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Old 08-19-2011, 07:28 AM   #1
phartman
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Default Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Visited another old racetrack this past week...the track at North Wilkesboro that had been on the NASCAR cup circuit. Spooky. There are spirits about. A highly recommended stop. A Bruton Smith property. Better go visit while it's still there....

http://www.savethespeedway.net/







The Uphill Downhill Track. From turn 4 to turn 1 there is a 17' elevation difference. Downhill on the front stretch, uphill on the back stretch. These old racetracks had real character. When you are inside- looking at the track- it has a personality all of its own. You couldn't possibly be anywhere else. You know you're at N. Wilkesboro. These new tracks? Anywhere USA. What a shame.






The caretaker for the Speedway. Lives on the property. Keeps the grass cut, feeds the stray cats that show up every once-in-a-while. Full of stories. Our visit passed way too quickly. An encyclopedia of knowledge about the glory days of NASCAR. Very nice gentleman, welcomes visitors. Other than he and his pug, Bill, it's pretty quiet at North Wilkesboro these days.

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Old 08-19-2011, 07:34 AM   #2
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

looks like a cool track... how long has it been closed?
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Old 08-19-2011, 07:36 AM   #3
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

it is a great track, and i drive by it frequently
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Old 08-19-2011, 07:41 AM   #4
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Quote:
Originally Posted by travj31 View Post
looks like a cool track... how long has it been closed?
Closed is a relative term. There is a group that is trying to promote Late Model Races at the track and had one scheduled for earlier this summer. Mobbed with fans on Saturday night, but got rained out. Sunday reschedule was a bust. There is interest in using it as a testing facility, but the racetrack surface is turning to seed and has quite a bit of grass growing up through it. Needs some work.

The Cup Tour last raced there in 1996.

Here is a graduate thesis on the history of the track from the website. Great stuff.:

http://www.savethespeedway.net/history.html
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Old 08-19-2011, 07:49 AM   #5
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

I had an opportunity to walk the track back in 1995. An awesome piece of racing history. The difference in elevation from the front stretch to the back is very obvious when you are standing there.
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Old 08-19-2011, 07:52 AM   #6
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

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Old 08-19-2011, 07:56 AM   #7
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Floyd racetrack, Floyd, VA (down the Blue Ridge Parkway from Roanoke, VA). Big time moonshine country. Ask me how I know....



Here is some hint as to where it was located. If someone could confirm and post a pic, that would be terrific.

http://virginia.hometownlocator.com/...20speedway.cfm
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:03 AM   #8
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

From the dirt track at Starkey, a suburb of Roanoke, VA. The pics from the dragstrip there have been featured from time to time here on the HAMB. All of it is now gone. Housing development. More here:

http://www.vaautoracing.org/



In case you want to try and find the site today...it's a softball field, I'm told.

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Old 08-19-2011, 08:11 AM   #9
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

On the work of landscape architect, Brian Katen, and his work of documenting abandoned racetracks in the region....

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...081301103.html





One of the many (150) tracks he's documented that are no longer around: Hillsville, VA Speedway

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Old 08-19-2011, 08:20 AM   #10
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Interesting database of historical N.C. speedways. Many more than I ever imagined.

http://www.ncdirtracing.com/forums/s...ead.php?t=4395


Airport Speedway, Charlotte c.1935
Angola Speedway, Jacksonville
Asheville Airport Speedway, Asheville c.1960 1/4m
Asheville Fairgroungs, Asheville c.1940 1/2m
Asheville Motor Speedway, Asheville c1960-61 1/3m
Asheville-Weaverville Speedway aka Skyline, Weaverville c.1950-57
Carolina Beach Speedway, Wilmington, NC
Colletsville Speedway
Saw Mill Speedway aka J&J, 1/4m
Atlantic District fairgrounds, Ahoskie, c.1952 1/2m
Belmont* c.1940s 1/8m
Bennett Speedway, Bennett, c.mid 50s 1/4m
Biscoe Speedway, Biscoe, c.1952
Blair Speedway/Tri-CitySpeedway/Tri-State Speedway, High Point, c.1947-54 1/2m
Capella Speedway, Winston-Salem, c.1948
Caswell County Raceway, Leasburg, c.2004
CC Motorsports, Bethany, c.1999 1/8m
Chadbourn Speedway, Chadbourn
Charlotte Speedbowl Betties Ford Rd.Charlotte, c.1950
Chase City, c.1950
Clingman Speedway, Rhonda, c.1977-2001
Clinton Fairgrounds, Clinton, c.1936
Concord Fairgrounds, S&D site Concord, c.1925-34, 1/2m
Concord Speedway aka Widenhouse-Cadwell Speedway, Concord, c.1949 1/2m
Diamond Speedway, Stokesdale, c.1960s
Dunn Legion Speedway, Dunn, c.1949-71
Edmonds Speedway, Edmonds, c.1950s, 1/4m
Fairview aka Hollywood, Asheville, c1949
Fayetteville, c.1937, 1/2m
Fayetteville, c.1948, 1/2m
Frankiln Speedway, Franklin, c.1968-75, 1/4m
Gastonia Fairgrounds aka Spindle City Speedway, c.1953-64, 1/3m
Goldsboro Speedway, Goldsboro, c.1952-55, 1/2m
Greenhill Speedway, Mount Airy, c.1956, 1/4m
Greensboro, on US220, c.1957
Hickory American Legion Fairgrounds, Hickory, c.1946,
High Point Motor Speedway, c.1940-42, 1m
Hooker Speedway, Sparta, c.mid70s
Jacksonville Speedway aka Onslow, Jacksonville, c.1952-64, 1/2m
Jet Motor Speedway, Stem, c.1968, 1/2m
Kings Mountain Speedway, c.1954, 3/8m
Lakeview Speedway, Lexington, c.1948-49, 5/8m
Lakewood Speedway, Denver, c.L1940s-52, 3/4m
Laurinburg*, c.1934, 1/2m
Legion Speedway, Wilmington, c.1954
Lumberton*, c.1954
Marion Speedway, c.1957-E70s
Midland Dustbowl, Midland, c.1948-E50s, 1/2m
Morehead City*, c.Mid50s, 1/2m
Mont Airy Speedway, c.1946-47, 1/2m
North Davidson Speedway, Midway 15m S of W-S, c.1995-90, 1/8m
Peace Haven Speedway aka Winston-Salem Speedway, W-S, c.1948-57, 1/2m
Pender County Speedway, Rocky Point, c.1979-87, 1/2m
Ponderosa Speedway, Oakboro, c.M60s, 1/2m
Reidsville*, c.1948
Rimer/Rimertown Speedway, Cabarrus County
Roanoke Rapids, c.1936, 1/2m
Roaring River Speedway, c.1978-86, 3/8m
Salisbury Super Speedway, c.1932-41, 58-61, M60s, 1/2m
Sanford Motor Speedway, c.L60s, 1/4m
South Side Park, W-S, c.1935, 1/4m
Sportsman Park aka Elizabeth City, c.1950s, 1/4m
Statesville Speedway, c.1948-49, 1/2m
Tri-City Speedway, Creedmore, c.1952-68, 4/10m
Tri-State Motor Speedway, Greensboro,
c.1034-35
Union County Speedway,
Weddington,c.Mid1960s, 1/4m
Wadesboro*, old horse track SE of town on
52, maybe at Intersecton of 52, Country Cllub
Rd and Covington Thomas Rd., c.1948-53,
1/2m
Wadesboro*, c.1956-58, 3/4m
Washington*, c.1950-52
Whiteville Speedway, c.1964-65, 1/2m
Williamston Fairgrounds, c.1934-39, 1/2m
Wilmington Coastal Fairgrounds, c.1937-49, 3/4m
Woodland* c.1934, 1/2
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:28 AM   #11
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Great thread, phartman. Love to see the old photos and history of the early days of stock car racing. ...Don.
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:44 AM   #12
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

great info. now i have more stuff to search for next time i'm virginia. looking at that map i'm pretty sure i've been to the softball fields that are where the starkey track was many times, i had no idea.
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:52 AM   #13
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

I agree, great thread! Thanks!
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Old 08-19-2011, 09:25 AM   #14
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

The old Raleigh Speedway, aka Southland Speedway. Located between Capital Boulevard and Wake Forest Road near the Beltline. Demolished in 1967, RIP.










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Old 08-19-2011, 09:47 AM   #15
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

N.C. State Fairgrounds Speedway in Raleigh (different place than the track above). Saw the last Cup race on dirt there. Here is the dedication of the state historic marker from YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeSxiu6DC-Q


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Old 08-19-2011, 09:54 AM   #16
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Is South Boston still open? Got to see a couple races there back in the '90s.
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Old 08-19-2011, 10:18 AM   #17
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Quote:
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Is South Boston still open? Got to see a couple races there back in the '90s.
A great old track, another one that formerly was on the Cup circuit. South Boston is home of the Burton Brothers. The track is used from time-to-time primarily for late model races. Lots of character (and characters).



Took this pic of a junkyard just up the road from the track. Evidence of the glory days is everywhere you look.



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Old 08-19-2011, 10:54 AM   #18
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Wow ! the stands look way better than our local track. What happened?
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Old 08-19-2011, 11:04 AM   #19
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

What happened at North Wilkesboro? Lost the date to Talledega Speedway, and that was the beginning of the end. NASCAR decided that fans wanted bigger and something that appealed to the masses. They tried to homogenize out the character of these old speedways. What a mistake that turned out to be.

The seats are unique. Metal folding chairs with the back legs cut off and welded to a plate anchored in the concrete. A hillbilly way of making bleachers with seatbacks, but hey, that's what we love about the place.

A very cool site to visit. Can't recommend it highly enough.

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Old 08-19-2011, 11:13 AM   #20
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

NASCAR turned it's back to the "old school tracks" and the "old school fans" and they're feeling the repercussions now. All of those empty seats at those miserable "cookie-cutter" 1 1/2 mile speedways are not just because of the economy.
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Old 08-19-2011, 12:37 PM   #21
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Lloyd Kepley and his Cushman powered micro midget, who raced in the Charlotte area, circa 1956. From Ghosts of Southern Dirt Tracks Past website.

http://www.webprosolutions.com/ghosts/tracks.php





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Old 08-19-2011, 12:43 PM   #22
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

The other Charlotte track you never heard about....

A 1/2 mile clay track located in Charlotte, North Carolina. Queen City was built in the late 60s and only survived a year or two. Located at the end of a runway at Douglas Airport, the neighbors complained about the noise of the racetrack. The track was forced to cease operation shortly after.



