The drag strip operated by NHRA Pro Stock team owner Jim Cunningham, Capitol Raceway is currently closed. The reasons for this closure appear to stem from a dispute over the lease on the track. The land that the facility sits on is owned by a separate party and from what we have read and heard, the lease needed to be renewed for the 2012 season and terms could not be reached between Cunningham, his family, and the land owner.
While we really hate to see any drag strip closed down, Capitol Raceway has not exactly covered itself in glory over the last few years. The track became more well known for the tired environment and high profile wrecks (see the video below) than it did for blazing performances, cool events, and happy racers. Such was not always the case though. The track opened in 1961 and through the 1960s and 1970s it was one of the true hot beds of drag racing on the east coast. Racers like Malcom Durham, Phil Bonner, and others ran at the track frequently and racers around the country knew of the track.
For whatever reason, the last several years have been unkind to the track. Lots of racers close to the facility travel to Maryland International Raceway instead of racing there, a sad testimony to the general sentiment towards the facility in the area. We have heard from a couple of reliable sources that the track will most likely re-open with new management if a deal can be struck with the land owner.
We’re going to keep our ears to the ground on this one and hopefully bring you some good news in the near future. Until then, hit the link below to view the track website.
Link: Capitol Raceway
(Here’s the infamous video of Vinny DeRose’s Black Ice 1957 wrecking at Capitol Raceway last year. The safety crew response to this wreck is horrifying and speaks to the management at the track during this time)