Despite Slight Decline, U.S. 13 Dragway Celebrates 50 Years - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Despite Slight Decline, U.S. 13 Dragway Celebrates 50 Years

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DELMAR, Del. - For the Cathell's of Delmar, burning tires is a family business.

"I am excited, it's a milestone to reach 50 years," said owner Charles Cathell.

His grandson, Chad Cathell said that having been open since 1963 is a "huge accomplishment for my family."

Family, friends and fans took to the stands of the U.S. 13 Dragway for Opening Day 2013, watching drag cars speed to the finish line in less than 10 seconds.

"Thousandths of a second become just a play-by-play," said Chad Cathell. "You can hit the breaks at 140-150 mph and you know exactly what you're doing."

Four generations of Cathells have donned the racing helmet. The elder, Charles, now owns the track and his 21-year-old grandson races in the "Super Pro" division.

"We like to think that we're a part of the town and a destination point for people to come and visit," said Charles Cathell.

"My grandfather, I know is extremely proud," said Chad Cathell.

But staying successful in a small town depends on turnout. The road to success been far from a smooth ride because of mother nature, said the elder Cathell. Of last year's 67 events, only 50 went on because of the rain.

On an average race day, they hope for about 250 racers.

"We're no different than anybody else we see a slight decline," said Charles Cathell. "We're fortunate enough we've got families. In economical times, what we call the fun dollars are sucked up right now."

This family will do what they have to, to keep the wheels turning. Chad says he'd even swap his helmet for a promoter's cap.

"If it comes down to that, I'll be more than happy to keep the family facility around for another 50 years."

The Cathell Family says the past 50 years brought big changes. Back in 1963, the tracks were only a fifth of a mile long. Now, it's a quarter-mile stretch.

The U.S. 13 Dragway is located on Route 13, just north of the state line. Race Days are on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons. The season runs through the end of October.

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