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Old 08-19-2011, 12:45 PM   #23
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

And from nearby Shelby, NC....note the promoter from way back when!


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Old 08-19-2011, 12:50 PM   #24
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

From Southland Speedway (Raleigh) posted earlier....

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Old 08-19-2011, 12:58 PM   #25
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

From the old Myrtle Beach Dragstrip, now a housing development. Just off 601 west of town on the way to Conway. Near where the NASCAR track is now. Pics I look in the late '60s. A very nice dragstrip, ahead of its time....






Stills from a grainy home movie shot at the racetrack after it was abandoned in the '70s.

http://z3.invisionfree.com/Shadyside...pic=9890&st=0&



The staging lanes and launchpad was a single paved area, but the two lanes had a broad grass strip in between them. Very progressive for the time.

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Old 08-19-2011, 01:18 PM   #26
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

that NRA car in the junkyard looks like it was driven by the other "Man in Black" Jerry Glanville..he was another who made his money in football then blew it racing..lol.
also,Daytona has the same setup with the old steel chairs..must have been a popular way of building bleachers back in day down south.
cool thread,thanks!
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Old 08-19-2011, 02:02 PM   #27
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Quote:
Originally Posted by racer67x View Post
that NRA car in the junkyard looks like it was driven by the other "Man in Black" Jerry Glanville..he was another who made his money in football then blew it racing..lol.
also,Daytona has the same setup with the old steel chairs..must have been a popular way of building bleachers back in day down south.
cool thread,thanks!







Man oh man you have a good eye. You're right!

http://www.racingwest.com/drivers/jerry-glanville/


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Old 08-19-2011, 02:16 PM   #28
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Champion Speedway, Fayetteville, NC. Used on the Cup circuit in the '50s, demolished and now part of an industrial park. NASCAR driver Rex White won his first race there (not a picture of the track, just of Mr. White. Check out those fancy driving shoes.He must have been sponsored by Carolina Boot Company.)




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Old 08-19-2011, 02:27 PM   #29
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

The success story we can all be proud of, the one that gives us hope...Virginia International Raceway near Danville, VA. Used as a test facility at the adjacent Goodyear plant, abandoned, then recently brought back to life.

Way back when....

http://www.stockcarracing.com/featur...way/index.html





Abandoned...




Now....

http://www.virnow.com/

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Old 08-19-2011, 06:50 PM   #30
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Great thread! Go Pete go!
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:01 PM   #31
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

A neat old place just north of Raleigh is the 4/10ths mile dirt track a short ways off I-85 between the town of Creedmore and the community of Stem, NC. One of the lists has it named "Tri-Cities Speedway" but I don't recall that name. My dad took me there in the late '60s and we watched local racers like "Farmer" John Matthews. While green is considered an unlucky color by many racers, Farmer John insisted on it as "it's the color of tobacco and the color of money."

The infield is now a lake, but the timing tower is there as well as the concession stands.

You can feel the spirits of racers past lurking about.....






Standing in Turn 1 looking at Turn 2...

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Old 08-19-2011, 08:04 PM   #32
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Summerville Speedway, closed 2004.

The Last Day of Summerville Speedway....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmjoN4rwbes








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Old 08-19-2011, 08:18 PM   #33
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Great thread,, you mention Union County in NC, was that also known as Starlite Speedway in the seventies?
Also in Charlotte was Metrolina at the fairgrounds.Ned Jarrett promoted there and Hickory in the seventies. It ran as dirt and pavement over time.
There was also a 11/2? mile board track in Pineville in the 20's.
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Old 08-19-2011, 08:26 PM   #34
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

My similar thread from some time back...

http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/s...d.php?t=449335
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Old 08-19-2011, 09:24 PM   #35
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

A couple of posts have been made earlier about the dragstrip at Walterboro, SC:

http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/s...d.php?t=419565

The ol' Swamprat made an appearance here, according to Edweird on the HAMB. And he's got pics to prove it!


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Old 08-19-2011, 09:34 PM   #36
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

This particular version of the Swamprat has a connection to another abandoned dragstrip, this one at Emporia, VA. Here is something about it from the Garlits Museum:

In 1960, Swamp Rat III was the first 4130 chrome-moly tubing car built by Garlits. Piloted by Connie Swingle, it carried a 1957 392 Hemi and ran a best of 8.23 seconds at 186.46 mph, but after winning many races, the car eventually was destroyed in a top-end crash in August, 1961 at Emporia, VA, when its parachute failed. The car in the museum is an operating re-creation built mostly from period-correct parts.





Swamp Rat III A, B and C: These were the first chrome moly tubing cars to come out of the Garlits Automotive in Tampa Florida. Ironically Connie Swingle is the only one who ever drove them in competition. SR III-B was the first car into the magic 7 second bracke

Swamp Rat III A, B and C: These were the first chrome moly tubing cars to come out of the Garlits Automotive in Tampa Florida. Ironically Connie Swingle is the only one who ever drove them in competition. SR III-B was the first car into the magic 7 second bracket, 7.88, and Connie did this at Blaney SC, then at Thompson Ohio Swingle almost hit the 200 MPH zone with a blistering 198.22! The A car was destroyed at Emporia Virginia and the B car was destroyed in a canal outside of Savannah Georgia. The C car was sold to Paul Vanderly and disappeared, probably scraped after an accident. All three cars have been rebuilt or recreated, the A car from the bent frame from Emporia, the B car completely recreated for Sonny Messner in Acton California and the C car recreated. The A and C cars are on display at the Drag Racing Museum and both are running cars.


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Old 08-19-2011, 09:43 PM   #37
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

There were three dragstrips at one time near Boiling Springs, NC. All at the time (the '50s) were sand and dirt. Sandy Run ('57-65), Hilltop ('58-'60), and Shadyside. Only Shadyside remains.

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Old 08-19-2011, 09:59 PM   #38
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Shuffletown Drag Strip near Charlotte. Closed since 1990. More here on the HAMB previously:

http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/s...d.php?t=254972

And a few pretty terrific YouTube clips:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjxpQ...eature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNpOG8Hl4II

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_BLN...eature=related




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Old 08-19-2011, 10:08 PM   #39
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Drag racing on the pit road at Charlotte Motor Speedway:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oP4c2RHSdeM
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Old 08-19-2011, 10:52 PM   #40
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

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Originally Posted by lothiandon1940 View Post
NASCAR turned it's back to the "old school tracks" and the "old school fans" and they're feeling the repercussions now. All of those empty seats at those miserable "cookie-cutter" 1 1/2 mile speedways are not just because of the economy.
Boy a lot of truth here.........they decided to go politicaly correct and ran off their true good ol fan base ......the races now a days are no more than the old race of champions series with different colored cars. And we all know how well that worked out for them. I have been a season ticket holder at Bristol Motor Speedway since 1990 and Its a crime what they did to that great track ...It's a shame what they have done to the sport all in the name of sponsor dollars...well the empy seats are sending quite a message.
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Old 08-19-2011, 11:46 PM   #41
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

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NASCAR turned it's back to the "old school tracks" and the "old school fans" and they're feeling the repercussions now. All of those empty seats at those miserable "cookie-cutter" 1 1/2 mile speedways are not just because of the economy.
I gotta agree, went to Richmond several times, South Boston and Charlotte in the '80s and '90s and always had a great time. When I lived in Portsmouth there was always a party on race day at someones house. Between the new cars that all look the same and the cry baby drivers I've lost interest. Too bad, it used to be something to look forward to.
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Old 08-20-2011, 06:12 AM   #42
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Also disappearing from the landscape are buildings and places that are the supporting cast of characters of the racing scene here in Virginia and the Carolinas. One good example, not yet abandoned, but I'll put on the "endangered species" list.

Paul Radford was an extraordinary racer here in Virginia. He's known as The Ferrum Flash as he lives in Ferrum, VA. And many people know that until fairly recently, he and his wife Hattie ran Paul's Barbeque, just outside of Ferrum.

But way back when there was another restaurant he ran...The 77 in "downtown" Ferrum. You see, his car number was 77. The folklore is that he lost the 77 in a poker game one night and had to relocate up the road. The restaurant still operates under the old name. But it's always one change of ownership or "modernization" away from disappearing.





Another example...Swansboro Motor Company on Midlothian Turnpike here in Richmond. Don't recognize the name? How about Junie Donlavy? That help?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junie_Donlavey



Junie (who called everybody "Chief") ran a successful operation and enjoyed some success. Here's his car at Daytona. He had a winning partnership with Sonny Hutchins at the time.



One of the last of the independent racers on the Cup circuit. Always kept his shop here in Richmond and refused to move to Charlotte and the Mooresville area where most of the shops are located today. But the sport simply outgrew him. His shop is still here in town:



And who opened up almost across the street from Junie's shop? Local station WRVA. They decided to become a sponsor and broadcast from the racetrack. A little burb about their equipment and the early days of radio and TV broadcasting:

Here's an early day WTVR TV vehicle. A little later tv station WRVA signed on in Richmond, almost across the street on Midlothian Pike from Junie Donlavey's Swansboro Motor Company race shop. The first WRVA "live truck", which was a converted bread truck, assisted in the first national tv broadcast of a race from a Virginia track in 1965 when ABC's Wide World of Sports telecast Junior Johnson's win and Dick Hutcherson's rollover at the Richmond dirt track. That same Richmond WRVA TV live truck was later purchased by Bob Pearse of Tega Cay, SC and became the backbone mobile production studio for his Charlotte-based Sunbelt Video. Sunbelt was the pioneer in great tv stuff from the track.



This section of Richmond is now industrial and light commercial. The radio station has relocated long ago and Swansboro Motor Company is gone, but the building is still there.
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Old 08-20-2011, 06:50 AM   #43
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Ronnie Sox is a legend in drag racing circles. He grew up in Burlington, NC. His family ran a gas station there:





He first raced at Piedmont Dragstrip- still operating off Mount Hope Church Road east of Greensboro. And at the old abandoned Sanford, NC dragstrip.
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Old 08-20-2011, 07:12 AM   #44
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Grew up going by Shuffletown . People would hang out on the bridge where the main road went by, hwy 16. and the state patrol would tell you to go buy a ticket or keep moving. You could see the action good as you went by. The first time we went it was dirt and we sat on the hood of my dads 59 Chevy to watch the racing. You could here them running from the driveway of our house then. We then moved to Hickory in about 1966 and went to the Hickory Speedway when it was still dirt. You can still here them practice over there from my house now. Good thread.
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Old 08-20-2011, 07:51 AM   #45
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

So sad to read about all of these tracks closing, no matter if it is circle, drag, or go-kart track, makes no difference to me. Most close in the name of "Progress". What a pile of BS.

