(Updated: 11 a.m. ET on 1/18/18)
Track officials at Englishtown, NJ-based Old Bridge Township Raceway Park (or simply “Englishtown” for short) announced that it is ceasing all drag racing operations immediately.
The historic track was set to host the NHRA’s 49th-annual Summernationals in June.
The racetrack is located in the highly populated greater New York City area where open space is at a premium, and track officials were reportedly offered a land-leasing deal to store cars that is more profitable than a dragstrip.
Per Jalopnik: “The reason for the closure of drag racing appears to come from the track leasing out that area to Insurance Auto Auctions to store cars. Englishtown previously held some of the thousands of cars flooded by Hurricane Sandy back in 2013, so this relationship isn’t coming out of nowhere.
“A source familiar with the matter said that IAA recently came back and made an offer the track ‘couldn’t refuse.’ So the end of drag racing at Englishtown doesn’t seem to be coming from something falling through with the NHRA so much as car storage being more lucrative,” the Jalopnik story said.
NHRA isn’t expected to replace the 2018 Englishtown event, according to AutoWeek.
The NHRA released this statement regarding the track’s decision:
“NHRA drag racing events have been held at the track in Englishtown for almost 50 years,” reports Glen Cromwell, NHRA President. “The Summernationals have played an important part in our heritage and we hope that fans in the area will try to make it to another one of our events. Our focus remains on making the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing series a memorable experience for our fans, racers, sponsors, partners and tracks.”
Old Bridge Township Raceway Park officials said the racing venue will continue to hold motorsports-related events like motocross and drift races, car shows, and swap meets in the large stadium area, but all 1/4-mile and 1/8-mile drag-racing operations have been shut down, and all scheduled drag-racing events there have been cancelled.
Englishtown is a historic venue and a staple on the East Coast drag-racing circuit. The 52-year-old dragstrip hosted many halo race events over the decades, and has welcomed practically every top name in the sport—Shirley Muldowney, “Grumpy” Jenkins, Don Prudhomme, John Force, “Jungle Jim” Liberman, Kenny Bernstein, Warren Johnson, Greg Anderson, Jason Line, and a ton of other great racers.