Safari News

The End of Drag Racing

by | Jan 17, 2018

Rocking the racing community in our home state of New Jersey this week is the news that Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, widely referred to simply as “Englishtown” and which has been home to drag racing since opening on the 4th of July, 1965, is discontinuing drag racing at the facility, effective immediately.

The track has been host to the NHRA Summernationals for more than 45 years, and the track’s own statement regarding the change was echoed by a statement from the NHRA confirming that the Summernationals will not be held this year.

But despite a common misperception, the track is not closing.  Owned and operated by the Napp family for its entire existence, Raceway Park is dropping all forms of drag racing but continuing other types of motorized competition and entertainment.  The decision comes after decades of complaints by neighbors of the facility, which was built outside of suburbia all those years ago but has been swallowed up by sprawl over the past 50-plus years. 

Raceway Park, per its website, will retain and use the “stadium” portion of the facility, including the VIP hospitality tower and grandstands, and continue most of its operations including automotive swap meets held each Spring and Fall, car shows, motocross racing, kart racing, activities on their road course, as well as drifting, monster truck shows, musical concerts, festival and more.

Adjacent to the track is the Old Bridge Township Airport, a small general aviation field owned and operated by Raceway Park, and it will continue to operate.

The track’s statement on its website referred to the change as a “restructuring of business” and read in part, “The Napp family wishes to express their most sincere gratitude to the NHRA, and the many thousands of racers and fans, without whom would have never allowed Raceway Park to become the iconic and nationally recognized drag racing facility it has over the past five decades.”  The statement added that “It is with a great sadness that the Napp family is discontinuing drag racing, however, the family looks forward to continuing to provide the best outdoor events in this new era of Raceway Park.”

Unsaid in the official statement but certainly a major factor in the decision is the decades-long and ongoing objections to the noise generated by the drag racing activities, objections leveled at the track by suburban homeowners despite the track predating the construction of their homes.  Also unsaid is whether questions about the adequacy of Raceway Park’s shutdown area for modern 300-mph drag racers played any role in the decision.  While Raceway Park’s shutdown area extends more than 2000 feet, it cannot be made any longer due to the presence of a public roadway.

Photo courtesy

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