Few could argue that investing in a drag strip in these particularly unique times expecting a long-term return is a big gamble. It’s not the 1960’s anymore, but through hard work, perseverance, and perhaps a little bit of luck — and a location void of neighbors that disapprove of having a little fun — one can be successful. And that’s exactly what historic Dragway 42’s newly-minted owner, Ron Matcham, is hoping for, after unveiling lofty plans for a complete overhaul of the Ohio facility that, if it comes to fruition, will be huge for drag racers in the upper Midwest and the sport in general.
Matcham, a well-known Stock and Super Stock racer himself, purchased the facility in West Salem, Ohio late last year after its previous owners, the Ehrmantraut family, placed the longtime strip up for sale. While local racers had great expectations of a fresh new look and some new faces in the staff, what they may very likely get is beyond their imaginations.
Today, Matcham and company unveiled the drawings and plans for the new Dragway 42, which is proposed to feature a new, 4,000-foot, all-concrete strip, with a 200-foot sand trap at its terminus, all located just adjacent to the current strip. In addition, the starting line will have water cooling technology built-in to control the track temperature in the hot summer months — something that only a select number of world-class strips in the world can boast.
The track itself would be situated 16 feet below ground level, creating an amphitheater-style seating layout, with a return of the legendary crossover behind the starting line, as part of a three-story tower with a media center and suites.
According to the release, which can be read in its entirety below, Matcham has already acquired the additional property to make this project a reality, and like racers and fans alike in the region, we’re pumped to see this deal come to fruition and Dragway 42 rekindle its legacy as one of the sport’s premier drag racing facilities.
Official Release From Dragway 42:
Well here’s what you’ve all been asking for, and ending all the speculation and rumors you have heard. The track will be 4000 foot long from start to finish, ALL concrete with a 200 foot sand trap at the end. In order to make the track longer, we have acquired additional property behind the starting line and to the west of the track to do so. The track has been angled 10 degrees from the finish line and the new track will basically run through where the old pits were at which you can better see by taking a look at the engineers drawing. The track will be water cooled from the starting line, all the way to the 330 foot mark just like at other state of the art tracks throughout the country. The track will be going 16 feet down into the ground which will create amphitheater style seating on both sides of the track. The legendary “crossover” will be recreated and a three story tower that will include both a media center with suites and the timing system facilities will sit atop the crossover which will be located right behind and above the starting line. Hope this and the pictures answer some of the questions that you have had or have heard. Be sure to check out all of the pictures to get a better idea of what the new track will look like. Our “soft launch” target date for the grand opening is the weekend of July 12th 2014 but that all depends on the weather (as you all know, mother nature hasn’t been very nice to those of us in Northeast Ohio lately) and construction time-frames. Be sure to keep watching the website and Facebook for updates.