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US-131 Dragway


Address: 1249 12th St.
City: Martin State: MI Zip: Unknown Phone:  
County: Allegan
Notes: AKA Martin Dragway
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Web Address: http://www.us131msp.com/
Number of visits to this page since Sept 2013: 8470
 
 

6/8/2014 - Mark Lake
Does anyone remember the Nikki's Toy Drag Car from the mid 70's? It was a 1971 Plymouth GTX painted orange and black.
7/3/2013 - RischeFraser
I was at the Michigan jams in 1977. People were dropping like flies. It was extremely hot, the concessions stands opened later and people were fainting from heat stroke. I remember standing in line to use the port a potties, a girl in the line next to me was next to go in and fainted. I even ended up with heat stoke.

That concert ruined me for future concerts. Times were very different back then. The lack of patron amenities would never happen today. There would be numerous law suits.

I have lot's to say about that concert. The number of attendees were underestimated. It was crazy!!!.

6/6/2013 - Mark Seiler
Hey Larry Ridley. I remember the South Haven-based Chevy Nova funny car you mentioned. It was painted burgundy and called BONANZA with bamboo-style lettering down it's sides. It was owned by Jimmy Engle of South Haven.

4/19/2013 - Doug Walton
I am trying to contact Bill Calkins who posted that he had a photo of my Dads' 57 Chevy Mr 57 at Grattan Dragway Could anyone with info please Email me. Thanks.
2/3/2013 - Jeff Bundy
Anybody have any pics or information on a 70 442 funny car called Super442 that ran there during the popular hotrod meet back in 1971. This car unfortunately crashed at this event never to be rebuilt & raced again. Any info or pics would be great.
1/30/2013 - Christy
We are gathering information and photo's from July 2, 1977 concert at US-131 Dragway- Michigan Jam, which would later be known at Michigan's Woodstock of the 70's. Wolf Man Jack was the MC. Bands: Bob Seger, Heart, Nazareth, Little River Band and Spirit (no show) We are putting together a documentary. Any information would greatly be appreciated. There is also a Facebook page for this event.

Michigan Jam July 2, 1977 Thanks!! Christy.
9/9/2012 - jim duvall
for larry ridley. the funny car you referred to was called bonanza and was owned and built buy jimmy ingals. at midtown motors in south haven mich.
8/15/2012 - andy g
this Sat at 1 P. M Racers reunion at the track. In conjunction with the 50 year anniversary celebration going on all this season a reunion is set for this Sat. for more info e-mail at geelhoeds@hotmail. com.

7/31/2012 - Jane Clapp
Hi everyone! My dad, Frank Eichelberg, along with John Grivens started Martin Dragstrip. Just to let you know he just passed away, 7/28/12. Those were some good times when us kids were little growing up meeting and watching the legends race. I'm sure I'll find some pictures of those early years when I can start going through all the boxes of photos. I'll let you know.

7/10/2012 - Randy Di Vitto
I miss you all.
5/16/2012 - tim bowers
To Randy below who bought the Orange 40 Ford gasser with a Chevy in it. Did it say Half Breed on the doors? E-mail me at tjbowers58@gmail. com.
3/12/2012 - ken cobb
i am looking for any pictures of the 1994 shamrock hemi,house burned and lost all the pictures i had of my drag cars. and all the others. please any pictures would be great. please call ken at 989-560-1906 yhanks.

1/6/2012 - Jim Knol
I own Ray s 57 vette aka glass bandit and have many pictures I have owned the car for over 35yrs and still drive it. would love to talk to anyone that has any new info about the car or people Thanks Jim.
11/21/2011 - Bill Calkins
I have a photo of Mr 57 with my folks @ Gratton Dragway. I am looking for any photos of my folks car from back then. They Raced with Tony Barrillo and his 64 Thunderbolt, Jim Kelly and his 409 Chevy, Ray Grinich and his, I believe 57 Vette, The Shamrock 1964 Hemi Plymouth, Jim Kooi with his 41 williys Gasser. My folks raced a 63 factory experimental Dodge Polara and a light weight 64- 426 Black Dodge with dragons on the front fenders and belonged to a car club called the Road Gents of Muskegon. Anyone have any photos or footage from 63 thru 64 from Martin Gratton or Stanton? Or have any ideas for where I could find some? I am trying to put pictures together for my Sons and Grandchildren.

Thanks in advance.
8/1/2011 - Todd Rayburn
There is a group in FaceBook called Martin US 131 Dragway that has a lot of old pics and info from the beginning to present date, about people, events, cars. There are pics in there from the Michigan Jam in the 70's. There is almost 1500 pics in there. Come visit and stay. Great bunch of people.

It's an Open Group.
6/30/2011 - American Drag Racing League
The American Drag Racing League is home to the most powerful, fire breathing, ground pounding, ear shattering door slammers in the world! Join us in the excitement both Friday & Saturday! With increased purse payouts for each race, a new World Championship format with major championship payouts and greatly expanded live online broadcasts, there is considerable excitement and anticipation surrounding the world's premier eighth-mile drag racing league as it returns to U. S. 131 Motorsports Park. The gates open at 8 a. m.

Friday and 9 a. m. on Saturday, with the first round of qualifying set to begin at 12 p. m.

On Saturday, the racing will begin at 12 p. m. with the final qualifying session. The first round of eliminations starts at 3 p.

m. , with a special jet-car and monster truck pass concluding the evening on Friday and Saturday. Complimentary in-advance general admission tickets distributed locally and available online at WWW. ADRL.

U.
5/30/2011 - Ron Gross
I have the newspaper article from the 131 concert that was mentioned. It was called The Michigan Jam, and it was held July 2, 1977. The bands were Bob Seger, Heart, Nazareth, and the Little River Band. Wolfman Jack was the MC. The concert was held inside the old circle track that was there.

The article states the crowd was estimated at 35,000. Apparently it was oversold (what a surprise) and there were plenty of fence hoppers. Parking was a major issue, the dragway couldn't handle all the cars. So everyone parked wherever they wanted.

About 100 cars parked along 131 had to be towed. These exact same problems occurred 7 years later at the American Rock Festival near Kalamazoo.
5/28/2011 - Cary Bacher
Great track, Great people, GREAT racers. This place is one of the best tracks anywhere. I'm from Ohio and raced at NORWALK for years This place is right up there with imho.
5/13/2011 - Adrian
I want to take my kids to the track, but what is up with the no cooler policy? I'm not looking to drink alcohol, but it would be nice to have cold water and pop for me and my son. Are they basically making you buy their own beverages with this policy?.
4/27/2011 - Doug Taylor
I remember it well, as it was really HOT. If it's the same concert, it was Bob Seger. I rented a hand full of 2-way radios to John Grivens who owned the track for his security people. I was selling and servicing all of John's Dragway radio's back then. The concert by the way got over run by the people jumping the fence from US131.

There was way too many people sneaking in for security to handle. If I'm not mistaken, I think US131 got shut down from the backup of traffic trying to get off the expressway for the concert. I missed a lot of the concert and problems, as I just cooled off in the dragway control tower, where there was air conditioning. I did go out once or twice to take in the sounds, but it was way too hot for comfort.

I probably could go find the dragway's file and get a date from it. I remember all the radios had dead batteries on them, when security brought them back. And, if my memory holds me, I think they lost a radio some how. It's just been way too many years ago.

If anybody comes up with pictures, please post them in here of post an e-mail where I could get them.
4/26/2011 - butch barger
does anyone remember the rock concert held at the speedway in1978. would like to see pic. if any out there.
3/11/2011 - David C Opfer
My father, Max Opfer was a security cop for the track back in the 1960's and I would go with him every weekend he worked. I got to grow up watching the great ones race and the place holds lots of memories for me. We were there the time Dick Brannan's Mustang blew over in the lights rolling several times. In a book by Larry Davis I was surprised to see my dad in a picture of that crash holding back a few folks who ran to the wreck as Brannan climbed out only slightly hurt. I was wondering if anyone knew of any online sites that might have pictures of the 1960's era at 131.

Hoping to show my boys a side of their grandfather they never knew much about and never got to meet. I have many fond memories of the track and the people there. Dad had to work so I was often left to my own devices and got to wander about. Was a different world back then, dad knew I was safe.

