Sportsdrome Speedway ​​(Jeffersonville)


On Saturday afternoon, May 31, 1958, the Sportsdrome oval began a drag race program on a trial basis. Trophies were awarded to winners in four classes: gas class, stock cars, super stock, and sports cars. Bob Miller took top eliminator in his Corvette. At the race on June 14, James Robertson won the super stock class and was over-all top eliminator. They only held the drag races for a few weeks.
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May 27, 1958

Stout Army Air Field ​(Indianapolis)


Three thousand people saw the first-ever quarter-mile drag race at Stout Field, near Indianapolis, on July 24, 1955.  It was sanctioned by the NHRA and races were conducted by the Cluster Busters Hot Rod Club. Lawrence Miller of Dayton, Ohio, got the fastest speed of the meet at 104.89 MPH on his motorcycle. A second race was held on August 28, 1955. The final race in 1955 was held on September 25, with trophies being awarded by that year's Miss Indiana.  Drag races in 1956 were held generally on every second Sunday during good weather. A 2-day midwest championship race was held on October 13-14, 1956. Drag races in 1957 were conducted on a regular basis by the Indianapolis Timing Association. Entries sometimes numbered as much as 400. On July 7, 1957, Art Arfons set a new strip record in his "Green Monster" with a run of 150.75 MPH. On September 28, 1958, Willy Snyder broke Arfons' old mark with a run of 153.84 MPH in his Allison-aircraft dragster. The State Adjutant General's Office ruled that no drag races could be held at Stout Field after 1959.
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August 5, 1956
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July 6-7, 1957
Stout Field, ​​​ 1961 topo map
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Flagman Dave Vachet starts two racers at Stout Field. Photo published in​​​ Indianapolis Star, Aug. 25, 1957
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Spectators line the fence at Stout Field. Photo published in​​​ Indianapolis Star, Aug. 25, 1957

Terre Haute Drag Strip

 
Expressly built for drag racing, their newspaper ads touted it as a "custom built drag strip." This is in contrast to many of the early drag strips utilizing airport runways. It had a 3,557 foot-long, 50-foot wide asphalt surface with a reinforced concrete base. It was located five miles north of Terre Haute, east of U. S. Highway 41. The Ramblers car club of Terre Haute conducted the races. The opening event took place on July 4, 1957. Jim Shaw was the owner and promoter.  Sanctioned by NASCAR, the race held on October 20, 1957, drew almost 1,500 spectators. Bert Kesler of Mattoon won top eliminator in his 1923 Model T coupe clocking 115 MPH. Newspaper ads for the drag strip in summer 1958 stated that $50 would be awarded to anyone who could break the track record of 121 MPH.  One newspaper ad in 1958 exclaiimed that the races evoked "Thrills! Chills! Speed!" Free beans were also served on Father's Day in 1958.  It is today (2015) East Phyllbeck Avenue in the Shawville subdivision, just south of and parallel to the  Sky King Airport. In the 1960s, that small airport was called Brown's Flying School.  On May 22, 1960, the Wabash Valley Motorcycle Club sponsored a motorcycle drag event. Earl Powell of Cincinnati set a record with a speed of 129.505 on his Harley.In 1960, Shaw also added a go-cart track next to the drag strip.  A 1964 article stated that races were timed for 1/5th of a mile. In 1965, Jim Shaw turned the strip ground into a residential subdivision called Chevelle Subdivision.
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September 29, 1957
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1960
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Terre Haute Drag Strip, ​​ 1962 aerial photo
Final race at Terre Haute Drag Strip, October 18, 1964

U. S. 30 Dragway (Merrillville)

  • Years of Operation: 1957-84
 
Newspapers reported that the new U. S. 30 Dragway opened for its first race on September 15, 1957. They reported it was a 400-foot paved strip. It was reportedly sanctioned by the National Timing Association, which was headquartered at the strip. An article a few weeks later stated that Sunday racing began at what an article in the Hammond Times ("Lake deputies participate in Dragway Day," October 2, 1957) called a new drag strip on October 6, 1957. If so, possibly the opening race on September 15 was postponed for some reason. This popular drag strip was located near Merrillville, about three blocks north of the intersection of U. S. Highway 30 and Broadway, north of Crown Point on Goodrich Road. Races were conducted by the Northern Indiana Timing Association.  In some early ads in 1957, it was just called U. S. Dragway. On June 21, 1959, the strip held a drag race to benefit the Thornton, Illinois, volunteer fire department. In operation for almost three decades, little remains of the venerable old drag strip today except two strips of weed-infested pavement just west of Clay Street (at 7920) in Hobart. At the beginning of the 1960 season, the track posted $10,000 cash to the first dragster that could better 200 MPH at the strip. After two bad accidents occurred at the strip within a month of each other in 1960, a neighboring farmer was threatening to submit a complaint against the track's continuing operation. Another terrible accident occurred on August 4, 1963. A man was killed and ten spectators injured when John Montgerard swerved into the pit area in his dragster. His clutch had exploded, causing his steering and brakes to fail, crashing through the retaining cables lining the strip at about 50 MPH. His car burst into flames and many of the injured were sprayed with burning gasoline. It could have been worse, as his car stopped just short of the bleachers, where 2,000 spectators were sitting. Numerous records were set at the AHRA Summer Nationals on June 12-14, 1964.  The race was tragically marred by a fatal accident. Howard Wysong, driving Lee Pendleton's "Spitfire II" aircraft-engined dragster, was killed when he veered off the track near the finish line. At this race, Jim Thornton, from Royal Oak, Michigan, driving a '64 Ramcharger Dodge, recorded what was thought to be the fastest speed ever run by a Super Stock car: 132.353 MPH. Bobby Vodnik also wiped out Don Garlits's old strip record with a speed of 191.48 MPH. Garlits characterized the dragway as being "extremely narrow."
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This ad promotes the very first race on September 15, 1957 at U. S. 30 Dragwau
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CLICK HERE to see live TV footage in the early 1970s, 17 minutes
CLICK HERE to listen to 1967 commercial radio spot for U. S. 30 Dragway, 54 seconds
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1998 aerial view of U.S. 30 Dragway
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U. S. 30 Dragway, ​​​ 1964 topo map
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View of the racing strip at U.S. 30 Dragway from the starting line. Photo published in ​Chicago Tribune, May 18, 1958
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The electric eye timing device is seen on the left as track official Ronald Krasek positions James Scholl's Triumph onto the starting line. Photo published in ​​Chicago Tribune, May 18, 1958
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Hard at work in the control tower are (left to right): Judy Cotter, Clifford Schreiber, C. Richard Matthews, and Charles Stone. Photo published in ​Chicago Tribune, May 18, 1958