NHRA Schedule Reduced to 23 Events as E-Town Shuts Down
The track known by drag racing fans nationwide as Raceway Park has ceased operations. The Napp family who has owned the E-Town facility for more than five decades announced they would no longer host drag racing events at the storied track. Originally known as Madison Township Raceway Park, the facility opened in July of 1965 and is located in Old Bridge Township, New Jersey but has an Englishtown zip code. As the closest NHRA drag strip to the New York metropolitan area, the park is well known by area residents for its iconic TV and radio slogans like "Ah ha ha ha ha ha Raceway Park" and "Rrrrrrrrrraceway Park.... Be there!".
The announcement came as a surprise to many members of the National Hot Rod Association as the legendary facility had already been announced as the host of the 2018 NHRA Summernationals slated for June 7-10. Although operations of Raceway Park's quarter-mile and one eighth-mile drag strips has ceased for good, the facility will continue to hold other racing events. This includes popular auto swap meets, numerous car shows, both motocross and kart racing, mud runs and monster truck jams. The park's 1.3 mile road course will offer a full schedule of events as well as drifting and autocross competitions. But, gone are the 10,000 horsepower Top Fuel Dragsters and Top Fuel Funny Cars.
The impressive stadium, grandstands and VIP hospitality tower is expected to be renovated for hosting musical concerts and local festivals. In addition, the Napp family intends to keep running Old Bridge Township Airport, a wholly owned and operated private flight facility on the premises. This summer's Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event would have marked the 49th year that the NHRA national was held at the historic facility. Not only was the track a great market for sponsors, racers and fans, it served as the home track for three-time Pro Stock Motorcycle champion Eddie Krawiec and three-time Top Fuel champion Antron Brown. Although nothing was officially stated, some fans have speculated the noise from the high horsepower machines had become too much for nearby landowners.