Reader comments

On Lawhorn's Lawrence: The Days of Drag Strip Road


Jstanobservation 4 years, 8 months ago

When I raced there it was only a 1/8 mile track.

windjammer 4 years, 8 months ago

It started out as a quarter and changed to 1/8 later.

Kathleen Baker 4 years, 8 months ago

I remember Drag Strip Road! My family moved to Lawrence from Calif. in 1971, & we lived on Randall Rd. (west of Kasold Dr). There was nothing but farmland between our backyard & the drag-strip, so you could hear the races off in the distance. I attended Lawrence High at the time & Tim Baxter was in a couple of my classes. I didn't know of anyone who raced there, or ever saw any of the races, but now I wish I had at least once!

Michelle Reynolds 4 years, 8 months ago

Tim is a great car mechanic. He maintains all my families cars. A-1 over on Pennsylvania Street.

Bob Forer 4 years, 8 months ago

Tim passed away a little over a year ago.

otto 4 years, 8 months ago

Yes, Tim Baxter did, just not the guy pictured, referenced in the article or the above post that you replied to.

chicago95 4 years, 8 months ago

Customer reviews on his own web site are spotty. See http://www.a1automotiverepair.com/index_files/contact_us.htm and click "15 reviews" on the Google map.

Liberty275 4 years, 8 months ago

Wudarczyk is a great transmission man.

rtwngr 4 years, 8 months ago

I remember the dirt track that sat on the north side of the drag strip where they used to stage jalopy races too. Good times. Great memories. The developers, and they know who they are, that were on or controlling the city council back then killed the drag strip in the name of development. Still it was inevitable that the city would grow that direction.

jesse499 4 years, 8 months ago

Developers who controlled the council BACK THEN?

Lathrup 4 years, 8 months ago

Back in the day I took a 1972 Norton Commando out there regular. Had to buy 3rd layshaft gears 3 at a time because it would shell one out about every 4th pass. Best was a 7.99 and got paired off against a dragster. I was half way down the strip before he got the green and he still beat me. What memories!

flattracker 4 years, 8 months ago

never a 1/4 mile track, always 1/8 mile

Dale Schneider 4 years, 8 months ago

It started out as a 1/4 mile. then went to 1,000 ' and then 1/8 mile.

LogicMan 4 years, 8 months ago

dalescars: I went to it when it was 1/8. Are you saying it was longer previously? At the same location? How/which end(s) was it shortened?

jesse499 4 years, 8 months ago

When it was a 1/4 mile some of the slingshot dragsters could not get stopped (Freddie Inyard) comes to mind without putting it in the pond that was at the end so it was shortened

LogicMan 4 years, 8 months ago

Roller coaster, drag strip, putt-putt, dirt track, horse racing track, roller rink, drive in theater, and what else fun has dissappeared from this town?

Joe Hyde 4 years, 8 months ago

Those two businesses on the north side of 23rd St. where for a buck you could bounce on trampolines for an hour. And a couple of driving ranges for golfers -- one on east 23rd, another on what's now south Iowa.

There was the Olympic pool on W. 6th St., the Holiday Park pool on W. 9th, and the Elks Club pool on what's now Clinton Parkway. Well, and Pappy's Pool Hall downtown -- real pool and real snooker, none of that coin machine crap. I was shooting in there the afternoon Topeka got cut in half by the tornado.

Catalano 4 years, 8 months ago

We had a roller coaster in town? Where? When?

Brian Hall 4 years, 8 months ago

Over in Woodland Park, where Brook Creek Park now is. It was in operation from about 1910 to the 1930s.

Liberty275 4 years, 8 months ago

Not that it ever existed, but a friend of mine was involved with getting an RC Car track built in Lawrence. These are $1000+ little toy cars that old guys really like playing with and spending money on. They were told by the city the project would attract the "wrong crowd".

mewhoknowsnothing 4 years, 8 months ago

Yes, I must have been there for the same incident early 80's I think. I seem to remember the wood fence catching on fire when the afterburner kicked in and the crowd went nuts!

