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Oswego Drag Raceway

The drag strip was built on the Wally Smith farm by Wally and his brother, Dan, one mile west of the Oswego Bridge, on Highway 34.

It started out as just a dirt drag strip, but was paved by at least 1956. NHRA selected Oswego to hold a Midwestern regional championship drag race event on September 29-30, 1956. The race drew 10,000 spectators. The strip opened for night racing in 1958. In late August 1961, Nook Bakewell drove Arfons’ “Green Monster” to a new track record of 181 MPH in 7.8 seconds. Racing drew as many as 400 entries on Sundays during March through early November in 1971.

A full-page article in the Chicago Tribune in 1971 described the track: “You can spot the drag strip from a quarter mile away.  The corn shuts down for the space of about 100 yards before it picks up and continues… forever. In the middle of this de-corned zone runs a two-lane blacktop, half a mile long. At one end is the track steward’s booth, and at the other, a turn-around leading onto a gravel approach road. This is Oswego Drag Raceway.”

Robert Doss managed the track in 1972. The track was one of eight racetracks owned by National Drag Racing Enterprises. In late 1976, the raceway was bought by Dr. Howard Koch. The racetrack land was bought by a nursing home, after which drag racing ended at Oswego after a quarter-century of operation.

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