(Image/Summit Motorsports Park)

The drag race community is saddened to hear of the passing of former owner of Summit Motorsports Park, Bill Bader Sr. yesterday. He succumbed to injuries sustained from an accident near his home in Idaho.

The news came just hours after the conclusion one of the track’s most high-profile events, the Summit Racing NHRA Nationals.

“It is with a heavy heart that I share the news that this afternoon, my dad was involved in an accident on the mountain he so deeply loved and passed away. I will share more information as it becomes available. Know that my father loved you.”

Bill Bader Jr.

Bader Sr. purchased the dragstrip in Norwalk, Ohio in 1974 and spent the next decades growing it into “America’s Race Track.”

As one of the country’s premier race venues, Summit Motorsports Park hosted its first NHRA event in 2007, and has welcomed the NHRA back every year since (with the exception of the pandemic-truncated 2020 season). Bader Sr. also championed other fan-favorite drag racing events, like the annual Night Under Fire and Cavalcade of Stars.

“We are deeply saddened over the tragic loss of Bill Bader Sr., who built an extraordinary legacy in the sport. With an incredible work ethic and a remarkable dedication to hospitality, Bill taught us all important lessons on how to make a race a memorable experience for drag racing fans. “

Glen Cromwell, President of the NHRA

In 1998, he passed track ownership onto his son, Bill Bader Jr., to turn his focus to owning and managing the IHRA, where Summit Motorsports Park played an integral role in hosting many IHRA events as well.

Bill Bader Sr. was 79 years old.