Track History

After the Springfield-Ozark Dragway closed, racers desired to find another local place where they could race.

 

They formed the Greene County Drag Racing Association in fall 1976. They asked the Springfield city council if a city street could be closed for periodic racing. The city council voted no. Undeterred, the group found a place to build a strip southeast of Rogersville on State Highway U. Tom Riddell and Doug Rees were the track owners.

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The first drag race was held on June 19, 1977.

On June 25-26, the track held a 2-day grand opening race billed as the Ozark Open. Under AHRA sanction, they booked in an 8-car funny car field.  On July 17, 1977, Jack Shore defeated Rick Rader in a pro stock match race, posting a best time of 9.22 seconds. On July 23, 1977, the track ran its first night race.

The first season of the track was bedeviled with a couple of unfortunate rainouts. The 2-day Coca Cola Funny Car Festival on September 10-11, 1977, was a rain-out casualty. Before the rains halted action, Billy Graham of Manhattan, Kansas, set the strip ET record with a 6.66 clocking. Bill Cheppelle of Florida set the top speed mark with a 213 MPH run.

 

In 1978, AHRA held a national event at the track called the Ozark Nationals. A three-day affair, it was held on June 30 and July 1-2. Don Garlits qualified first with a 6.268, 217 MPH run. Tom McEwen qualified first in funny car with a 6.57 second pass. Don Nicholson led the pro stock field with an 8.95 ET.

 

Upsets ruled as the professional class winners were Clayton Harris, Billy Graham, and Lee Shepherd. In 1979, Tom Riddell became the sole owner when he bought out Doug Reese. He hired Sherri Mace to be the promotions director.

 

The Ozark Nationals event was staged again in 1979. The pro winners in 1979 were Don Garlits, Tom McEwen, and Lee Shepherd. The track closed in late 1979, but was reopened by owner Al Wilkerson in 1985 as Show-Me Dragway, under IHRA sanction.

 

Documentation shows the track operated under that name at least through 1986. The track experienced repeated vandalism in 1985, including the gutting of their new timing tower and a concession stand by an incident of arson. After several ownership and name changes (Springfield Dragway in 1988), Ted and Jenny Jones bought the track and named it Ozark International Raceway in 1990.

 

In 1993, Jones sold the track to Lee and Mary Baltzell and Ken Donovan.

 

In 2009, Mitch, Marty, and Neal Chance bought the track and renamed it Ozark Raceway Park, continuing operation under that name today under  IHRA sanction.

In 2022 Katie Lotsberg & Kevin Jewer bought the track, continuing operation under the same name today under IHRA sanction.

Courtesy of: https://dragstriplist.com/missouri