In a saddening bit of news to the drag racing world and particularly to racers in the New Jersey area, yet another of our sports’ great facilities has closed its gates forever, as several media sources are reporting.
The Island Dragway, located in Great Meadows, NJ and in operation for more than fifty years, has ceased all operations and will not be re-open in the spring of 2013, perhaps signaling the end of a long and prosperous era in the western part of New Jersey and leaving racers with one less track in the state to compete. With the loss of the Island Dragway, New Jersey now has only two drag strips remaining: the Atco Raceway and Englishtown, which remains at the focus of persistent closure rumors year in and year out.
According to several unofficial but seemingly reliable reports, the closure of the track was brought about by the IRS, the EPA, or a combination of the two. These sources have suggested issues in tax payments to the IRS, along with septic issues that brought the axe from the EPA.
Although the Island Dragway was a small town track with the grass roots feel of a 1960’s era drag strip, it carried with a bit of immortal drag racing history, as “Big Daddy” Don Garlits ripped off the first ever 200 mph pass there back in 1964.
The track has been removed from the NHRA’s Division 1 track directory, and the Island Dragway website is now inactive. No official statement has been released by track officials, on their Facebook page or elsewhere. The Facebook page Help Keep Island Dragway has been set up by racers and fans of the track in hopes that someone steps up and saves this great drag racing icon before it becomes another subdivision or a supermarket. We’ll have more on this story as it becomes available.