Drag Illustrated Issue 182, May / June 2023 - Page 79


The New Rock

New track owners Dan VanHorn and Al Gennarelli have big visions for Rockingham Dragway • By Van Abernethy

Rockingham Dragway kicked off the 2023 bracket points season on April 1-2 , as racers were anxious to experience numerous offseason renovations , and also meet and welcome the brand-new track owners who are responsible for the litany of improvements at “ The Rock .” Dan VanHorn and Al Gennarelli became the new owners of Rockingham Dragway in early November , after purchasing the track from its longtime owner , Steve Earwood .

“ Obviously , when we took the track over , it was at the end of the season last year , so there wasn ’ t really a whole lot of racing left , although we did have one really good event called Dig or Die , which was a no-prep event we held in December ,” says VanHorn .
Afterwards , VanHorn and Gennarelli began a massive track renovation effort with a goal of getting as much accomplished during the offseason as possible . “ Considering our timeframe , we weren ’ t able to complete one task , then move on to the next ,
Rockingham Dragway owners Dan VanHorn ( left ) and Al Gennarelli
so instead , it was a situation where everything was going on simultaneously ,” explains VanHorn .
The list of things that were accomplished is impressive to say the least . The duo knew that the track surface was among the most important tasks on their plate , so they went right to work on ripping up the old surface and pouring 800 feet of new concrete . With the new surface came
a lot of little touches that you don ’ t catch right away , including dyed concrete for the center section , new water spigots near the burnout box , the installation of air at the starting line , and even concrete walls around the center section that extend out to the Christmas Tree , replacing the old V-shaped guardrails . Additionally , a massive overhaul to the electrical system was performed , including a brand-new Accutime timing system .
They also knew that every bathroom on the property needed attention , but the larger facility that stands on the hill on the pit side of the track would be the easiest to showcase , so that ’ s the one they started with . “ Amazingly , that ’ s the one project that has taken a surprising amount of time to get finished ,” says VanHorn .
Many cans of paint were opened and applied during the offseason too , as well as replacing tons of aging signage . The fan reception and accolades made it all worthwhile , and also energized their efforts moving forward . “ It ’ s been great !” smiles Gennarelli . “ So many people have walked up at
May / June 2023
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