Anyway any info about pictures with security cops and a little boy in them would be greatly appreciated. Dad is gone now but would love to find anything out there. Thanks in advance. davop56@gmail.

com.
3/11/2011 - Randy
i have just bought a really bright orange 1940 ford coupe its awesome in color it has a 327 chevy but it has been replaced in recent years it was told to me it was a gasser and it was run at the races if anyone knows anything of this car please post ty.
3/10/2011 - Dan VanKoevering
Message to Wayne Holden: Wayne, your e-mail was NOT included in this message. I may have personal slides of the '60 Galaxie from about '69, '70, '71, that can be made into photos, and possibly even some of your other team cars that yourself and Al drove. E-mail me at danvk3403@hotmail. com Best Regards, Dan VanKoevering, President, Michigan Motorsports Hall of Fame www. mmshof.

org.
2/21/2011 - Wayne Holden
Hello, Im looking for any old clippings or photos of any of the several original Curtis trailer cars from the 60s and 70s. Please use the E mail address included. And Thank you for all the great dragracing memories.
1/27/2011 - Art Parker
I looking for pictures of the Rotty Motors owned & sponsored 1962 Plymouth Belevedere It was whit with blue lettering on the door It was prep & driven by their chief mechanic by the name of Ray Jenkins, now deceased It was an original factory built race car, with a 413 c. i , ( 2 ) 4 barrels, & (3) speed stick.
12/18/2010 - denny ross
would like to talk with john bane he was working at strip in 1963 or anyone else who worked there at that time 270 826 3673 or270 869 9100 thanks denny.
12/6/2010 - T.Bowers
Does any one remember a 39 or 40 Ford that had a Chevy 409 in it. The car was called Half Breed and was a bright orange? If my memory serves me right and it hasn't for awhile, I think it came from the Allegan area.
12/4/2010 - mike watts
What found memories i have of the match races i used to attend there from 1963 till around 1967. The best race i ever saw there was when dyno don beat the ranchargers in 1965 three straight. Both had agreed to weight 3,200 pounds if i recall right, plus there cubic inches were checked. After they had weight in dyno happned to noticed the ranchargers were changing there slicks and it took two guys to change them. Dyno promply brought it to john grifin the track owners attention.

It seams the ranchargers had filled there slicks full of water or some other kind of liquid. Grifn told em to put the slicks in the trunk of the car. The rest is history, dyno put the hurts to the ranchargers three straight.

11/23/2010 - denny ross
in 1962-1963 myfather ran a super lark at this track was company sponsored car white in color with large #1 and stp on side looking for any old photos or info in your records will pay for any info thanks i think they put him in b/FX class denny.
10/30/2010 - Gary Hunt
Gary to Chuck Randall: Have you been able to find Tom Carter, owner of the USA1 Cougar from the early 70s? I believe he still has the car.
8/17/2010 - james tefft
Hello I found this site when looking for history of the 131 dragway. Attended first race in 1964 and saw Dyno Don Nicholson'' Mercury Comet. I was just 10 years old and I was hooked. Started racing for fun as soon as I got drivers liscense. Had a ball and no regretts! Does anybody know who the track photographer was from 1978-198?.

I bracket raced a 70 Dodge Challenger. B-5 blue with white vinyl top. Name on side of car was Meyer & Tefft. Through the years and divorce, I do not have any photos of the car and would love to find some.

If anyone can help me it would be greatly appreciated. Thank You James Tefft.
5/16/2010 - Mike McDonald
Anyone remember a 1968 Silver and Black Hurst Olds that ran under the name REM RAM? The car was sponsored by a Grand Rapids Oldsmobile dealer Row Motors. I''m looking for photos or film or history on the car. Thank You Mike McDonald.
5/10/2010 - chuck Randall
I wrote a note a while back about racing against the USA-1 Cougar from grand rapids and somebody e-mailed me about the guy who had the car and how to maybe get in touch with him. I lost all my e-mails last week with the storms and didn''t get the information wrote down. Could the person who wrote to me send me another e-mail as I had my hopes up on trying to find out something about it to see if they had any pics of us racing and see if they knew if we really did make it on National Dragster or not. thanks chuck my e-mail is carandall@tc3net. com or chuckarandall@comcast.

net.
3/23/2010 - Terry Kott
Remember when Aggie Hendricks had her jet car at Martin 131 and charred/blew down the Marlboro sign behind her? My friend Kevin and I were right behind her. A couple of feet more and we would have been toast. There was a cop trying to get us out of the way but we couldn''t hear him because Aggie was was putting on a show for the nighttime crowd. I have a picture of Jungle Jim somewhere. And Tommy Ivo, backing up through his own burnout flamage: how cool was that? My earliest memory was about 1970 when I was four years old.

I seem to remember this yellow(?) jet car lifting towards the sky, above a 45 degree angle, and the announcer making some comment about him seeing nothing but blue sky.
3/23/2010 - John Lacko
During 1965 and early 1966, I was the track photographer at Martin with my friend Jim Seaman. The well circulated photos of Dick Brannan stepping out of the wrecked Mustang in April of 1966 are what ended our relationship with Martin. After I shot them, the track promoter, John Grivens, came to us and said Ford wants your film. We said no. He said, You''re fired.

The summer of 1965 at Martin was a memorable time for me. So many great cars and stories that I am learning more about all the time. Who would have thought that those photos would still be of interest today? My photos from Martin have been published in; Super Stock, Drag Racing the Family Sedan by Larry Davis, We Were the Ramchargers by Dave Rockwell and other places. Check my web site www.

lackophoto. com under Motor Sports for more.
3/10/2010 - D. Roberts
Paul Stewart, of Kalamazoo, originally co-owned the Jack the Bear ''57 Chevy, prior to building and racing the Jack the Bear Camaro with his brother-in-law, Craig Clapp. Rick Stratton, who co-owns R&M Auto Body in Kalamazoo, now owns both cars.
2/15/2010 - Chris
I spent a lot of time at US131 Dragway back in the mid 70-late 80s era, and presently drag race now there. Oh the memories, the cars, people i met was a life long experience and talk about fun. The modified production class was out of this world back then. Corvettes, Camaros with quick revving 280 ci small blocks, i will never forget it, what a great time. The track has been a huge piece of my lifetime.

1/27/2010 - chuck Randall
Hey, does anybody remember 70 thru74 racing seasons at 131 as I raced there in my E/SA 1970 pink and black plymouth duster. I always seemed to end up in trophy run against a USA1 Cougar out of grand rapids. Someone said in 74 we were on the front page of national dragster while racing at martin. I have tried to find out but to no avail. Does anyone know the guy or guys who ran the USA 1 cougar maybe they would know.

Unfortunately I never took any pictures of my car but took lots of pics of others from martin. I even went to 73 nationals in indy and got grumpy to sign the centerfold he posed for and still have it in a bag of magazines upstairs. If anyone knows how to find out if there was a picture in 74 of our cars on national dragster let me know. E-mail is carandall@tc3net.

com.
1/26/2010 - Rich
I remember racing my 62 Ford Hi-Performance Galaxie at Martin 131 the first weekend it opened back in 1962 or 63 the best I can remember is that about right?I came up from Chicago to participate.
1/19/2010 - Adam
Anybody remember a red 69 nova that was a michigan record holder in the early 70s? Ran with a 427. looking for pics or info on owner. happy to show my appreciation for any relevant leads. thanks. Please contact Atuckman@gtam.

net.
1/11/2010 - D walton
My father Don Walton from Freeport Mi ,raced Mr. 57 ,a black 57 Chevy Bellaire from 1961 thru 64. The car is shown on Vince Putts web site, the title is unkown 57 chevy gasser 64 Nationals This car was run at Martin ,Onodega,Gratten,Ubly,Stanton,St thomas Ont. and Us Nationals. Anyone having pictures or information about Mr 57 please post or email me.

wburg04101@gmail. com.
1/1/2010 - T.Bowers
Jack the bear is owned by some body shop in Kalamazoo. There was a guy who ran a beautiful camaro with the same name on it at Pinks All Out. Come to find out that guy owned the car. I think his name is Stratton. Here is a link with some pics of the Jack the Bear 57 Chevy in action.

http://public. fotki. com/VincePutt/drag_racing/gassers/57chevygassers/.
12/23/2009 - mike traub
Does anyone have pictures of a 64 Falcon FX car called The Ford Boys. It was a 64 with a 65 grille in it. It was an original Dick Brannan car. Driven by Stan Rourick. My father used to turn wrenches and was a co owner on this car and has lost all photos of it.

Your help is much appreciated, thanks!!.
10/23/2009 - greg weaver
I am looking for pictures for a few friends of mine. fastbucks mustangs bill dorrance or dick moytka. doug wesler public nusanise mustang and a 1967 fairlane with mural of a moutain on the side driven by doug humes and a pink 1970 duster coral gabeles car drive by jay jay stevens and mark camp. thanks you can email me at351clevelandracing@gmail. com thanks.

8/19/2009 - D. Roberts
My dad, Jim Roberts, raced at Martin from the early 60''s through 1981, when he sold his last race car and built his Corvette shop. His ''62 vette, which was painted by Bud Beebe and included a wild yellow paint scheme with a Rebel flag on the hard top, is now featured in the Gilmore Car Museum''s drag racing exhibit. My mom, Mary Lou, worked in the tower back in the gold and white checked days (mid to late ''70''s/early 80''s?). My brother, Tim, and I had a blast growing up at the track. Lots and lots of fantastic memories of our home track.

7/27/2009 - Dennis Holly
Anyone who loves drag racing should make it a point to visit the Gilmore Museum this summer. I was there yesterday and was totally impressed by the Drag Racing Display. A couple of Garlits Dragsters. a Roland Leong Funny Car and many, many more. Great tribute to Drag racing in Michigan.

