Local Race Promoter Readying Plans For Building Drag Racing Facility In Windham

For the last seven years Jay Eastgate has been putting on events as part of his Hole Shot Drag Racing Association at the Waterford Speedbowl.

Hole Shot Drag Racing AssociationNow the Waterford native , with the help of a group of investors, is looking to create a facility where drag racing is the primary attraction.

Eastgate told RaceDayCT that he is readying to submit plans for building a drag racing facility in the town of Windham.

Eastgate said if all goes right with the plans the facility could be partially operational by next summer.

The Hole Shot Drag Racing Association hosts 100-foot drag racing events at facilities throughout the Northeast. The 100-foot drags are held weekly on Friday’s at the Waterford Speedbowl during the traditional short track racing season.

Eastgate though is looking bigger than 100 feet. He wants to build a facility that not only has a dedicated track for the Hole Shot Drag Racing Association but also an eighth-mile drag strip that could host national drag racing divisions.

“There’s nothing guaranteed in stone yet,” Eastgate said. “We still have to go through zoning and public hearings and that’s going to be brutal. But a lot of people are excited about it and I think the way we’re going about it is correct.”

The proposed 50-acre facility would be situated on a piece of property off Route 32 in Windham near the Franklin town line.

Eastgate began hosting Hole Shot Drag Racing Association events at Waterford in 2007. He has been running a regular weekly show at the track since 2009.

“I’m grateful for the Speedbowl,” Eastgate said. “The whole idea of the Hole Shot Drags was to put it on the front stretch straightaway and utilize and existing facilities. I would continue to push for doing stuff at the Speedbowl, but there’s compromises when you’re dealing with a facility like that. Our burnout box was never ideal. Some guys cannot get it done properly in the cars. There’s no proper concrete launch pad. We cannot prep the track like we’d do with a drag strip. So a lot of guys stay home and we lose a lot of customers that way.”

Eastgate believes having a standard drag racing setup for the 100-foot drags would attract a greater participating group.

He said the plans call for the 100-foot drag track to be up and running first with the eight-mile track to follow. Eastgate said he has been in talks with the nationally known International Hot Rod Association about preparations for building the eighth-mile spectator facility. The IHRA is considered the second tier level of national drag racing bodies behind the National Hod Rod Association.

Eighth-mile strips are becoming more commonplace around the country. For years the quarter-mile strip was considered the standard for drag racing, but safety concerns have changed the minds of many in the drag racing community about the advantages of the eighth-mile.

“The eighth-mile, it’s plenty fast,” Eastgate said. “You get 70-80 percent of your speed in an eighth-mile. The cars are still going very fast. The programs run quicker. It makes it more interesting. You can seem more of the race. You’re not looking in binoculars at the finish line. There’s a lot of good thing about it. A lot of guys that have raced an eighth-mile don’t want to go back to a quarter-mile. It’s easier on the motors. It doesn’t mean that they don’t have accidents, but the amount it happens is so infrequent so it’s just that much safer.”

The quarter-mile Connecticut Dragway in Colchester, the only previous purpose built drag racing facility in the state, operated from 1961 until 1986.

Eastgate said he is working with former nationally known drag racer Ron Colson, who operates a consulting firm called Track Planning Associates. Colson’s firm helps track planners work through all phases of facility creation, from zoning issues and design to construction and operational management.

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Comments

  1. racefan... says:

    If your going to make the investment, go for at least the 1000′ mark that the NHRA used now for the fuel cars…

  2. Anthony Tumbarello says:

    A new drag strip in the north east and in Connecticut will happen only when pigs fly! The people of Connecticut are a bunch of tree hugging not in my backyard liberal morons. Just because they don’t understand motorsports they don’t want it in their area. Don’t waste your time and money, they will just tax you out of business anyway. Sorry if I sound negative but the truth is todays young people don’t care or have not even heard of drag racing and with the poor TV coverage from ESPN you can see why.

