NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Imagine if you could test out your car at full throttle, just to see what she can do, and do it legally.
Well there was a place like that in New Jersey for 50 years.
Out Route 46 west of Hackettstown at 20 Island Road in Great Meadows was Island Dragway.
It was a throwback. You pulled down the dirt driveway and, if you turned left, you could race your own car, your own street car, against others.
If you wanted to just watch, you turned right, you parked the car, and looked at the Nitro cars going 300 m.p.h. You could actually feel the vibration of the deafening sound go right through your body.
You could go to the snack shack and grab a hot dog or some nachos and it was a great way to spend an evening.
But sadly, it has closed. The owner won’t say why.
But the story is often the same.
Andrew Wolf, who wrote about Island Dragway for the racing site Dragzine, said a lot of tracks are like it and were built before the mini-malls and subdivisions.
“There was no one around, and that’s what’s happening with these tracks all over the country. The neighbors are moving in to an area that already had a racetrack. They knew it was there and they don’t like the noise,” Wolf told WCBS 880’s Wayne Cabot. “They claim, I guess, that there’s pollution issues, and there may be, but they move in and then they want the track closed and that’s what’s happening to a lot of places like Island Dragway.”
Fans are not giving up, using social media to get the owner to unlock the gates when springtime comes.
There are now only two drag strips remaining in New Jersey – Atco and Englishtown. Long Island used to have three. Now there are none.