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During my considerable years spent racing, promoting, and now writing about the sport of Drag Racing, I have come across several drag racing sites which no one but me seems to have heard of.
I know they did indeed exist as I raced there and at times, won trophies which were inscribed with their names. Following are just a few of these places which I hope will renew their status in our minds before father time takes them away forever.
In 1957, we raced at a track just outside of Casa Grande, Arizona. It was like many others of the era, on a WWII airstrip just north of town alongside State Route 87 way before Interstate 10 was built. At the time, my A/SA ’57 Olds won a trophy, my first. Not many remember this place, but I know it did exist!
Remember Casa Grande: J.R. Bloom stands beside his trophy collection at his Camp Verde area Arizona home. Bloom pioneered and built some of the most innovative racing equipment. His prowess with straight eight Buick engines is legendary. A quote from an article about J.R. in the local press gives credence about the Casa Grande site.
“At Casa Grande the Buick set a record in the A Class Competition Coupe at 116 mph.” J.R. went on to set a record at Davis Monthan Drag Strip in Tucson in the A Class Fuel Coupe at 124.95 mph.”
Keokuk, Iowa: Seven time IMCA Stock Car Champ Ernie Derr with his hand on a Goodyear Tire like those he gave me to try at QUADS.
Quincy, Illinois is a city of about 80,000 folks on the high bank of the Mississippi River overlooking Missouri. In 1958 someone or some group opened a quarter mile dirt drag strip just north of the city on U.S. Highway 24. The track probably was 1320’, but it was not level at all.
When IMCA Stock Car Champ Ernie Derr found out we were planning to go there, he tried to explain that it was dirt. I never heard of such a track and thought it must be solid or it would not be a quarter mile. Ernie insisted I take a set of his dirt track racing tires with me and several sand bags.
With Ernie’s tires and sand bags in place the car was really good for that track. On two consecutive Sundays, we won Top Eliminator with a ’58 Pontiac Tri Power. Not liking the surface, those were the only two times we raced there, however I can find no record of it anywhere, but I know it existed and I have two 6” high Top Eliminator trophies to prove it.