ENGLISHTOWN — An online petition urging Raceway Park to reconsider dropping drag racing has gathered more than 9,000 signatures.

The park's owners, the Napp family, said in a statement they made a business decision to drop the program after 50 years earlier this month, citing a “reorganization of the company’s business operations.” They did not elaborate.

The park said it would continue other events this season including car shows, motocross racing and practice and kart racing. A full schedule of road course activities, monster truck shows, musical concerts and festival events will also continue. The park's website already has the 35th annual Englishtown Swap Meet and a Tough Mudder event for April on the schedule.

Fan "Stephen N," the creator of the petition, said he looked forward to seeing drag racing every year, and believes the park will lose business without it.

"Raceway Park has been open since 1965 and drag racing is their main attraction, and we need to make sure they don't let that tradition go," Stephen wrote.

NHRA spokeswoman Jessica Hatcher said her organization was surprised at Raceway Park's decision, and her group has heard from fans.

"The track at Englishtown has been part of our heritage for 50 something years and we are really grateful to the community there for all the support and love they've given us during that time," she said.

Hatcher said drag racing will continue this season at two parks in New Jersey: Island Park in the Great Meadows section of Independence Township in Warren County, and South Jersey's Atco Dragway in Atco.

"Their calendars are full" for the upcoming season, Hatcher said. "Our licenses and memberships are up across the board as well. We expect to continue seeing an uptick this year."

She said the sport of drag racing is healthy and is growing in terms of TV ratings and attendance at events throughout the country.

A representative for the Napp family has not responded to several requests to comment.

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