Englishtown Raceway Abruptly Closes Its NHRA Drag Strip

Photo: NHRA
Photo: NHRA

For decades, Englishtown Raceway Park in New Jersey has been home to the NHRA’s Summer Nationals. But today, the track announced it’s stopping drag racing, effective immediately. Other activities at Englishtown will continue, notably Club Loose’s drift events, but this is an abrupt end to an era.

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All quarter and eighth mile events are coming to an end, while dirt bike, karting, road course and drift events will continue. The reason for the closure of drag racing appears to come from the track leasing out that area to Insurance Auto Auctions to store cars. Englishtown previously held some of the thousands of cars flooded by Hurricane Sandy back in 2013, so this relationship isn’t coming out of nowhere.

A source familiar with the matter said that IAA recently came back and made an offer the track “couldn’t refuse.”

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So the end of drag racing at Englishtown doesn’t seem to be coming from something falling through with the NHRA so much as car storage being more lucrative.

Tons of smaller drag events run at Englishtown (its Honda-only events are well known) and it’s unclear where they’ll go. There are other drag strips nearby, like Atco, but this is all quite sudden.

What’s interesting about this is it’s a real passing of the torch moment for this really quite well-known track, which was due to host the NHRA Summer Nationals again this year in June. A few years back, Englishtown moved its drifting events from a large parking lot to a dedicated road course, and the events have been flourishing. East Coast Bash might be the best drift event, if not the best car event, in the country.

That these drift events are continuing while drag racing is shutting down is an interesting gauge of the state of motorsports in America in 2018.

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Here is the announcement in full:

Illustration for article titled Englishtown Raceway Abruptly Closes Its NHRA Drag Strip
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Correction: previously this article stated E-Town was leasing to Copart, as reported by The Capital Sports Report, when in fact the lease is with IAA.

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

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DISCUSSION

I’ve heard a lot of things about it, and it’s probably a mix between:

1.) Decades of fighting the town and locals about noise

2.) Cost to put on the national event and running daily

3.) Copart (supposedly) offering $75 million over 15 years to lease

4.) New generation not really being that interested in it

Just speculation, but the fact that it was done quickly and quietly leads me to believe it was not as much #1 and more of #3.

I wonder how long the rest of the facility is going to last.