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Old 08-20-2011, 11:27 AM   #46
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

I wondered if you'd unearth Emporia Drag Strip. Good job.

I saw my first drags there. My folks dropped me off on one of their trips to North Carolina.
(I remember their playing "Heatwave", by Martha and the Vandellas, over and over at the drag strip, so it must have been 1962.)

Abandoned landing strip, much worse for wear.
No lights... Flagman at the starting line, flagman at the finish to indicate the winner. Eliminator handicapping was by car lengths measured out on the strip. Both cars would start at the same time at drop of the flag, with the slower classes starting out front. I remember a run for Top Stock Eliminator, in which a Hudson was moved up sixteen lengths (one per class) in front of a '59 Chevy. (He lost, BTW.)

There were two rails there that first time, and I really wanted to see them race. One went under the moniker "Howard Cams Special" (though not one I've ever seen pictured.) It had an orange frame, and green body panels. The other had a Caddy mill, with a broken rocker arm. The announcer made a request to borrow one from any spectator driving a Caddy, saying the dragster's crew would both remove, and re-install it after the race. Disappointingly, no one obliged.

Closed at darkness. When my folks finally came back to get me, the gates were locked, and I was waiting at roadside. (This was some 80 miles from home, mind you.) At least I was easy to find!
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Old 08-20-2011, 11:56 AM   #47
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

If any of you Richmonders soaked up suds at "The Hut" (across from Broad Sstreet Station), then you might know that the ever present, bearded owner behind the bar was none other than driving legend, Sonny Hutchins (mentioned in an earlier post).
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:08 PM   #48
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Sad to see it sitting empty. Killer thread phartman!
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Old 08-20-2011, 12:08 PM   #49
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

If you're going to mention Ronny Sox, you might also want to mention North Carolina native Malcolm Durham, the sport's first Afro-American superstar. He started racing at Easy Street Drag Strip (Newton Grove, N.C.), and often put Sox and Martin on the trailer.

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Old 08-20-2011, 03:46 PM   #50
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Mo, thanks for all the info. Malcolm was from Goldsboro, NC.
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Old 08-20-2011, 03:54 PM   #51
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Asheville Speedway in Asheville, NC was also called the Asheville-Weaverville Speedway. Close to Weaverville, NC.

From 1957....




Racing legend Bob Pressley at Asheville...



From Wickipedia....
The track was closed from the 1970s to racing, until North Buncombe High School was built on the property of the former track. In the 1970s and 1980s the track was used as softball fields and sports practice fields. The track itself had been disabled by first placing earthen barriers on opposite sides of the track, and later, concrete barriers at 8 locations around the track.
Not to be confused with the Asheville-Weaverville Speedway, the "New Asheville Speedway" was located on Amboy Road in Asheville, NC, approximately 20 miles south of the Asheville-Weaverville Speedway. This track was closed after zoning ordinances forced the track owners to sell the track to the River-Link organization, and Organization that promoted making the French Broad River area of Asheville a public park.

The New Asheville Speedway aka "goin' down by the river)...Saw a race there in the summer of '76, won by The Ironman, Jack Ingram.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGqsX...eature=related




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeIrleA00V4



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Old 08-20-2011, 04:04 PM   #52
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

More info I found on the Charleston Rebel Speedway



This is how I remember it in the early '90's after being abandoned...



How it looks today...

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Old 08-20-2011, 04:22 PM   #53
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If any of you Richmonders soaked up suds at "The Hut" (across from Broad Sstreet Station), then you might know that the ever present, bearded owner behind the bar was none other than driving legend, Sonny Hutchins (mentioned in an earlier post).

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Old 08-20-2011, 04:58 PM   #54
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Cool place to hold a car show,
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Old 08-20-2011, 05:18 PM   #55
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

talking about va/nc legends, don't forget wendall scott from danville, got to see him in his last race in the late 80's at franklin county speedway, someone let him use their late model stock car, pretty cool to be there for that
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Old 08-20-2011, 05:38 PM   #56
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

I got the chance to watch a race once at the Asheville Speedway during the summer of 1961. I don't remember too much about it as I was only ten yrs. old, but I do remember Junior Johnson raced that night in the feature piloting a 1956 Ford.
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Old 08-20-2011, 05:56 PM   #57
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

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talking about va/nc legends, don't forget wendall scott from danville, got to see him in his last race in the late 80's at franklin county speedway, someone let him use their late model stock car, pretty cool to be there for that

More coming on Wendell.



Now, when you say Franklin County Speedway, some of us old-timers know it as Whitey Taylor's track at Calloway, Fastest 3/8ths Mile Track in the Country? I saw many a race there, crewed for a while on Bobby Radford's team (Paul Radford's nephew). Great place.
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Old 08-20-2011, 05:57 PM   #58
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

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talking about va/nc legends, don't forget wendall scott from danville, got to see him in his last race in the late 80's at franklin county speedway, someone let him use their late model stock car, pretty cool to be there for that

More coming on Wendell.



Now, when you say Franklin County Speedway, some of us old-timers know it as Whitey Taylor's track at Callaway (Fastest 3/8ths Mile Track in the Country). I saw many a race there in the mid-'70s, and crewed for a while on Bobby Radford's team (Paul Radford's nephew). Great place.
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Old 08-20-2011, 07:06 PM   #59
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

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More info I found on the Charleston Rebel Speedway



This is how I remember it in the early '90's after being abandoned...



How it looks today...

i remember it well. dont forget summerville speedway.
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Old 08-20-2011, 07:13 PM   #60
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

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talking about va/nc legends, don't forget wendall scott from danville, got to see him in his last race in the late 80's at franklin county speedway, someone let him use their late model stock car, pretty cool to be there for that
I looked through my photo archives for a good pic of the old Callaway Speedway (now called Franklin County). Here's a shot I'm particularly fond of. I took this picture around 1979 or 1980. It's Paul Radford, The Ferrum Flash, still at it charging hard in his Late Model Sportsman car rounding the 4th turn on a Friday night race. Paul was getting up there in age. You can see the beatin' and bangin' the #5 took. Regular action at this terrific little sharply-banked tough, tough track. No place for thin skin.

Paul could still give as good as he got....

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Old 08-20-2011, 08:09 PM   #61
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

[QUOTE

Took this pic of a junkyard just up the road from the track. Evidence of the glory days is everywhere you look.



[/QUOTE]

i wonder if i could get my hands on one of those........even though it wouldnt be HAMB compatible. it would be violently fun
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:05 PM   #62
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

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Great thread,, you mention Union County in NC, was that also known as Starlite Speedway in the seventies?
Also in Charlotte was Metrolina at the fairgrounds.Ned Jarrett promoted there and Hickory in the seventies. It ran as dirt and pavement over time.
There was also a 11/2? mile board track in Pineville in the 20's.
I won my first trophy in my '51 Chevy at Starlight Dragstrip, a dirt dragstrip, at the age of 17 in 1961. A year later the owners converted it to Starlight Speedway and it became a very popular dirt round track until the town of Monroe expanded out to it. Great thread that is bringing back fond memories.
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:19 PM   #63
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

If you have doubts about how quickly a racetrack goes downhill, take a look at these photos. Here's a shot or two of Harper's Speedway (aka King's Speedway) just north of Raleigh in the little community of Kittrell, NC. It operated up until about 5 years ago. Typical little dirt track bull ring. Dozens and dozens used to operate. Seems like way back when every tobacco farmer in Virginia or the Carolinas had a race car.

Here's Harper's in 2005:






A couple weeks ago, I visited Harper's. Here's what I found. Abandoned.

"For out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."
Genesis 3:19








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Old 08-20-2011, 09:21 PM   #64
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

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The other Charlotte track you never heard about....

A 1/2 mile clay track located in Charlotte, North Carolina. Queen City was built in the late 60s and only survived a year or two. Located at the end of a runway at Douglas Airport, the neighbors complained about the noise of the racetrack. The track was forced to cease operation shortly after.



I attended the first race there in the late '60s. It was rumored Richard Petty was the largest investor. They knew they didn't have to worry about noise ordinances at the airport but it was a dirt track ajoining a large housing development that had dust on everything after a race even with watering the track. I believe they were given the option of paving but decided to close. Somebody lost a ton of money.
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:30 PM   #65
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Shuffletown Dragway. The first picture is my first Harley in '65, the second is my first Fuel Harley in '69 and the last is my twin engine Harley T/F Bike in '83.
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:33 PM   #66
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

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There were three dragstrips at one time near Boiling Springs, NC. All at the time (the '50s) were sand and dirt. Sandy Run ('57-65), Hilltop ('58-'60), and Shadyside. Only Shadyside remains.

I could be wrong but I think this is Shadyside Dragway when it was dirt and ran in the opposite direction than what it does today... Great thread BTW!
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:39 PM   #67
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The Charlotte Board Track in the '20s. Charlotte has a long tradition with automobile racing. The old Fairgrounds Dirt Track on North Tryon Street has not been mentioned here yet.
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:41 PM   #68
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

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Asheville Speedway in Asheville, NC was also called the Asheville-Weaverville Speedway. Close to Weaverville, NC.

From Wickipedia....
The track was closed from the 1970s to racing, until North Buncombe High School was built on the property of the former track. In the 1970s and 1980s the track was used as softball fields and sports practice fields. The track itself had been disabled by first placing earthen barriers on opposite sides of the track, and later, concrete barriers at 8 locations around the track.

Not to be confused with the Asheville-Weaverville Speedway, the "New Asheville Speedway" was located on Amboy Road in Asheville, NC, approximately 20 miles south of the Asheville-Weaverville Speedway. This track was closed after zoning ordinances forced the track owners to sell the track to the River-Link organization, and Organization that promoted making the French Broad River area of Asheville a public park.

The New Asheville Speedway aka "goin' down by the river)...Saw a race there in the summer of '76, won by The Ironman, Jack Ingram.
Phartman, as is often the case, wikipedia has it about half right.

Asheville-Weaverville closed because it got in such a state of disrepair that Nascar told them to either fix it up or they'd pull the races. At that time, A-W had two 500 lap GN races, one in the spring and one in the fall. The family that owned the track must've figured Nascar was bluffing, but they were wrong. Nascar did pull the races, and the owners blew what would've eventually been a goldmine as tracks like this were sold to Bruton Smith or to others just so they could get the race dates to move to bigger tracks. People around here still shake their heads in disbelief anytime the subject of A-W comes up, and how it went out of operation.

