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Fitchburg, not Orange, lands drag racing event

ORANGE — Franklin County drag racing fans will need to hit the road again this fall if they want to watch their favorite hot rods line up two at a time and tear down a track.

Drag racing organizer John Durfee sealed a deal on Friday to hold racing events and a related car show at the Fitchburg Airport on Sept. 6.

“We gave Orange a good look and will continue to. However, Fitchburg has an excellent facility with a lot of offer; we’re very pleased to continue our relationship there,” said Durfee.

Durfee said the event originated in Orange but moved several years ago to the Fitchburg Airport.

But Durfee wanted to bring the show back to Orange, “back where it belongs.”

Last month, Durfee approached the Orange airport commissioners with a proposal to host Drag Racing Reunion. He envisioned a static car show of drag-racing vehicles being held on the front lawn of the facility, with drag-racing events taking place on the south side of the airfield.

After some discussion of safety and other concerns related to FAA regulations, commissioners voted against hosting the Drag Racing Reunion as proposed.

Prior to meeting with the commissioners, Durfee garnered enthusiasm for drag racing from Orange residents and officials.

Both the North Quabbin Chamber of Commerce and Orange selectmen urged airport commissioners to seriously consider allowing the Drag Racing Reunion proposal, as the event could potentially boost the area’s economy through increased foot traffic to area restaurants and stores.

Durfee said residents supporting the initiative collected at least 100 signatures of drag racing fans in favor of the event taking place in Orange. Several of these automotive aficionados expressed support at the meeting for Durfee’s proposal.

Commissioners told Durfee he could resubmit a proposal that addressed some of their safety and logistical concerns.

But soon afterward, he started talking to Fitchburg Airport officials about holding the event there.

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