OREGON

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Mahlon Sweet Airport ​​​​(Eugene) (1950)
Scappoose Airport (1952)
Aurora Airport (1953)​
Camp Adair (1953)
​Newport Municipal Airport (1953)
White City "Drag Strip" (1953)
Corvallis Municipal Airport (954)
The Dalles Municipal Airport (1958)
Klamath Speedway (1959)
McMinnville Airport (1960)
Port Orford Drag Strip/Western Oregon Dragway (1961)
Woodburn Drag Strip (1961)
Madras Airport Drag Strip (1961)
Portland International Raceway (1965)
Newport Drag Strip (1966)
Coos Bay "Drag Strip" (1967)
T-Bird Drag Strip/Balboa  Park Raceway Drag Strip (Eugene) (1967)
West Pacific Dragway (Eugene) (1977)
Southern Oregon Dragway/Champion Raceway/Medford Dragstrip (1979)
​Redmond Municipal Airport (1983)
High Desert Motorsports Park/Lakeview Dragstrip (?)
 
Drag racer at Scappoose Airport, 1952. Photographer unknown

Aurora Airport


The Northwest Timing Association conducted drag races at the Aurora emergency landing strip on June 21, 1953. It was located two miles northwest of the city of Aurora, and sometimes referred to as the Aurora State Airport. They charged an entry fee of $2 for non-NTA members and $1 for members to race in any of eight car classes or a motorcycle class. This was the first sanctioned race at the air strip. A second race was held on July 5 and a third on July 19, 1953. Sam Weber beat Cliff Miller to win the Class A division in his 1940 Ford on July 5. At the race on July 19, about 1,500 spectators watched 35 cars and 10 motorcycles in the races. Sam Weber from Corvallis and Cliff Miller from Oregon City tied for the fastest speed of the day with a 104.89 MPH clocking. Weber & Hogan's stripped-down car again took the Class A division win. Races continued to be held every two weeks in 1953.  On October 11, 1953, Clarence Everett of Salem won firsts in the Class A, B, C, and D events with his hot rod. Wally Walery of Vancouver, Washington, copped the fastest speed with 114.5 MPH on his motorcycle. On June 27, 1954, Buck Rossow garnered the top speed with a 106.84 clocking. On July 25, 1954, Bob Eayres of Portland established the top speed of the meet with a run of 116.47 MPH. On May 8, 1955, Justin George of Forest Grove logged the fastest time with a 115.48 MPH run. On May 22, 1955, Don Fracher of Gresham sped to a 134.85 MPH clocking, reported as the fastest speed ever in the quarter in the Northwest. Speeds were beginning to climb in 1955, as Blanchard & Eayrs of Portland clocked a 133.81 MPH run on July 24. On August 7, the "El Pronto Special" of Weber-Scott-Hogan & Lipsit of the Eugene Road Kings took Class A with a time of 124.17 MPH. On August 21, 1955, Paul Wellborn broke the B fuel record with the fastest speed of the day with a 120.97 MPH run. In 1956, drag races were conducted by the Multnomah Hot Rod Council and Northwest Timing Association on the first and third Sundays. On April 8, 1956, the strip registered its largest gate receipts ever with $1103 from 2,207 spectators and $484 from entry fees from 250 race cars. Paul Wellborn got the day's fastest time with a run of 11.4 seconds at 129.42 MPH in his Mercury-powered B fuel dragster. On June 17, Wellborn upped the B fuel record to132.47 MPH. A 2-day NHRA regional race was held on July 21-22, 1956. Three thousand people watched Bob Eayres and Bob Graves take top eliminator in their flathead Mercury-powered drag car. Rowland & Bonebrake of Portland had the meet's fastest speed with 132.74 MPH in their rear-engined Studebaker-powered fuel dragster. On July 29, 1956, Graves & Eayres upped the strip record and took top eliminator with a 10.93 at 137.63 MPH run. Bonebrake & Rowland broke the X class (unlimited) record on August 26, 1956, with a 139.66 MPH run. On September 30, the final race of the 1956 season, Eayres & Graves switched from Mercury to a blown 331 c.i. Chrysler and set a new strip and Northwest record of 144.51 MPH. The 1957 season opened on April 21 before 2,500 spectators. Agnes & Graves took Class A with a speed of 145.63 MPH. What was billed as the Oregon Championship Drag Races was held on September 27, 1959. That was the final race held at the airport. Thereafter, the energies of the Northwest Timing Association transferred to the Woodburn Drag Strip.   Read whatJim Beardslee told DSL about racing at Aurora in the 1950s.
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July 19, 1953
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June 17, 1956
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September 27, 1959