FWIW, this wasn't a case of Nascar being unreasonable. I was at one of the last 250 milers run at A-W, and a good part of the wall separating the pits from the track had been knocked down at some previous time and never fixed. The track itself had so many piecemeal patches you'd have thought it was some 3rd world donkey path. During that race, a car got crossed up coming off the 4th turn and smacked the pit wall. Not that hard, but the concrete was so deteriorated that it knocked another good size chunk out of it. If it had been a solid head on lick there's little doubt one or more pit crew guys would've likely left in body bags.

Funny thing was, the owners wouldn't repair the track, but they wouldn't sell it either. Several people tried to buy it, including the owner of Bristol. Yet they sold it to the county for nothing more than rural farmland prices just a few years later.

I think that pic of Bob Pressley was taken at New Asheville. A bunch of us used to be there every Friday night thru the entire season in the last half of the 60's. The well known regulars were Bob, Jack Ingram, Harry Gant, Morgan Sheperd, Bosco Lowe, the Houston brothers, Ned Setzer from Hickory (very successful at NAS), Dick Plemmons from Asheville (won something like 19 of 21 races one season). Lee Roy Yarborough would show up 3 or 4 times a year and drive a car owned by a local body shop. Jimmy Lineberger, from down around Hickory, was always a strong runner too, and won quite a few races. Great racing in both Sportsman and Limited Sportsman classes, and a regular comedy show when they'd run the rookie class as the last race of the nite. They had to run the rookies last because it'd take the track crew a half hour to pick up all the pieces that fell off or got knocked off in a 30 lapper. Its amazing how easy it is to flip a car once you've "stiffened up the suspension" by putting grease fittings in the shocks and pumped them full of chassis lube

NAS wasn't zoned out of existence. It was bought by a local accountant who was an absolute jackass. It became obvious pretty quick that his only real interest was in turning a quick buck in whatever he did, and the deal he made with Riverlink to buy the track was a result of him playing them and their pot full of money off against a few other potential buyers who would've kept the track going.

Typical of his type, once the sale was made he tried to portray himself as some great contributor to the good of the community in his decision to sell to Riverlink and effectively kill off stock car racing in Asheville forever. Riverlink is a collection of tree huggers and earth nuggets who were foaming at the mouth to buy the site, and they probably paid at least twice what it was worth. Lots of folks around here still have no use for the Riverlink organization or for the guy who sold to them. I'd be a member of that group too

Great thread by the way.

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Old 08-20-2011, 09:57 PM   #69
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Not trying to hi jack this thread but I was wondering if anyone had any pictures or imformation about the Chattanooga Speedway in Chattanooga Tn? Was a 1/2 mile dirt track later shortened to a 1/4 mile. Was located off Hooker road close to Chattanooga Creek. Ran on Sunday afternoons in late '40s to about '50. Thanks
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Old 08-20-2011, 09:57 PM   #70
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Poff's Garage, Bent Mountain, VA between Roanoke and Floyd. A ton of racecars have come out of this place ever since the '50s. Still in operation today.

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Old 08-20-2011, 10:01 PM   #71
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Here is a pic and video from Spartanburg Dragway in Spartanburg, S.C. that operated from 1965 to 1984 or 1985. I was in high school when it shutdown. Check out the video. Cool stuff!

http://youtu.be/Kq_J4RoQ8Qk

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Old 08-20-2011, 10:11 PM   #72
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

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A bunch of us used to be there every Friday night thru the entire season in the last half of the 60's. The well known regulars were Bob, Jack Ingram, Harry Gant, Morgan Sheperd, Bosco Lowe, the Houston brothers, Ned Setzer from Hickory (very successful at NAS), Dick Plemmons from Asheville (won something like 19 of 21 races one season). Lee Roy Yarborough would show up 3 or 4 times a year and drive a car owned by a local body shop. Jimmy Lineberger, from down around Hickory, was always a strong runner too, and won quite a few races.

Bosco Lowe from Fairview, NC. I hadn't heard that name in many years. Thanks for the memories.

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Old 08-21-2011, 04:41 AM   #73
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

chinese corner in norfolk?
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Old 08-21-2011, 06:27 AM   #74
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

There was a dirt track in the Rhodhiss Granite Falls area of N.C., that I've seen a pic of. But I believe its completely gone now, This would have been in the 40's judging by the cars I saw in the pic. Keevers Key Service here in Hickory has the pic of this track on his wall. I never heard of it before. It looked like it was just carved out of the dirt. Anybody hear of this one? Might have been the Sawmill Speedway.
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Old 08-21-2011, 06:48 AM   #75
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Just in case you missed it, there was a nice thread earlier this year on the Goldfinger Chevelle that raced in the Fayetteville area in the mid-Sixties. I remember the car vividly because it was one of the few VA/Carolinas racecars ever featured in Hot Rod Magazine. The thread has a wonderful shot posted by Super-Six of the old Fayetteville facility. Check out the thread:

http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/s...d.php?t=339962

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Old 08-21-2011, 07:06 AM   #76
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Another pic of the old Fayetteville facility, this time from Larry Davis' book Super Stock: Drag Racing the Family Sedan.


And it is important to note that Fayetteville Drag Strip is still going strong. The "new" track, that is. We're talking about the old, narrow one that is gone, gone, gone (and probably for the good of everyone's safety. The old place was pretty scary).

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Old 08-21-2011, 07:24 AM   #77
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Dragstrips at airports...how old-school is that? We had four that I'm aware of in Virginia. 'Mo already mentioned the track at Emporia that was an NHRA site at one time and got event coverage in Hot Rod. They used to race at the airport at Petersburg, too. The site is at the Dinwiddie Airport, off Route 460, not far from Virginia Motorsports park is located now. Suffolk Dragstrip operated in Chesapeake; and New London Dragstrip, located between Lynchburg and Bedford, VA.

Of these four, only New London survives.


Suffolk Dragstrip clips on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBLQlt44sLM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXiccquIM0I

Suffolk during the glory days...




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Old 08-21-2011, 07:34 AM   #78
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Thats some good stuff!!
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Old 08-21-2011, 07:55 AM   #79
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Quote:
Originally Posted by Geargoyle Curtis View Post
Here is a pic and video from Spartanburg Dragway in Spartanburg, S.C. that operated from 1965 to 1984 or 1985. I was in high school when it shutdown. Check out the video. Cool stuff!
Your clip is the only known footage from the dragstrip.

From an earlier thread on the HAMB, much appreciated pics of what the dragstrip looks like today, posted by Tuckerboy.

Thanks, fellas.

Lost Dragstrips Thread for more Spartanburg pics
http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/s...313182&page=16

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Old 08-21-2011, 09:15 AM   #80
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

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I could be wrong but I think this is Shadyside Dragway when it was dirt and ran in the opposite direction than what it does today... Great thread BTW!
wow! thats a cool pic. curtis.
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Old 08-21-2011, 09:30 AM   #81
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

the old walterboro drag strip at the waterboro airport. it ran from 55 to 72. it was also a very sucessfull road course there too,[ just like sebring] until the fine people of this town shut them both down....idiots! kustom riv found the trophy at a local antique store. the asphalt is still there its just a driveway at the airport,which is now the largest non commercial air port in the southeast.
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Old 08-21-2011, 09:37 AM   #82
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

This thread is awesome! Such rad history here.
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Old 08-21-2011, 09:38 AM   #83
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

garlits ran there too.
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Old 08-21-2011, 09:41 AM   #84
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

there was also one in chester s.c. this is the only info i have on it.
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Old 08-21-2011, 09:44 AM   #85
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

anyone have any pics. of blaney drag strip in elgin, s.c. ? thats where i smelled nitro for the first time. the dixie finals in oct. good memories!
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Old 08-21-2011, 09:51 AM   #86
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

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anyone have any pics. of blaney drag strip in elgin, s.c. ? thats where i smelled nitro for the first time. the dixie finals in oct. good memories!
http://wediditforlove.com/DragCity.html

And more early photos of Blaney here:

http://www.panoramio.com/user/22544








Look carefully at this photo. Look above the car body. That's the blower! Car body is coming off the chassis! Yikes.

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Old 08-21-2011, 10:00 AM   #87
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

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Dragstrips at airports...how old-school is that? We had four that I'm aware of in Virginia. 'Mo already mentioned the track at Emporia that was an NHRA site at one time and got event coverage in Hot Rod. They used to race at the airport at Petersburg, too. The site is at the Dinwiddie Airport, off Route 460, not far from Virginia Motorsports park is located now. Suffolk Dragstrip operated in Chesapeake; and New London Dragstrip, located between Lynchburg and Bedford, VA.

Of these four, only New London survives.


Suffolk Dragstrip clips on YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBLQlt44sLM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXiccquIM0I

Suffolk during the glory days...
Ah yes, good old Suffolk Raceway, not only did I race there but went skydiving there too. Got to watch three or four runs as I was floating down. Its amazing how much noise those cars made at 3,000 feet in the air!
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Old 08-21-2011, 10:19 AM   #88
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

A couple of really random thoughts here....

If you enjoy looking at racetracks, old cars, architecture, urban archeology, etc. you might enjoy this book. Highly recommended. A meditation on why particular historical objects and artifacts evoke such strong emotion in certain ones of us.



Historical objects require context for us to derive their full meaning. We're examining context today in a thread like Fading Thunder, ie, trying to get at what it all means, lest we forget.

The context has changed (ie many tracks have disappeared), but what about the people and the cars? Can these tracks now absent from the landscape still have an influence from the grave on contemporary society?

I believe they can.

Here around Richmond, VA where I live, there are a growing number of streetcars built by old timers who are beyond the time that they can get out and race (and so many of the tracks are gone anyway), but they still want to raise hell. It is not an uncommon site to see cars on the street that are heavily influenced by the old modifieds and sprint cars that were once commonly found at the tracks on Friday and Saturday night. These cars have full race motors, chassis, quick change rears, roll cages, and all the speed tricks. And gray beards driving them are grinning from ear-to-ear.

The tracks may be gone, but their influence is not lost....


From full-blown, historically accurate restorations that remind us of "the way it used to be...."




To street driven cars with tons of historical influence....






