Lions Drag Strip
Lions Drag Strip was a US raceway in the Wilmington district of Los Angeles, California adjacent to Long Beach that existed from 1955 to 1972. The track was named after its sponsors Lions Clubs International and featured many races that were sanctioned by the American Hot Rod Association (AHRA).
As the area surrounding the track increased in population, complaints regarding noise were made to government officials. Subsequently, efforts were made to deny the operators of track continued use of the facility. The track was opened with a 30 notice clause that could be enforced at any time and on November 2, 1972 that notice was given. After the last races took place on December 2, 1972, the track was torn down through the efforts of the Los Angeles Harbor Department to make space for overseas shipping cargo containers which exists to this day at 223rd Street & Alameda Street in Wilmington, CA.
The abandoned track location sat fallow for over 10 years until it was eventually developed into the mega container facility by the L.A. Harbor Commission. The 1971/72 noise issue was a political ruse used to kick the track off of the land. The surrounding area still remains largely industrial to this very day with much the same residential borders that were present in the early 1970s.
In popular culture
- The television series The Munsters filmed most of the episode "Hot Rod Herman", (aired on May 27, 1965) at Lions Drag Strip.
- The common advertising slogan used for this raceway was "Drive the highways...Race at Lions."
- The track announcer for many races in the late 1960s and early 1970s was broadcast personality and motorsports announcer Larry Huffman, whose frenetic announcing style was later spoofed by countless stand-up comedians.
- The strip was briefly mentioned in "The Mountain King" episode of AMC's Mad Men. One of the characters in that episode incorrectly placed Lions in Long Beach instead of Wilmington.
- A 5-hour video documentary on the history of the track Lions - The Greatest Drag Strip (www.lionsvideo.com) was created by veteran photojournalist and Long Beach resident, Don Gillespie. The third and final DVD episode was released in October 2008.
- Lions Drag Strip was used in "Who Won" Adam-12 Season 4 Episode 22, premiering March 1, 1972. In the episode, Malloy and Reed work with young hot rodders in an effort to get them off the streets. In a rare acting appearance, Dick Clark portrays Mr. Benson, the track's owner.
- Last Call for Lions, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, December 1, 1972.
- Following "The Last Drag Race": Souvenir hunters attack Lions strip, Long Beach Independent/Press-Telegram, December 4, 1972.
Former location Google maps