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Is Raceway Park’s historic drag strip really closing?

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By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

According to Bangshift.com, Old Bridge Township Raceway Park has closed its drag racing operations. There has been speculation that the facility would be closing for years; however, that was never the case. It appears this time is different, unfortunately.

There are no racing events listed on their website, www.etownraceway.com under their schedule section. Brian Lohnes, who posted the story and is a co-founder of Bangshift.com, is also an NHRA track announcer.

Old Bridge Township Raceway Park starting line

Old Bridge Township Raceway Park starting line

A reliable source, who has raced at the facility for years, said that the track has been leased to Copart, who our source said held auctions at the track with cars in the past. The source even said that they had to get cars out of the facility at the beginning of the 2017 season and move them to a nearby facility.

We have been able to also confirm this with five other drivers, who also raced at the facility before. They are all saddened by the news. One even suggested that the NHRA Summernationals may even move to Virginia, as the NHRA Division I facility, previously held NHRA national events in the past. It’s about six hours from New Jersey.

Copart, which is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, has online vehicle auctions and services throughout the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. They also have three auctions throughout New Jersey right now.

Their website lists auctions in Glassboro East, Somerville, and Trenton. We have been informed they have received a long-term agreement for the auto storage of cars from Copart.

Auto Auction - Copart USA Locations - Mozilla Firefox 2018-01-16 23.56.06

Screenshot of the Copart New Jersey locations (Photo from copart.com)

Raceway Park had been operating since 1965 by Vincent Napoliello and Louis Napoliello. The facility also has hosted other events, like motocross, Monster Trucks, and drifting.

During the 2017 season, the NHRA Summernationals, which was previously known as the SuperNationals, held its 48th annual event at the facility. This year would have been its 49th annual event June 7th through 10th.

They still have it advertised on their main static page, though. They have not updated their Twitter account since December 16th, 2017. Their last Facebook post was regarding an event in 2018.

Their 50th-anniversary event would have been in 2019, but that will never happen now. We have reached out to track owner Alex Napp, who has not responded to texts or phone calls at the time of this post.

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.

 

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