Finally, if you missed the chance to see many of these tracks and you regret it, there is an operating track about to go under. Don't miss the opportunity to go there and see it in person. The ECTA track at Maxton, NC will not operate after this year. Same old story guys. It is shutting down in the name of "progress." So go, be there, be part of history at the last running. You won't regret it.

http://www.ecta-lsr.com/?page_id=68

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Old 08-21-2011, 12:09 PM   #89
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

"Progress may have been alright once, but it has gone on too long"
Ogden Nash
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Old 08-21-2011, 01:23 PM   #90
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

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"Progress may have been alright once, but it has gone on too long"
Ogden Nash

He got that right....

Scrapiron, the caretaker at North Wilkesboro told me there used to be a track at Mt. Airy. You know anything about that?

And any information on the track locally there in Independence or the one up in Floyd? Please post up any information you might have. Very much appreciated.

Thanks.
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Old 08-21-2011, 01:37 PM   #91
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

I mentioned earlier a track that was given up for dead, only to come back in a major way, Virginia International Raceway.

Here is a second one, this time not too far down the road from VIR. The Madison-Mayodan Speedway, a fine old dirttrack between Madison and Mayodan, NC, went out of business only to come back to life as 311 Fasttrack. Going strong and the future looks good.

And why does this track merit noting otherwise? Home track of NASCAR driver Tim Richmond during his formative years....

Here's a blurb about the track from the local newspaper:



311 Speedway reopens

Dirt track racing returned to Western Rockingham County on April 11 when the gates of the half-mile oval located west of Madison reopened as 311 Fastrack.

Track managerGene Robertson said the track underwent significant renovations after being repurchased by former owner David Dick, a grading contractor from Greensboro. A Madison native, Robertson attended his first race at 311 when he was 8 years old. By the age of 17, he was already a car owner.
“I guess I just fell in love with racing,” he said. “I’ve been involved in one form or another just about ever since that first night.”
Robertson came back to 311 in 2000 as track manager and stayed through the 2004 season. Dick bought the track following the 2004 season and operated it one year before selling it to a Floridabusinessman. The track essentially went out of business and closed its gates in July 2008.
Robertson said Dick regained ownership last year, changed the name to 311 Fastrack, did some renovation work and reopened in April.
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Old 08-21-2011, 02:07 PM   #92
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More on Brian Katen's work mentioned earlier in a post. You GOTTA check out this website featuring his work on oval track racing. His drag racing work is all over the HAMB, but I wasn't aware of his circle track stuff. MUST SEE viewing if you like old pictures of racing around the region here in the mid-Atlantic.

http://www.vaautoracing.org/oval.htm

Racing at Felts Park, Galax, VA. The track is long gone, but the site is where the annual Fiddlers' Convention is held the 2nd weekend every August.




Sprint Cars at the Roanoke Fairgrounds. The Fairgrounds and track are long gone.


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Old 08-21-2011, 04:49 PM   #93
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Phartman, I'm kind a nube to this area. Have heard of a track in Mt. Airy.
My lady friend told me of a track in Elk Creek, above Independence, '50's? There still is an active 1/8 drag strip not far from where the oval was.
I'll ask around,,,,scrap'
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Old 08-21-2011, 05:08 PM   #94
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Pete, great thread you've really done some homework. See you at Maxton in October.
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Old 08-21-2011, 05:18 PM   #95
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

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there was also one in chester s.c. this is the only info i have on it.
The Chester Dragstrip at the Chester S.C. Airport was one of the finest dragstrips on the East Coast in the '50s. The Charlotte Hot Rodders would drive their cars there and race them. Bob Osiecki ran the show but lost the lease after Garlits' horrible fire there in 1958. I was only 14 or 15 when it closed so I never went there. Art Malone won $10,000.00 from the France family by setting the World Closed course record above 180 mph in 1961 at Daytona in the Osiecki owned "Mad Dog IV". Osiecki chose Malone after booking his AA/FD in at Chester and seeing what a fearless, talented driver he was.
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Old 08-21-2011, 06:42 PM   #96
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Hey Pete, in my earlier post I was talking about Whitey's place in Franklin county, you ever get out to the Natural Bridge track he was involved with? Looks like they have a dragstrip there now, I can remember as a kid going there and playing in the covered, wooden bleachers on the straight between turn four and one, I think the track was a mile then.
If your familiar with Whitey, you might know my dad, Jim Moore, he helped Whitey with the tracks for awhile. He was the guy who got hurt really bad at Natural Bridge when he got hit by a race car that came on the track after practice was over trying to sneak in a couple of practice laps. Have some really good memorys of the times with my dad and racing. I got to meet alot of racers because of my dad and his friends.

Reading up on Wendall Scott, I see where he won his first ever race in Lynchburg, a little before my time, I think the track was gone before I was born (1966), it was called Shafer's field, not sure where that was but I believe the current city stadium is called shafer's field. There was actually an early rival to Nascar based in Lynchburg called the Dixie circuit, in the early 50's
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Old 08-21-2011, 07:19 PM   #97
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Whitey was quite the character way back when. I lived in Ferrum, VA and over in Patrick County in the Woolwine community from 1976 to 1981 before I moved to Richmond. Took one year off to seek fame and fortune in New York, but that proved to be a short-lived mistake. Came right back to Franklin County and took up where I left off.

Whitey was quite the promoter and Callaway, USA "Fastest 3/8ths Mile Track in the Country" was the place on Friday nights, unless there was a modified race going on at Bowman Gray in Winston-Salem.

The biggest thing I remember about Whitey was the summer of '77 or '78. He announced he had lined up Willie Nelson to play at the track over 4th of July holiday. The community went absolutely nuts. The sheriff's department went nuts, Ferrum College students went nuts, the local hippies went nuts...but all to no avail. Willie never showed, Whitey hid out for a while and kept a low profile, and before long, Franklin County just went back to arguing whether Paul Radford or Joe Henry Thurman or Satch Worley was the better driver.

Those were great days. I miss 'em.



One more Friday night at Callaway racetrack, circa 1979, under Whitey Taylor's management....
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Old 08-21-2011, 07:30 PM   #98
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And speaking of Satch...



And a story from The Franklin County News Post by the great Morris Stephenson about Joe Henry Thurman.

Joe Henry, when he won the national Late Model Sportsman division, went by the nickname of "Country Boy" because NASCAR gave him permission to drive in his bib overalls, as long as they were treated with some kind of flame-proof chemical. And that's exactly what he did, and I never heard of him getting any kind of serious burns in his bibs, short-sleeve shirt and brogans.
And I think the year he won the title, he ran something like 60 plus races that season. That's when men were men when it came to race car drivers.

Personally, I think just about 90 percent of today's NASCAR cup drivers are wimps.




For the entire editorial, here's the link....

http://www.thefranklinnewspost.com/article.cfm?ID=17095
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Old 08-21-2011, 07:45 PM   #99
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The Chester Dragstrip at the Chester S.C. Airport was one of the finest dragstrips on the East Coast in the '50s. The Charlotte Hot Rodders would drive their cars there and race them. Bob Osiecki ran the show but lost the lease after Garlits' horrible fire there in 1958. I was only 14 or 15 when it closed so I never went there. Art Malone won $10,000.00 from the France family by setting the World Closed course record above 180 mph in 1961 at Daytona in the Osiecki owned "Mad Dog IV". Osiecki chose Malone after booking his AA/FD in at Chester and seeing what a fearless, talented driver he was.

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Old 08-21-2011, 07:51 PM   #100
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Visited another old racetrack this past week...the track at North Wilkesboro that had been on the NASCAR cup circuit. Spooky. There are spirits about. A highly recommended stop. A Bruton Smith property. Better go visit while it's still there....

http://www.savethespeedway.net/







The Uphill Downhill Track. From turn 4 to turn 1 there is a 17' elevation difference. Downhill on the front stretch, uphill on the back stretch. These old racetracks had real character. When you are inside- looking at the track- it has a personality all of its own. You couldn't possibly be anywhere else. You know you're at N. Wilkesboro. These new tracks? Anywhere USA. What a shame.






The caretaker for the Speedway. Lives on the property. Keeps the grass cut, feeds the stray cats that show up every once-in-a-while. Full of stories. Our visit passed way too quickly. An encyclopedia of knowledge about the glory days of NASCAR. Very nice gentleman, welcomes visitors. Other than he and his pug, Bill, it's pretty quiet at North Wilkesboro these days.

Really enjoyed these pictures. Wish the "caretaker" had been around when we visited a few years ago. My family visited North Wilkesboro and Rockingham on the way back from the Mother's Day Cup race at Darlington in 2006. Sure wish we could have seen some racing at these Historic Tracks back in "The Good-Old-Days".
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:15 PM   #101
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Well speaking of Rockingham, it sounds like "The Rock" might be put back on the Bush/Nationwide schedule maybe as soon as next year. They're in the process of putting in the safer barriers now.
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Old 08-21-2011, 08:47 PM   #102
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Well speaking of Rockingham, it sounds like "The Rock" might be put back on the Bush/Nationwide schedule maybe as soon as next year. They're in the process of putting in the safer barriers now.
I've been wanting to get to the strange tale of The Rock. Opened in 1965, extensively reconfigured in 1969.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rockingham_Speedway

The news media refers to it as the "nearly abandoned." Guess that's close enough for this thread. Brush with death and all that....

Here's an internet story that nicely summarizes what happened there in Rockingham, NC- actually in nearby Hamlet, NC:

http://www.wral.com/news/local/story/1885014/


It would be awfully good to see the facility back operating again on a major circuit. Owner Andy Hillenburg deserves tremendous credit for what he's accomplished there.







Rockingham, 1965

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Old 08-21-2011, 08:49 PM   #103
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After much searching and some false starts, the one and only photo I was able to find of the now gone Sanford, NC Dragstrip (not to be confused with the Sanford, ME dragstrip that also has a long, rich history).

I'm still a little skeptical, so if someone can verify for me, please.

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Old 08-21-2011, 08:51 PM   #104
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is so sad to see this
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Old 08-22-2011, 05:00 AM   #105
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creeds dragstrip in pungo. two tenths instead of a quarter mile. just right for my 406 galaxie with 5.14 gears...........
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Old 08-22-2011, 06:02 AM   #106
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creeds dragstrip in pungo. two tenths instead of a quarter mile. just right for my 406 galaxie with 5.14 gears...........

Yup, that one is on the list of "abandoned." It was the old Naval Air Station, another airport dragstrip, gone, gone, gone.





Here is a list of Virginia dragways, many of which are now closed:


Old Dominion Speedway - April 1953
Manassas, VA

Pungo Air Force Base - 1955
Pungo, VA

Eastern Dragway - March 1957
Petersburg, VA Mid-summer 1961 NHRA both 1/4 and 1/2 mile.

