Atco Dragway in Camden Shut Its Doors for Good — Here's Why


Jul. 19 2023, Published 10:30 a.m. ET

The Gist:

  • Atco Dragway in Camden County, N.J. abruptly announced that it was closing for good on July 18, 2023 after being in operation for more than 60 years.
  • No official reason for the closure has been announced.
  • Reports suggest the owners are redeveloping the land into an auction facility.

After first opening in Camden County, N.J. in 1960, Atco Dragway has announced that it's closed for good. The news that the race track would be closing came as a surprise to many, in part because the announcement seemed to be incredibly abrupt.

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Naturally, those who have spent time at the track were incredibly curious both what happened and whether any official explanation has been offered as to why it suddenly closed its doors after more than 60 years in business.

What happened to Atco Dragway, formerly called Atco Raceway?

The announcement that Atco was closing was made in a post on Facebook that was published on July 18, 2023.

“Atco Dragway is permanently closed. We will not be open from this point on. The remainder of our schedule for 2023 will be canceled,” the announcement stated. “Thank you all for your patronage and memories over the years."

The same announcement was made on Instagram, and comments on both posts were disabled.

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Atco was the first dragway in New Jersey, and had been in business for more than 60 years. The abrupt announcement that it was closing didn't come with any sort of explanation. It seems like those responsible for the post may have wanted to avoid any questions about how the track arrived at this fate.

For the track's many regular fans, though, there was likely some confusion as to why the track closed.

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Why did Atco close?

While no official explanation has been offered as to why the track closed its doors. Reporting suggests that in 2020, news broke that an Illinois company submitted an application to the New Jersey Pinelands Commission because they wanted to redevelop the land that the track sits on.

According to the application, the paved sections of the site would be used for automobile auctions, and that application was co-signed by Leonard Capone Jr., the owner of the dragway.

Although no comments have been made confirming this, it seems possible that the sale went through, and both parties are eager to begin the work required to rebuild the site as an auction facility. The announcement that the track closed was certainly quite abrupt, but it may not have been a surprise to anyone who knew about the potential sale.

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Fans are getting wistful about the raceway's closure.

Comments may have been closed on the official announcements that the track was closing, but users weighed in in other places following the news that the track would close.

“Live 5 minutes from there, grew up as kid at the track, at least they went out with a bang, they raced well past their curfew this past Saturday night,” one person wrote on Facebook.

Atco's statement concluded with a thank you to those who participated in the track's most recent, and now last, event, before thanking all those who had worked a the track. “To all of our staff, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for sticking it out with us and being the best in the business!”

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