7/19/2009 - teresa cave
I''m trying to find out more info. on camping inside the Martin drag race.
6/9/2009 - Larry Ridley
Does anyone have pictures of injected Chevy Nova I think the owner or and driver was Jimmy (James) Ingram. This is a wild guess it the best I can do. Thanks.
5/15/2009 - james darrow
i can remember when this track was still cool i was about 12 the last time my dad raced their. the track had a total old school vibe with real roots still in the 70''s i can still hear him in my head complaining about all the rocks on his slicks and how crappy the return lanes were now im 19 went back their in 07 for the first time and was totally bummed when i saw the new set up now with my own car (79 monte carlo runnin 11. 80''s and my dads new car 75 monza runin 9. 90''s) i hope when we go their to race that i can feel a little bit of that old flame.
4/30/2009 - Larry Ridley
I loved Ron and the Ruff N'' Ready car. Does anyone remember the Chevy Nova Funny Car from South Haven he worked at the Chevy Dealer on Phoneix St. Maybe a picture of it also. Thanks.
3/4/2009 - Chris Wells
Does anybody have pics of the jack the bear cars drivin by paul stewart it used to say stewart & clap or stratton and stewart on the side thanks for the help.
2/3/2009 - Mark Seiler
It was great to see the pics of ol'' Ruff ''n Ready on the photo page. Any kid growing up in South Haven back in the 60''s was a fan of Ron Vochaska and his little coupe. Ron''s still involved in racing, though he made the switch to the oval tracks years ago. His sons Vern and Jeff are both heavy hitters in the sport as well.

Thanks for the memories!.
10/24/2008 - Garrett
Just to let folks know, YouTube has quite a bit of historic footage from this place. There is a neat series called The History of Drag Racing- Martin ,Mi that features old fuelers from the 60s as well as Funnycars from the era, and there is also video of the 70s-80s as well. Worth a look for sure. Also talked with a man named Dave Crane some weeks back. He was one of the original crew that started the track in 62''.

Used to tech all the cars at the track. There is a cool story about him and his museum in Hot Rod Deluxe this month. A real neat guy with some VERY cool stories and stuff.

10/16/2008 - MICHELE
Just an addition to my posting. If anyone does have anything or any information, please email us at mbirdman64@aol.

com. Thank you very much!!.
10/15/2008 - MICHELE
Hello All,I am sure this might be a long shot. I am trying to get some information for my husband Chris who spent most of his childhood at Martin Dragway. He has many many fond memories of all the aspects of the track.

He has told me that was pretty much his second home from the early 70''s on. I am trying to find out if anyone can recall anyone by the name of Earl that worked there. We believe it would have been in like ground maintenance or something similiar. He worked there for approximately 20-30 years.

This man meant a great deal to my husband and I am trying to find him some information or pictures for him. If anyone might recall anything that might help, it would be greatly appreciated!!Thank you very much!!.
10/10/2008 - Chuck Kurzawa III
this is to dennis white I notice that you put some pics. up from 81 and 82 PHR meet my Father drove a top fuel car called Ego Trip and we were there both years I was wondering if you would happen to have any pics. of him please let me know ckurzawa01@comcast. net THANKS.
10/7/2008 - Doug Brewer
I grew up in the Muscle Car era in the 60''s,and @ one National event on a Saturday night@ martin that I attended w/my dad (I would say in the mid to late 60''s ) I remember Ford Motor Co. bringing in a GT-40 for a demo-run@ intermission. They brought it in on one of those wedged shaped single car haulers and it made one pass. If any one else recalls this that worked there or was there in attendance, please respond. I was only 10 years old or so but it has stuck in my memory all these years I guess because even back then the car was so much different than the cars on the drag strip!( I remember thinkig-what the heck are doing with this thing here???) I can''t remember what kind of ET it ran,or if they even timed it? , but I do seem to recall it had a decent top speed.

The car hauler was red w/the oval Ford emblems on the doors and the car was a matching red w/the white stripes and round white number plates(although I do not remember a number being on it??)Does anyone else remember this??or remember hearing about it. My dad is in his 80''s now and he does not, and everyone else I talk to cant??I remember Purdome,(the Snake),The Mongoose,jungle Jim,chi-town hustler,bounty hunter(Kalita)as some of the funny cars running @ the time, and it seems like someone was running a Jeep bodied funny car called the Secret Weapon.
8/22/2008 - russell
i was just wondering if any one has any pictures of my dads (roger fisher)''65 gt 359 shelby mustang he ran in ''65 and early ''66. it was whimboldon white with royal gaurdsman blue stripes with 289c. i. 306h. p.

on the top of both front fenders. it also had wild thing painted above both rear tires. i had a big picture taken by the original track photographer,if anybody that can give me any information on who that was would be a great thing. if i can do it i have pics of the 1980 funny car nationals,and the 1981 phr meet.

the ex wife''s got most of my pics from the later phr meets. lets just rember all the great racers we all have seen there and met through the years and be happy we got to see or meet them. they started this great sport and we need to keep all the classic dragstrips open and going strong. and thanks to dick brannan and romy hammes for getting my dad his shelby and turning me into a drag racing fanatic.

6/22/2008 - rick rzepka
hey della, i noticed a 5th wheel trailer on north ave the other day. it has your name on the side. is this one of your old trailers? do u still live in michigan?.
5/29/2008 - della woods
The hilarious memory I have @ Martin is; I was staged against Paul Smith and wanted to beat him sooooooooo bad I thought i had it timed and left before the yellow. Paul Chased Me.

John Grivins turned to my hubby (De Nichols) and said what the hell was that.

De''s comment, Brain FailureI miss hangin'' out.
5/12/2008 - Vicky Lietzke
We just went to the Thunder Nationals this past Saturday at what used to be the US131 Dragstrip. It''s called the Knoll Gas Motorplex now, but it is an awesome place to be Great racing, great facilities Very clean and extremely family friendly Would recommend this place to anyone who wants to go out and have some fun with the family.
4/6/2008 - John Bane
I have read all of these entries about Martin Dragway with great interest, as it holds a very special place in my heart. I was one of the original track officials at Martin Dragway, beginning the first day of racing in 1962, and I worked at almost all of the races during the summers of 1962, 63 and 64. I was hired in '62 by John Grivins to work, along with a friend of mine, Don McCreery, in the tower reading elapsed times and top speeds. In 1962, Dave Van Luke was the starter or flagman (we did not get Chrondek starting lights until '64), and Tom Cole was the announcer. For the summer of 1963 I took over the flagman duties from Dave.

(I was away with family travel for some of 1963, and I know there was another starter during those races - I'm pretty sure it was Jim Lindsey. ) During the summer of 1964 I took over the announcing duties from Tom. I went off to college out of state in September 1964, and that was the end of my very enjoyable career at the Martin US 131 Dragway. I was 16 years old at the time I began working at Martin, and Don McCreery was 17.

As high school kids, we could not believe our good fortune in getting such unbelievable jobs! We thought when we visited the track several weeks before it opened and met John, and asked him then about jobs, that we might be lucky to sell concessions (which we would have done). A couple weeks later John told us we would be working the clocks. I almost passed out! We came to the track prior to opening day to work with Harold Fosdick installing the first set of timers and lights (the Fosdick Timers of those days). At the beginning of each race day, Don and I installed the lights on the starting line and in the traps, and then we took them down at the end of the day.

We were in the tower the rest of the day, with one of us reading the Left Lane times and the other of us reading Right Lane times. Races were held on Sunday during the first two summers, until track lighting was installed that allowed Saturday night racing to occur. Right from the first official race day, the track was paved with asphalt. I am not sure how the stories about racing on gravel came about.

The original tower (such as it was) was a small open-air wooden structure that was on the right side (east side) of the track, just past the starting line. The later small tower, and then the large tower that now exists (both of these located on the south-west side of the track behind the starting line) came after my time at the strip. I had the wonderful opportunity to see so many fantastic cars of those days, and to meet many racers. Let me try to list just a few of the people I met and to pass along a story or two (or 3 or 4).

Some of the cars and racers I recall include (I just can't recall all the great machines and people I saw back then - wish I could): Dick Brannan (Ford S/S), The Ramchargers (Dodge S/S), Arnie Beswick (Pontiac S/S), Bill 'Maverick' Golden (Dodge S/S), Dave Van Luke (Ford A/S), 'Ohio' George Montgomery (Willys Gasser), Tom Marks (55 Chevy Gasser), Don Crippen (55 Chevy Gasser), The CCRCC 55 Chevy Gasser team (CCRCC = Cereal City Rod and Custom Club - many of their club members worked at the track), Chris Karamesenis (Chizler AA/FD), the Don Garlits team (Swamp Rat III AA/FD - Garlits himself did not race at the track until after 1964, so I didn't meet him there), Connie Kalitta (Bounty Hunter AA/FD), The Guzzler fuel dragster team, Dick Lahaie (AA/FD), Art Arfons (jet powered Green Monster), Dick Griffin (turbo-charged Chevy Corvair - remarkably quick for an almost stock Corvair!), Bill Marks (Corvette B/Sp), Paul Pettingil (1962 409/409 A/S Chevy), Jim O'Connor (1963 409/409 A/S Chevy). There were many, many, many more cars, crews and drivers that I saw and enjoyed tremendously - I just wish my memory for 45 year-old happenings was better than it is. I recall Chris K setting the track record during summer 1963 on a single-car demonstration run: 8. 10 ET 195.

