Atco Dragway opened in Atco, New Jersey on Memorial Day in 1960 and was a staple of the Garden State motorsports community until yesterday when it closed. Without explanation, Atco announced that it was ceasing operations on Facebook.
Atco’s closure 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 it announced its closure, Atco posted a thank you on Facebook to everyone who attended the 29th Chris Miller Racing Pan American National Championships and said there would be a 30th. A few events were also planned for the immediate future, such as Street Friday Night on July 21 and a Chevy vs Ford event on July 21.
However, it might not be as unexpected as it seems. In 2020, during the Covid pandemic shutdown, Illinois-based Insurance Auto Auctions tried to buy Atco Dragway and turn it into a car auction site. However, according to NJ mail post, the plans fell through when Insurance Auto Auctions could not 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 there, gutting it and selling what isn’t needed. Joseph Fazzio Surplus of New Jersey has listed Atco Dragway’s 5,000-seat grandstand for sale and is selling it on behalf of the new owners (The Drive has contacted Fazzio Surplus and will update this story when we have more information.). The complete set of bleachers painted red is sold for $390,000.
It wouldn’t be the first time Atco Dragway has changed hands, as the original owners sold it to New Jersey native Len Capone Jr. in 2012. But if the new owners sell its bleachers, it Doesn’t look like they’re going to keep the Dragway as a race track of any kind.
Much of the New Jersey automotive community is heartbroken by the news, as 16,000 people have already shared Atco’s Facebook post and thousands more have mourned their favorite dragstrip via emoji. As a New Jersian myself, I’m sad I’ve never been to Atco (ironically it’s one of the few tracks in NJ I’ve never been to) but it’s always sad to see a part of the motorsport heritage of my home country to die. Atco’s demise follows the closure of another Garden State drag strip, Englishtown, in 2019. The latter circuit still hosts Formula Drift events.
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