Your Complete Guide to Drag Racing, Speedways, and Race Tracks in Maryland

Whether you’re a casual observer or a passionate racing enthusiast, the first step to enjoying all the fun and excitement that motorsports have to offer is getting out to the racetrack. Being in the stands with the hum of the engines, sights and sounds of spectators screaming for their favorite drivers, and the overall atmosphere is hard to explain if you haven’t experienced it for yourself! 

For newer fans or folks new to the area, this guide is here to tell you all about the best racing venues and race tracks in Maryland and the surrounding states. Here’s everything you need to know about the area’s most prominent drag strips and raceways. 

Drag Racing in Maryland 

International Auto Racing in Maryland

Drag racing is one of the oldest and most cherished motorsports, existing for nearly as long as motorized vehicles themselves. Here are a few of the best drag strips in the Maryland area for some fast and fun quarter-mile racing. 

Maryland International Raceway

The Maryland International Raceway (MDIR) in Budd Creek, MD, is a premier location for East Coast drag racing fans. This track was designed by a NASCAR Drag Division worker and has an elevation of just 80 feet above sea level, giving drivers unmatched performance right off the pad. It’s one of the reasons that so many world records have been achieved on this track. 

The raceway is equipped with parking and seating for massive audiences, making it one of the most popular for watching drag racing and other special racing events. There are even alcohol-free family Grandstand Sections to provide a family-friendly atmosphere for parents and children to enjoy the sport. 

Cecil County Dragway

If you head on over to Rising Sun, MD, you’ll find another of the state’s top quarter-mile tracks hosting fast-paced racing events every weekend. The Cecil County Dragway is located on 140 acres and has room for 350 racers with trailers in their 45-acre staging area. It also provides generous seating for spectators, plenty of restrooms, and convenient concession stands. 

Mason Dixon Dragway

In Boonsboro, MD, you’ll find one of the state’s most cherished drag racing venues in Mason Dixon Dragway. This drag strip hosts all kinds of drag racing events throughout the year, including a program for high school students to get involved with the sport. One of those students will represent the track at the Sears Craftsman E.T. Racing Series Finals in each division. Overall, Mason Dixon Dragway provides a safe and fun atmosphere for racers and spectators alike and is a big part of keeping drag racing alive and well in the state of Maryland. 

The History of Drag Racing in Maryland

  • Drag Racing has a long history in Maryland, with the first drag race taking place in 1960.
  • It was initially hosted at Laurel Raceway, where racers would compete to see who could go from 0-60 in the shortest amount of time.
  • Over time, drag racing flourished in Maryland and more tracks were built across the state.
  • In 1986, the Maryland Motor Sports Park opened and is now one of the biggest and most popular drag racing tracks in the region.
  • Throughout its history, Maryland has been home to some of the most talented drag racing drivers on both a local and national level.
  • The Maryland International Raceway attracts some of the best drivers and fans from all over the United States to promote their sport and show off their skills each year.
  • In addition to traditional drag racing events, there are also special events like drift racing that have become increasingly popular in recent years as well as other types of motorsport competitions such as 1/4 mile drags and road course races held throughout Maryland every year.
  • There are several organizations that promote safety at these events including Speedway Motorsports Inc., which educates new drivers about proper safety measures before they hit the track for their first race ever!
  • As an added bonus, MDIR also provides free schooling classes for those looking to learn more about drag racing for free!
  • Drag Racing remains a vibrant and active part of Maryland’s motorsport scene, with events being held all year round for racers of any skill level!

Speedways & Race Tracks in Maryland

Racetracks & Speedways for auto racing in Maryland

For racing fans, there’s nothing like the roar of dozens of engines filling up an entire stadium full of cheering racing fans. Here are some of Maryland’s nearby racetracks and speedways hosting exciting live racing events throughout the year. 

Hagerstown Speedway

The Hagerstown Speedway is a half-mile-long red clay track in Hagerstown, MD, with a reputation for being one of the fastest and safest tracks in the United States. For over ten years, this speedway has hosted a wide variety of racing events such as Late Model Sportsman, Fastrak Crate Late Model, Pure Stock, and Hobby Stocks. Admission is just $15 for spectators and $10 for students, seniors, and military personnel, so head on down if you are looking for a fun and affordable way to see some world-class racing. 

Lincoln Speedway

If you’re willing to drive a little to visit a premier East Coast raceway, then check out Lincoln Speedway in Abbottstown, PA. Just a little over an hour’s drive from Baltimore, this 3/8th-mile high-banked clay oval track has been a leader in U.S. motorsports for 60 years. This track is known for being one of the most challenging, most competitive sprint car racing tracks in the country. 

Track Days Near Maryland

Track Days and Auto racing

Track days are organized events that are perfect for drivers at all skill and experience levels. They typically include a combination of on-track and classroom instruction and most only require you to have a valid driver’s license and a car to participate. Here are a few track days options in and near Maryland: 

Summit Point Raceway 

Over in West Virginia, less than a two-hour drive from Baltimore, motorists will find one of the most accommodating venues in the Maryland area for both new and experienced drivers. The Summit Point Raceway offers multiple programs to help passionate drivers hone their skills and get the most enjoyment possible out of their driving. 

Newer drivers will want to check out My Track Time, a two-hour introductory program that combines classroom and on-track instruction for successful first-ever track day experiences. For FATT-certified drivers, Seat Time allows high-performance drivers an opportunity to test and tune their vehicles or polish their skills behind the wheel. 

New Jersey Motorsports Park 

Just over two hours from Baltimore, the New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) is another venue where interested drivers can train, test, and hone their skills on a professional course. This track has programs for all skill and experience levels, whether drivers are trying to become professionals or just want to have some fun on the weekend. 

It’s also the perfect place for those looking to get a small taste of what high-performance driving has to offer. NJMP offers paced laps and even ride-along with a professional driver, offering an affordable way for people to have their first motorsports experience.

The History of Auto Racing & Race Tracks in Maryland

  • The first recorded auto race in Maryland took place in 1895 at a horse track in Towsontown.
  • The inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix was held on the streets of Baltimore in 1911, making it one of the earliest major American auto racing events.
  • In 1925, the state built the Maryland State Fairgrounds Speedway, designed and constructed by legendary auto racing pioneer Carl G. Fisher.
  • From 1954 to 1971, there were many races held at Marlboro Speedway, located near Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
  • Mineola Speedway opened in 1961 and was used for sprint car and stock car races until 1996.
  • Summerville Raceway began holding drag races in 1967 and continues today as a popular venue for local drag racing enthusiasts.
  • Freestate Raceway opened near Bowie, Maryland in 1974 as a ¼ mile dirt track for stock cars and later modifieds.
  • Thoroughbred Racing Association (TRA) opened its doors at Bowie Race Course in 1985 hosting various Standardbred Horse Races until 2008 when it was purchased by the Maryland Jockey Club and renamed Rosecroft Raceway.
  • Ocean City’s RaceCoast debuted its “Thunder Alley” quarter mile oval almost two decades ago – becoming an instant hit with local racers and fans alike!
  • 75 mile Mountain Races were held every Labor Day weekend from 2002 until 2004 along the back roads of Western Maryland’s Garrett County near McHenry.

Your Complete Guide Racing & Race Tracks in Maryland

Maryland racing fans have no shortage of places to go and enjoy a thrilling night at the track. Whether you’re into drag racing, dirt track raceways, or tracking your street-legal car, there’s a venue near you where you can enjoy all the best that motorsports have to offer. The track is open, so head on over and have a great time! 

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