DIALED IN: Elk Creek Dragway
Virginia’s Elk Creek Dragway not only proposes the thrill of weekly drag racing competition; it also offers one of the more picturesque settings that surround the track in all directions.
Situated in rural Grayson County, bordering the North Carolina-Virginia state line, Elk Creek features an eighth-mile drag strip that peacefully rests at the foot of a scenic mountain range just behind the tower, along with rolling hillsides and rustic barns that border the staging lanes, not to mention many acres of grassy parking for race cars.
The park-like setting isn’t the only thing unique about this track, though, as its history of ownership is among the most compelling tales associated with Elk Creek. The track was officially opened in July 1968 by its original owners Tommy and Nell Morton, but in the years that followed it changed hands a number of times. By 1999 the future of Elk Creek Dragway was quite uncertain and it even briefly closed down, shortly after the season began.
After no one seemed interested in owning or managing the track individually, a groundswell of support began to develop among the racers collectively, who each shared a conviction to keep Elk Creek in operation. Realizing there’s strength in numbers, the racers came together with a resounding solution. “In December 1999 a corporation of roughly 130 shareholders was formed, which is mainly comprised of drag racers who didn’t want to see their track remain closed,” explains Jamie Moxley, one of the involved racers and also the treasurer for the racer-owned corporation that has kept Elk Creek Dragway afloat for the last 15 years.
Moxley’s role at Elk Creek is far more extensive than just writing checks to the winners on race day, though. He wears a variety of hats and bears many responsibilities relating to the day-to-day operation of the track. Additionally, a number of shareholders volunteer their time to sit on the board of directors and collectively govern the track, working hard to ensure the gates will open each and every race season.
Incidentally, Elk Creek offers one of the longest point seasons around, with weekly bracket races held from April through October. “We’re one of the last hold outs that still races weekly with our points program,” Moxley says with just a touch of pride. All together, there are upwards of 23 point races, although the weather plays a major role in determining how many will be completed. “That’s the other thing about being here in the valley, it can sometimes be raining here when it’s not raining anywhere else,” Moxley says.
The 2015 season fell victim to rain early on, in fact, but many of the later events have been enjoyed under favorable conditions. Typically, Elk Creek Dragway offers test-and-tune opportunities on Friday nights, along with a variety of special events such as 7.90 heads-up Junior Dragster races and also diesel truck events, which continues to grow in popularity. Saturdays are reserved for the bracket program as well as other special events, including monthly 5.90 and 6.90 heads-up classes. For fans of high-winding, clutch car action, Elk Creek also hosts the popular Stick Shift Championship Series, usually six times per season.
Inclusive to a full roster of racing events, the local residents in the community have even come to embrace the track on non-race days as well. “We always leave a pedestrian gate open for the community and there’s lots of people who use the drag strip as a walking track during the week. We’ve worked hard at reaching a common ground with the community and we’ve come to enjoy a good relationship with our neighbors,” Moxley says.
So, whether you enjoy a slice of scenic beauty to go along with your drag racing, or simply enjoy a good place to stay fit and healthy, Elk Creek Dragway offers multi-purpose enjoyment.