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

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

Now 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!

  30. Bill C. says:

    definately for it just drove to lebanon valley last weekend lots of fun but way to far.plus we need to keep the money here in ct. go with the 1/4 mile though< it will attract more people.

  31. Mike says:

    YES YES YES finally a place to drag race in ct everyone should help support you in making this happen please keep trying and don’t ever give up cause a safe place to race is good for everyone

  32. Jim Sminkey says:

    New track is going in Chaplin CT. Four 50 acre lots have been purchased. Plans are drawn and clearing land to start soon.

  33. Bobby O' says:

    Welp? what happened?

  34. mully bassick says:

    Hey!

    I’m a liberal – with a 12-second Buick
    Build it and we will come

    can’t wait to spend some money – at the Bach Door!

  35. Murray C says:

    If you build it, I will be there.

  36. Larry says:

    I just ran across this article/story after doing a google search looking for the HDRA 2015 schedule at the Speedbowl on their website.
    Shawn, what in the way to an update can you provide on this proposed endeavor?

  37. Larry,
    Not much. I think the land deal fell through in Windham. Not sure where plans stand, but I think Jay is running the drags program this year at the New London-Waterford Speedbowl.

  38. Larry says:

    Shawn;

    I have heard that rumor too about Jay and HDRA returning to the Bowl for 2015 but not seeing anything firm on the Speedbowls website has me wondering. Not sure why the Bowl would make the change to go back to the old HDRA after all the progress that has been made the last year or so with whoever was running the show the last year or two.

  39. Larry,
    Mark Caise was running the 100-foot drag shows the past couple years there, and I’m not exactly sure why they decided to go back either.

  40. Larry says:

    Ok now I understand, I guess it is possible since Mark (thirty marketing) used to be part of Terry’s clan (board of directors) and maybe that’s why the new management team may have made the choice not to use Mark for the 100 foot drag program. Its too bad as the program had really improved over the last couple of years from a competitors point of view. Or maybe there is something else going on behind the scenes we are not aware of?

  41. tom says:

    Great idea! But please go all the way and make it a quarter mile track. No wet dreaming or premature ejaculation…give us the real deal, and maybe we can keep people off the street racing.

  42. Joe tobin says:

    Their building a 1/8 mile track in Chalpin ct . They say it will open in 2016

  43. race fan says:

    just an update folks JD Eastgate passed away last night so not sure where this leaves the drag strip deal

  44. Larry says:

    I just read the sad news of Jays passing on the HDRA facebook page. Its really unexpected. Every time I saw Jay he seemed to be in good shape and health. I guess you never know when your times up. Its really too bad he never got the chance to see his dream track built. Hopefully someone else will continue on his work, maybe the track could be named in his honor. Shawn or anyone else, has anyone heard if the Speedbowl is going to continue the Friday drag program with someone else or maybe Shawn Monaham running it? I checked on the Speedbowls website but found nothing mentioning the future of the drag program just the same old same old “coming soon” schedule is being worked on info.

  45. Tom says:

    Someone needs to pick up and go on with this.Don’t give up now we were almost at the finish line.

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