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US 60 Dragway

           US 60 Dragway was opened on July 31, 1964 by Hardinsburg resident and future Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame member, Keenan O' Connell. O'Connell stated that he was invited by a friend to attend the drag races at the old Owensboro Dragstrip. As he sat on top of the hill watching the cars and the people pour in to the racetrack, he saw the possibility of a good financial opportunity along with bringing the sport of drag racing to the Breckinridge County area.

          At that time O'Connell owned a go kart track that he had purchased from the Ditto family and decided that the location would be a good place for the dragstrip. Although he did not know at the time where the financing for the track come from, plans were made to build US 60 Dragway.

          On opening day, O'Connell stood at the gate and looked up and down US Highway 60. As far as he could see in both directions, cars were lined up to enter the racetrack. He knew then that US 60 Dragway was going to be a success.

          Farm fencing had been installed to keep race fans from getting to close to the dragstrip. Before the racing had started, fans had pushed the fences down and where lined up right next to the racing surface as cars blasted down the track. Chainlink fencing was installed in short order.

          Many of the sports top drivers of the day appeared at US 60. Some of the more notable were, Pro Stock superstar Bob Glidden, Super Stock ace Herb McCandless, Top Fuel driver Dale Funk, Top Gas star Gordon Collett, Modified and Comp eliminator driver Joe Williamson, Funny stars Randy Walls, Bruce Larsen and Kelly Chadwick, Bill "Maverick" Golden, driver of the famed wheelstander, "The Little Red Wagon" and scores of others.

          The first 1/8 mile Nationals were held at US 60 Dragway with cars appearing from 37 states. O'Connell recalled some of the more memorable events that occurred at US 60 such as the night the lights went out as two dragsters crossed the finish line. The two cars bumped together in the dark but were bought to safe stop by their drivers.

          Another time two dead heats occurred between the A Street Roadster driven by Jerry Basham and the A Gas Henry J driven by Doug Greenfield. A third runoff was held with Greenfield taking the win. Match racing was big at the time and the fans at US 60 Dragway enjoyed some of the best in the country.          

          Match races between the Golden Angel owned by Ed Payne and driven by Henry Putman and the Roadrunner Henry J owned and driven by Doug Greenfield were crowd favorites.

          O'Connell operated US 60 Dragway from 1964 until 1974 when it was then leased to Dallas Jones who now owns and operates Beech Bend Raceway.

          The track was leased to several different operators over the years including Noel Davis, Kevin Brown, Harvey Davis, Eddie and Bruce Lampton and J.D. and Judy Snead. The track was sold to the Sneads who continue to operate it to this day.

          O'Connell stated that there was a lot of joy and a lot of heartaches to running US 60 but it was a great experience and he still loves racing and drove a race car until he was 73 years old.

Story by Eddy Kannapel

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