Detroit’s lost dragstrips


When modern V-8s trickled down from Cadillac, Chrysler, and Oldsmobile to the Chevys, Fords, and Pontiacs that any kid with willing parents and job could afford, drag racing took root in the Motor City. Twenty clubs cropped up under the Michigan Hot Rod Association (MHRA), established in 1951. Thankfully, Robert Baumgartner, a local police lieutenant, realized something had to be done to avoid street racing carnage. In 1953, the area’s first legal drags were held on a temporary strip located at a General Motors manufacturing site under Baumgartner’s protective gaze.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2017/12/26/detroit-drag-strips


That poor forward control Corvair in the photos. No classic deserves bullet holes!

Great read though.


I have a place on Lake St. Clair not far from Motor City Dragway and my retired next door neighbor used to race there. It’s really interesting hearing his stories about the place over a few beers and one day we decided to go check it out as at that time I’d had never seen it and it had been over 40yrs since he’d seen it… was interesting walking the track and climbing into the scoring booth reimagining the place alive in its heyday while listening to my neighbor talk about all the famous racers who’d come to town and run there and about the sounds of the big blocks roaring down the stripe. It just reinforced my belief that I was born in the wrong era!