In a somewhat surprising move, the iconic Atco Dragway announced at 6:00 PM today that they have permanently closed the racing facility.
The Facebook post is very clear about the status of the dragway using the word “permanently”, but then gives no indication as to why they are closing… especially when they had a full calendar set for 2023.
UPDATE: The 5,000 seat Grandstand is already listed for sale!
In fact just less than a day ago one of their other Facebook posts spoke about the success of the recent Pan American nationals and how they were looking forward to hosting them again for next year!
The Raceway does not have their messages open on Facebook, and have turned off comments on the announcement post so it’s tough to get additional details at this point… and I wanted to share this information quickly.
Effective immediately: Atco Dragway is permanently closed. We will not be open from this point on. The remainder of our schedule for 2023 will be canceled.
Thank you all for your patronage and memories over the years.
Special thank you to our 29th annual Pan American Nationals racers & crowd for making Atco Dragway’s last event the biggest and best one ever. This isn’t the end for import racing in the northeast!
Insurance Auto Auctions – Did The Deal Close?
The closing message says “this isn’t the end for import racing in the northeast!”. Is that a hint towards a buyer who would keep the facility open as a drag race facility?
UPDATE: Chris Miller of Chris Miller Racing has said in a Facebook livestream tonight that Insurance Auto Auctions did NOT purchase the property. A new buyer stepped in. But offered no extra details, and is working on relocating his events to other venues.
Well… All of that being said, back in 2020 we wrote about a buyer wanting to take over the Atco Dragway and turn it into an auto storage lot and internet sales facility for the handling of damaged/donated cars.
The plans for that effort by a company called Insurance Auto Auctions, take ownership of cars from the area via insurance companies, charities, car dealers and other sources… store them on the lot and then make the cars available through Internet auctions.
Direct public sales at the site would not take place.
So while we aren’t clear that this is 100% why Atco Dragway closed today, the Insurance Auto Auctions company did do significant work in trying to gain an approval for the project, including a full environmental impact statement and analysis which was made available at the Waterford Township website in 2021.
The property does sit within the New Jersey Pinelands which has a Commission to protect the Pinelands from over development, and requires their approval for change of use and other development efforts.
I covered some aspects of that in my 2020 article. At the time some aspects of the property were cleared and unused, and the new buyer was offering to revert that land back to forest or grasslands.
So we are not 100% certain at this time, if the proposed proposed change of use and sale to Insurance Auto Auctions is the reason for today’s closure.
Atco Dragway – 63 Years
With that larger project looming in an unknown status, the dragway has been continuing with normal operations and in fact had a very jam packed schedule for 2023 with events four days a week, and multiple events on the weekends!
But again the message at the Atco Dragway Facebook page is very clear… the remainder of our schedule for 2023 will be cancelled.
The short social media post goes on to thank everyone for their patronage and memories over the years and gives a big thank you to the staff “from the bottom of their hearts” for sticking it out with the dragway and being the best in the business.
They included graphic image again thanks everyone for their valued business and calls out that they’ve been operating for 63 years!
More details as we learn more
Links and Locations
1000 Jackson Rd
Atco, NJ 08004