Roanoke Drag Strip - June 29, 1958
Roanoke, VA NHRA

Tappahannock Dragway - 1958
Jack's Fork, VA

Lakeview Drag Strip - 1958-1959 First full season
Bassett, VA

Virginia International Raceway - 1959
Danville, VA

Hidden Valley Drag Strip - April 18, 1959
Covington, VA

Callaghan Drag Strip - March 8, 1959
Covington, VA

Oak Level Dragstrip - 1960
Oak Level, VA

New London Dragway - 1960 NHRA
New London, VA

Louisa County Dragway - 1960
Louisa, VA

Emporia Dragway - 1961
Emporia, VA

Bristol International Dragway - July 30, 1961
Bristol, TN

Freedom 7 Dragway - 1962
Creeds, VA (Virginia Beach)

Suffolk County Raceway - 1963
Suffolk, VA

Richmond Dragway - May 1964
Richmond, VA

Eastside Speedway - 1964
Waynesboro, VA

Colonial Beach Dragway - 1964
Sterling, VA

Summerduck Dragway - 1965
Culpeper, VA

Cedar Hill's Dragway - 1966
(Big Al's Dragway)
Richlands, VA

Elk Creek Dragway - July 18, 1968
Elk Creek, VA

Lonesome Pine Drag Strip - Closed in 1971
Coeburn, VA

Natural Bridge Drag Strip - 1991
Natural Bridge, VA

Virginia Motorsports Park - 1994
Dinwiddie, VA

Bristol Dragway - 1998
Bristol, TN


OTHER POPULAR DRAG STRIPS FOR VIRGINIANS

Burlington Drag Strip - 1954
Burlington, NC

Maple Air Force Base - 1955
Elizabeth City, NC

Chester - 1956
Chester, SC

A & H Drag Strip - 1961
Fletcher, NC
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Old 08-22-2011, 12:16 PM   #107
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[QUOTE=phartman;6877730]He got that right....



And any information on the track locally there in Independence or the one up in Floyd? Please post up any information you might have. Very much appreciated.

>>>>>>>

Talked with a couple guys this AM,,,the only track in Independence proper was a GO-Cart track behind the Dodge dealership on Rt. 21
No confirmation on an oval in Elk Creek
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Old 08-22-2011, 06:49 PM   #108
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There was a dirt track in the Rhodhiss Granite Falls area of N.C., that I've seen a pic of. But I believe its completely gone now, This would have been in the 40's judging by the cars I saw in the pic. Keevers Key Service here in Hickory has the pic of this track on his wall. I never heard of it before. It looked like it was just carved out of the dirt. Anybody hear of this one? Might have been the Sawmill Speedway.
Well, I called Keevers Key Service in town and the woman on the phone said she remembered the pic on the wall, she also said that was about 15 years ago! A old guy that worked there put his pictures on the wall then and took them with him when he quit. She says he is dead now.So the pic is somewhere out there. Anyway, I was trying to get a copy of the pic for phartman. This is what I remember. The guy said it was a track near Granite Falls, which is right beside Sawmills, little towns all together. The pic showed a track that looked like it was carved out of a bank, lots of pine trees around. I didn't see any out buildings or tower , it wasn't a fancy track. The cars on the pic was what made me look at it to start with. About 4or5 38-39 Ford coupes with cut up fenders and graphics and lettering on them. One car was fresh with a shiny paint job, no damage. They were just sitting lined up ready to go.
My dad was a land surveyor here since the 60's , and he dosen't remember coming across it or hearing about it. He is going to ask around. The pic looked like the track might have been put on the backside of somebodys 90 acres, it looked like it was in the middle of the woods. If I hear anything about it , I'll try to go out and get a pic of its location now.
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Old 08-22-2011, 07:11 PM   #109
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Wow, what a day, what a day. Good news and bad news....

I had wondered about the status of Southampton Speedway in Capron, VA and just found out that this state-of-the-art racetrack has joined the ranks of abandoned tracks. Last race was in 2004 and there isn't much hope of anybody picking it up. Very sad.



And the other bad news was that Rolling Thunder Raceway in Ararat, VA closed its doors on July 15 and the track is for sale. They've thrown in the towel. RIP. But if you have a spare $240,000 or so, it can be yours, lock stock and barrel as they say. Don't let this track be abandoned!



How about the good news? Man oh man, this is huge.

I had wondered about the status of the old 1/2 mile dirt track at Oak Level, VA, not far from the town of Bassett. The location is where the ancient, ancient track used to be as well as the dragstrip. It last operated in its old form under the name Fairystone Raceway. It's in Patrick County, VA, right there on the Eastern slope of the Blue Ridge. Beautiful spot. Big time moonshine country.





Got totally revamped in the late '70s, but pretty quiet since then.

After some scratching around on the internet, found a telephone number and called it early this morning. I couldn't imagine that the number was any good. But somebody answered!

And not just somebody, but French Grimes. Don't know French? Runs one of the top fuel injection and racecar magneto shops in the country!

http://www.frenchgrimes.com/contact.htm

I asked French what the devil he was doing answering the phone. "Why aren't you at your flow bench???!!!"

His answer: "I bought a racetrack!" Yup, at 68 years old, French has become a promoter. Told me he's spent all his retirement $$$ doing it, but what the heck. Here's the story from the local newspaper:

http://www.martinsvillebulletin.com/...e.cfm?ID=10358

And he formed a new racing organization. Here is their website:

http://www.racesaver.com/

So a down-and-out old dirt track that was older than Moses comes back to life. Next big race is Labor Day weekend. Good luck, my friend. Good to see somebody stepping up to the plate. Now operates under the name Forked Mountain Raceway.

http://www.forkmountainraceway.com/

Wish him all the success in the world. Here's a pic of French at the track, looking all the world like Moses hisself. Kind of fitting, isn't it? He's da Man.

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Old 08-22-2011, 08:53 PM   #110
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

This thread is awesome Phartman----good job!
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Old 08-22-2011, 10:03 PM   #111
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More on Wendell Scott from Danville....




Here's the link. Good essay.

http://therevivalist.info/wendell-scott/

What a nice little film here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qTgUJaO5B0

And from ESPN films, this docu-drama on Wendell. Captivating. It'll break your heart.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnPvPqPYyHA
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Old 08-23-2011, 05:50 AM   #112
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great thread phartman,,kudos for starting this thread. east coast is rich in racing history. too bad much of it is history........selah!
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Old 08-23-2011, 06:31 AM   #113
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That Wendell Scott movie was really good!
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Old 08-23-2011, 07:49 AM   #114
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that NRA car in the junkyard looks like it was driven by the other "Man in Black" Jerry Glanville..he was another who made his money in football then blew it racing..lol.
also,Daytona has the same setup with the old steel chairs..must have been a popular way of building bleachers back in day down south.
cool thread,thanks!
Dover Downs had the same seats . you paid more to sit there
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Old 08-23-2011, 08:27 AM   #115
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Speaking of movies, local racers, racetracks and landscape have been featured in numerous films set in Virginia and the Carolinas. While hot rod and racing movies tended to turn our attention to California, the unique look and feel of the mid-Atlantic South was never lost on film directors. They quickly grasped the colorful nature of our region, and audiences responded enthusiastically.

Context is so important to understanding old racecars and hot rods. And like the abandoned tracks, much of that distinctive landscape that defines Virginia and the Carolinas is gone, gone, gone.

So we'll take a little ramble out to Hollywood and see how those cats have treated our beloved Southern Upland in cinema. Oh boy, you ain't gonna believe some of this stuff....

Let's start with the granddaddy of 'em all Thunder Road.

From Wikipedia:

In the film, Mitchum drove a souped-up 1951 Ford 2-door sedan hot-rod with a custom tank in the back for moonshine and later a 1957 Ford coupe with the same alterations. The '51 Ford was modified with a '49 hood and grill and the rear taillight trim was removed. The film's dialogue refers to the car as a '50, but it is not, although at least one exterior shot, when the car spills oil on the road, is of the trunk of a '50.

Most of the scenes were filmed in Asheville, North Carolina Highway 16 and others at Lake Lure. Some scenes were actual local moonshine drivers shot with a camera mounted on pickup tailgate.


What a great movie. It never gets old. And me bein' a Y-block Ford guy and all....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBeZ7...eature=related




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Old 08-23-2011, 08:33 AM   #116
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If you HAMBers around Asheville and NC 16 can take some current pics of scenes that are in the movie so we can see what they look like today, that would be huge. Good destination for a cruise.

Thanks, guys. Very much appreciated and never, ever taken for granted.

Pete
Richmond, VA



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Old 08-23-2011, 10:17 AM   #117
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Another terrific contemporary film that features North Carolina locations- it was filmed around Hickory- is the 1973 release, The Last American Hero starring Jeff Bridges.




It is loosely based on the essay from Tom Wolfe, who is not to be confused with Thomas Wolfe. Tom is from Richmond, VA and Thomas is from Asheville, NC. Anyway, Tom wrote an essay by the same name as the movie. Both are loosely based on the Junior Johnson story. If you've read any Tom Wolfe you know he's a little fast and loose with the truth, as is the movie. In the film, Bridges plays Junior "Jackson" and it is an updated version of moonshiner-turns-racecar driver.

The dirt track scene here in the film is the old Concord Speedway, RIP.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJXC35lxPxk

And here's a blurb about it in Ghosts of Southern Dirt Tracks:

From the 1960's until the late 70's, Concord Motor Speedway was a active dirt track that was home to many stars of the era and today. Located outside Concord, North Carolina, Concord was a 1/2 mile high banked clay dirt track. It was home to weekly stock car racing, some Grand National (now Winston Cup) races in the early 60s, and an occasional motorcycle race.

While Curtis Turner was exiled from NASCAR in the mid 60's, he raced at Concord Motor Speedway. Speedy Thompson was a frequent challenger there also. When Ralph Earnhardt switched from racing all over the southeast to racing closer to home, he competed at Concord until his death in 1973. Several youngsters learned their craft at Concord. Freddy Smith raced there weekly. Freddy has continued racing on dirt for his entire career. And one driver of note that moved on to prove that he could race on asphalt as well, Dale Earnhardt cut his racing teeth at Concord Motor Speedway. In the 70's several race scenes from the movie "Last American Hero" were filmed here.

Unfortunately, progress encroached on Concord Motor Speedway in the 70's. The land was sold for a housing development and racing ended.

