Remember it as “Madison Township Raceway Park” now changed to Old Bridge. I’ll let you guys Loose with this one …….Yellow-yellow-yellow -Green — GO
I remember they had a powered roller to start the dragsters. All the other tracks we went to you had to push to start. It was pretty convenient.
we have a shot of that …search “Shottgun Express”
That’s it video Bob! Thanks for posting.
Hey V Bob,’nice’ (surprise) photo shot,I almost forgot about there’power-roller’ wow!
Thought I’d Update this Topic with a Current News article from the Wall Street Journel..Gives ALL THE HISTORY.Add Your Memories Too!
David Napp thought it would be funny to post an April Fools’ Day (2013) news report on the website of his family’s racetrack announcing that it was for sale. The track, called Old Bridge Township Raceway Park, sits on 308 acres that are surrounded by McMansions. The land could fetch lots of money.
But Napp decided against the joke, thinking, “It’ll just start a wildfire.”.In an era when family-owned racetracks are disappearing from the rural landscape, especially in the Northeast, Raceway Park isn’t going anywhere. Because the land is valuable, rumors are persistent that the Napp family would be willing to cash in. Napp jokes that he hears such rumors “300 to 400 times a year.” But the answer is no.
And this weekend the track will host the biggest event on its annual calendar, the National Hot Rod Association’s Toyota Summernationals. As always, large crowds are expected to flood the Napps’ property to take in the drag-racing show. (Radio stations are blaring the retro ads continuously, with a reverb voice that sounds like Alvin the Chipmunk laughing as he says, “Oh, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, ho, Raceway Park!)
David Napp said crowds are not as big as they were, say, 10 years ago but they are not in a steady decline. So the park, built on a horse farm in the mid-60s by Napp’s grandfather, father, great-uncle and uncle, is not for sale. “It’s a successful business as it is,” said Napp, 36, one of four third-generation members of the family who run the track. “A one-time payment is great, but where do you take it down the road?”
The Napps, originally known as the Napoliellos, have invested decades of time, manpower and creative juices into Raceway Park, the central Jersey track that is often referred to as Englishtown.
“Raceway Park, for us, is more than a drag strip,” Napp said. “It’s our family.”
If they sold it, he said, what would the Napps do?
There are other races to watch here, but the Napps built their reputation over 48 years on drag racing: the thunderous rush of nitromethane-fueled, 10,000-horsepower, top-fuel dragsters and funny cars tearing down a paved strip at more than 300 miles an hour.
“The Napp family are the kind of people this sport was built on,” said Bobby Bennett, the editor of CompetitionPlus.com, which bills itself as drag racing’s Internet magazine. “They are the kind that never see a mountain as too high to climb or an issue too difficult to tackle.
“I wish we had more people like the Napp family in drag racing,” Bennett said. “They are a throwback to the old days of drag racing and have impressively adapted to the modern era of race promoting.”
Although safety measures in drag racing have improved immeasurably, the thrilling shows can also have catastrophic consequences: Two drivers have been killed at Englishtown since 2008, including the funny-car driver Scott Kalitta.
Vincent Napp Sr. and his brother, Louis, were partners in a heavy-construction firm in Newark in the early 1960s when they decided they wanted to do something else, like build a beach resort. Their sons, Vinny Jr. and Richard, liked to race hot rods at a speedway in Old Bridge. The family bought the horse farm, and the drag strip opened on July 4, 1965.
Kids raced cars everywhere, of course, but the NHRA was established as a governing body in 1951 in Southern California, the cradle of drag racing. The national tour swept to the east, with Raceway Park holding the SpringNationals in 1968 and its first Summernationals in 1971. The races thrived.
In the 1980s, Vinny Jr. brought a flamboyant young driver from the Los Angeles suburbs to participate in a match race. His name was John Force. He became a 15-time NHRA Funny Car champion, but Englishtown provided him with one of his first pedestals.
“I couldn’t win a race but I did the long burnouts, and I could talk,” Force, 64, said this week. “They would bring in a huge robot dinosaur and it would breathe fire and crush cars by stepping on them. They would pack the fans in here and they gave them a great show.”
Force said of Vinny, “He was one of the best promoters. He was there with the drivers in the morning and then in the evening. He was there at 2 a.m., and he would be walking through the pits making sure guys that needed a little extra gas money got a few extra bucks.”
Vincent Sr., a pilot who built an airstrip next to the park, died in 1969, Louis in 1981. Vinny Jr. died of lymphoma in 2000, and Richard, who oversaw the office side, died in 2001. Raceway Park ended up being run by the third generation of Napps: David; his brother, Alex, now 41; and Richard’s sons, Richard Jr., 52, and Michael, 50.
By the 1990s, Raceway Park was no longer in the middle of nowhere. As commuters became willing to drive farther, developments sprouted all around the track. Occasionally, new residents would grumble about the noise—”They made a lot of noise, ironically,” David Napp said—but the track was limited in its number of “noise days,” and everyone got along.
Still, there are signs on the roads exiting the track, warning potential speeders to “Slow Down—Respect Our Neighbors.”
Graham Light, senior vice president of racing operations for the NHRA, said of the Napps, “They’ve put their lives into it, and they have a lot of pride in what they’ve accomplished. They were brought up to work that racetrack.”
A version of this article appeared June 1, 2013, on page A21 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: New Jersey’s Noisiest Neighbor.
Cool shot at Summernationals Bobby.First time out with the Twin. Riche wasn’t even sure which tires to run on it. Said ‘someone’ got a good shot of it doing a burnout that was used in the following years Program.But nobody seems to have a copy of it.