  3. Chuck Morris says:

    Good Luck would love to c a facility open in my home state

  4. mark markow says:

    this would be a big boost for the local economy. the local merchants need to get on board with this to help make it happen. I wish them the best of luck.

  5. Jody Walsh says:

    Awesome! Great idea!

  6. GO GO GO !!!!!!! DO IT JD!!!!!!!

  7. Aaron Williams ( Williams Racing ) says:

    I Would Also love to see a Facility in my Home State ! Go Full Throttle For it !!

  8. Dave says:

    Jay is a friend since 2008, we wish him sucess and will do everything possible to help with the inagural event. Keep up the progress Jay. Love Dave and Sarah

  9. I’m rooting for you! Best of luck in this, I’m a CT land surveyor and work in the land development world…you’re going to need it. Go for it though there certainly is a demand for it. I hopefully look forward to running a car down it someday.

  10. Mike says:

    A dragstrip in Windham would really be a boost for the local economy, I would support it.
    Good Luck

  11. dave d says:

    Give us the 1/4 mile so you could host bigger events do it right

  12. Brint says:

    Good luck with this! How can locals get involved to help you see this through?

  13. Mary May says:

    Hope it does better than Colchester Drags

  14. don says:

    its out now come all the negative people!!!!! good luck jay

  15. RichO says:

    Good Luck, it would be a great to have a facility in Ct. again.

  16. Ange Sclafani says:

    When I’m on the starting line and the Tree is coming down I’ll believe it. There has been too many other rumors of dragstrips in the NY, CT area in the past that never came to fruition.
    I hope this one makes it. Good luck in your endeavor.

  17. Josh says:

    This is the best thing I have heard all year. Hopefully it works out. Please post when the town meetings will be would like to go and support.

  18. John says:

    another pipe dream in CT..you are a drag racer, so you fall into the category of Juvenile delinquent. the liberals see it that way. so good luck with this. maybe we will see you at the races….

  19. Dave says:

    Good luck love to see it happen.

  20. JACK MAC says:

    DONT THINK IT”S GOING TO HAPPEN … PEOPLE TRYED TO DO THIS YEARS AGO AND THE STATE SAY”S NO . DUE TO INS COMPANYS !! BUT GOOD LUCK !! WISH IT WOULD HAPPEN !!

  21. leon e renaud II says:

    i did attend the 100 fott drags when thompson speedway was hosting them .i did not return because there was NO traction and i destroyed my mickeys . i would love to see this happen in windham i would attend frequently at the 1/8 mile .. not soo interested in the 100 ft drags

  22. floyd applebee says:

    best of luck,better get martha stewart to be a spokesperson,haha

  23. lou says:

    best of luck would be great to see 1/8 mile pro mod show in conn

  24. Shawn Brocuglio says:

    any progress ???

  25. vic says:

    Did it pass zoning??????

  26. Jim Sminkey says:

    I don’t see a council agenda meeting scheduled for Feb. or March. All that is on google that I could find is http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=race&btnG=Search&domains=windhamct.com&sitesearch=windhamct.com#domains=windhamct.com&q=drag+strip+site:windhamct.com

    I did read on Yellow Bullet that stakes from surveyor are in place.

  27. G says:

    It would be a better move to make it quarter mile, Not all cars are setup for 1/8th mile. You mAke it 1/4 you have the best of both worlds

  28. doug fontaine says:

    If you are going to do this, build it for 1000ft.then at least you have a chance to get fuel cars there. 1/8th mile racing gets boring. Especially for guys like myself who drive to Englishtown, Maple Grove and now New Hampshire and are spoiled by the NHRA. There’s nothing like nitro. Nothing.

  29. Dave Karpiej says:

    Plan for 1000 ft. You can always do 1/8 mile and explain it off as additional shutdown lane. It would get some of the street racers off the public roads and into a safer venue.
    Really do miss Colchester … it was a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon even if you were just a fan!

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