News & Car Culture

NHRA-Sanctioned Drag Strip Goes Underwater—Like, Literally

Comprising a 2.23-mile road course and an NHRA-sanctioned drag strip positioned just outside of Pacific Junction, IA, Raceway Park of the Midlands is rooted in its community as one of the increasingly few small-circuit courses catering to the local racing scene.

Today, sadly, it’s doing its best impression of a lake.

The popular track and drag strip has become yet another victim of the record-setting floodwaters stemming from the Missouri River, according to an article from The Drive. At its peak, the track was reportedly submerged under 14 feet of water—which is a lot of water. We’re talking the wheelbase of a Funny Car, and then some.

On March 17, Raceway Park of the Midlands shared images of the devastation on Facebook, along with a note that it was planning to “clean all this mess up and try to salvage the rest of the season.” The organization is seeking volunteers and heavy equipment to help with the cleanup efforts.

Raceway Park of the Midlands

This is how Raceway Park of the Midlands normally looks. (Image/Raceway Park of the Midlands)

For those fascinated with motorsports history, Raceway Park of the Midlands is steeped in it. Debuting in 2002 as the Mid-America Motorplex, the facility was built to serve as a national-level recreational driving facility for racecars, streetcars, motorcycles, karts, and police cars, according to the website. The road course was designed by world-renowned track designer Alan Wilson, who also had a hand in creating popular mid-level tracks like Alabama’s Barber Motorsports Park and Michigan’s Gingerman Raceway.

Raceway Park of the Midlands

This is how it looks right now. (Image/Raceway Park of the Midlands)

Following the 2008 financial crisis and two subsequent floods, the facility went up for auction and was purchased by John Finch, who has since worked to fill out the schedule and maintain the drag strip’s NHRA certification. In recent years, the drag strip has been featured on the YouTube channel 1320video, which produces racing-related content for 2.4 million subscribers.

Finch told The Drive that he expects it will be several more weeks at least before the floodwater disappears and the ground is hard enough to support the machinery needed for repairs. Those interested in assisting with the cleanup can contact Finch at 402-510-3363.

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  1. Daniel Wilson says:

    My first thought was why build such a nice, and of course expensive racing facility in a flood plane.

    My second thought was with so many forces ready to raise all manner of hell about noise levels, traffic congestion during major events, all of those “hotrods from Hell” on local public roads getting to and from events and just people in general that might have an interest in the community with nothing better to do except complain, the availability of suitable sites for construction of a complex this size becomes very limited. Unfortunately this one ended up in an area that was apparently agreeable to all concerned…and too close to the Mighty Missouri River. I hope they can fully recover and resume doing what they do so well. Race fans should try to look at the big picture. Quality race tracks are on the endangered venue list. Support YOUR local track. They can disappear overnight

    • tim ryerson says:

      thats for damn sure calgary alberta lost its track Race city speedway to become an extension of one of the city dumps it was insanity.

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