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When Tri State Dragway was started by our group of young racing types, in 1960, we had no plan to create a drag racing mecca in northeast Missouri. Our entire motivation was to find a fairly smooth solid surface to race our cars on. The Clark County Fairgrounds at Kahoka, Mo. had just that sort of place, a long parking lot where the Highway Department mixed ‘black top’ patching material during the warmer months for use on local roads. It was actually not a solid traction surface, but as I have said before, “it wasn’t dirt”. During the first year, we operated five races, one per month starting on June 14th 1960.
The turnout in terms of race cars and spectators, was far ahead of what we predicted. The Clark County Fair Association was quite pleased with the check we gave them for use of the Fairgrounds.
Looking back on it, the layout was very similar to the Los Angeles County Fairground in Pomona, Ca. We were somewhat handicapped from the start by being locked into the corner of the grounds, with our starting line just a short distance from U.S. Highway 136, the main road to the track. We certainly did not copy Pomona either as Kahoka opened a full year prior to the first NHRA Winternationals.
Tri State Dragway, late 2000s: A number of fans and former racers convened at the strip in 2007 for a reunion right on the track. The 1/8th mile track itself is still in decent condition considering the time since it was installed by W.L. Miller. The fencing is gone, and the grass is well kept. The light poles but the flood lights have been replaced with street lamps.