Camp Adair


The Drag-ons, an Albany car club, conducted its first drag race in the Camp Adair area on January 31, 1953. Al Ward was awarded frist place for having the fastest time of 16.8 seconds in his 1932 Ford roadster. They held the second race on February 8, 1953. They held it on a 2-mile straightway section of paved road near the E. E. Wilson Game Management area at Camp Adair. All the proceeds from the race were given to the March of Dimes charity. Wayne Mahaffey of Salem took first place with the best quarter-mile time of 14.8 seconds in his Cad-powered 1935 Ford Phaeton. The race on April 26, 1953, was the first one at Camp Adair conducted by the Northwest Timing Association. They charged a $2 entry fee and held racing in eight classes. The race was well-attended.
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Coos Bay "Drag Strip"

  • Years of Operation: 1967
  • Status:  Exact location unknown

There was a 1/8th-mile drag strip reported in Coos Bay in 1967. More research is needed.  Opened in 1990 and still in operation today, a 1/8th-mile drag strip was built adjacent to the Coos Bay International Speedway quarter-mile high-banked oval on Highway 42 near its junction with U.S. Highway 101. They were sanctioned by NHRA and races were conducted by the South Coast Drag Racing Association. This is entirely different from the drag strip that held races in 1967.
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Corvallis Municipal Airport

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The Northwest Timing Association conducted a drag race on Sunday, May 16, 1954, at the Corvallis Airport. Stan Auferoth from Eugene turned the fastest speed of the day with a 110.72 MPH clocking. However, Buck Rosso of Salem beat Auferoth in the Class A division. About 1,500 spectators watched the races. At the race on May 30, 1954, Jerry Poole and Jerry Lausmann had the fastest car in the meet with a 108.28 MPH run with their Class A car. The Corvallis Hy-Lifters car club sponsored the races on June 13, 1954, which were conducted by the Northwest Timing Association. Bill Bannister of Portland got the meet's fastest speed with a speed of 99.46 MPH on his motorcycle. On July 11, Clarence Everett recorded the fastest speed with a run of 99.93 MPH. He took the Class B and C titles in his Mercury-engined dragster. Buck Rosso won the Class A category. In the 2-day race on September 25-26, Poole & Lausmann won the Class A division. Their car tied for the fastest speed with Buck Rosso, both cars going 120.19 MPH.
September 25-26, 1954
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The Dalles Municipal Airport

  • Years of Operation: 1958-60, early 1970s-after 2004?
  • Status:  5

The Mid-Columbia Timing Association held drag races at The Dalles airport. On June 28, 1959, Albert Young garnered the top time with a run of 16.40 at 88.55 MPH. In 1960 races were held on the third Sunday with the season opening on May 22. Racing in the early 1970s lacked concrete barriers to protect spectators, but those were added later.
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Klamath Speedway

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An 1/8th-mile drag race was added to the program at this 3/8th-mile oval track on August 15, 1959. It proved so popular that it was repeated at the races on August 29. The oval track racers raced against each other. The oval track can still be seen faintly in aerial photos, located just north of Eberlain Avenue and southeast of the Klamath County corrections jail.
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August 29, 1959

