A drag race hasn't been held on the old US30 Dragway in more than three decades.
But, once a year for the past 13 years, the old drag racing track relives its glory days. That's when some of the legends of the sport make the trip to York for the Musclecar Madness at the York Reunion.
This year's edition, the 14th, will be held the weekend of July 10-12 at the York Expo Center.
"We have what I call a pilgrimage each year," event organizer Darwin Doll said. "People come back to York for the reunion because the York track was one of the leading tracks in the country in its day. There's a tremendous amount of interest in it, and we have legends of racing that come here every year. They plan their trip to York just for the York Reunion."
50-year anniversary: But, when the drag racing community heads to York in a month, the latest Musclecar Madness at the York Reunion will hold a special place in everyone's hearts for two reasons.
This year will mark the 50-year anniversary of the inaugural Super Stock Nationals race that took place on Aug. 7, 1965. That event became the largest one-day drag racing event in the sport's history, making York known as "the Woodstock of drag racing," according to Doll. From that point forward, the lore of US30 Dragway grew, and it became one of the most historic tracks in the nation until it closed in 1979.
In addition, Doll said US30 Dragway was widely considered a safe race track to run on and was four lanes wide — the only course in the nation to have more than two lanes. Doll said that allowed for more exciting races.
"There's just been so many momentous events that they ran at York," Doll said. "York was the leader and innovator in new events and events for the contestants themselves. They just loved running at York because York was a quick track and well run."
One last reunion: However, when the weekend's events come to a close on Sunday, July 12, at Beaver Springs Dragway with the York Nostalgia Nationals, any lasting memories of the event will be final. This year will be the last reunion.
Doll, who's now 82, is the main organizer of the event and felt that this year was an appropriate time to end it. The fanfare surrounding the 50th anniversary of the first Super Stock Nationals was a good closing point. Doll also has concerns over his own health. While he says his health isn't failing him right now, he does have concerns about it coming into play in the middle of organizing future events and doesn't want to hand off duties to his wife in the middle of setting up the next reunion.
Like so many of the former drivers and spectators who will flock to the event, the event is near and dear to Doll's heart. It's where he gained his affection for the sport when it first opened and was the first drag track that he worked at before working at others around the country.
"I really cut my teeth at York US30," he said. "...I've had over 50 years of managerial involvement in all kinds of motorsports and that all came from my working through the ranks and beginning at York US30 Dragway."
Event features: The event will feature trips to the York Airport in Thomasville, the site of the US30 Dragway. In fact, the airport is donating an entire airplane hangar for the weekend. Vintage cars and other memorabilia from years past will be on display, while former drivers will be in attendance to talk about their days of racing.
A shuttle to the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing in York Springs will also be available. The event benefits the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing and the York County SPCA.
But, it's not all just about nostalgia at the event. Kids are also taken into account. Stations are set up for them to take part in activities, including building their own models of the cars to take home.
The show will open on Friday, July 10 at 1 p.m. and goes until 8 p.m. that night. It will continue the following day at 9 a.m. and last until 7 p.m., including a cruise-in from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., when up to 350 cars will take part in an outdoor showcase. The weekend's events wrap up in Beaver Springs on Sunday at Beaver Springs Dragway for the York Nostalgia Nationals starting at 8 a.m.
For more information, visit www.yorknostalgia.com.
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org