During the 50s and 60s, the sport of drag racing exploded in popularity. In its early days, drag racing had a class for everybody, from professional rails to 4 door sedans. As a participant sport, drag racing made itself very accessible, and as a result, drag racing facilities sprang up all over the country, some national in scale and others very small and local. This was great, for a while, but with the sprawl of suburbia and various economic conditions like the growing expense of racing over the last few decades we have lost hundreds of drag racing facilities across the country. Many of these were places of legend where the biggest names in the sport got their start or ran some of their most memorable passes. Others were relatively unknown, but served a local area's needs for a safe place for local speed addicts to run their cars. For whatever reason, they are no longer in business, but evidence of their former existence still remains.
This book takes a look at many of the lost quarter-mile tracks across the country. Some of them are gone completely; paved over to make room for housing developments or strip malls. Others are ghostly remnants of what once was, offering a sad and even eerie subject for the photographer.
The images are teamed with vintage shots of drag racing's glory days, sharing what once was one of America's most popular pastimes with the modern reality facing these facilities today. For fans of drag racing's past, it's a sobering and interesting study. The stories are true and the photos are thought provoking, which makes this book hard to put down.
Tracks include: Lions Associated Drag Strip, Orange County International Raceway, Riverside International Raceway, Bee Line Dragway, Motion Raceway, Motor City Dragway, Oswego Dragway, U.S. 30 Drag Strip, Dover Drag Strip, Pittsburgh International Dragway, Connecticut Dragway, Pocono Drag Lodge, Lakeland International Raceway, Green Valley Raceway, Dallas International Motor Speedway, Hudson Drag Strip, Shuffletown Dragway, Brainerd Optimist Club Drag Strip, Brainerd Optimist Drag Strip, Paradise Drag Strip, Double H Drag Strip, Southeastern International Dragway, Smithville Drag Strip, Lloyd's Drag Strip, Harriman Drag Strip, Green Valley Raceway Drag Strip, Drag City, Loudon Raceway.
"Focusing on the period of the height of the hobby where customizing cars for sheer speed alone was the ultimate goal, Tommy Lee Byrd presents an insightful and fascinating exploration of the hobby's history and peak. 'Lost Drag Strips' is a strong addition to general automotive and hobbyist collections focusing on vintage topics." -The Midwest Book Review, April 2013
"This is a solid work of drag heritage." -Hemmings Muscle Machines, July 2013
"Using photos from their heyday and contemporary shots of what they look like now, Byrd chronicles the rise and fall of beloved drag strips all across the country. It's a well-told but melancholy tale of how 'progress' has gobbled up all that racing opportunity." -Drew Hardin, Muscle Car Review, July 2013
"With a foreward by Don Garltis, it's a nostalgic and rather poignant trip down memory lane and a timely reminder of drag racing's simpler, but nonetheless colorful past." -Classic American, September 2013
Tommy Lee Byrd is a nationally known contributor to many automotive enthusiast magazines including Street Rod Builder and Hot Rod. He has many years of experience writing automotive articles (from features to technical how-to) and shooting pro-level photographs. Tommy grew up the son of an expert custom auto body and paint man, and calls Dayton, Tennessee, his home.