McMinnville Airport


Drag races were conducted by the Columbia Timing Association on a runway of the McMinnville Municipal Airport, at least as early as 1960. That year, races were held every other Sunday starting in mid-May and ending with a two-day race on September 24-25. The racing season stretched from May through October. One landing strip at the airport was again used for racing in 1962 beginning on May 13 and running every other Sunday. The races were sponsored by the McMinnville Jaycees and the Columbia Timing Assorciation. It was called the McMinnville Drag Strip and operated under NHRA sanction.  Five thousand people attended the seasoning-opening race on May 24, 1964. Sevela & Sons AA/FD took top eliminator with a speed of 192 MPH. Ernie Hall took top gas eliminator. In late 1966, the city's airport commission banned drag racing at the airport. They were concerned that the drag races left only a single runway available for airplanes. The Chamber of Commerce asked the commission to reconsider their decision. It was called the Columbia Timing Association Drag Strip in a listing of U.S. drag strips in 1968 published in an issue of the Swedish magazine Start & Strip .  However, despite that listing, drag racing at the airport was halted in 1966.
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August 21, 1960
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August 5, 1962
CLICK HERE  to see 8mm  video footage of drag races at McMinnville Airport, ca. 1962, 2:56 minutes, no sound/music

Madras Airport Drag Strip

  • Years of Operation: 1958-present

The Columbia Timing Association got permission to hold a drag race at the Madras Municipal Airport on October 5, 1952. It was to be sponsored by the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Madras. Research was unable to find if this race ever took place.  In early January 1957, the Century Hot Rod Club, which had recently been organized, was working on getting permission to build a drag strip at the Madras Air Base that spring. City policeman Henry Muzgay had been very helpful and supportive with them. Ken Florey, who is compiling a history of Madras Drag Strip, wrote DSL that "unsanctioned races [were held at Madras] as early as 1958." Jim Livingston, one of the initial organizers of the strip,  helped manage it tuntil 1972, when he left to buy Woodburn Drag Strip. An NHRA regional race was held at Madras in 1961 (see Hot Rod Magazine, Jan. 1962, p. 84-85). Florey wrote that the "points race held the summer of 1961 had over 200 cars and about 2000 specators that attended." He also wrote that  the "Loafers Auto Club was a local club that got the Madras Timing Association going." Races were conducted by the Madras Timing Association and held in 1962 on May 6, May 20, and June 16-17. The latter race was a 2-day NHRA bonus points meet that attracted almost 500 racers, insluding Nelson & Martin's "Dragmaster Dart." In 1963, races were held on May 12, May 26, June 9, June 23, September 22, and October 10. At a race held on April 5, 1964, trophies were awarded to class winners. Bill Ireland was the runner-up in stock eliminator at the race on April 19, 1964. It was listed in the March 1969 issue of Hot Rod as running under NHRA sanction then. Jim Livingston was the track manager at that time.
 
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Listing in ​​​​​​​​​​​National Dragster, Dec. 23, 1977. Courtesy of Mel Bashore
CLICK HERE  to see 8mm B&W video footage of Madras Dragstrip, 1963, from Cliff Bugge, 9:30 minutes, no sound/music
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CLICK HERE  to see 8mm video footage of Madras Dragway 1960s, 3:05 minutes, no sound/music

Mahlon Sweet Airport ​(Eugene)


The Eugene Road Kings car club, organized in 1950, used a taxi strip at the airport for drag races. Their first race was on Sunday, August 20, 1950. Robert Bugsbee had the fastest speed so was awarded first place. They also held a race on October 1, 1950. In 1951-52, they raced every other Sunday. Races were conducted by the Northwest Timing Association. On September 25, 1955, the Northwest Timing Association conducted a race to benefit the Eugene Active Club. Paul Wellborn of the Eugene Road Kings was the top eliminator with a speed of 129.31 MPH.
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July 1, 1951
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June 8, 1952
September 25, 1955