65 MPH. He burned the slicks the entire way, which was standard practice in those days, and his engine let loose (i. e. blew up) in the traps (not standard practice).

We found aluminum connecting rods and other parts in the finish line area for weeks afterwards. I still have a clear mental image of the sound, smell and sight of that fabulous run. I sat in school and sketched pictures of the Chizler for many weeks afterwards. One afternoon I took a ride in one of Dick Brannan's 1963-1/2 Galaxie lightweight super stockers (the second car which carried number 824 - the lead car was number 823).

What a thrill for a high-school kid!! It ran just about 13 seconds flat. Dick brought his new maroon Thunderbolt to Martin and it ran under 12 seconds right off the trailer. He also had one of only two factory built 1964 Falcon lightweights, which he brought to Martin when it was brand new. It was also maroon in color, with a bare bones black interior.

That car and his #823 lightweight were simply spectacular, and are two of my favorite drag cars of all times. He raced Arnie Beswick several times, with Arnie usually driving his full-sized, silver 1963 Pontiac Catalina. Arnie also brought his 1963 Tempest station wagon (Mrs. B's Grocery Getter) to Martin a time or two.

I always thought Arnie and Dick were two very clever guys, figuring out many ways to make their cars do the right thing on the track. I was also very impressed with George Montgomery's World's Wildest Willys 1933, light blue Willys 5-window coupe. A beautiful machine that was terribly quick and fast. It was a beautiful sight to behold.

I recall flagging a race between the Green monster jet dragster and a fueler one evening. I had to stand on the side of the track away from the jet (as opposed to between the two cars as was done with almost all other races). I flipped the green flag up and dove for the grass beside the strip. Fortunately, I only saw one crash during the first three summers.

A fellow (from Kalamazoo, I think) drove his Dragmaster-chassied slingshot off the right side of the track not too far after the starting line, and he flipped over a time or two. He was unhurt and went back to the pits to work things out. It was after I left for college that Dick Brannan had the bad crash with his Mustang. I am glad he made it through that.

Perhaps the main thing that made drag racing so interesting and seductive in those days is that a smart and hard working racer could think up something new to make his/her car be the best in its class without having to have a million-dollar sponsor or factory behind them. I recall the 1962 327 ci Chevy (D/S, I think) that the Wisser brothers raced, they were from Parchment, MI, a small town close to Martin where their family owned a service station. They held the national record for their class for quite some time (a year or so, as I recall, maybe longer), and it was because they knew what they were doing and worked diligently at their racing activities. There were several other locals who were record holders - I wish I could remember everyone's name and race car.

Well, I still like going to a drag race now and then - I find the nostalgia drags the most enjoyable, since they are so much like my days at Martin. I always wanted to race, but never got a car. I have had a number of street rods over the years. I built a '29 Ford roadster pickup with a 324 Olds engine and 39 Ford transmission during my Martin years; and I presently own an all steel, full-fendered 1932 Ford 2-door sedan with a 350 V-8.

I mostly go to rod runs and local cruise nights, but I do get to some bigger meets like the one in Henderson NC that is held by The East Coast Drag Racing Hall of Fame. I missed seeing Dick Brannan there a few years ago, but I saw Arnie Beswick there last year and saw Chris 'the Greek' K at a California Hot Rod Reunion out in Bakersfield back in 2001. I sure would love to have taken a great set of snapshots from my days at Martin, but alas I never did. I had my track shirt for a number of years (it was a white, short-sleeved shirt with a big oval white patch on the back that had black letters spelling out Martin Dragway).

Sure wish I had not lost track of it. It would be great to hear from any Martin folks from the 1960's. I have not spoken with John Grivins or Tom Cole since those days. I only recently learned of John's wife, Nancy, passing away several years ago.

I knew Nancy back in the early '60s, and I offer my belated sympathies to John and his family. John Bane Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
3/14/2008 - Eliezer
Did you guys know that the # 824 Mr. Bane mentioned was restored last year? It was found in a barn where it was stored for about 40 years. At some point before it was stored the car was repainted and renamed, WHITE LIGHTNING. Mr. Erwin in Chattanooga TN, acquired it and after some slow process we (John Zanes and me) where able to find traces of the original lettering on the primer.

Mr. Erwinf contacted Dick and he came and verified it was the original one and explained the reason for some extra holes and modifications, including the relocation of the driver seat. The car is a beautiful machine and the engine sounds impresive. You have to love the Ford 427''s even if you are a Chevy guy.

11/16/2007 - don bailey
I found this site and was amazed. I also worked at 131 dragway from 1962 until 1966. In the pic of dick brannen crash, I am the guy reaching for him from the left. I was head lineman at the age of 15 and wish I could find more pics. This is the first time I saw myself.

In the blog about the green monster racing the dragster, I was in the back of a pickup with all the fire extenguishers. We were sitting just off the track on the west side facing the track. The gragster (I think it was capitol city speed shop), was ahead until about the last 100 ft. and got passed like a bullet I worked for gunner grivens during the week and worked for john grivens during races.

John used to call me bailey of balboa, from the old tv show. If anyone remembers that young kid on the starting line I love to here from them. I have tuns of memories and wear hearing aids from those days lol.

9/15/2007 - Lee
Anyone else remember the night Roger Gustin brought his Lava Machine out and drove it up and down with the burner on to dry up the midnight dew that had settled on the track ?? I believe this was the same night two alcohol funny cars collided. (one was called 200 Proof I think).

at 3/4 track ending up in the woods sending at least one of the drivers to the hospital.

,I was at many races there that ran past 2:00 a. m. I also remember the 1/2 mile very high banked dirt oval they had there.

I think I may have been at the last race that was ever held there in about 1985. it was a 2 day World of Outlaw show that only ran 1 day because the drivers and officials said the track wasn''t safe because of all the rocks on the track that were hitting the cars and putting holes in them.

it was also so dusty you couldn''t even see the cars.

Brad Doty won I think.

The problem there was they were trying to run a super sized dirt speedway with Tonka Truck sized track vehicles. I have many fond memories of Martin Dragway as I used to call it.

and my son and I still attend the new Knoll Gas Motorsports Park today. I just love what the new owner and the Knoll family have done with it.

it''s certainly a drag strip to be proud of.

now maybe a little more parking space. a few more seats and the maybe the NHRA.

9/15/2007 - Lee
Anyone else remember the night Roger Gustin brought his Lava Machine out and drove it up and down with the burner on to dry up the midnight dew that had settled on the track ?? I believe this was the same night two alcohol funny cars collided. (one was called 200 Proof I think).

at 3/4 track ending up in the woods sending at least one of the drivers to the hospital.

,I was at many races there that ran past 2:00 a. m. I also remember the 1/2 mile very high banked dirt oval they had there.

I think I may have been at the last race that was ever held there in about 1985. it was a 2 day World of Outlaw show that only ran 1 day because the drivers and officials said the track wasn''t safe because of all the rocks on the track that were hitting the cars and putting holes in them.

it was also so dusty you couldn''t even see the cars.

Brad Doty won I think.

The problem there was they were trying to run a super sized dirt speedway with Tonka Truck sized track vehicles. I have many fond memories of Martin Dragway as I used to call it.

and my son and I still attend the new Knoll Gas Motorsports Park today. I just love what the new owner and the Knoll family have done with it.

it''s certainly a drag strip to be proud of.

now maybe a little more parking space. a few more seats and the maybe the NHRA.

9/9/2007 - Unknown
Just to comment on the previous statement: Look at the track when you stand by the guard rail you cant even see the cars??? It might be nice but its a shame you have to stand so far away in the name of safety. I watch and drag race my self and people want to be close to it. Gas prices, high unemployment and entry fees keep people away from everything.
8/29/2007 - Garrett Pierce
I went out there a few weeks back with my dad to watch a Outlaw Super Stock/Vintage Super Stock Race. Speiro Papas, Scott Brasket and others were there. It''s such a beautiful track. I was just amazed at how nice the pits are now. The whole thing is so different from when I was last in the pits some 13 or more years before.

I have some pics of the event I will submit. It was a beautiful day and I could''nt believe that there were so many empty seats! Where are all the Race Fans? Does any one remember the dirt track oval that was there? I remember having to park in it while attending a Super Chevy event there years ago. Any one have pictures of it? The whole thing is gone now and you would''nt have known it was ever there.

