Thunderbird Dragway - Muskegon MI

Address: 350 W. Riley Thompson Rd
City: Muskegon
State: MI
Zip: 49445
County: Muskegon
Number of visits to this page: 20085
General Information:

This strip was part of the Thunderbird Raceway complex near Muskegon. According to a 1977 article (see below), the race track opened 16 years before which would put the opening in 1961 or so. I am not sure if the drag strip opened then or later. My sense would be later. The track is still open but the drag strip shut down after a fatal accident occurred in 2008. I actually attended a drag race there during one of my trips to Muskegon to go to the Getty Drive-In. It seemed pretty cool (see video link on this page). There were hopes the drag strip would be sold and re-open under new management but it has not happened as of 2022.

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Info Updates:
10/23/2009 - djd
The circle track is still in operation, but after Larry Eaton's tragic wreck the dragstrip is closed. Personally Eaton's car was obviously and overwhelmingly FAR to fast for that track and anyone who has ever seen Thunderbird raceway and Eaton's car could tell you that. Ten years ago my car was running low elevens and I was uncomfy at the 'Bird!
5/30/2008 - RON GARZA
Too bad about Larry Eaton's crash at Thunderbird, this is one reason the race tracks must take it on themselves to limit speed. It appears to me that IHRA and NHRA must be brain dead and don't care. with the speeds the cars are running today, the tracks should impose a rule anything that runs 11.99 or faster can only run 1/8 mile and any thing that runs 12 sec. or slower can run 1/4 mi.It seems all the wrecks are at the 1/4 mi. where the cars are all wound out and have nothing left. look at all the accidents at MILAN. this should be a fun sport not feel like you are taking your last ride every time you go down the track.
9/11/2006 - ROD MAUL
I lived down south and for the last few years all the 1/4 mile tracks are going to 1/8 mile racing.When it is time to resurface you can do 1/8 mile for one third the cost of 1/4 mile track,because you dont need that long shut down. Also I read a study on safety between the two and it stated that 1/8 mile dragracing was not twice as safe as 1/4 mile racing but more than 10 times safer. So now I know why all the tracks are going to 1/8 mile racing. And most racers that race 1/8 mile for a time never want to go back to 1/4 mile. So it would be a good thing if Thunderbird went to all 1/8 mile dragracing. Rod.
1/7/2003 - Web
I made this Muskegon track my home track from 1976 thru 1981. I believe it opened sometime in the sixties and has opened and closed and reopened a couple of times and is currently open with a track resurfacing a couple of years ago. When I raced there the track was a little short and not real wide but was nice and flat. More flat than Martin or Stanton. About 1979 Doug Rose brought his "Green Mamba" jet car to town and on Saturday night at Thunderbird Raceway dirt track he did his car melt down show and on Sunday he made a couple of runs at the drag strip. During the week before, the track owners had a new asphalt burn out area put down just behind the starting line which was still to soft to use so it was roped off. Well, when Rose fired up his jet car, the thrust literally lifted up giant chunks of the new asphalt and blew it back toward an area of the pits. It was quite a site to see when those sheets of asphalt were blowing in the air what seemed like in slow motion. Luckily no people or cars were hurt. What a show. Yes the pit area can get a little damp when it has rained. The track was built up above the surrounding area.
 Photos:8
Thunderbird Dragway - THUNDERBIRD SOURCE RG
THUNDERBIRD SOURCE RG
Thunderbird Dragway - BURNOUTS PHOTO FROM WATER WINTER WONDERLAND
BURNOUTS PHOTO FROM WATER WINTER WONDERLAND
Thunderbird Dragway - CHRISTMAS TREE PHOTO FROM WATER WINTER WONDERLAND
CHRISTMAS TREE PHOTO FROM WATER WINTER WONDERLAND
Thunderbird Dragway - MUSTANG PHOTO FROM WATER WINTER WONDERLAND
MUSTANG PHOTO FROM WATER WINTER WONDERLAND
Thunderbird Dragway - NICE MOPAR PHOTO FROM WATER WINTER WONDERLAND
NICE MOPAR PHOTO FROM WATER WINTER WONDERLAND
Thunderbird Dragway - RACE IN PROGRESS PHOTO FROM WATER WINTER WONDERLAND
RACE IN PROGRESS PHOTO FROM WATER WINTER WONDERLAND
Thunderbird Dragway - READY TO GO PHOTO FROM WATER WINTER WONDERLAND
READY TO GO PHOTO FROM WATER WINTER WONDERLAND
Thunderbird Dragway - AERIAL
AERIAL
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