Newport Drag Strip


The Newport Kiwanis Club was given permission to sponsor drag races during the summer in 1966 at the Newport Municipal Airport a few miles south of the town. On June 18, 1967, the Kiwanis Club put on its second annual Newport Drag Prix race. In addition to offering $2,000 worth of cash awards and trophies, they featured a match race between Washington's Jerry Ruth and Oregon's Ron Salsbury. It was listed in a listing of U.S. drag strips in 1968 published in an issue of the Swedish magazine Start & Strip . In late 1968, the city council ruled that they would only allow two drag races in 1969.  In the May 1969 issue of Hot Rod, it was listed as an NHRA-sanctioned track. Al Beachell managed the track in 1969. Thereafter races halted because of continuing difficulties with FAA regulations.
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September 3, 1967
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May 26, 1968

Newport Municipal Airport


The Surfriders car club of Newport held periodic drag races at the Newport Airport in 1953, and possibly earlier. On February 28, 1953, four car clubs joined in on a hot rod caravan from Salem to Newport. Unfortunately they weren't able to hold a drag race at the airport because of bad weather. The race held on May 10, 1953, was conducted by the Northwest Timing Association and the Surfriders club. The NTA conducted the first race of the 1954 season on May 2.
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Port Orford Drag Strip/Western Oregon Dragway


Leon Warmuth recalls racing here as early as 1956 . On August 20, 1961, the Southern Oregon Timing Association conducted a race at Port Orford. The Gear Lords car club of Port Orford intended to gain experience from SOTA in conducting races for future events.  The Klamath Falls Herald & News stated that it was "the first time a drag race has ever been held on this section of the Oregon coast." There were 50 classes in the race. This counters the memory of Leon Warmuth. The South Western Oregon Timing Association conducted races every Sunday at an airstrip near Port Orford in 1962. Built in 1943, that airstrip, located about eight miles north of Port Orford, is today called Cape Blanco State Airport. In 1963 on July 21, August 18, and September 29.  Although newspaper research didn't uncover any races after 1963, it was listed as one of 325 U.S. drag strips in 1968 published in an issue of the Swedish magazine Start & Strip .
 
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Portland International Raceway

  • Years of Operation: 1965-present
 
The drag strip, incorporated in a race car road course, sits on the site of Vanport, a large housing city built during World War II for shipyard workers. At the time, it was the second largest city in the state of Oregon, home to more than 40,000 people.But in 1948, the entire city of Vanport was demolished by flood waters when the Columbia River crested in the spring and broke the dike.  For many years, only streets and some building foundations were all that remained from old Vanport. In 1960, the city of Portland bought the land from the Army Corps of Engineers. In 1961, the Portland Jaycees envisioned the abandoned roads as a place to hold sports car races. They convinced the Portland Rose Festival Association to sponsor a race as part of the festival activities. The first race, called the Rose Cup Race, was held in June 1961. That race has been a part of the Rose Festival ever since. At least by 1967 through at least 1985, it was being called the Rose Festival Drag Races. In early years, the track wasn't called Portland International Raceway. It wasn't called that until the late 1960s and early 1970s. In those earlier years it was referred to as the Vanport Circuit, West Delta Park, or Delta Park Raceway. Drag races started to be run on the straightaway portion of the road course in 1965. It was listed in the March 1969 issue of Hot Rod as running under NHRA sanction then. Al Beachell was the track manager at that time. The race track has undergone several changes in configuration during the years. In the mid-1980s, noise restrictions limited drag racing to only cars that had their headers capped. This  ended the big drag racing events for all intents and purposes. In 2008 and 2009, PIR received permission to hold one event where the noise restrictions would not be enforced. Today the NHRA-sanctioned track holds drag races on a regular basis several days a week.
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Listing in ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​National Dragster, Dec. 23, 1977. Courtesy of Mel Bashore
CLICK HERE to see video footage of NHRA National Open, 2009, 9:59 minutes
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Redmond Municipal Airport


In 1983, a group of Redmond businessmen instituted a nostalgia event to draw attention to the Redmond Municipal Airport. It became a Memorial Day tradition until 1987 or later. The events included a Hangar Hop and an 1/8th-mile drag race. The focus was on nostalgia, not speed. 2,500 spectators showed up to watch the 1985 racing. The hop was held in the Advanced Aviation Hangar.
 
