Kingdon Drag Strip

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A belly tank nosed competition coupe at Kingdon in the 1950s. Virginia Ryan and Guy Mencaccy is looking at the race car[1], and Guy Mencaccy's 1932 Ford 5-Window coupe can be spotted in the background. Photo from the Jon Enberg collection, provided by Steve Corgiat.
A flathead powered Model T drag car at Kingdon in the 1950s. Photo from the Jon Enberg collection, provided by Steve Corgiat.
The LeBlanc's Speed & Engineering Belly Tank at Kingdon in the 1950s. Photo from the Jon Enberg collection, provided by Steve Corgiat.
The Burkholder Bros' racing team at Kingdon in 1958. Photo courtesy of Harry Burkholder.
Harry Burkholder racing the The Burkholder Brothers' 1934 Ford 5-Window coupe at Kingdon in 1958. Photo courtesy of Harry Burkholder.
Harry Burkholder racing The Burkholder Brothers' 1923 Ford Model T at Kigdon. Photo courtesy of Harry Burkholder.

The Kingdon Drag Strip is located near Lodi, California. Kingdon Airport was built in the early 1940s by the United States military, and was used as a training facility for military pilots. In the mid 1950s, Bob Cress[2], a Stockton Police Officer, converted its use into what was the known as "Kingdon Drag Strip". The philosophy was to get kids who were engaging in illegal street racing off the streets and provide them with a safer and legal alternative.[3]


Gene Winfield, Big Jon Enberg and other Modesto Century Toppers club members ran at Kingdon as members of the Valley Timing Association in the 1950s.[4]


Kingdon marked the first appearance of Don Garlits' Swamp Rat on March 13-14, 1959 after installing a blower at Iskenderian's shop and his victory over Tony Waters following his defeat at the March Meet at Famoso Drag Strip in Bakersfield, California just two weeks prior.[4] The day Garlits came with the blower installed, Dave LeRoy was the starter.[2]


After two decades of racing, Kingdon was converted back into an operational airpot in in the 1970s. The airport is still operational, and is currently used for general aviation and flight training. In 2006 a drag race was once again held at Kingdon in order to honor the many racers that ran there in the past. Since then a drag race has been held at Kingdon once a year.[3]

References



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