The Hopeful Future of
New England Dragway

This is a follow-up to an article entitled “What We Know About the Offer to Purchase New England Dragway.”  I have made a number of revisions and corrections to that original article. If you haven’t read that recently, please go to that link and read it or review it for new information.

by Neil Van Zile

When I wrote my first article about this story, I knew that I would have a lot of incorrect information. That’s the nature of the beast – NED, Inc. is a private corporation and information is hard to come by for that reason. I also knew that people in the know would comment on the article and help to clarify any inaccurate statements, and that is exactly what happened. I was willing to take a shot, take the heat for any errors, and make corrections later. I made a couple of dumb mistakes, (making dumb mistakes is my superpower), and I also had some incorrect information from the sources that I had spoken with over the past 25-plus years. If you haven’t read that article recently, I encourage you to take a look and see all the red ink from my numerous revisions.

I didn’t say so in the article, but I honestly felt that the vote would be close. Boy, was I wrong!

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428 to 78

There are a number of terms for the vote taken by the shareholders of New England Dragway, Inc. on Thursday, December 2, 2021.

Landslide
Grand Slam
Clean Sweep
Overwhelming Victory

No matter what you call it, the results of that vote (428 against versus 78 in favor of the sale), are pretty definitive, and they make this writer feel MUCH more secure about the future of drag racing in the New England region.

Another very encouraging aspect was the many comments that were left on Facebook by shareholders. Most of them indicated how proud they were to be shareholders in New England Dragway, Inc., even if they aren’t actively involved in the sport. The money wasn’t even an issue for most of them.

I know of at least three attempts to purchase New England Dragway since I became actively involved there in the mid-1990s. The fact is, money has NEVER been the only issue, and it usually isn’t even the most important issue. Personalities, love of the sport, and respect for what New England Dragway means to those of us who love the place have always been more of a factor in the shareholder’s decision than the offer of any amount of money could overcome.

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Securing the Future

A lot of people have come forward to say that they would be willing to buy shares from anyone who wants to sell. Based on that vote, I don’t really think that is necessary.

It probably also isn’t possible. According to one source, “shares can only be transferred to family or bought back by the track.” So any plan to buy back shares would have to be instigated and funded by the shareholders themselves. Given the 428 to 78 decision against a $12.5 million offer, I doubt that they will see any need to do that.

We can better spend our money on tickets, t-shirts, and hamburgers at the track.

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283 Acres

I recently spent a couple of hours with Paul Lorenti talking about a number of topics. Paul related that he often takes the red pickup truck with the NED logo on errands all around New England, and invariably someone will come up to him and say “I didn’t even know that New England Dragway was still open!”

That is the thing that we can fix – get the word out that New England Dragway, Lebanon Valley Dragway, New Oxford Dragway, and Winterport Dragway still exist.

More than 35,000 people signed the online petition created by Karri Khoury. If each of those people brought two friends to the track one time during the race season, that would go a long way to ensuring that people don’t forget we are here.

Drag racing doesn’t care what kind of car you bring to the track. New or old, foreign or domestic, front-wheel or rear-wheel drive, two or four doors, gasoline or electric. Organized drag racing is about one thing – taking our natural instinct to see how fast our stuff is, and to allow us to run it against someone else’s stuff for fun, and maybe a little profit. Drag strips allow us to do that in a safe environment. The life-long friendships and skills that we all learn in the process are just a (huge) bonus.

There are 283 acres of land on the town line of Epping and Brentwood, New Hampshire where only one thing is important. Who you voted for, global warming, the Second Amendment, what you do for a living, where, or even if, you went to school – none of that is important, and we can’t fix any of that while we are anywhere within those 283 acres.

In fact, it’s the place that we go to get a break from thinking about all of that stuff, and we all really need a place like that right now.

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Here is a list of online sources that you might find interesting.

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SALE OF NEW ENGLAND DRAGWAY STOPPED on Competition Plus by Tom McCarthy

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Listing at the New Hampshire Dept. of State of New England Dragway, Inc.
This includes a copy of the original Articles of Incorporation from 1965.

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NH 293-A: NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS CORPORATION ACT – all 105 pages of the law

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Supreme Court of New Hampshire
NEW ENGLAND DRAGWAY, INC. v. M-O-H ENTERPRISES, INC.
No. 2001-712 – Decided: February 28, 2003
The decision by the Court of an attempt by Mark Hildonen to purchase shares of NED. Inc.

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Photo by Tom and Mary Ricker

Is it April yet?