OK...went to the "Commander" in Chief Himself. Howard was tickled to know we're looking for the real story....so Here Goes:
Way back when.....1962 to be exact...This "Drag Racing" thing was catching on big time. He Saw how Dover ,So.Glens Falls and Fonda were packing them in.He already had a circle track in operation with plenty of parking and acreage to expand.Now, right down the street was Red Barn Speed Shop.They had a big corn field, and rumors were floating around about them buiding a Strip.Howard said 'Itwas Them Or Us".So he got a bunch of High School buddies and started knocking down trees.Then in came Charlie Putnam with about 5 pieces of land clearing euqipment,and things started to take shape.NHRA was called in ,and they were always sanctioned from day one.That was August 18,1963.They began with a flag starter.The first Starting Lights consisted of two trees .One for left lane and one for right lane.NHRA eventually made them go for one center one. Since no real commercial timing equipment was available, they home built their own. Interestingly ,the man who built and continued to maintain them,was Mike Nesland from non other than Dover Plains.He had seen Dovers Stuff and said "I can do it better". As Howard states..."We pretty much put Fonda and So. Glens Falls out of Business".As depicted in the movie"Heart Like A Wheel" and hinted at, that Shirley Muldowny got here license at Raceway Park ....is Not true.She Did that at Lebanon.Don Prudhomme ran his first 5 second run there, and they continue to have a Division One Event, the Division One Bracket Finals, Night Of Fire, Musclepalooza, years and years of Capital Area Street Rod Shows and Drags and of course now ....The annual Dover Drag Strip Nostalgia Drags.He Added,"Everybody Loves Your Race"