Remembering . . .


Drag Strips

Roanoke Drag Strip, 1960s. Photographer unknown


  • Lakeview Drag Strip, 1961-62

I raced at the drags here in 1961 with my 401 HP Ford, I have three trophies for winning super stock The quarter mile was asphalt, but then it was dirt and gravel, tricky stopping.  I won four-1st places in Super Stock there. Average time was 12.03 et and speed of 112 mph. The other is Roanoke, Virginia, drag strip. I won several 1st places in Super Stock, same car--1961 Ford Starliner 401 hp. Best time was 12.01 et and 115 mph. This was in 1961 and 1962. I was winning pretty often till the Hemi’s came out, then I retired. This was back in the day when most cars were pretty much true stock. Tto win you had to be creative. I used ether and pure octane mixture, a 5.12 ratio rear end and polished heads, welded the spider gears together in the rear end, moved the battery to the trunk, had two 6 inch inlet tubes that blow air to the carbs, also had a metal box made to fit over the fuel pump, used dry ice to keep cool and prevent vapor lock. I ran Atlas Bucron soft rubber tires, had lifetime warranty. I went through five sets of tires in one season. I sprayed belt dressing spray on the tires before the run up the track. Had the fun to race against Ronnie Sox and Richard Petty's Cuda in Greensboro, North Carolina. Didn’t win, but had a lot of fun.  I also bought a 1963 Mercury Marauder 427 fastback which is very rare today. And also a 1964 Mercury Comet with 271 hp Cobra engine. I never got outrun by any GTO’S. Only 200 were released to the public. I sure wish I had held on to these cars.  I am 75 years old.  Still love the hot cars.
Mike Smith
Mike Smith's Lakeview trophies. Courtesy of Mike Smith
Mike Smith's Roanoke Drag Strip trophy and advertising poster. Courtesy of Mike Smith
Mike Smith standing beside his 1963 Mercury Marauder 427. Courtesy of Mike Smith
1964 Mercury Comet. Courtesy of Mike Smith

Cedar Bluff

  • Big Al's Dragway

My grandparents, Jerry and Norma Richardson, owned it and gave it the name of Big Al's Dragway. Big Al is their son (my uncle) whose real name is Allen Richardson. They also had ownership when Rick Rhea had his accident. All that's left of it are decrepit building such as the restroom and concession buildings. The stands and all the guardrail are now gone as well. The land is completely residential now and they do not allow anyone else on the property due to that.
Destini Patrick
  • Big Al's Dragway

I went here as a child and later raced here. I loved this place--Big Al's Dragway.
Roger Lester

Colonial Beach

  • Colonial Beach Drag Strip, 1970s

I was Tod Mack's partner at Budd's Creek MD (MIR), but worked Colonial Beach which was sold to Richard Clark in 1977. At that time it was a full ¼ mile.
Larry Clayton


  • Emporia Dragway, 1960s
I never raced there, but attended as often as I could. It was at the old air field just east of town. It seems that one of the local sponsors was Charles Bottoms with Coca Cola. I remember seeing Jungle Jim Liberman go into the woods when his parachute didn't open. I also watched Kenneth Lucy and some others try to fly a wingless airplane there.
Bob Ranson
  • Emporia Dragway, early 1960s
I raced at Emporia Drag Strip in the early '60s. My car was a ’56 Chevy with a ’59 Chevy 348 with 3 2 barrel  carbs. Looked neat but wasn’t very fast. Ran in a gas class and rarely won.  My recollection is that the people who built Richmond Dragway operated it and closed it upon Richmond's opening. It was an old airstrip.
Monte McCraw


  • Louisa Dragway, 1960s
My dad, Charlie Shifflett, raced at Louisa Dragway in the early '60s in a 1961 Starliner in B stock. This is a picture of one of the trophies that he won.
Charlie Shifflett
Courtesy of Charlie Shifflett