8/25/2007 - Jon Lundberg
Hi folks, I need some help For several years - from 1969-81 - I used to announce the larger meets and, in particular, the POP ROD events at US 131. Don Garlits called two weeks ago to announce that I''m to be a 2008 International Drag Racing Hall of Fame inductee. What I would like to show those ''08 Gatornationals attendess is how it was in the REAL EARLY days of drag racing in Michigan. When 131 opened many of those who raced and/or attended events at the old Central Michigan Dragway (now the Mid Michigan Motorplex) switched to John''s track. What many do NOT know is that they actually held a couple events at the old place BEFORE IT WAS PAVED! Yup, on gravel.

Would you folks kindly ask your grandfathers and other elder folk if they might have photos from that day? Would like to show such a photo (it''s gotta be clear and black and white is fine) at the event. Photo credits will be acknowledged. Great times at those early Pop Rod events. Sunday finals there were as good as it got - anywhere- even matching trhe US Nats for action and pagentry.

Saturday nights there were simply magic. Remember when the lights would go our on Saturday night and we''d have to interview racers from a motorhome-style ambulance with a separate PA system? Remeber all the folks who would bring their portable generators to trackside to help thing get started again? Thanks for your help. Jon W. Lundberg, Sr.

, VODR (Ret. ).
8/22/2007 - Tim
Hi All, Check out this site. The Purple Haze Fueler videos. This ran at Martin and also check out the videos of Jungle Jim and Pam and Paul Longnecker''s blowover at the Pop Rods. http://www. wdgordon.

com/purplehaze/videos. htm.
8/12/2007 - Ron Gross
I checked out the IHRA Nitro Jam last Saturday night, and must say Evan Knoll and the IHRA put on one (bleep) of a show The nitro cars lit up the night and burned down 131, there''s nothing like them on the planet. There were some NHRA stars there thanks to an off weekend; Melanie Troxel, JR Todd, Mike Ashley and Gary Densham. Also saw Chris The Greek Karamesines, still driving a nitro top fueler at 79 years old The only thing missing was Ashley (and John) Force.
7/4/2007 - Ron Gross
I know the IHRA does a great job, but they seem to lack one thing, big name drivers. NHRA has the big names, and the good tv deal. Sorry folks, but Norwalk Ohio just stole our chance for a NHRA National Event.
6/5/2007 - Kurt Karter
Bill, you are right about how bad things are at the tracks. The last time i was up to MID MICHIGAN DRAGWAY to a street shootout race. there was about 10 cars and 12 specators there. I guess they don''t want to pay all that money for gas to haul to far to get to a track. Looks like a bad year for all the tracks including the speedways.

6/4/2007 - Randy
jeff. also, just crossed my mind, look at that proposed 160 MILLION DOLLAR amusement park in the GRAYLING area.

tell me $160 MILLION would not get the attention of a city in or around the Detroit area for a drag strip.

even HALF that would I am sure get someones attention.
6/4/2007 - Randy
jeff, you are right, Motor City & the doule D will never reopen at there original locations. that is very true, but if the right person with the right $$$ (let''s say a Roger Penske for instance) came along, and said to.

mmmm, let''s say Lapeer Dragway (and the city of Lapeer), that he wanted to put a million dollars or so into the track and certian surrounding area, and rename it (let''s say MOTOR CITY Dragway and host numerous big events).

that the city and community would say, no thanks, we have enough money and do not need to vitalize the community, the restaurants, stores and surrounding hotels and businesses? I try to think on the positive side of things, as the saying goes if you build it they will come (and spend $$$). But again, it is just my opinion.

thinking on the bright side.
6/3/2007 - Bill Morse
YOU CAN SEE HOW BAD THINGS HAVE GOTEN IN THE RACING BUSISNESS WITH THE HIGH GASS PRICES. JUST TAKE A LOOK AT THE PICTURES BELOW ,HOW THE STANDS WERE PACKED FULL BACK IN THE 70''S,AND NOW WHEN YOU GO TO THE TRACK THEY ARE ALMOST EMPTY. THOES DAYS ARE GONE FOREVER. BILL.

6/2/2007 - Jeff
Randy, There is no way that Motor City or Detroit Dragway will ever reopen. Or that any other Dragstrip will ever be approved to be built in Michigan by any zoning board. And Gary is right about the big names that are not there any more. I guess we will just have to watch a few street cars. Jeff.

6/1/2007 - Randy
I have to say, only my opinion, but the IHRA put on great shows, NHRA gets so much TV these days, it''s nice to support the secondary drag racing series. If NHRA were to come back to Michigan, I think it should be at a revitalized track, like a MOTOR CITY or DETROIT DRAGWAY. That would make more sense to me and make it better for the hype and getting people to come out. Some one would need to develope a state of the art drag strip in or around the Detroit area (I know it''s hard to grasp, but DETROIT is STILL THE MOTOR CITY) to get the attention of NHRA and get the rights to name it Detroit Dragway or Motor City Dragway.

again, just my opinion. Thanks Waterwinterwonderland for having this form to voice all of our ideas and opinions.

what a great site!!!.
5/26/2007 - Gary
Ron you are so right on I went to Martin in the 70''s all the tim ,It had all the famous big names running there than, The last time i went i couldn''t believe it ,all there was is a few street cars,I felt like i wasted my money. But all the tracks the car count is way off,Notice how the purses have been cut. sign of the times I guess. Gary.
4/8/2007 - rick rzepka
ron u sound sad about ihra at 131? the ihra events are excellent! pro-mods are worth the price of admission alone. the ihra race at 131 is an awesome event proven by the fact that the race teams ran out of parking spaces last year,maybe this year they will be parked along the highway for all to view. us131 makes indy look like a junk yard. i am proud to have ihra and 131 in my state. rock on mr knoll!.

3/30/2007 - Chris Carey
The drag strip has made a statement for other drag strips in west Michigan by having the IHRA events there. Plus the strip has made big improvements from the racing surface to grandstands making a great place to go and watch drag racing at its finest.
3/13/2007 - Marc Sebright
My father, Barry Sebright, ran his ''63 Chevrolet Impala in B/MP back in the day at Martin. It was a red two-door hardtop with a 360 horse Corvette 327, Muncie four-speed, and Atlas Bucron slicks. My uncle Bill Herb (who owned Herb Chevrolet in Wayland) sponsored the car. Anyway, I grew up listening to dad''s stories of that car and several others that ran during that time as well. Some of the ones that stick in my mind the most were a white ''64-''65 Chevelle hardtop called ''The Mouse That Roared'' and several ratty looking (but quick) ''55-''57 Chevrolets sponsored by Capital City Speed Shop.

Unfortunately, I''m only 27 and missed the ''glory days'' of 1960s drag racing. Wish I could have been there! -Marc.
3/8/2007 - Ron Gross
So much for hopes of getting a NHRA Event in Michigan.



3/1/2007 IHRA INKS FOUR-YEAR EXTENSION WITH KNOLL GAS MSP AT US 131 Knoll Gas Motorsports Park at US 131 has extended its agreement with IHRA to host the Torco Racing Fuels Northern Nationals through the 2011 season.

The Nitro Jam™ event has been held at the track since 2002 and this season is scheduled for August 3 – 5. Knoll Gas Motorsports Park at US 131 will celebrate 45 years of operation this season. With the dramatic increase in spectators in 2006 during the Torco Racing Fuels Northern Nationals, we feel the IHRA series will continue to grow at a rapid pace,” said track general manager Jason Peterson. “Everyone is enthusiastic with the direction that IHRA is headed.

With the additional support of Knoll Gas to US 131, Evan Knoll will bring even more awareness to this IHRA national event in our market. ” “The Knoll Gas Motorsports Park at US 131 is truly a world class facility,” said IHRA President Aaron Polburn. “Just looking at the track, it’s no wonder why the Torco Northern Nationals continues to grow every year and has been a major success. “I’d like to congratulate Alec Pinsonneault (track owner), Jason and Stephanie (Peterson) on their recent partnership with Knoll Gas, and thank them for their commitment to the Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series,” added Polburn.

“IHRA values member tracks as important partners to our business and we are proud to be with this facility as they celebrate their 45th year of operation. ”.
3/8/2007 - Ron Gross
US-131 sells naming rights and has new website url.



2/27/2007 KNOLL GAS MOTORSPORTS PARK AT US131 Drag racing entrepreneur Evan Knoll’s expanding influence took a new turn with the announcement this week of a naming rights agreement that will transform US 131 Motorsports Park into Knoll Gas Motorsports Park at US 131. Knoll, whose holdings include Knoll Gas, Torco Racing Fuels, Seelye Wright Automotive Group, Skull Shine, Accelerator and Skull Gear, works out of corporate offices in nearby Decatur, Mich. , a 45-minute drive from the track.

“It made sense to put our name on our home track,” Knoll said. “It’s a great place to spotlight our complete product line and showcase our drivers and teams. ” T rack General Manager Jason Peterson announced the five-year pact, the result of months of negotiations with Knoll and CFO Latrell Preston. Financial terms of the agreement were not revealed.