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Old 08-23-2011, 10:27 AM   #118
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Here is the trailer from Last American Hero.




You gotta love some of the dialog:

Valerie Perrine (in bed, ready for hubba hubba) " What's your sign?"

Junior Jackson (Jeff Bridges) "Oh Ford, I reckon. It's been real good to me lately...."


Now that's good stuff right there.

I want to say that the paved speedway seen in the clip ever-so-briefly is the old Darlington before it was reconfigured to its modern form. And there is a fleeting glimpse of the old Hickory Speedway RIP.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQVFjJ13eTY&NR=1


Correct? Anybody want to venture a guess???
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Old 08-23-2011, 05:11 PM   #119
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For the eggheads on the HAMB.

http://www.ejumpcut.org/archive/onli.../lasthero.html

An essay about the portrayal of the working class stiff in the American Hero film...not such a bad essay really. It just provides a little more context about the South, working class sensibilities and values at the time, and maybe a little insight on the cultural landscape that surrounded these wonderful old racetracks.

If you can connect the dots and think about our modern society, is it any real wonder these historic places are being abandoned, discarded, and overlooked (even for their historical significance)?

What a shame.
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Old 08-23-2011, 05:36 PM   #120
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phartman... that 1/2 mile track that French Grimes bought is right about where I raced in '85....is it the old Log Cabin Raceway ? It was a 1/2 mile dirt with some monster concrete outside walls..( I hit 'em hard in turns 1 & 2 ). It had a tunnel coming into the infield and the road to it ran by an old log cabin.

We worked at W&B Chevrolet in Bassett, Va. in the body shop at the time and ran the cars out of Masters Body Shop in Oak Level.....wow....talk about a blast from the past...
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Old 08-23-2011, 06:05 PM   #121
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phartman... that 1/2 mile track that French Grimes bought is right about where I raced in '85....is it the old Log Cabin Raceway ? It was a 1/2 mile dirt with some monster concrete outside walls..( I hit 'em hard in turns 1 & 2 ). It had a tunnel coming into the infield and the road to it ran by an old log cabin.

We worked at W&B Chevrolet in Bassett, Va. in the body shop at the time and ran the cars out of Masters Body Shop in Oak Level.....wow....talk about a blast from the past...
Thumper, you are Da MAN! Thanks for filling in the blanks here. I think the evolution was Fairystone to Log Cabin to Oak Level to Forked Mountain, but yes, it is all the same place....

I understand there was a Racer's Reunion there recently (April). Did you attend? Here's an article about it.

http://www.thefranklinnewspost.com/article.cfm?ID=18765

If you had a pic of your racecar, I'd love to see it. Post it up.
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Old 08-23-2011, 06:24 PM   #122
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Ha-Ha !!!......how 'bout that shit..! I raced with Tony & Todd Arrington, Tony was the main driver and Todd owned the car. I built my own car partway thru the season out of a wrecked trade-in from the dealership. I wrenched on their car as well as my own. Tony actually won a race in '85 with his.....while I just putzed around from the middle to the back of the pack. I've got some pictures somewhere...I just have to find them.

I had no idea they had a racers reunion....so I wasn't there. I was an outsider (Georgia) so some of them 'ole boys wasn't real fond of me..........first time there I unloaded my car off the trailer and a local guy spun me in the pits....LMAO....I knew I was in for a fun night...
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Old 08-23-2011, 07:57 PM   #123
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Ha-Ha !!!......how 'bout that shit..! I raced with Tony & Todd Arrington, Tony was the main driver and Todd owned the car. I built my own car partway thru the season out of a wrecked trade-in from the dealership. I wrenched on their car as well as my own. Tony actually won a race in '85 with his.....while I just putzed around from the middle to the back of the pack. I've got some pictures somewhere...I just have to find them.

I had no idea they had a racers reunion....so I wasn't there. I was an outsider (Georgia) so some of them 'ole boys wasn't real fond of me..........first time there I unloaded my car off the trailer and a local guy spun me in the pits....LMAO....I knew I was in for a fun night...
Fightin' and racing. Yup, there was plenty of that going on back then. I remember a particularly athletic night at Madison-Mayodan Speedway long about that time....

I didn't know those Arringtons. I knew the "other" Arringtons: Chubby from Longwood Restaurant fame and Buddy from the Winston Cup.

And me, too, yes, I was a fish-out-of-water in Patrick County. City boy from North Carolina in a coat and tie. You can imagine how that went over in some circles. Lord, lord. But generally, I was welcomed wherever I went. Generally....

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Old 08-23-2011, 09:06 PM   #124
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Tony and Todd were Buddy's nephews if I recall correctly..
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Old 08-24-2011, 07:08 PM   #125
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the old walterboro drag strip at the waterboro airport. it ran from 55 to 72. it was also a very sucessfull road course there too,[ just like sebring] until the fine people of this town shut them both down....idiots! kustom riv found the trophy at a local antique store. the asphalt is still there its just a driveway at the airport,which is now the largest non commercial air port in the southeast.
phartman, here is the article about the walterboro road course although its probaly to small to read.
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Old 08-24-2011, 08:41 PM   #126
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I tried to find a reprint of that R&T, was not successful, but found this article where the Walterboro track is mentioned. Here is the quotation:

We could drive our cars to the race and run them. Afterward, we would put the car back together and drive it home. There weren't many races we didn't get to. After we moved to North Carolina, I had an Austin Healy and Preston had a TR-3. I got acquainted with Hooper Johnson and the others over in Winston Salem . We were going to races in Walterboro, S.C. and Cumberland, Md.

And in case anybody wants to read the full article, here is the link:

http://www.virhistory.com/vir/people/founders.htm

It is from the Virginia International Raceway site about the earliest beginnings of the track, 1956. What is also fascinating in the article is the mention of hillclimb events at Grandfather Mountain, Pilot Mountain, and Chimney Rock. Never knew about any of that. I have a good friend who is involved heavily in the SCCA. I'll see if they have any info about that.

Thanks, Edweird, for the post. All great stuff.

And by-the-way, if you aren't familiar with North Carolina landmarks, Pilot Mountain is a beloved one. Just North of Winston-Salem, it is a distinctive peak on the Eastern slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains.



But it is more widely known as "Mt. Pilot" in the Andy of Mayberry series. The next town up from the real Pilot Mountain is Mt. Airy, which is the hometown of Andy Griffith and served as the model for Mayberry in the series.

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Old 08-24-2011, 08:52 PM   #127
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

And this photo from the Virginia International Raceway site about their inaugural race in 1957...and the winner is none other than Carroll Shelby!

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Old 08-24-2011, 08:56 PM   #128
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Here is a mention of the Walterboro course and another one at Chester from the N.C. SCCA website:

Meanwhile, to the south, regional races were being held at the airport courses in Walterboro and Chester, South Carolina, and at the new road racing track at Savannah ‑ Effingham.

Here is the link:

http://www.ncrscca.com/about-ncr-scca-region-55
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:05 PM   #129
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Well, well, well...the Chimney Rock Hill Climb, RIP. Chimney Rock is a N.C. recreational area. I had no idea of the motorsports connection....dang it. Never made it to that one either.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_46Iu1t_SA

http://www.wncmagazine.com/feature/h...gs_of_the_hill

http://www.hemmings.com/hsx/stories/..._feature7.html






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Old 08-24-2011, 09:22 PM   #130
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Ah yes, Sonny Hutchins...like Wild Willy Borsch, another legend famous for driving one-handed..If Sonny was driving his baby-blue steed with one-hand at Southside, you KNEW his set-up was perfect...his record at Southside was without peer and a huge fan favorite. They even named a section of the grandstands after him.

If any of you Richmonders soaked up suds at "The Hut" (across from Broad Sstreet Station), then you might know that the ever present, bearded owner behind the bar was none other than driving legend, Sonny Hutchins (mentioned in an earlier post).



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Old 08-24-2011, 09:29 PM   #131
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good news for a old race track kingsport speedway reopend this year former nascar truck and cup driver robert pressley reopend the track track first opend in 65 raced to 02 reoped this year kingsport speedway is located in kingsport tn about 20mins from bristol track is doing good ive been racing there ill post a pic sorry car isnt hamb friendly lol
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:32 PM   #132
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sorry heres the pic
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:50 PM   #133
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Great news, good to hear new about every old, abandoned track that comes back to life....here's a shot of the old track- know as Kingsport Raceway- that's a little more HAMB-friendly....

I suspect in those days, a ton of drivers from Southwest Virginia competed there, being so close to the Old Dominion.

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Old 08-24-2011, 11:15 PM   #134
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Just saw Lynchburg's Sonny Leonard has a new motor out, a 1005 ci hemi, and Hot Rod has an article about. He's come quite a ways from small engine repair back in the day.
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Old 08-25-2011, 05:44 AM   #135
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Just saw Lynchburg's Sonny Leonard has a new motor out, a 1005 ci hemi, and Hot Rod has an article about. He's come quite a ways from small engine repair back in the day.
Yes, indeed. Thank you for adding this post.

I want to turn shortly to guys like Sonny: Buddy Arrington's shop, Emmanuel Zervakis, Mallory Speed Shop, Hoehnes and Eanes, etc. The cast of supporting characters. There are a ton around. We'll try and find their old shops today and see what they look like.

Sonny was there from the beginning.
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Old 08-25-2011, 12:05 PM   #136
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Speaking of (Doug)Hoehnes and (Wayne)Eanes; Before their speed shop, they managed to capture both ends of the NHRA National class record with their Canary yellow '55 Chevy hardtop ("Outlaw"), among the first of the Modified Production cars ('60's). Competing in the hotly contested C/MP class, their records were better than those of the larger motored and/or lighter "B" class cars of the time.
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Old 08-25-2011, 08:48 PM   #137
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Dave, we need to go around and photograph these old shops. I'm not precisely sure where on the Boulevard it was. Same with Hoenes and Eanes on Chamberlain, I believe. I know where Cline moved to down on Willis Road. But never visited Emanuel Zervakis' shop on Hull Street.

Gotta get around to these places before they all disappear.

Especially those spots in Scott's Addition.

Lots to do....
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Old 08-25-2011, 09:23 PM   #138
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Great(and very saddening)pictures! I'm going to ask the local track guys(Wake County Speedway)if they know of any old tracks. I'd love to open up a circle track/dragway around here. It would be nice.
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Old 08-26-2011, 07:11 AM   #139
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Bradley, that would be terrific. Wake County is a very old speedway. Here's an article about it:

http://dukechronicle.com/node/145398

It is nothing short of a miracle that Wake County escaped the bulldozers. Good to hear that it is still running.

