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It has happened again. After the final NHRA national drag race at Bandimere Raceway in Denver last week comes news that South Jersey’s Atco Dragway in Camden County is closing immediately after 63 years of racing. Tracks seem to be falling like flies at this point. Here is yet, another famous drag strip that will be no more. But its closing leaves many shocked as there was no hint it would happen.

Yesterday Atco Dragway posted this announcement on its website and Facebook page. “Effective immediately: Atco Dragway is permanently closed. Thank you for your valued business and support over the last 63 years.” That’s it. This is all we know. 

Atco Dragway in South Jersey track closure announcement
Atco Dragway in South Jersey | Atco Dragway via Facebook

CBS 3 in Philidelphia approached a man who said he was the owner but asked the crew to leave the premises without commenting on the closing. So it is still a big mystery why the legendary track would just suddenly close. It just held a regional event at the track this past weekend. And it was holding another one this coming weekend. That, obviously, won’t be happening. 

Atco Dragway began quarter-mile racing back in 1960. Since then, it has been one of the go-to tracks for drag racers in the East. It fed off of enthusiasts locally from New Jersey to Philly, New York, Maryland, and Delaware. “We will not be open from this point on,” it said on Facebook. “The remainder of our schedule for 2023 will be canceled. Thank you all for your patronage and memories over the years.”

What is replacing Atco Dragway?

Atco Dragway in South Jersey flyover shot
Atco Dragway in South Jersey | Atco Dragway via Facebook

There was a full schedule of events through November. Many told ABC Philadelphia that nothing indicated this would happen. “This whole thing was kept hush-hush and quiet. And we don’t know what’s going on,” said Marc from Atco, New Jersey.

Bordering the drag strip are the New Jersey Pinelands. When contacted, an official said there had not been any applications for development at the former track. There was talk that an auto insurance auction company might purchase the property. But 42Freeway says the company found another location for its auctions. 

How many drag strips have closed recently?

Comp dragsters staging at Atco Dragway in South Jersey
Atco Dragway in South Jersey | Atco Dragway via Facebook

This follows the end of drag racing at nearby Englishtown Old Bridge Township Raceway Park in 2018. But plenty of other famous strips like Englishtown have seen their end in recent years. Denver’s Bandimere Raceway just held its last NHRA national event last week.

Then there is Houston Raceway Park, Wild Horse Raceway in Arizona, and Auto Club Dragway in Southern California, to mention only a few. And while there are rumors that there is a substitute parcel for Bandimere, many racers don’t hold out hope it will ever happen. 

Is there any place left to drag race in Philadelphia?

Two 1955 Chevys square off at Atco Dragway in South Jersey
Atco Dragway in South Jersey | Atco Dragway via Facebook

This comes at a time when street racing and takeovers have become an epidemic. With no place to face off in grudge matches or otherwise blow off steam in a safe environment, this is what happens. People wanting to race take it into their own hands, sometimes with disastrous results. 

The good news is the famous Maple Grove Raceway in Mohnton, Pennsylvania, is still scheduling events. Located in a pocket between Allentown, Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Lancaster, it holds the Pepboys NHRA Nationals in September. We hope it continues for decades to come.  


Drag Strips Closing Across U.S. Phoenix, Houston, Arizona Wild Horse, Atlanta, Palm Beach, Memphis