“Naturally, we’re very excited,” Peterson said. “This is win-win deal. We already had a great relationship with Evan Knoll through his sponsorship of the Torco Racing Fuels Northern Nationals, but this takes it to another level. ” The Torco Northern Nationals is one of the 12 races comprising the IHRA Nitro Jam™ Drag Racing Series.

It will be contested this year on Aug. 3-5. Torco has been the track’s “Official Racing Fuel” for the last 10 seasons. Among the drivers sponsored by Torco, or one of Knoll’s other properties, are Dale Creasy Jr.

, and Mike Ashley in Funny Car, J. R. Todd, Melanie Troxel, Doug Foley, Clay Millican and Scotty Cannon in Top Fuel and Dave Connolly in Pro Stock among a host of others. “Everyone associated with US 131 will benefit from this terrific partnership,” said Stephanie Peterson, the track’s Marketing and Public Relations Director.

“Fans, sponsors, racers, media and local tourism can expect to see a major Torco presence at each of our three biggest events. Look forward to seeing the Evan Knoll-sponsored Skull Shine Top Fuel dragster driven by Winternationals winner J. R. Todd at our Torco Northern Nationals.

We can’t wait to expose all the product lines, from Skull Gear to Accelerator to Skull Shine, to our fans and racers. ” In addition to the Torco Northern Nationals, the track’s major events include the National City Thunder Nationals, contested this year on May 12, and the Funny Car Nationals, scheduled September 15. Knoll Gas Motorsports Park at US 131 is located at 1249 12th Street, Martin, Michigan 49070. For more information, contact the track at (269) 672-7800 or visit www.

knollgasmotorsportspark. com.
3/7/2007 - Chris Dixon
My family lived in Whitehall (about 80 miles from Martin) and we made the annual August Popular Hot Rodding Championships our summer vacation - my Dad''s shop would close down for 3 weeks in the summer with the day he would have to return to work was the Monday right after the Pop Rod Meet. I attended my first PHR Meet at age 4 in 1971 and I was at 13 of the 20 held. Many times my Dad would enter his ''68 Chevelle or other vehicle in the race (sometimes not even actually racing it) so we could park in the pits - during the ''70''s it was cheaper to race than to pay for spectator tickets with pit pass. Our favorite spot to park was about 3/4 track at the bottom of an incline near the scoreboards - there were a row of bleachers on the hill.

This was near the beginning of the Top Fuel pits. In those days, the dragsters were push started up the track so their pit area was at the far end of the track. The last PHR I went to was the 18th in 1986 and this one was the one run under the IHRA as a national event. We arrived early Saturday morning and left the track shortly before dusk.

The normal Saturday night funny car program did not take place because the IHRA had no top fuelers so the nitro funny cars were to run on Sunday. We had a large station wagon and slept in the wagon in the makeshift campground in a large field to the west of the track near the current main entrance (the old back gate). We parked next to some guys from the Holland area. They had trouble keeping the campfire lit, so I jokingly said something about getting an old car tire to burn.

Someone said they thought they saw a dump area about 1/4 mile down the road, so my brother and I went to investigate. We saw a fenced-in area with some junk including about a dozen tires. I climbed the fence and tossed two over the fence. We started to roll them along the road when a car turned down the road and started to come toward us! We jumped into the tall grass along the ditch to hide.

We triumphantly returned to the campfire with the tires. The guys threw one on the fire and another guy drove us back to the spot to get some more tires. We brought back about 4 more tires. We burned about 5 tires that night - it sure did stink but it kept the skeeters away! I am in the process of developing a website on the PHR meet - if you would like to submit your PHR stores, photos or memorabilia (scanned pit passes, program covers, t-sirts, etc - preferably in JPG format) please email them to me at cjjrmdixonatnetzerodotnet (substitute at with @ and dot with.

).
11/4/2006 - Larry Heyns
A few years ago, someone announced plans to build a paved oval at Martin. The plans were canceled when testing showed the old circle track is located over a peat bog that would not support large grandstands.
11/1/2006 - Larry Heyns
US 131 Raceway Park at Martin had a 1/2 mile high banked dirt oval west of the drag strip. The dirt track operated from 1979-84 and in 1987 according to Allen Brown's America's Speedways. I watched a sprint car race there and it was thrilling to see some of the sprinters slide to the top of turn two before straightening out, while others ran the low side. The track had stones and rocks in the clay. Before each event, crew members would walk the track, throwing stones over the inside berm.

My son and I were disappointed when World of Outlaws refused to race due to track conditions. The bleachers were not up to par either.
10/11/2006 - Basil Warwick
I was there in '72 for the Popular Hot Rodding race, when I was sixteen, for the first time. This time on saturday night when they were ready to run the funny cars, thick fog rolled in from Lake Michigan. It was so thick they called the race till sunday. The next morning when I returned, Jack Martin in his dragster flipped over in a terrific wheel stand, destroying the car. He walked away, thank goodness.

For years later, all the drag racing mags advertised a poster of this famous crash. i also remember some Camaro Pro Stocker ramming Herb McCandless's Demon Pro Stocker in the rearend, on the return road, destroying the Camaro's frontend. Neat stuff.

8/26/2006 - Chuck Kurzawa III
I am the son of Chuck Kurzawa and I was wondering if anyone would happen to have any pictures of him when he drove top fuel dragsters at this track?The cars that he drove were as follows 1966the probe aa/fd1967-68Ramchargers aa/fd 1969-1970Logghe Stamping aa/fd1971kurzawa-mcnew-olivio1972-75Bobs Drag Chutes aa/fd front engine and rear engine cars1978-1985Ego tripas some may or may not know that my Dad passed away on 01/29/06 and I am just trying to get as much memorobilia as I can for myself and my family to remember him by. Please help if you can thank you.
3/21/2006 - Kim H.
Thank you for sharing your photos. It brings back a lot of memories of the old days. I grew up at the track with my dad who was the manager of Martin Dragway for several years and I worked at the concession stand at Martin in 1979. I am transferring an some old movies of the track to DVD for all to enjoy. Keep your eyes open for it at the new track.

Thanks to all, keep on racing!.
3/14/2006 - DICK LAHAIE
THE PHOTO, SHOWN BELOW, OF MY RED AND YELLOW DRAGSTER IS MY 1975 CAR, AND WAS DRIVEN BY JOHN THOMAS AT THAT TIME, AS I WAS STILL RECOVERING FROM THE INJURIES OF MY CRASH AT THE GATORNATIONALS, EARLIER THAT YEAR. I DROVE THE CAR AGAIN AND WON AT US-30 THE WEEK BEFORE THE US NATIONALS, AND CRASHED AGAIN, DURING QUALIFING, AT INDY, BECAUSE THE LEFT REAR TIRE BLEW OUT, AND DESTROYED THE CAR. DICK.
3/13/2006 - Tim
I too have fond memories of Martin Dragway. I went to my first drag race with my cousin Dan and his friend Jr. He had an awesome Pontiac GTO with a six pac if I remember right. It must have been around 1967 or 67. From then on I was hooked and my mother would drop us kids off and pick us up later that night.

Some of the names I remember are Jack the Bear a 55 or 57 Chevy gasser, John Tedder 68 Hemi Barracuda, Jerry Arnold 62 Corvette, Curtis Trailer Mercury of Wayne Holden, Dave Van Luke who had a SS Ford Fairlane,Rosen and Schumacher Altered Ego AA/FA, Seaport Automotive Anglia Gasser and many others. I went to the 7 Popular Hot Rodding meets held there and still have all but 1 of the pit passes. One is signed by Big Daddy. I have a few pics ,but mostly because I was a kid then ,they are from a Kodak 110.

Does any one remeber Paul Longneckers wheelstand on the push bar in his rear engine top fueler? I have a picture of one of the slicks as it rolled through the traps without the rest of the car. The car was toast! I also have, but cant find ,a small piece of the candystripe roof from the Ramchargers FunnyCar. Leroy Goldstein wadded it up at the far end and they used to bring the bodies back to the pit area and let you bust pieces off them. Weird.

One other thing I remember is all the Big racers that would show up for the races. The top dogs in the sport ,right there in Martin,Michigan! That was awesome! Cha Cha, Big Daddy,Ivo, Leong,Beadle,Lahaie,Kaliita,Jungle Jim and of course Jungle Pam, Linda Vaughn, Larry Arnold,Charlie Proitte, Snake, Mongoose,Snow,Rod Shops Sox and Martin, Butch Leal,Grump, lil Red Wagon,Paddy Wagon, Back up Pick Up, I could go on and on there are so many more. I have since renewed my love of the sport by attending the IHRA events there now. My only complaint is the concrete wall in the middle of the start line area.

Makes for bad pictures unless you have a press pass. The track and surroundings look better than ever.
1/18/2006 - Tom Luteyn
When I was 13 I use to hang out at a neighbors garage he ran a SS/DA Plymouth. I use to go to 131 and watch all the super stockers, pro stocks and funnies at pop rod. I still have pictures of Muldowney wrecking her dragster in the early 80,s. Grumpy,s toy, Bob Glidden and Lee Shepard those where the days! Bracket racing just isnt the same electronics take the skill away.

