Q: Hi, Greg. I know you race a drag car, so is it true that there is a one-mile dragstrip in the east somewhere that officially sanctions races? I’d love to see it in person. David D., email from Pennsylvania.
A: David, yes and no. The track you are talking about is a 9,000-foot-long private airport used mostly by DHL business delivery airplanes. The landing strip is 150 feet wide and offers two 33-foot lanes. The GPS address is 2870 Old State Road 73 if you have navigation in your vehicle.
Instead of side-by-side drag racing, the track is utilized for land speed record racing. It is the official track of the growing East Coast Timing Association (ECTA), and it has been the organization’s home base since 2003.
The good news is that ECTA’s first event for 2013 is scheduled for April 27 and 28.
Although I haven’t written much about land speed racing, it is still a very popular side of motorsports where everything from motorcycles to specially constructed streamlines try to set land speed records. Each participant receives a time slip with both half-mile and full mile speeds recorded at ECTA events.
Land speed racing dates back to hot rodding’s early days out west where racers like Ed Iskenderain, the Summers brothers, Vic Edelbrock, Ed Winfield and hundreds of others made names for themselves. The most popular land speed sites are the salt flat dry lake beds in Bonneville, Utah, and El Mirage, Calif. Both are run to this day by the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA).
Since land speed racers needed a place to run in the east, Bonneville racers Tom Sarda and John Beckett founded ECTA. ECTA is a membership organization, and you must be a member to participate in the events. (See http://ecta-lsr.com for more info).
The event this April is the first of four on the ECTA 2013 scheduled, and is called the “Top Speed Challenge.” Since the entry list is already filled, I’d say it will be a worthwhile event for you to attend.
I want to thank Jeff Clarkin, from Wiseco Pistons in Mentor, Ohio, for helping with all the information. Clarkin will be competing on a motorcycle at the event, as motorcycles are a big part of the show. Additionally, if you’d like to view a great movie about land speed racing, one of my favorite actors, Anthony Hopkins, stars in “The World’s Fastest Indian” from 2006.
Thanks for your question, and I am going to attend one of these events in the future.
Greg Zyla writes weekly for GateHouse New Service and welcomes reader questions on collector cars, auto nostalgia and motorsports at 303 Roosevelt St., Sayre, PA 18840 or firstname.lastname@example.org.