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Large wooden sign, found in Redmond, purchased at an estate sale. Courtesy of Jill Francis

Scappoose Airport


Scappoose, near Portland, conducted drag races at its airport as early as 1952. In 1955, they held a regional NHRA championship meet there.  On May 27, 1956, police tried to arrest fifteen minors for drinking beer at a drag race conducted by the Columbia Timing Association at the airport. It touched off a near-riot when 500 spectators surrounded the officers, protesting their arrest. The drivers were reportedly cooperative and supportive of the officers, but the spectators caused the problems. This incident caused the county court to rule that there would be no more drag races at the airport in early June 1956. On July 13, 1958, Bud Haines set a world speed record for fuel dragsters under 300 cubic inches with a run of 156.65 MPH. In 1959, races were halted by the county court after a "near riot" when minors were arrested for drinking. The airport is today called Scappoose Industrial Airpark.
 
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July 12-13, 1958

T-Bird Drag Strip/Balboa Park Raceway Drag Strip (Eugene)


This 1/8th-mile drag strip in Eugene began life as an airport called T-Bird Airpark. When the airport was first built, sometime between 1945 and 1947, it was called Willamette Airpark, but between 1962 and 1964, the name was changed to T-Bird Airpark. It had a 2,100-foot paved runway, running northwest to southeast. Rod Ormsby invested $28,000 to transform the airstrip into a 1/8th-mile drag strip. He hoped to turn it into a quarter-mile track, but that didn't happen. John Tucker learned to fly at the airpark. He also did odd jobs around the airpark to earn flying time. Tucker recalled, "I think in 1967 they started running drag races there. I worked these races. Looking back I believe they did not charge enough for their [aviation] services and that's why they quit business [in 1967]. The drag races were a way to bring in more revenue. I really do not think they liked having all of that noise and crowds." It started being called Balboa Park Drag Strip because it was near West 11th and Danebo at Balboa Road. Balboa Park Raceway was listed in the March 1969 issue of Hot Rod as running under NHRA sanction. Rod Ormsby managed the track then. Mostly it served the local sportsman racers, but in the mid-1970s, Jim Rockstad and others associated with Seattle International Raceway rented Balboa to run a small funny car show there on a Friday right before a big 64-car funny car show in Seattle. Rockstad managed the drag racing at Portland International Raceway. His job was to get all the timing equipment, traction compound, fire extinguishers, and other necessary equipment to put on a first-class show to Balboa before the race. But the logistics were overwhelming for the little track and it turned into something of a nightmare when they couldn't complete the racing before the 10 PM curfew. Rockstad recalled: "Balboa was a small eighth-mile facility with a few thousand seats and very little parking, and around this time, was about to go away completely as the expanding of businesses in the area were getting closer and closer. It was a slick and bumpy race track that was the worse for wear. This is the same place I had crashed my AA/GS Anglia in 1971, so I was a little taken aback by even just going there. The pit space is very small and we all knew this many funny cars would be jammed into this little, crowded race track. With any size of crowd at all, it would be 'stuffed to the gills' and hard to even run the event. As it all turned out, that is exactly what happened . . . and worse.
The funny car count was somewhere in the 16 or so and that literally made it impossible to move the cars back and forth to the racing surface. It was something the locals in Eugene had never seen because the funny car events there were always been eight-car programs with local cars. This monster event arrived and the crowd knew it. Boy, did they respond. Bill Doner [president of International Raceway Parks] flew to Eugene in a small plane so that he could head back that evening for the big event at SIR. A small airstrip was just a few minutes from the race track. The show that evening was 'Chicago-style' drag racing where the cars are paired up, then make two runs and  the quickest two cars come back for the final. Doner certainly had a way of building that up into a crescendo throughout the evening as the racing wore on. The excitement for the final was well anticipated by the crowd. Doner planted that thought in their minds throughout the evening. The hype was building. There had to be four-to-five thousand people crammed into little ‘ole Balboa Drag Strip that evening and there was literally zero parking anywhere. The cars were lined up on both sides of the highway for as far as the eye could see. It was a traffic nightmare. The racing was terrific. Ed 'the Ace' McCulloch, the Hawaiian, Pisano, the Blue Max, Jungle Jim and even Danny Ongais were just a few of the quality cars that made up the largest field Eugene had ever seen. It was a big-league lineup for Eugene, Oregon.
With the initial two rounds completed, Doner had the fans hyped up awaiting the final as the racers prepared their cars. At some time, well before 10 PM, I was on the starting line watching over the timing equipment when a police office in a suit came to me and said, 
'You have exactly 10 minutes to complete this event. There have been lots of neighbor complaints and this event is done!'” There is no evidence of the old airpark or strip left today, it being completely overgrown with grass and blackberries. The closing of the strip may have happened in 1975, but more research is needed.
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Balboa Park Drag Strip, ​​​​​​ 1969 topo map

