Hi all….I just got the Poughkeepsie Journal this morning and it has a write up of the Dover Drag Strip……..So if any locals can pick it up and post it ………If i dont see it here later….I will try
Written by Tony Musso ,(Poughkeepsie Journal-freelancer). “Small World “…Tony gets his car fixed at Vic’s Garage (thats Riches brother) -M&M fame. Only son Steve allowed to work on his car . Tony is working with Brian on More goodies ! AND, he’s already written 3 books-one on Classic rock….said He’s Real interested in writng a Dover book.
Thanks for the Tip Tommy!
Heres Link to ‘online page’ ….I editted this here and posted a comment at Journal Site:
Dover Drag Strip: Wingdale track once drew racers
Anthony P. Musso • For the Poughkeepsie Journal • October 13, 2010
On May 14, 1961, 144 acres of former farmland west of Route 22 on Pleasant Ridge Road in Wingdale became the Dover Drag Strip. The sport was all the rage when Brookfield, Conn., gas station owner Chet Anderson purchased the property and partnered with Joe Archiere to open the track.
Drag racing, a clocked event, determines a winner by elapsed time and miles per hour generated after a quarter-mile run.
Anderson caught the drag racing bug when he accompanied the Danbury Modifiers to an event at the birthplace of East Coast drag racing, an old airport in Montgomery, Orange County.
The long-anticipated opening day at the Dover track generated much enthusiasm. Two racers from White Plains were so intent on being the first to arrive that they camped out in their 1959 Pontiac.
“I slept all night in the trunk of my car,” James “Grover” Grove said. “My friend and I raced at Montgomery since 1959 and Dover was a lot closer, so we started going there every weekend.”
Grove awoke to the sound of one of the organizers banging on his trunk and he became the track’s first paid customer.
Opening day attracted about 200 racers from surrounding states. Aside from its regular weekly race schedule, the track occasionally hosted special events.
National champion Don “Big Daddy” Gartlis raced at Dover several times and one Sunday event featured TV’s Batmobile making passes and blowing its flames before a thrilled crowd.
Local favorites included Skip North, Billy Casey and a Dover veterinarian, Robert Burgess.
“It was one of the most influential and legendary tracks of its time,” said Dino Lawrence, the track announcer at Dover from 1967 to 1972. “Dover had all the latest timing equipment of that era. The food concession was run by the American Legion and it pretty much financed the building it now owns.”
“The track’s two red buildings still exist at the site,” according to track historian Brian Marasco. “The big building was used to inspect engines or suspensions that were considered suspicious.”
Behind the building were the gassing pits, starting line and tower, now an empty field. A portion of the original drag strip is still visible, intentionally shortened by new owners after unauthorized drivers continued to access it to race even though the track had closed.
Some of its five-row spectator stands were relocated to a school in Wassaic.
A group of racers organized a Dover Drag Strip reunion in 1991 In Danbury,Ct.
Marasco said. “We just held our 20th reunion in September and are planning a 50th anniversary event at the original site in Wingdale next year, Marasco said..”
As crowds began to dwindle at the track and peat was discovered on the property, its owners were persuaded to sell the property in 1976 for peat excavation.