Lost Drag Strips Part 4: Aquasco Speedway
Our weekly installment of Lost Drag Strips has us placed on the east coast in rural Maryland. Aquasco Speedway was a pioneering track in the east. Developed by Alfonso and Albert Procopio in the mid 1950’s it was intended for it to be a purpose built strip for quarter mile racing and the first of its kind in the area. The track was located just minutes south of Washington, D.C.
Out of all of the fourteen tracks that were located within two hours of Aquasco it became the most famed of its time. The landmark facility attracted many a great racer with the likes of Don Garlits, Connie Kalitta, Ronnie Sox and Bunny Burkett graced the 1320. It has even been noted that Richard Petty even raced his Hemi Barracuda there in 1965.
Carved straight out of the woods, Aquasco did not even have a address. fliers simply stated “20 miles south of town on Route 381”. The track had nearly a quarter mile shutdown with bleachers and concession stands lining both sides of the track. Each great track has unique features and one that was always separated Aquasco from the others was the incline to the starting line and its very short staging lanes. The Procopio’s were a Bruton Smith type of there era. They also owned and operated Capitol Raceway and Cecil County Dragway at the same time as Aquasco.
As many other tracks it had its share of tragedy. The Procopio’s introduced the President’s Cup which is still run at Maryland International Raceway each year. In June of 1965 local Top Fuel standout Tex Randall lost his life during a qualifying pass after losing control at 187mph. Randall was on par where ever he raced and was no stranger to taking out the likes of Tommy Ivo on any given opportunity.
The part of each one of these stories seems to be a familiar one as environmental concerns and trouble with having a sanctioning body were eminent the facility closed the gates in 1979 after a strong 24 year run. After the daytrips demise the American Motorcross Association leased part of the property and placed a track on it where Travis Pastrana raced often during his great career. The land was later sold in 2002 and interestingly enough the track was never demolished but sits vacant to this day.
Photos courtesy of AtomicPinup