MAXTON 1996 / 2011
Laurinburg/Maxton Army Airbase was built in 1942 as a training base for gliders. The plan then was to silently send troops past enemy lines during the invasion at Normandy. Tucked away in the Carolina pines was an isolated location perfect for such training during World War II.
There are three original runways at Maxton (short for Laurinburg/Maxton). Two are still in use by the airport. The third, however, was abandoned in the 1960s, as three runways were more than the community needed. While unused for 35 years, it fell into a state of disrepair with grass, bushes and even trees growing up around and through the concrete. When we first looked at this unused and forgotten runway, we could see immediately the potential for speed trials. With the use of the taxiways on either end of the main runway, we had almost 1.9 miles of total length. Hard and flat, we could run a full mile and still have 0.8 to 0.9 tenths of a mile of shut down area, perfect for speeds that would be over 200 MPH, with some eventually reaching 260 MPH.
In spite of the promise, this place needed a tremendous amount of work to make it usable. After removal of approximately 200 tons of dirt and debris from the 150 foot wide runway, we were able to pick a 30 to 50 foot section that would be the new course. After many weeks of jack hammering and concrete pouring, we had a surface we could run on. It’s not as perfect as the dry lakes or salt flats prepared by Mother Nature, but we were constantly improving it.
The pit area at Maxton was located across from the finish line. This afforded a great view of all the high speed action. The pits were old airplane tie downs that gave us a concrete surface to park our vehicles on. There was also a taxiway that ran the length of the race course, which provided easy access from the pits to the start line and from the shut down back to the pits.
Maxton gave Land Speed Racing another chance to grow into its own on the East coast. We may not be the quickest, but we can boast some of the fastest vehicles on the eastern side of the Rockies.
In January of 2011, it was learned that the Maxton-Laurinburg Airport runway, on which racing had occurred for 16 years, would no longer be available to us to hold our events. So ends one chapter and another one opens….With racing in Wilmington, OH.