Cayuga Comes Full Circle – Returns to NHRA

By:       Bruce Biegler

After a period of strong speculation, official confirmation has now come that fabled Canadian drag strip, Cayuga Dragway at Toronto Motorsports Park has returned to full NHRA sanctioning….

That (worst kept) secret received final signature last Friday when Cayuga Dragway officials endorsed a new contract.  The move again aligns Canada’s oldest drag racing facility with the world’s largest motorsports sanctioning body after about a 10-year absence.  During that time the track was sanctioned by the IHRA and also did operate as an independent (loosely affiliated with the now defunct AHRA). 

When the AHRA started it’s crumble at mid year last season, negotiations for a return to the NHRA began, according to long time Cayuga Track Manager, Neale Armstrong.

 “After we lost contact with the AHRA we had some exchanges with Bob Lang (NHRA Division One Director),” Armstrong confirmed.  “The NHRA wanted back on Canadian soil and we had such a good relationship and history in the past – it just made sense to reestablish things.”

 Prior to moving to IHRA sanctioning in 2001, Cayuga had for the most part been NHRA sanctioned over a period of some 40 years during which time they presented some of the biggest and best attended NHRA points race events ever held in Canada.  While there are not just yet any immediate plans for any major NHRA Divisional or National Open events, it would probably be safe to speculate that those are definite targets and possibilities for the future.

 “Our intent right now with the NHRA is to establish some different and new programs – a bit of a NHRA “north” concept,” Neale added.  “While I can’t be specific about anything at this time our plans are to try to move forward with some things that haven’t yet been seen in Canadian drag racing.  Everyone at Cayuga is excited about going back to this higher profile family.  It will be good for the track, and it’s racers and fans.”

During the 1980's Cayuga Dragway hosted a series of very successful NHRA Divisional points races. Here is Winners Circle - 1990

Cayuga Dragway is now in the midst of finalizing it’s 2011 racing schedule.  It’s three major annual events Nitro Nationals (July), Canadian Street Car Nationals (August) and Jet Car Nationals (Sept) will be back, and they will be complimented by at least two feature PMRA circuit events. 

The final full season schedule should be released by the end of January.

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(Bruce Biegler Photos)