- Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 June 2014 10:16
- Published on Wednesday, 25 June 2014 10:16
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In the 50s and 60s, when gambling was still flourishing in Colonial Beach, there was steady traffic at the little Colonial Beach airport as people flew into town to try their luck. But then the casinos closed, and so did the small airstrip.
These days, however, the airport location is popular again as businessman Mark Donovan and his partner, Curtis Stuart, have revived the airstrip as the increasingly popular Colonial Beach Dragstrip attracting cars, drivers and fans from throughout Maryland and Virginia.
“We bought the track from the Richard Clark family in 2010,” said Donovan, who along with Stuart is involved in a number of businesses in Virginia. “My partner and I saw the opportunity was there, and we took it.”
To give themselves more flexibility, Donovan and Stuart operate the Dragstrip as a so-called “outlaw track”, and they have banded together with other similar tracks as part of the Southern Bracket Racing Association. From April through October, the Colonial Beach Dragstrip attracts loud and enthusiastic fans for a wide variety of races and prizes.
This Friday and Saturday, the one/eighth-mile-long dragstrip will host the Five Horsemen and the Seek, Conquer and Destroy race series. There will be big block and small block shootouts with prizes totaling thousands of dollars. Friday, gates will be open from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., and Saturday, gates will be open from11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tickets are $20, and children under 11 will be admitted free.
On the 4th of July weekend, the Dragstrip will host an Independence Day Showdown put on by Custom T’s Racing. The event, sponsored by Northern Neck Chevrolet, will kick off the holiday weekend on Thursday, July 3. There will be match races, grudge races and a best two-out-of-three competition between Hustlin’ Henry Butler and the Grizzly Trans Am. Gates will be open from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Admission is $15, and kids will be admitted free.
Other events scheduled for this summer include a “60 years of Cars and Stars” Nostalgia Drag Race and a Championship Car Show on Sunday, Aug. 3. There will be car show awards and nostalgia races in several different classes of competition. A number of top former drag racing cars and stars will reunite for the event. Additionally, the Dragstrip has scheduled a popular King of the Beach for Sept. 26, 27 and 28.
“We are putting everything back into the track,” said Donovan, who is also a part owner of the popular Dockside Restaurant in Colonial Beach. “We don’t use the track as a means of our income. Our goal is for it to become one of the best tracks for this kind of racing.”
The Colonial Beach Dragstrip is located at 2035 James Monroe Highway in Colonial Beach. The phone number is 804-224-7455. Racing fans can get more information on events and schedules online at colonialbeachdragstrip.com.