West Pacific Dragway (Eugene)

  • Years of Operation:   ca. 1977 - ?
  • Status:  Exact location unknown

Research has not learned whether this is a completely different drag strip than the Balboa Park Raceway Drag Strip (above) or simply a different name for that same drag strip. It was under NHRA sanction in 1977. More research is needed on this.
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Listing in ​​​​National Dragster, Dec. 23, 1977. Courtesy of Mel Bashore
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White City "Drag Strip"


White City, located three miles north of Medford, was the site of a World War II Army encampment. After the war, the Veterans Administration established a rehabilitation hospital there, which was called Camp White. Some news articles reported the drag races were held in Medford, but in reality, they were held in White City. The drag races were conducted at what was called the Camp White Drag Strip or Avenue G Drag Strip. The location was given as being seven miles north of Medford off the Crater Lake highway in west Camp White. The White City Realty Company allowed the racers to use the private road as a drag strip. Races were held on a half-mile section of Avenue G, with a quarter-mile for timing and racing and a quarter-mile for shutdown. The races were sponsored by the Southern Oregon Timing Association. One of the first races at the strip was held on September 20, 1953. The track record prior to the start ofd the 1956 season was 120.84 MPH, set by Jerry Lausmann back in 1954. The opening race of the 1956 season was held on Sunday, July 15. Floyd Young from Talent won top eliminator on his 40 Flash motorcycle with a 96 MPH run.  On July 29, two thousand people saw 71 racers compete. Sidney Thoreson of Roseburg got the day's fast speed in his 1956 Corvette with 91 MPH and Skipper Walker of Grants Pass got top eliminator in his blown Olds-powered '40 Ford coupe. The timing association gave out trophies to five class winners at their third summer-season race on August 19, 1956. They timed the racing with an electronic clock. The first race in 1957 was held on May 26, using new electronic clocks. They had an improved spectator area, concessions, new public address system, and public restroooms. Bernie Miller and Bob Rudig from Grants Pass set a new strip record of 121.62 MPH in their blown Oldsl-engined dragster.  Three thousand spectators watched 83 entries compete in 18 classes. On September 8, 1957, 5,000 spectators watched Ed Cortopassi pilot the "Glass Slipper" dragster to top eliminator and a new track record speed of 134.23 MPH. The strip held a 2-day Pacific Northwest Gas Championships on September 6-7, 1958. Up for grabs was $2,000 in bonds, trophies, and merchandise. On the first day of time trials, Jay Cheatham from Sunnyvale, California, beat the old track record with a run of 142.85 MPH. The first race in 1959 in that eight-race season was held on June 14. Races were conducted every other week through August 23. The season culminated with a 2-day Centennial gas championship on September 12-13. For the first time, the strip permitted the use of fuel in the racing.  Warren Welsh of Reno took top eliminator honors with a run of 147.54 MPH. Paul Sutherland was one of the out-of-state entries from Walnut Creek, California, turning 144.92 MPH in his blown Chrysler-engined dragster.  The strip record was broken by Ed Cortopassi in the "Glass Slipper" with a top-speed-of-the-meet run of 160.87 MPH. Marlo Treit of Beaverton set a new strip mark for motorcycles with a 123.62 MPH run on his twin-engined cycle.The third annual All-Charity drags were held on September 27, 1959.  