Save The NJ Dragstrip
1/4 mile. 1320 feet. 402 meters. That's the big draw for Atco Dragway. But more so, we go to Atco to see our friends spend time with our family, to show off our cars, and to safely and legally race our vehicles. We take our wives, our husbands, our parents, our children - it truly is a family safe environment that holds many of our memories since its construction in 1960. We, the supports, fans, and patrons of Atco Dragway, stand to lose all of this if action is not taken.
On May 8, 2020, The NJ Pinelands Commission announced in their meeting minutes that a "pre-application conference was held with a contract purchaser of Atco Dragway to turn the raceway into an automobile storage and auction facility." The application was to be submitted to the PLC in June, but as of today, June 29, we have found no evidence that the application was actually submitted. In the monthly meeting on June 12, 2020, the NJ Pinelands Commission made no mention of Atco Dragway, let alone any comment on the application being submitted. Meeting minutes can be found at https://www.nj.gov/pinelands/home/meetings/.
The next NJPLC meeting is Friday, July 12, 2020 at 9:30 am. Due to COVID19 restrictions, it seems as if it will be a closed meeting but available as a live Zoom meeting with public call in made available. We of Save Atco Dragway request that if you do call in to make a public comment, it will be on record so please be respectful and professional as we all try to better the cause to keep the dragway alive. If we cannot keep it alive as it stands, we do not want a vehicle salvage auction in its place.
There are many factors that need to be taken into account in turning Atco Dragway into a salvage vehicle auction. The environment stands forefront in our minds. The majority of residences in the immediate vicinity of the dragway have well water. Wrecked salvage vehicles leak any and every type of vehicle fluid you can imagine: gasoline, freon, oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, washer fluid, etc. As the dragway also is in extremely close proximity to the Mullica River, these chemicals will surely make their way into the waterway, as well as eventually into the wells of the homeowners and renters in the area of the dragway. These cars are not brought in and then sold in a week or two. The cars are brought in as it stands, imaged, then placed in inventory where the vehicle awaits a salvage title which can take weeks, months, years, or in rare instances a salvage title cannot be obtained.
We believe that the NJPLC needs to focus their concern on the heavy environmental hazards a salvage auction brings. This not only encompasses the water supply hazards, but also threats to the wildlife, both vegetative and animal species that call the NJ Pinelands their home in and around Atco Dragway.
As we are all well aware, racing is not a quiet sport. There are burnouts, crashes, and revving of all sorts of engines. With a salvage auto auction, there will be the constant run of tow trucks, car haulers, and front end loaders which will be audible from the development across from the drag strip. This isn't a few hours on a Friday and Saturday night...this is a constant Monday through Friday (and some Saturdays) 6 am to 6 pm steady flow of vehicular traffic. When racing a vehicle, it is very rare to pull out of a parking lot and drop parts onto the roadway as a hazard for other traffic coming through. With salvaged wrecked vehicles, it is a nonstop occurrence causing flat tires, bent rims, and blow outs.
We are researching into the new asphalt laid down along Jackson Road as well as the weight limit of the newly installed wooden bridge between the Camden and Burlington Counties. It is quite possible the new roads and bridge will not sustain the weight of the car haulers on a daily basis.
We all know money talks - we aren't looking for donations at this time. Just your signature and maybe a share to your friends and family who hold the same fond memories that we all do of Atco. We can't stop the owner from selling as much as we may want to. But we can attempt to stop the auction from building. With your help, we just may be able to do it! Thank you for your support, and please, join us over at Save Atco Dragway on Facebook.