WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Eastbound Dragway, a true showplace in the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, has entered into a multi-year sanctioning agreement with the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA).
The 1/8-mile dragway is part of Eastbound International Speedway and Concert Park, a state-of-the-art, 55-acre Motorsport Park. In addition to drag racing, the complex features NASCAR and INEX-sanctioned racing on a 3/8-mile asphalt track, Monster Trucks, motocross and a world-class musical entertainment venue.
Located 1,200 miles northeast of Maine in Avondale NL, the picturesque community is named for the meeting of the waters. At Eastbound, there is often the meeting of the racers who compete in everything from dragsters and stock cars to motorcycles and snowmobiles.
Among the most popular events has been the “take it to the track” program to get racing off the streets.
“Every year, we’ve seen an increase in people involved,” Eastbound Park Director of Events Mike James said. “We worked with the local police who were concerned about the safety of street racing. We had burnouts on the oval and we opened up the drag strip. Thousands of people showed up, people who had never been on the drag strip before. They got a really good feel of what it’s like to be on the drag strip. It was incredible to see cars stretched all the way down the 1/8-mile.”
The history of drag racing in the area dates back to the 1960s, starting on an old U.S. Air Force strip.
Eastbound first opened in 2014 with a major Nashville-style music festival. Since then, the facility has hosted such acts as Rascal Flats, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Little Big Town.
However, racing is first on the marquee and James does a tour educating school children about math and science in the sport. He has 26 scheduled visits to school which introduces the sport to over 10,000 students.
“We’re a new track, only around five years,” James said. “Some tracks have been around 50-60 years. They have grandparents, fathers and so on. We were like, ‘Let’s go educate the kids because they don’t have anyone educating them about racing.’ We go in explain to them the simple aerodynamics, air flow and such. The kids are blown away with the simple math and science used in racing. We’ve had so many requests to do this at schools.”
One of his inspiring stories is that of 2017 track champion Darien Legge, then 11 years old, making it to the championship round in Junior Dragster at the IHRA Summit SuperSeries World Finals.
“The whole story of a little boy turning the drag racing world upside down, an 11-year-old to be able to take down the best junior drivers in the world, you should see their reaction,” James said. “We look to see some of them in the junior dragster ranks the next couple of years.”
Legge repeated as Eastbound track champion for the IHRA Summit SuperSeries in 2018 as did the Top division champion Dave Anthony. Curtis Mitchell was the Mod division champion.