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LAistory: Lions Drag Strip

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Lions Drag Strip was opened in October of 1955 in an abandoned trainyard in Wilmington. The racetrack was one judge’s attempt to cut down on criminal street racing by giving the wayward youth a place to race legally. Teaming up with the local Lion's Club to obtain financing, and leasing land from the Harbor Commission, the city opened Lions Associated Drag Strip. The strip was also referred to as "LADS" by locals, and as "The Beach" by racers.

Ten thousand kids showed up on the first day, tearing the fence down and claiming the race track as their playground. Nearly three hundred cars fought for supremacy.

The strip was known for excellent traction and proximity to the ocean gave it what many racers believed to be "rarified air". For eighteen years, it was considered one of the finest and fastest tracks in the country, and manager Mickey Thompson turned it into one of the most successful.