6/16/2005 - Dennis Holly
I first attended races at 131 in the summer of 1966. I was hooked from that point on. Every week was a great booked in show of Funny Cars or Wheel Standers. My favorite car though was a 33 Plymouth Coupe called P. F.

Flyer. He ran every week and was quite competitive. I would love to find a picture of the P. F.

Flyer.
6/1/2005 - Dennis White
The first time I went to Martin Dragway was 1966. A friends father took me with them and Ill never forget that night. Martin had a Funny Car show with all the big names. A plain unlettered Yellow Comet came out for the first round and would not start. Everyone laughed as they pushed it away.

They came out for the second round and the same thing happened. They finally got it fired for the third round and laid down a new track record! That was my introduction to Fast Eddie Schartman and the world of Drag Racing. Oh yea, thats me in the 1965 Renegade Mustang doing the Smokey burnout on the US 131 page. I never did get it out of my blood.

2/7/2005 - Mike
In the early 70s my buddies and I would spend every Sat night at the strip. Like a ritual, at 5 I would pick them up from work at Cut Rate and spend the rest of the night watching whoever was running that night. Sometimes I would run my 68 Z but mostly we would just watch. When the AA fuelers were running we would sit on the grass at the bottom of the tower mere feet from the rails. The smell of nitro, the thunder of the exhausts made the ground shake.

We had to cover our ears it was so loud. I remember a big green Mercury, Curtis Trailer was always there running. The track was running down, the lanes were becoming so bad that the big boys quit coming. But now its is in super shape with Super Chevy having a huge show in the early part of June.

Took my son there, man does it bring back memories.
11/16/2004 - Nate
131 what a place it used to be. My dad went the 1st or 2nd week it opened in 62 and I got my 1st glimpse of the best sport in 76. I remember as a kid when you could not even get a seat if you were not there by 8am, it was crazy! I also remember the dragsters and funny cars lining up at the far end and the trucks pushing them down and after there burnouts the guys would have to push them back. 4speeds also ruled too.

nothing like puling a lever! not any more. I been home and pops and I look at it now and the family feeling is gone along with so many great drivers and cars of past times. I drag race bikes now, but I think drag cars are boring now! too many eleltronics and not enough man! Martin was a great place for my Dad,uncles, and I.

Heck you can barely see the cars with those awfull gaurd rails.
10/27/2004 - Rick
While stationed in upper Michigan at Kincheloe AFB in 1972, my roommate would take me home with him to Grand Rapids on our breaks. He would get his girlfriend to set me up on a date while in town for 72 hours. When I asked if we were going to a movie and/or dinner, the girls would yell back , No, were going drag racing! Wed pack the cooler/car and head stright to Martin and US 131 Dragway. Until then, I had never met a group of people that loved drag racing so much. I lived close to a drag strip back in my home state of Ohio, but I never had the interest in going because I always thought it was for the local cars.

not the Funny Cars I was accustomed to reading about from the pages of Hot Rod Magazine. But at Martin, I was blown away by the sight of all those California racers competing at this little Michigan track in the middle of nowhere.

From that day forward, I was hooked on drags and US 131 became my home track. Today I average attending 4-5 National events a year as a spectator, including the IHRA Northern Nats held at US 131 today. My first big event at US 131 came during the 4th annual Popular Hot Rodding Magazine Championships of 72! It was considered at the time to be the largest independant drag race east of the Mississippi. Only Bakersfield, Ca.

was considered larger. I also made the last Pop Rod (#20) in 88, but by then the track was in total disrepair. You could see the handwriting on the wall that Martin was in trouble. So, it was a joy to see IHRA come in and remodel the track and move the Northerns there in 2002 on my 30th anniversary of my first trip to Martin.

Thanks for the memories. like sleeping in the car while waiting in line just to get in the track back in the 70s.

the yellow and black checkered board looking tower before they painted it red/white/blue for the 76 Pop Rod.

the fog.

the empty beer cans everywhere. and of course, the Funny Cars!.

9/12/2004 - Web
Martin, MI (July 15, 2002)—US 131 Motorsports Park has appointed Joel Thompson as the new Business Manager responsible for all business operations. This announcement, made by Vice President of Motorsports Operations, Alan Pinnsonneault, comes as Mr. John Grivins, former owner and current General Manager, works out the remainder of his retirement contract. This position may be new to Joel Thompson, but his face is more than familiar to the facility, racers and the surrounding area. As former Assistant Vice President of Fifth Third Bank he has handled all of the banking for the park for over ten years.

He also has attended and helped run the track operations with Mr. John Grivins, former owner and current General Manager of the track. This coupled with his past positions as President of the Otsego Rotary Club, President of the Otsego Chamber of Commerce and current position of Mayor of the City of Otsego, makes him the most worthy candidate to bring this new multi-million dollar facility to the next level in racing. We are excited and privileged to have Joel Thompson officially on board with us, said Alan Pinnsonneault.

He is a valuable asset. His knowledge of business, and his continued learning of the track operations, will help bring the US 131 Motorsports Park to one of the top 3 facilities in the country. This will have a positive impact to the economy of the surrounding areas. The new US 131 Motorsports park re-opened in June 2002 with over 14-million dollars in renovations to the facility, including new grandstands, concession facilities, timing system and racing surface.

Even with a limited 2002 season, the reception to the new park has been tremendous with over 8,000 fans attending the most recent event on July 6th. The 2003 planning season is currently underway, with the opening beginning in April and running through September. US 131 Motorsports Park is affiliated with the International Hot Rod Association, IHRA, and is located on the West side of US 131 Highway between Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids, MI off of US 131 in Martin, Michigan.

