Oswego Dragstrip is a place of historical significance for many of Oswego’s locals, as well as for anyone who can remember the earliest days of drag racing in America. A hot bed for several generations of drag racing in the Oswego area, the stories that follow the landmark are as touching as any epic story you’ll hear this year.
In fact, Oswego Dragstrip, located on Route 34 in Oswego, Illinois, was America’s oldest functioning dragstrip until it was bought out and renovated in the early 1980s. The author of this online tribute to Oswego recalls his first trip to the track, in 1971.
The author recalls that this was his very first drag race, and thus helped to give birth to his newfound love of cars and drag racing. One year later, according to this Oswego storyteller, he bought his first car, a brand new Mercury Comet, and the car that would eventually come to be known as “302much” would go on to win the Oswego Track Championships in the “Super Street Eliminator” class.
After 25 years of stable operation, the Oswego Dragstrip was closed after the property was sold to a nursing home.
The local-but-famous dragstrip that was once known as the “Big O” was now extinct, and the entire staff, including manager Bub Thurlby and his wife, Debbie, were saddened by the loss to say the very least, but the memories that the now-extinct dragstrip left behind would linger long after the end of the dragstrip itself.
Unlike the times today when everything seems so fast-paced, the Oswego dragstrip existed in a world that was all its own.