George Ray

Unfortunately, George Ray passed away last week, but the drag strip he built in his back yard lives on like it was still 1961.

It seems that way back when, George was displeased about something or another while competing in his homemade roadster at a Tennessee track (Hmmmnn?)... and so it was suggested to him that if he didn't like the way things were being done, that he consider building his own drag strip.

So he did... and it is still operated pretty much the same way that it always has been for the past 48 years. George poured the all concrete racing surface on his own property, and made use of telephone poles and railroad ties until it all looked like a basic "run-what-you-brung" drag strip. He made the rules, and there was no sanctioning body other than George. Hence the track being labeled as "Wildcat". All drag racing contested at George Ray's Wildcat Drag Strip is done "heads-up" style, so you probably ought to bring all you've got. George wanted his track to soldier on after he passed, and now that he's gone, the intent is to keep the track operating just like it has been for five decades. It's just what George wanted it to be, and needless to say, you're not apt to find another track quite like this one anywhere else.

The whole experience is enough of a trip back in time, that the track now draws visitors from around the world to tiny Paragould Arkansas, just to see how things were done in those earlier days. So even if George was making a protest statement all those years ago, it has kind of paid off for all of us as a historical artifact in this modern age. In fact, George Ray's Wildcat Drag Strip is listed on the National Registry of Historical Places. Brett Kepner has written a very complete tribute to George Ray over at Drag Racing Online. Click the link and check it out.

Thanks to Henry Perry for heads up on the article. Maybe I'm due for a trip to the Ozarks, to find out firsthand, if it's really possible to make time stand still while drag racing .