US-131 Dragway - 1976 PHR MEET FROM TOM KASCH
1976 PHR MEET FROM TOM KASCH
US-131 Dragway - GRUMP AT THE LINE US 131 AUG 1975 FROM RON GROSS
GRUMP AT THE LINE US 131 AUG 1975 FROM RON GROSS
US-131 Dragway - AL HANNA PHR MARTIN DRAGWAY 1982 FROM DAVID JACKSON
AL HANNA PHR MARTIN DRAGWAY 1982 FROM DAVID JACKSON
US-131 Dragway - DICK LAHAIE MARTIN DRAGWAY 1976 FROM DAVID JACKSON
DICK LAHAIE MARTIN DRAGWAY 1976 FROM DAVID JACKSON
US-131 Dragway - LARRY SORG PHR RACE MARTIN DRAGWAY 1976 FROM DAVID JACKSON
LARRY SORG PHR RACE MARTIN DRAGWAY 1976 FROM DAVID JACKSON
US-131 Dragway - SID SEELEY MARTIN US 131 DRAGWAY  AUGUST 1977 FROM DAVID JACKSON
SID SEELEY MARTIN US 131 DRAGWAY AUGUST 1977 FROM DAVID JACKSON
US-131 Dragway - DON PRUDHOMME MARTIN US 131 DRAGWAY  JUNE 1974 FROM DAVID JACKSON
DON PRUDHOMME MARTIN US 131 DRAGWAY JUNE 1974 FROM DAVID JACKSON
US-131 Dragway - GENE SNOW MARTIN US 131 DRAGWAY  JULY 1975 FROM DAVID JACKSON
GENE SNOW MARTIN US 131 DRAGWAY JULY 1975 FROM DAVID JACKSON
US-131 Dragway - GEORGE FRENCH 1974 FROM T SPENCER
GEORGE FRENCH 1974 FROM T SPENCER
US-131 Dragway - DOUG FOLEY TOP FUEL DRAGSTER
DOUG FOLEY TOP FUEL DRAGSTER
US-131 Dragway - FUNNY CARS01
FUNNY CARS01
US-131 Dragway - FUNNY CARS02
FUNNY CARS02
US-131 Dragway - MELANIE TROXEL TOP FUEL DRIVER
MELANIE TROXEL TOP FUEL DRIVER
US-131 Dragway - MIKE ASHLEY FUNNY CAR
MIKE ASHLEY FUNNY CAR
US-131 Dragway - PRO STOCKERS01
PRO STOCKERS01
US-131 Dragway - PRO STOCKERS02
PRO STOCKERS02
US-131 Dragway - PRO STOCKERS03
PRO STOCKERS03
US-131 Dragway - RATT TOP FUEL DRAGSTER01
RATT TOP FUEL DRAGSTER01
US-131 Dragway - RATT TOP FUEL DRAGSTER02
RATT TOP FUEL DRAGSTER02
US-131 Dragway - RATT TOP FUEL DRAGSTER03
RATT TOP FUEL DRAGSTER03
US-131 Dragway - TOP FUELERS ET
TOP FUELERS ET
US-131 Dragway - FROM RICK RZEPKA
FROM RICK RZEPKA
US-131 Dragway - FROM RICK RZEPKA
FROM RICK RZEPKA
US-131 Dragway - FROM RICK RZEPKA
FROM RICK RZEPKA
US-131 Dragway - JOHN FORCE FROM RICK RZEPKA
JOHN FORCE FROM RICK RZEPKA
US-131 Dragway - DELLA WOODS FROM RICK RZEPKA
DELLA WOODS FROM RICK RZEPKA
US-131 Dragway - TIM GROSE FROM RICK RZEPKA
TIM GROSE FROM RICK RZEPKA
US-131 Dragway - FROM RICK RZEPKA
FROM RICK RZEPKA
US-131 Dragway - FROM RICK RZEPKA
FROM RICK RZEPKA
US-131 Dragway - FROM RICK RZEPKA
FROM RICK RZEPKA
US-131 Dragway - FROM RICK RZEPKA
FROM RICK RZEPKA
US-131 Dragway - FROM RICK RZEPKA
FROM RICK RZEPKA
US-131 Dragway - VINTAGE POSTCARD SHOT
VINTAGE POSTCARD SHOT
US-131 Dragway - NEW GRANDSTAND
NEW GRANDSTAND
US-131 Dragway - NATS 79 AGAINST SHIRLEY FROM CHUCK KURZAWA
NATS 79 AGAINST SHIRLEY FROM CHUCK KURZAWA
US-131 Dragway - NATS 80 AGAINST LAHAIE FROM CHUCK KURZAWA
NATS 80 AGAINST LAHAIE FROM CHUCK KURZAWA
US-131 Dragway - NEW STRIP
NEW STRIP
US-131 Dragway - NEW TOWER
NEW TOWER
US-131 Dragway - RECENT PIC FROM RON GROSS
RECENT PIC FROM RON GROSS
US-131 Dragway - RECENT PIC FROM RON GROSS
RECENT PIC FROM RON GROSS
US-131 Dragway - RECENT PIC FROM RON GROSS
RECENT PIC FROM RON GROSS
US-131 Dragway - RECENT PIC FROM RON GROSS
RECENT PIC FROM RON GROSS
US-131 Dragway - 1969 428CJ FAIRLANE COBRA SOURCE RG
1969 428CJ FAIRLANE COBRA SOURCE RG
US-131 Dragway - DICK BRANNANS 1966 AFX MUSTANG AFTER FLIPPING OVER MAY 1966 FROM JOHN A LACKO WWW LACKOPHOTO COM
DICK BRANNANS 1966 AFX MUSTANG AFTER FLIPPING OVER MAY 1966 FROM JOHN A LACKO WWW LACKOPHOTO COM
US-131 Dragway - DICK BRANNANS 1966 AFX MUSTANG LEAVES THE LINE ON ITS FIRST PASS AFTER UNLOADING MAY 1966 FROM JOHN A LACKO WWW LACKOPHOTO COM
DICK BRANNANS 1966 AFX MUSTANG LEAVES THE LINE ON ITS FIRST PASS AFTER UNLOADING MAY 1966 FROM JOHN A LACKO WWW LACKOPHOTO COM
US-131 Dragway - BRANNAN IS HELPED OUT OF HIS WRECK 1966 AFX MUSTANG AFTER FLIPPING IT AT THE END OF ITS FIRST RUN MAY 1966 FROM JOHN A LACKO WWW LACKOPHOTO COM
BRANNAN IS HELPED OUT OF HIS WRECK 1966 AFX MUSTANG AFTER FLIPPING IT AT THE END OF ITS FIRST RUN MAY 1966 FROM JOHN A LACKO WWW LACKOPHOTO COM
US-131 Dragway - AL BERGLER 1968 FROM DENNIS WHITE
AL BERGLER 1968 FROM DENNIS WHITE
US-131 Dragway - 2007 SEASON FROM GARRETT
2007 SEASON FROM GARRETT
US-131 Dragway - 2007 SEASON FROM GARRETT
2007 SEASON FROM GARRETT
US-131 Dragway - 2007 SEASON FROM GARRETT
2007 SEASON FROM GARRETT
US-131 Dragway - 2007 SEASON FROM GARRETT
2007 SEASON FROM GARRETT
US-131 Dragway - AL BERGLER 1
AL BERGLER 1
US-131 Dragway - AL BERGLER 3
AL BERGLER 3
US-131 Dragway - AL BERGLER 4
AL BERGLER 4
US-131 Dragway - BLOWN CHEVY FUELER 1967
BLOWN CHEVY FUELER 1967
US-131 Dragway - DENNIS WHITE RENEGADE 1978
DENNIS WHITE RENEGADE 1978
US-131 Dragway - FUEL MOTOR 1967
FUEL MOTOR 1967
US-131 Dragway - JACK THOMAS 1967
JACK THOMAS 1967
US-131 Dragway - KINGSHOTT AND WILLIS 1967
KINGSHOTT AND WILLIS 1967
US-131 Dragway - LIL SCREAMER
LIL SCREAMER
US-131 Dragway - LIL SCREAMER 2
LIL SCREAMER 2
US-131 Dragway - MATNEY BROTHERS 1967
MATNEY BROTHERS 1967
US-131 Dragway - RENEGADE 5
RENEGADE 5
US-131 Dragway - RON ELLIS ENGINE 1967
RON ELLIS ENGINE 1967
US-131 Dragway - RON ELLIS INSTANT T 1967
RON ELLIS INSTANT T 1967
US-131 Dragway - RUFF AND READY 1967
RUFF AND READY 1967
US-131 Dragway - STAGING LANES  1978
STAGING LANES 1978
US-131 Dragway - STOLTZ AND VELASQUEZ 1967
STOLTZ AND VELASQUEZ 1967
US-131 Dragway - TOP GAS DRAGSTER 1967
TOP GAS DRAGSTER 1967
US-131 Dragway - UFO 1967
UFO 1967
US-131 Dragway - WYNNS JAMMER FUELER 1967
WYNNS JAMMER FUELER 1967
US-131 Dragway - CHUCK KURZAWA
CHUCK KURZAWA
US-131 Dragway - 1976 PHR MEET FROM TOM KASCH
1976 PHR MEET FROM TOM KASCH
US-131 Dragway - CHUCK KURZAWA AGAINST CONNIE
CHUCK KURZAWA AGAINST CONNIE
US-131 Dragway - DANEKES AND GRAHAM 1981 FROM DENNIS WHITE
DANEKES AND GRAHAM 1981 FROM DENNIS WHITE
US-131 Dragway - DANEKES AND GRAHAM 1981 FROM DENNIS WHITE 3
DANEKES AND GRAHAM 1981 FROM DENNIS WHITE 3
US-131 Dragway - DANEKES AND GRAHAM 1981 FROM DENNIS WHITE 4
DANEKES AND GRAHAM 1981 FROM DENNIS WHITE 4
US-131 Dragway - DODGE 1968 FROM DENNIS WHITE
DODGE 1968 FROM DENNIS WHITE
US-131 Dragway - FASTBUCKS 1982 FROM DENNIS WHITE
FASTBUCKS 1982 FROM DENNIS WHITE
US-131 Dragway - JEB ALLEN-MARTIN 131 FROM BRIAN NORTON
JEB ALLEN-MARTIN 131 FROM BRIAN NORTON
US-131 Dragway - RHEHER AND MORRISON 1981 FROM DENNIS WHITE
RHEHER AND MORRISON 1981 FROM DENNIS WHITE
US-131 Dragway - RUFF AND READY 1968 FROM DENNIS WHITE
RUFF AND READY 1968 FROM DENNIS WHITE
US-131 Dragway - BLUE MAX 1982 FROM DENNIS WHITE
BLUE MAX 1982 FROM DENNIS WHITE
US-131 Dragway - CHECKMATE CAMARO 1981 FROM DENNIS WHITE
CHECKMATE CAMARO 1981 FROM DENNIS WHITE
US-131 Dragway - CHUCK KURZAWA AGAINST ORMSBY
CHUCK KURZAWA AGAINST ORMSBY
US-131 Dragway - DANEKES AND GRAHAM 1981 FROM DENNIS WHITE 2
DANEKES AND GRAHAM 1981 FROM DENNIS WHITE 2
US-131 Dragway - MARK SCOTT 1982 FROM DENNIS WHITE
MARK SCOTT 1982 FROM DENNIS WHITE
US-131 Dragway - MARV NAP AND FASTBUCKS FROM DENNIS WHITE
MARV NAP AND FASTBUCKS FROM DENNIS WHITE
US-131 Dragway - DON GARLITS-MARTIN 131 FROM BRIAN NORTON
DON GARLITS-MARTIN 131 FROM BRIAN NORTON
US-131 Dragway - US131 TRACK
US131 TRACK
US-131 Dragway - US131 OLD TRACK
US131 OLD TRACK
US-131 Dragway - AD 1969 FROM RON GROSS
AD 1969 FROM RON GROSS
US-131 Dragway - AERIAL
AERIAL
US-131 Dragway - 1976 PHR DECAL FROM TOM KASCH
1976 PHR DECAL FROM TOM KASCH
US-131 Dragway - US131 OLD TRACK
US131 OLD TRACK

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