  • Old Dominion Speedway, 1959
The first drag strip I ever went down was Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas, Virginia in 1959. It was a paved 1/5 mile track at that time. Later it was shortened to 1/8 mile due to lack of sufficient shutdown area. I have a photo from the early 50's when it was a dirt dragstrip.
Dave Hales
The Old Dominion Speedway drag strip in Manassas, Virginia in the early 50's when it was still dirt! Snow tires were the prefered traction aid. Courtesy of Dave Hales
Two 1955 Chevys' at Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas, Virginia, in late 1961 or early 1962. The blue car on the right is the B/Gasser of the Yankey Brothers from Nokesville, Virginia with Larry Yankey at the wheel. The red car on the left is Dave Hales from Arlington, Virginia, in his D/Gas Chevy. Both were regular competitors at ODS in the early '60's. Courtesy of Dave Hales
Match race ad from 1966 at Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas, Virginia, featuring a 4-car match between some of the best A/Gas Supercharged racers in the country. Courtesy of Dave Hales
  • Old Dominion Speedway, ca. 1959-60
It was an 1/8th mile drag strip. In 1959 or '60, I won “F” stock in a 1950 Ford. Sorry, I don’t have any photos. Lots of cheaters in those days. It cost $50 to protest for the engine tear-down or test and nobody had that much money.
Bill Armstrong
  • Old Dominion Speedway, 1950s
There was a 1/4-mile dirt drag strip at Old Dominion Speedway in Manassas, Virginia, as early as 1954. I have a newspaper clipping concerning a friend of mine named Harry E. Waple who set a record in September 1954 for Class B stock cars driving his 1953 Hudson Super Jet. He was a physical therapist in Alexandria, Virginia. I believe the drag strip existed before 1954, but not sure of the exact year it opened. I have a rather blurry photo of him driving his '53 Hudson Super Jet on that drag strip.
Bob Corder
Alexandria Gazette, Sep. 13, 1954.  Courtesy of Bob Corder
Harry Waple races on the old dirt drag strip at Old Dominion Raceway in his 1953 Hudson Super Jet in October 1954.  Courtesy of Bob Corder
  • Old Dominion Speedway, 1966-73
I ran here from 1966 to 1973. I ran a '63 F/S Chevy Impala, a '67 442 Cutlass B/S, a '68 Z28 Camaro. My best car I ran was a '65 GTO called "The Copperhead." I ran it in stock and bracket classes. I loved that track. I have some pictures, but they are packed away somewhere. It's been a long time. Thanks for doing this. I had  a lot of friends there.
Red Corbin


  • Virginia Motorsports Park, 1994
I was serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Virginia in the mid-1990s. One of the towns that I served in was Petersburg. One day I volunteered to help this guy clean out his storage unit. He gave me this poster that was in his storage unit. We used to drive by this drag strip sometimes.
William Bashore
Courtesy of William Bashore


  • Richmond Dragway, 1960s

I won the 1968 Spring Nationals in C Gas and raced at Richmond Dragway for four years. My car was a '55 Chevy with a 389 Pontiac bored over to 400 cubic inches.
Bruce Vecchioni
Bruce Vecchioni (on right), with his C Gas '55 Chevy and trophies won at Richmond Dragway. The other person (on left) is Larry Ambrio, who helped build the car. Courtesy of Bruce Vecchioni
1968 Spring Nationals trophy for C Gas class, with close-up of base plaque. Courtesy of Bruce Vecchioni
  • Richmond Dragway, 1960s

My dad raced his funny cars at Richmond Dragway, even racing against Richard Petty.
Brian Hankins
Hank Hankins racing against Richard Petty at Richmond Dragway in his 1964 Dodge funny car. Courtesy of Brian Hankins
Hank Hankins's Dodge funny car at Richmond Dragway. Courtesy of Brian Hankins
  • Richmond Dragway