Noel Black got the fastest speed of the meet in the Roberts-Black-Medcalf A dragster, running on alcohol, with a run of 138.46 MPH. At the 2-day race on August 13-14, 1960, 2,000 spectators saw Blanchard & Skeans A dragster take the 4-foot tall top eliminator trophy and $100. On September 10-11, 1960, Medford held what was called the  4th Annual North Western Gas Championships and Exhibition Fuel Runs. This title was reflective of the continuing fuel ban at strips on the West Coast and NHRA tracks around the country. The "Glass Slipper" held the track records in both gas and fuel, 155.17 MPH for the former and 160.87 MPH for the latter. At the race on July 16, 1961, Dave Skeans drove his A/MR to a new strip record in the class of 147.29 MPH in 9.81 seconds. He was presented with $300 to help pay for his way to the Indy Nationals. Jim Fox clocked a best run of 166.66 MPH in the Fox-Holding-Adair A/FD from Pomona, California. He set the strip record for fastest time with a 9.32 second run. At the Northwest Gas and Fuel Championships held on September 3-4, 1961, several strip records were broken on the first day of time trials. Ed Cortopassi upped the strip gas record to 160.42 MPH. Jim Fox equaled the strip record set by Fred Anderson of Logan, Utah, one year earlier. He posted a speed of 169.81 MPH. There were 230 competitors, including Gary Cagle. The 2-day Spring Championship was held on June 9-10, 1962. Three thousand people watched Warren Welsh and Bill Butler's rear-engined "Shoehorn" gas dragster from Reno set a new strip record of 9.04 and 169.59 MPH. His elapsed time bettered even the old fuel record set by Jim Fox. In late June 1962, the Southern Oregon Timing Association had to close the strip because they could not comply with new insurance regulations. This happened only about two weeks before Don Garlits was scheduled to run at the strip. But during its years of operation, White City put on the most exciting drag race program in Oregon. This strip predates the drag strip at Jackson County Sports Park (now called Champion Raceway), which dates its beginning to about the mid-1980s.   One old timer raced at a drag strip in White City in the early 1960s. He said, "It was an old two lane black top road with 4 foot deep borrow ditches on each side. No timing lights, just a flag on each side of the end of the strip to tell you which lane won. Barney Oilcan, from the Southern Oregon Wheelers car club was the starter. Every once in awhile he'd do a back flip and drop the flag. Saw a lot of 'choking'when he did that."
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1956
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Medford Mail Tribune, June 24, 1962
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This photo shows the essence of the White City Drag Strip: no fences or barriers between race track and spectators, minimal seating or bleachers, spectators watching from parked cars, racing on a paved road, etc. The cars in the photo are the "Skylark" dragster driven by Noel Black and the Wheelers car club Class A competion coupe known as "Zombie" driven by Charles "Bub" Hewitt. Photo published in​ Medford Mail Tribune, Sep. 7, 1958
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 Charles "Bub" Hewitt, driver of the Wheeler Car Club "Zombie" competition coupe, is fifth from left, wearing a white racing helmet at the Camp White drag strip. Photo published in Medford Mail Tribune, Aug. 10, 1958

