THE HISTORY OF YORK US30 DRAGWAY UNFOLDS




It is forty years this year that operations at York US30 Dragway ended. The dragway was located at the York Airport in Thomasville, Pennsylvania,, and operated at an active airport site from 1965 until 1979 with the business prowess of Oscar Hostetter who had the foresight to recognize the significance of the sport of drag racing that was sweeping the West Coast.

The South Penn Hot Rod Council first ran drag races at the airport on a limited schedule from 1955 until 1959 when a promoter by the name of Bill Holz who was operating a drag racing operation at Garden Spot airport in Lancaster, Pennsylvania encountered legal problems with a neighbor chinchilla rancher who experienced a problem from the noise of the drag strip causing the chinchillas to bite their fur.

In 1960 Holz assumed the operation of the York site as York US30 Drag-O-Way and thus began the significance of a drag racing operation that became world renowned. “York” as it was and still is commonly called in drag racing circles presented some of drag racing’s greatest events. The most notable was the 1965 Super Stock Nationals which immediately assumed the name “The Woodstock of Drag Racing” due to the overwhelming attendance achieved. The event was and still is the largest one day drag race to be presented in this country! Others followed but none ever attained the notoriety or attendance!

The track became the proving grounds for World Champion drag racers, Dave Strickler of York, PA who ran his popular Chevrolets from the Ammon R. Smith Auto Company dealership, Bill “Grumpy” Jenkins who was Technical Director of the track went on to become a World Champion and National Champion on multiple occasions, Larry Lombardo drove the Jenkins cars and became a World Champion in his own right. Darwin Doll the assistant manager from York, PA was appointed the National Hot Rod Association’s first Northeast Division Director and assumed the responsibility for the Northeastern United States for the organization. The impact of the drag strip saw local drag racing business venture’s known as Stahl-Moroso and Stahl and Associates headquarter their businesses in York. Jere Stahl, a national champion drag racer, as the driving force behind the ventures and also relocated to York from the Midwest. Stiles Performance of York also became a nationally prominent performance center.

The track preceded the Internet and the i-pads and held the interest of the racing enthusiast who longed to be at the drag strip on Saturday nights in the midst of the friendly competition. A family atmosphere of camaraderie developed and the friendly competition was evident, but it all became a serious venture when they pulled to the starting line. They remained friends, however, and looked forward to their next face off in pursuit of a win at the end of the quarter mile.

A Tribute to York US30 Dragway will be presented at the York airport on June 15-16th when many who experienced the excitement of competing or spectating at this world famous drag strip that still holds an esteemed position even today in the drag racing world of presenting the best that could be produced on any given race night will return to pay homage to the entity that enticed them to spend a portion of their life consumed in friendly competition and lasting camaraderie.

The Tribute will feature a return to the many memories and will feature a booth by York US30 Heritage Days, the National Nostalgia Drag Racing Association, drag racing legends, World Champions Larry Lombardo and George Cureton, original announcers George Nye and Frankie Burke, York US 30 memorabilia, surprise guests, and a host of legendary race cars that graced the starting line at the world renowned York US30 Dragway.

Hours for the display will be 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. both days with FREE admission courtesy of NNDRA/York Aviation.




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