I run my '55 Chevy 2-door hardtop with a Chevy 230 ci 6-cylinder inline engine. I was in M-Stock class. My car was green and another '55 was yellow called "The Outlaw," which was a C Modified Production record holder. I got about a eight-car spot. I almost beat. He went by me a short distance from the finish line. My speed was 68 MPH. I don't remember the time or speed for "The Outlaw." I later put a 265 ci Chevy in the '55. I never run that at drag strip.
Henry Selden


  • Roanoke Drag Strip, ca. 1960s

I went to the Roanoke, Virginia, Drag Strip. I remembered it because of the fact that the shut down area was uphill and the return lane was a dirt road.
Glenn Goss


  • Suffolk Raceway, 1967-72

My dad ran his funny cars at Suffolk Raceway from '67 to '72.
Brian Hankins
Hank Hankins (in the middle in driver's firesuit) at Suffolk Raceway with one of his funny cars. Photo taken by track photographer, courtesy of Brian Hankins
  • Suffolk Raceway, 1974-77

I raced at Suffolk Raceway in Virginia when I was stationed at N.A.S. Oceania Naval Air Station. I ran my '73 Nova sbc 350 in the years of 1974 to '77. There were quite a few guys that brought their cars to race there when we were not deployed. I remember the shut down area wasn't the smoothest. Traction was excellent. I remember breaking a lot of transmissions.
Richard Gray


  • Synchronizers Dragway, 1960s
My dad, Charlie Shifflett, raced at Synchronizers Dragway in the early '60s in a 1961 Starliner in B stock. This is a picture of one of the trophies that he won.
Charlie Shifflett
Courtesy of Charlie Shifflett

Virginia Beach

  • Pungo Airfield, 1955
I have some old pictures of cars racing on Pungo Airstrip given to me by a local racer, Tobi Theiven of Portsmouth, Virginia. He took the photos. He stated locals would line up and then would race to the top end, then back.
Brian Hankins
Pungo Airstrip, circa 1955. Photo taken by Tobi Theiven, courtesy of Hank Hankins
Pungo Airstrip, circa 1955. Photo taken by Tobi Theiven, courtesy of Hank Hankins
  • Freedom 7 Dragway, 1960s
My dad raced here in the 60's.  Bill Trueblood in a gold '55 Chevrolet called "Goldfinger," written on the trunk. If anyone has any pictures or info please contact me. [Note from DSL administrator: Please contact Drag Strip List to get in touch with Melissa.]
Melissa Trueblood Brown
  • Creeds Field, 1970s
I raced at Creeds 1/5 mile track in the middle to late 70's. Later on when I was with the VBPD, I was an off-duty security for the then-current owner, Bob Miller.
Rick Tuttle
  • Virginia Beach Raceway, 1971-81
I raced at Vriginia Beach Dragway located in the Creeds section of Virginia Beach from 1971 till approximately 1981. I started out racing my 1965 Chevelle Malibu in the Street Class, but within 2 yeas was racing motorcycles and later drag bikes. I did mostly ET (elapsed time) class-style racing. Each racer would pull up toward the starting line and "pre-stage" a few inches before the starting line. Once the racer was prestaged, a light would appear at the top of the "Christmas tree." Then very slowly, the racer would pull up to the starting line. Another light would appear, and the racer would come to a complete stop. During time trials, both racers watched their respective lights come down and when their bottom light turned green, they took off!
Wally Damon
Virginia Beach Raceway, 1980. Wally Damon (near lane) and his brother, Donny Damon (far lane) during time trials. The white trailer in the background housed the timer and the announcer. To its right is a white bus which was the concession stand. Courtesy of Wally Damon
  • Creeds Field, 1980s
I attended college at Old Dominion University in 1983-1987. I was a member of the Classic Camaro Club of Virginia Beach sponsored by RK Chevrolet. We ran at Creeds Dragway on Friday nights. We ran bracket eliminations, dialing a 10.0. My '69 Camaro 327 - 4 speed ran pretty consistent getting us deep into the elimination rounds often. It was a thrill watching the big car coming up fast in my mirror right before they blew past me at the finish line.
Kevin Pampuch