63-Year-Old Drag Strip in New Jersey Shuts Down Without Warning
The new owners are already selling stuff off.
Atco Dragway opened in Atco, New Jersey on Memorial Day in 1960 and has been a staple of the Garden State's motorsport community until yesterday, when closed its doors. Without explanation, Atco announced it was ending operations on Facebook.
Atco's closing comes as a shock to New Jersey-based gearheads, as it had several events planned for the future and was actively promoting them. Just the day before Atco announced its closing, it posted a thank you on Facebook to all who attended the 29th Chris Miller Racing Pan America Nationals and claimed there'd be a 30th. There were a few events planned for the immediate future, too, such as the Street Friday Night on July 21 and a Chevy vs Ford event on July 21.
However, it may not be as unexpected as it seems. Back in 2020, during Covid pandemic shutdown, the Illinois-based Insurance Auto Auctions attempted to buy Atco Dragway and turn it into a car auction site. However, according to NJ's Courier Post, the plans fell through when Insurance Auto Auctions couldn't get township approval. Apparently, Atco's neighbors preferred the roar of engines to the sight of a car auction parking lot.
While Insurance Auto Auctions may not have bought Atco, it looks like someone finally did, as the new owners are already in, gutting it, and selling off what isn't needed. New Jersey's Joseph Fazzio Surplus has Atco Dragway's 5,000-seat grandstand listed for sale, and is selling it on behalf of the new owners (The Drive reached out to Fazzio Surplus and will update this story when we get more info). The full set of red-painted bleachers is being sold for $390,000.
This wouldn't be the first time Atco Dragway switched hands, as the original owners sold it to New Jersey-native Len Capone Jr. back in 2012. But if the new owners are selling its bleachers, it doesn't seem like they're going to be keeping the Dragway as a racetrack of any kind.
Much of the New Jersey car community is heartbroken over the news, as 16,000 people already shared Atco's Facebook post, and thousands more mourned their favorite dragstrip via emoji. As a New Jersian myself, I'm sad I never actually went to Atco (ironically, it's one of the few NJ tracks I've never been to) but it's still sad to see a part of my home state's motorsport heritage die. Atco's end follows the closure of another Garden State drag strip, Englishtown, in 2019. The latter racetrack still hosts Formula Drift events.
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