By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
RIP Old Bridge Township Raceway Park. The Englishtown, New Jersey has officially closed its drag racing operations, as of Tuesday night.
The historic track informed its employees on Tuesday night that the track will not have racing in 2018. We are saddened to report that this is the case, as we were informed by one of the employees that this did happen, as they are now unemployed.
Old Bridge Township Raceway Park was founded by Vincent Napoliello and Louis Napoliello in 1965. After the father’s passing, Louis continued to oversee it, before it was eventually transferred over to the three Napp sons. David, Alex, and Michael Napp — they shortened their last name to Napp when they came to the United States — were owners of the track in recent years.
Michael and Alex were the owners of the track last year. David had little to do with the track, as he dealt with some issues in his life.
The sports complex, which also had a Jr. Dragster track, motocross, and a drifting facility was mainly famous for the NHRA Summernationals. This past year, they held their 48th annual NHRA Summernationals — which was previously known as the NHRA SuperNationals.
It was one of the longest-running events on the NHRA calendar each year. They were tied with the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida with their 48th annual event in 2017.
Only the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals (63rd annual in 2017), Circle K NHRA Nationals (57th annual) and the Auto Club NHRA Finals (53rd annual) were around longer.
Raceway Park was one of the NHRA’s original seven national events. It is steeped in history, as many of the sports historic moments happened at the facility.
Throughout the years, the Summernationals has moved from July to June. The facility has also been known to have a lot of upsets.
The NHRA’s most famous driver John Force, who recently became an honorary doctor, has not won at the track since 1999 when he defeated Cruz Pedregon. He has not appeared in the final round at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park since 2004 when he lost to Gary Densham.
Steve Torrence won the Top Fuel category at last year’s event. Jack Beckman picked up his first win of the season last season, as he defeated Ron Capps in the Funny Car final round.
Greg Anderson, who had an eventful weekend, as his son graduated from high school, then missed Saturday qualifying, as he traveled back from North Carolina, before winning the event in Pro Stock on Sunday. Jerry Savoie also won Pro Stock Motorcycle.
It was also Vincent Napoliello, who also started the Jr. Dragster revolution by making a dragster for his son David. At the 2017 Summernationals, the NHRA honored the 25-year history of the Jr. Dragster program.
While the track has had special moments, it will also be remembered as the place that former DHL Funny Car driver Scott Kalitta lost his life during NHRA Supernationals qualifying in 2008.
Old Bridge Township Raceway Park will now be a storage area for Copart, an online vehicle auction, and services company, based in Dallas, Texas. They have three auctions throughout New Jersey right now.
According to their website, they have auctions in Glassboro East, Somerville, and Trenton. We have been informed that the track has a long-term agreement for auto storage for cars for Copart.