Just a few miles off of Highway 150 south of Boiling Springs lies a stretch of asphalt that has visitors trekking from as far away as New York and Oklahoma. Since 1957 the Shadyside Dragway has welcomed both professional and amateur racers to compete on its 1/8-mile, 50-foot-wide drag strips.
"My grandpa bought the dragway in 1980, and it has been in our family ever since," says Seth Buff, who manages the dragway along with his brother, Zach, their father, Lennie, and Lennie's mother, Gail.
Both Seth and Zach worked at jobs away from the dragway for a few years, but both decided to return about five years ago. The family also owns the Cherokee Speedway in Gaffney, SC, although they have leased the operations of that track to another company.
The races at Shadyside involve a variety of cars, from Promods - which are lightweight, big-engine vehicles - to other more stock-like cars such as True Street 275s and LS Renegades.
"The best way to describe Promods is to say that they are designed to go fast," says Seth Buff. "The body is made of fiberglass, and there are no limitations on the engine size."
The other classes of cars that compete look a little more like regular racing cars but vary according to class regulations.
"This is racing country," says Buff, explaining that while North Carolina boasts 27 race tracks, South Carolina has 13 and California a mere five tracks.
"That's why we get folks from other parts of the country - because our area is really where this kind of racing originated," he says. "It's now a national sport, but it started right here."
Local resident Tommy Mauney has been a pioneer of dragway racing, having won multiple national titles through the years.
"Tommy Mauney is really a legend, and he is still competing," says Buff.
Races take place at the race track at least two weekends a month March-November.
The next big event will be the 38th Labor Day Shootout, planned for Saturday, Sept. 1 through Monday, Sept. 3, 2018. Billed as the "Fastest Weekend in the Carolinas!" the event will feature Promods, LS Renegades, True Street 275s, and many other high-performance classes. Admission is $15 on Saturday, $20 on Sunday, and $20 on Monday. Kids 10 and under are free.
For more information, visit the dragway website at www.shadysidedragway.net or search for "Shadyside Dragway" on Facebook.
By April Hoyle Shauf
Special to Community First Media