WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — St. Thomas Dragway, the longest continually running drag racing facility in Canada, has renewed a multi-year sanctioning agreement with the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA).
Located in Sparta, Ontario, Can., the facility opened in 1962 and features a ¼-mile dragstrip and was Canada’s first purpose-built dragstrip as opposed to other facilities using airfields for racing.
Opened in 1962 by Robert and Helen Harvey across the road from their farm, the first race at the facility was held on May 27, 1962. After Robert’s passing the track was run by Helen Harvey and Judy Burgess until the end of the 1989 season when John and Sharon Fletcher purchased the facility.
Dave and Linda Mathers purchased the facility from the Fletcher’s in 1998 who then sold it back to the Fletcher’s in 2009. After Jason “Jay” Morse purchased the track in 2012 who unfortunately passed away in 2019, current owner Paul Spriet purchased the track with his family in 2020.
“Jay’s untimely departure left a huge void in the area with the very loyal group of racers and families surrounding St. Thomas. He will be missed, but his hard work shows in the success the facility has had,” said IHRA Division Director Jon O’Neal. “That growth continues now that it’s more formally linked to its sister facility in Grand Bend and I’m sure the Spriet family, with their long-standing relationship with the IHRA, will continue in stride.
Upon taking ownership of the track, major updates include adding a concrete guard wall replacing the Armco and repaved the track to provide a new smooth surface. In addition, they are continuing with other improvements as well such as updating the wiring, lighting, PA System, washroom facilities, etc. It is a work in process but racers at St. Thomas Dragway are already raving about the changes made so far.
“We have been a member of the IHRA family for over 20 years, with our other facility Grand Bend Motorplex, we were the first facility in Canada (with IHRA’s help) to bring National event racing back to Canada in 2000. The IHRA program has changed over the years, but our partnership has remained strong,” said St. Thomas Dragway owner Paul Spriet. “Our GBM racers enjoy the current IHRA Summit Super Series program, so it was a natural progression to provide the same opportunities to our new operation St Thomas Dragway.”
For more information about St. Thomas Dragway visit stthomasdragway.ca.