Woodburn Drag Strip

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  • Years of Operation: 1961-69, 1972-present

In late 1958, the Multnomah Hot Rod Council bought the old West Woodburn Airport strip from the Northwest Timing Association for about $4,000. Even so, the building of the strip was a joint venture between the two groups. Considerable work had been done prior to the groups selling "stock" early 1959 to raise funds for the paving of the strip. Each "stock" certificate was sold for $1 and granted the purchaser two free admissions to the forthcoming races. Initial plans called for it to be a 1/8th-mile strip, paved 60 feet wide by 2000 feet long.  It was twelve miles north of Salem.  The Multnomah Hot Rod Council and the Northwest Timing Association conducted NHRA-sanctioned races for the first time beginning on June 4, 1961, running gas only, on the Woodburn Dragstrip. About 2,000 spectators turned out to see 75 cars compete. Anthony Aicher turned in the fastest computed speed of 102 MPH in his flathead D dragster.  In 1962-63, it scheduled races two to three days a month.  It ran as an 1/8th-mile track until 1963, at which time it was lengthened to afford quarter-mile racing. The first race held on the quarter-mile strip was on July 21, 1963. The strip record was established at that race by Mike Grimm, driving the Floyd-Aldrich-Grimm fueler with a speed of 191.4 MPH.  Three hundred racers competed at the Oregon Fuel and Gas Championships on September 14-15, 1963. Tommy Ivo was one of the competitors. In 1964, Spencer  Etzel and Don Norris of Salem and Al Beachell of Portland contracted with the Northwest Timing Association and the Multnomah Hot Rod Council to operate the strip. During the first year under their management, the staging area was paved, running water was piped into the pits, and a new concession stand completed. An NHRA regional meet was held on August 9, 1964. Lights were installed and the first night race was held on August 29, 1964. On June 13, 1965, 10,000 people saw Ed McCulloch beat Pete Robinson to nab the nation's Number 1 ranking in top fuel. On June 30, 1968, an invitational AA fueler match race saw a couple of new track marks. Ron Rolstad of Seattle set a new speed mark with 222.76 MPH and Jim Crooke of Seattle and Ron Gorans of Longview tied for the elapsed time mark of 7.27 seconds. In 1969 the Northwest Timing Association brought a suit against the Multnomah Hot Rod Council for a breach of lease agreement. The NWTA charged the Multnomah Council with mismanagement  and negligence in the handling of joint funds. This business dispute caused the track to shut down for three years until things were ironed out in 1972. The Northwest Timing Association bought the track outright and decided to operate it on a non-profit basis. This resulted in bigger purses for the racers. Spectator gate receipts were to be channeled back into making track improvements. It was opened under NHRA sanction with four eliminator classes: modified, super stock, stock, and competition eliminator. Clarence Everett was the new track manager. Over 4,000 fans turned out to see over 175 racers on the re-opening race on May 28, 1972. A grand opening race was held on June 10-11, 1972,  1972 turned out to be a year of change and upheaval. Jim Livingston, who had helped operate the Madras Drag Strip since the late 1950s, bought the Woodburn Strip from the Northwest Timing Association and took over its management. He decided to bring back the popular big-name and fuel dragster and funny car attractions that were so popular with the fans. This was something missing under the new direction of the NWTA. The first race under Livingston's management occurred on August 20, 1972. Livingston made continual improvements to the facility. The track continues under NHRA sanction, Jim Livingston's son, Jay, and daughter, Cherie, co-own the track.
 
September 23, 1962
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July 21, 1963
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August 29-30, 1964
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Did you race here? Tell us about it.
CLICK HERE to see location on a map
June 13, 1965
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CLICK HERE to see a Nostalgia drag race dragster make a run on June 29, 1986 at Woodburn, 3 minutes, music/no sound
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June 10-11, 1972
September 17, 1972