Jim Fisher 4 years, 8 months ago

I cringed a little bit every time I read 1/4 mile. A small detail lost between the author and the interviewee, but it affected the pace of an otherwise nice piece of nostalgia. I once called an editor over the reporting of a story that the writer obviously had no knowledge of the subject. In the style of voice Mr. Lawhon uses, which I enjoy, he kinda blew it this time

windjammer 4 years, 8 months ago

The article stated 1/4 mile of asphalt. 1/8 race track and 1/8 shutdown that would add up to 1/4 mile of asphalt.

jesse499 4 years, 8 months ago

It did start as a 1/4 mile. but was shortened because of not enough shut down.

richfree 4 years, 8 months ago

Ran a 64 Ford Galaxie out there , 390 4 speed, against lots of local talent, including the Jim Clark guys, Shaake Pontiac crew and of course, the James Gang. A real Blast !!

bradbernhardt 4 years, 8 months ago

Search "Lawrence Dragway" on YouTube and enjoy great home video movies of the strip during its heyday. There are also movies of the old Kaw Valley Dragway in Topeka from the 60's & 70's. It was located on Lower Silver Lake Road in North Topeka.

Robert Wells 4 years, 8 months ago

Excellent story!!! I have been to the track back in the 70's as a kid. A friend of mines Dad from Bonner Springs raced there. I also seen people on the You Tube videos. Unbelievable. I seen two people who I now work with and have for years and a guy I went to school with. What a incredible walk back in time. Also went to the drive in out there to. Back then if we had to prove something, you put your car on the track and the best man won. Now sadly its settled with a shooting in the parking lot of one of our less than stellar bars. Reeving motors or the sound of gun shots.You tell me what choices do people have now?

Jeremy Farmer 4 years, 8 months ago

Both of my parents raced there, and I vaguely remember being there as a young child. Dad raced his dragbike and Mom raced her datsun. I have grown up with a passion for NHRA Drag Racing, and even attended Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School in Florida to get my license in Super Comp.

One of the cool things that made Lawrence what it was. I drive down Wakarusa frequently and think of Lawrence Dragway. I wish there was a way we could get a strip back in Lawrence!

FlintlockRifle 4 years, 8 months ago

Chad, thanks for finding a great story, back when times were much simpler. In the 50's when our car club the ""Crusaders"' which Bill Prince was the guy who opened his home to a bunch of ""kids""each evening an weekends to meet and have fun around his inground pool, and use his garage to work on your rod. His wife Betty was just the sweetest lady , putting up with all these guys coming and going around there place.When the idea to build the strip down the road north a little ways from his home came up the club said they would clear the ground which was mostly brush and trees, well that worked well for a few evening and weekends, each work day fewer and fewer kids would show up, and finally Bill got somebody with a bulldozer to clear and grade the ground, and then put down blacktop. One side note Bill Prince was the auto machanic teacher at L.H.S, just one ""Prince" of a teacher and all round great man.

blindrabbit 4 years, 8 months ago

Wasn't Pirince's house on the east side of Dragstrip Road just north of 15th Street? Who had the flathead Lincoln powered dragster, also the Allison powered? How was the KVTA (Kaw Valley Timing Association) associated with the strip? Last one, am I mistaken that Don Garlets paid a visit to the strip? thanks for the memories.

FlintlockRifle 4 years, 8 months ago

Hey there B.R, yes Bill home was on east side of the road. Bill had the flathead Lincoln rail, and he also owned the Allison but never did put it in a rail .I don't remember how the KVTA was involved, yes Big Daddy did run his SWAMP RAT, but had to shut it down, stopping area was not that long,and kinda rough, and there was a pond on west end if you didn't shut it down in time. and you are very welcome, really great times Art Arthon(?) was the guy with the jet power dragster and who blew the fence down, what a sight to see and hear. I still have my ""Crusader"" white shirt, all the years washing it must have shrunk it, don't fit====

fuzzynavel 4 years, 8 months ago

Back when I five year old my parents ran the concession trailer. Good times. Now I've always wondered why it wasn't named drag strip road because to this day I still don't know who the heck Bob Billings was and why we had to change the name if that road. Maybe we can rename Wakrusa Dr to Drag Strip Rd.

blindrabbit 4 years, 8 months ago

Flint: Thanks for the back, it was Art Afrons with the "jet powered". He had several different versions. Fuzzy, not only did they change from Dragstrip to Wakarusa, but the old Yankee Tank Lake is now called Lake Alvamar for Bob Billings parents Alvin and Margaret (I think).

blindrabbit 4 years, 8 months ago

While the discussion centers on the dragstrip what about another 1950's Lawrence icon located just a mile further west on what is now 800 Rd. Sycamore Hollow ,Nudist Camp was quite a happening, will never forget the lovely Donna and her set of handsome twins.

godsnewine777 4 years, 8 months ago

Fun? The Soap Box Derby Car Races that took place at the top of Mississippi Street on Campus, racing North (down hill) toward 9th Street. Home made cars with sons/daughters and Dads made to race.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.