Flashback Friday: Drag Racing At Meadowdale Int’l Raceway

Image credit: Keith Peters

Image credit: Jim Holmes

There was a time when drag racers didn’t need an actual drag strip to go racing. A relatively straight stretch of asphalt about a half mile long was about all that they required to conduct a drag race, which is why abandoned and not-so-abandoned airstrips and even oval tracks and road courses were commonly used for straight-liner purposes.

Such was the case for the Meadowdale International Raceway, a racing facility located in the Chicago suburb of Carpentersville, Illinois that was constructed in 1958. A developer that was constructing a housing development along the Fox River decided erect a road racing track across the highway as an area attraction. The 3.27 mile course began holding SCCA events in September of 1958, however, a list of necessary safety improvements were never made following that opening event – in which one racer lost his life – and the track sat dormant for the next two seasons. During it’s time, Meadowdale was host to USAC, Trans Am, and AMA events, along with kart racing, and yes, even drag racing.

Racers from several area dragstrips such as Union Grove in Wisconsin, Byron Dragway, Oswego, and U.S. 30 competed at the events on the 3/4-mile straightaway of the road course when they were held.

Image credit: {link=http://meadowdaleraceway.homestead.com/}Chicagoland Sports Car Clublink}

The Meadowdale road course featured a massive high-banked corner, known as the “Monza wall” after the famous high banked track in Monza, Italy, and as the story goes, the banked wall was removed in the early part of 1968 and it was at that point when drag races began to exist there. It was July 8, 1968 however that the final major event, an SCCA Trans Am race, took place and the facility closed its gates shortly thereafter. And so while it was short-lived, drag racing certainly went down at Meadowdale.

An NHRA sanction for the track was issued in the latter part of ’68 for the ’69 season, but no record that we could find shows any evidence of NHRA sanctioned drag racing there.

About the author

Andrew Wolf

Andrew has been involved in motorsports from a very young age. Over the years, he has photographed several major auto racing events, sports, news journalism, portraiture, and everything in between. After working with the Power Automedia staff for some time on a freelance basis, Andrew joined the team in 2010.
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