Photo via Arkansas Department of Aeronautics.
Though it lies just west of the Mississippi, the runway at the Arkansas International Airport has been selected as the new home for the East Coast Timing Association, which announced this week that racing will resume in 2018 after a year off.
Built as an Army Air Force base in 1942 and later known as Eaker Air Force Base, the airstrip became the Arkansas International Airport in 1992 upon the base’s closure. At 11,600 feet, its runway length well exceeds both the 9,000 feet at Wilmington, Ohio — the ECTA’s last home — and the 8,500 feet the ECTA was hoping to find in its recent search for a replacement venue.
That search initially came about after online retailer Amazon announced it would expand its operations at Wilmington in late 2016, effectively displacing the racing organization, which had used the Wilmington runway since 2012. Even after Amazon changed its plans, the ECTA found it couldn’t return to Wilmington due to insurance issues.
Founded in 1995, the ECTA initially ran in Maxton, North Carolina, until a private security group took over the World War II-era landing strip there.
While the Arkansas airstrip still sees some military traffic in addition to civilian flights, it has also hosted the Arkansas Mile for the U.S. Mile land-speed sanctioning body.
The ECTA’s 2018 season will consist of three dates: April 20-22, June 2-3, and September 28-30. This year’s Arkansas Mile is scheduled for some time in June.
For more information, visit ECTA-LSR.com.