Drag Illustrated Issue 168, May 2021 | Page 57


Family Tradition

Buff family honors father ’ s legacy by continuing improvements at Shadyside Dragway By Van Abernethy

Shadyside Dragway is the kind of place that seems frozen in time in some ways , while experiencing tons of subtle updates in others . At a glance , this never-sanctioned , 1958-era drag strip is rural in location and screams “ outlaw ” in the purest of ways , yet it has a racing surface that can easily handle 3-second , 200-mph passes with ease . North Carolina drag racing legend Todd Tutterow proved that in 2015 when he made history by being the first racer to uncork a 200-plus mph run at Shadyside – doing it five consecutive times , in fact .

In the earliest days of its inception , however , Shadyside ’ s racing surface wasn ’ t even paved ,
From left : Zackary , Seth , Lennie and Bryson Buff
as competitors raced on dirt until roughly 1964 before asphalt was ever laid , and the first guard walls were merely railroad ties .
Slowly but surely , Shadyside Dragway began to be updated after its beloved owner , Ronnie Buff , bought the track in 1980 . He eventually moved to the track and lived on site for decades .
Among his first improvements was repaving the track in 1982 and widening it to 40 feet from its previous and incredibly narrow width of just 28 feet . A major undertaking commenced in 2008 for the track ’ s 50th anniversary when Buff ripped up the entire track and poured new concrete the entire length of the track and widened it yet again , this time to 51 feet .
May 2021
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