I'm curious: Is Dunn/Benson Dragstrip still operating down the road from where you live, or is it shut down? Please let me know. Thanks.

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Old 08-26-2011, 03:32 PM   #140
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Dunn/Benson went under last year and new owners bought it and refurbished it, it opened back up in January if I recall correctly. Still running strong, tons of people show up there. Wake County Speedway has been here forever, thanks for the article, I met a member of Kill Billet forum up there, apparently he owns a shop out front, really great guy, he's got some sweet projects. Also, Brewers Dragstrip up in Rocky Mount is still open and surviving. I should be able to get to the speedway next week and ask the guys. If ya need anymore info just let me know! Thanks, Bradley
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Old 08-26-2011, 07:41 PM   #141
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If ya'll want NC tracks....tune in on Tuesday Nights on Racers Reunion's Stock Car Show -Racing Through History. Bobby Williamson has the 7:45 segment called the "Ghost Track Segment" he does the Carolina Tracks. Now if you want Ga history...tune into my Georgia Racing History Segment before Bobby's @7:30.

racersreunion.com Click on the radio button at 7 on Tuesday (we do have a live show every night though.) Anyway...the show has been number one for months now and we have thousands of listeners from all 50 states and 7 countries.

Sorry for the advertisement, but it does go along with the Ghost Tracks.

-Cody
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Old 08-26-2011, 08:50 PM   #142
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Thanks, Cody. Here's a link to Bobby Williamson's website. Great stuff. Ghost circle tracks and dragstrips.

http://racersreunion.com/
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Old 08-27-2011, 09:34 AM   #143
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Fantastic thread.
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Old 08-29-2011, 03:15 PM   #144
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

A little more info on Moore's Speed Bowl (Scott's Addition.)

It was a paved CIRCLE TRACK (no straight-away) built on the old Moore's Field location (Richmond Colts Class "B" baseball) and hosted what I call "Jalopy" races. I was told that the likes of Ray Hendricks, Wendell Scott, Emanuel Zervakis, etc. would compete there, but I'm not sure.

According to Tom (Ballos), the track was popular until a rules change permitted V8's. After that, the regular field was no longer competitive, and as the racers declined so did the spectators. The track closed its doors around 1957.

Tom's dad raced a Mopar coupe with a Chrysler flathead six, and has pictures from the track. Maybe I can photograph a few.
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Old 08-29-2011, 07:22 PM   #145
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'Mo, I've looked everywhere for a picture of Moore's Speed Bowl in Scott's Addition here in Richmond, and I'm coming up empty handed. Same on racing at City Stadium. Any pics you could get from Tom Ballos would be fantastic.

Best I came up with is a vintage shot of the old racetrack at the Strawberry Hill Fairgrounds, which was replaced by Richmond International Raceway. What those early days must have been like....




When the Sawyer Family went to renovate the old track and demolish it, you'll recall they asked Richard Petty to man the bulldozer and tear up the old surface. It was said that he gladly complied since he hated the old track so much. That was February of 1988. The old Strawberry Hill racetrack here in Richmond, VA, RIP.

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Old 08-29-2011, 07:28 PM   #146
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they just torn down the grandstand at the oklahoma state fairgrounds guys raced there for years and i think some still had a deal to keep racing there. but they got bumped and down it went
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Old 08-30-2011, 01:11 PM   #147
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I am told that sometime last year, the old Schloss Speedway which was north of Raleigh near Louisburg was completely leveled, bulldozed flat and planted in pasture grass. There was a time they would have at least had the respect to put in a new tobacco field, but that's hardly done anymore either.

Here is a website that has several shots of the abandoned track:

http://redclayrebel.smugmug.com/Hist...55091342_Z3Zm9





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Old 08-31-2011, 10:58 AM   #148
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A postcard from the historical collection at Wilson Library at UNC showing the old Charlotte Speedway, which predates Lowe's:




And here's a little blurb about it from the archives:

Curious about this predecessor to today’s Lowes Motor Speedway, I sleuthed around a bit to learn more about the track. What I found was perplexing: most sources described Charlotte Speedway as a dirt track built near the old airport in 1949, where stock car races were held. And yet, pictured here was an indy race on a wooden track, and the card appeared to be much older than 1949. I kept searching for traces of the speedway, to no avail. It seemed that maybe this indy track had been utterly forgotten here in stock car country.
Months have passed since my initial investigation, but today while browsing the index to “The State” magazine, I spotted this listing: “First Speedway Race Track.” Though I expected this lead would end up yet another reference the 1949 stock car track, I had to give it a shot. When I opened that November 1979 issue, I saw it: an image of a wooden track identical to the one pictured in the postcard.
Sure enough, there was another Charlotte Speedway built in Pineville in 1924, where indy races were held. According to the brief article by Bugs Barringer, the track was made of green pine two by fours, so that the wood would cure and shrink, allowing ventilation between the boards and preventing the tires from burning during races. Apparently a few stock car races were held at the track but, ironically, they attracted too few spectators to be profitable.

Frank Lockhart, record setter at the Charlotte track:

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Old 08-31-2011, 11:48 AM   #149
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When the Sawyer Family went to renovate the old track and demolish it, you'll recall they asked Richard Petty to man the bulldozer and tear up the old surface. It was said that he gladly complied since he hated the old track so much. That was February of 1988. The old Strawberry Hill racetrack here in Richmond, VA, RIP.

I was there! It was right after the Winston Cup race, which at the time was the 2nd race of the season. The Sawyers had wanted to build a bigger track in the Hampton Roads area due to the large population, but the various cities couldn't agree on how to divide up the expenses. So Sawyer did it himself and had the track ready by Setember for the next race at "Richmond". The "old" track did need some improvements, but is was some of the best racin' I have ever seen!
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Old 09-01-2011, 06:24 AM   #150
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Another historic track in its old configuration from a postcard. This time Bristol International Raceway. The track was reshaped in 1969, but this photograph clearly shows the old, original layout. Gone, gone, gone.

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Old 09-02-2011, 06:30 AM   #151
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Aerial views of either the old Cat Tail Speedway or Brown's, Antioch Church Road, Selma, NC. There is some question about which track this one was. Active into the '50s.



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Old 09-04-2011, 10:18 PM   #152
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Labor Day traditionally was reserved for a race at the old Darlington Raceway. NASCAR no longer sees fit to do that, but from 1950-2004, that's where the tour stopped on this weekend.
The Southern 500 it was called.

While the track is still there, it has undergone a substantial reworking, especially in recent years.

Here's a neat little clip about the old track, the old configuration and the history behind the historic speedway. Not abandoned, but may as well be if you're looking for the old place. Gone with the wind....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ez5Yud4eiWI
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Old 09-05-2011, 07:26 AM   #153
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

A pic from the very first Southern 500. You can see the long-gone "old configuration" here.



What you can't see is that the Start/Finish line is now part of the backstretch. And the track had pits on the frontstretch and the backstretch. With the way the entrance to pit road was configured on the old track, it was virtually impossible to win if you were unlucky enough to have your pit on the backstretch (what is now the Finish line).



What a shame! What other old track had two nicknames? The Lady in Black and The Track Too Tough to Tame. All gone today. You won't find a ton of evidence anymore of what you see here.
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Old 09-05-2011, 08:41 AM   #154
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

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Great news, good to hear new about every old, abandoned track that comes back to life....here's a shot of the old track- know as Kingsport Raceway- that's a little more HAMB-friendly....

I suspect in those days, a ton of drivers from Southwest Virginia competed there, being so close to the Old Dominion.

My father-in law, Paul Gose (The Ghost) raced at Kingsport Speedway in the mid-60s. Others that I remember racing there were Bill Morton, Buck Simmons, Tootle Estes, Gene Glover, Eddie France, Ken Hunley, Claude Lay, Sherman, Layman, and John A. Utsman. Really great racing!!!
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Old 09-05-2011, 12:18 PM   #155
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I was there! It was right after the Winston Cup race, which at the time was the 2nd race of the season. The Sawyers had wanted to build a bigger track in the Hampton Roads area due to the large population, but the various cities couldn't agree on how to divide up the expenses. So Sawyer did it himself and had the track ready by Setember for the next race at "Richmond". The "old" track did need some improvements, but is was some of the best racin' I have ever seen!
.....I was there as well, Heap. I couldn't believe the amount of work they accomplished between the early race and when we came back in Sept. for the Fall race. The Sawyer Family always knew how to put on a good show for the fans.....Don.
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Old 09-05-2011, 07:19 PM   #156
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

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I was there! It was right after the Winston Cup race, which at the time was the 2nd race of the season. The Sawyers had wanted to build a bigger track in the Hampton Roads area due to the large population, but the various cities couldn't agree on how to divide up the expenses. So Sawyer did it himself and had the track ready by Setember for the next race at "Richmond". The "old" track did need some improvements, but is was some of the best racin' I have ever seen!
I was living in Portsmouth at that time and remember all the talk about having a track right at home. Lots of us were really disappointed that it didn't happen. If I remember correctly the group also wanted NASCAR to guarantee so many races and they couldn't or wouldn't. Richmond did turn out nice though.
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Old 09-05-2011, 10:03 PM   #157
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My father-in law, Paul Gose (The Ghost) raced at Kingsport Speedway in the mid-60s. Others that I remember racing there were Bill Morton, Buck Simmons, Tootle Estes, Gene Glover, Eddie France, Ken Hunley, Claude Lay, Sherman, Layman, and John A. Utsman. Really great racing!!!
talked to my dad he remembers your father in law more from the old track in johnson city sportsman speedway dad went to the very first race at kingsport still goes there today at 76 he actualy worked the wrecker there for a couple of years
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Old 09-06-2011, 01:10 PM   #158
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talked to my dad he remembers your father in law more from the old track in johnson city sportsman speedway dad went to the very first race at kingsport still goes there today at 76 he actualy worked the wrecker there for a couple of years
The first race that I attended with the Ghost was at Sportsman Speedway in Johnson City in 1964 or 1965. That was a pretty exciting race track too! I remember racing against L.D. Ottinger there on a fairly regular basis. We also raced at other tracks that have been gone for years - Davy Crockett Speedway in Rogersville, Asheway Speedway (Cowpasture) near Knoxville and the Appalachian Speedway, also in Kingsport.

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Old 09-06-2011, 01:29 PM   #159
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Speaking of (Doug)Hoehnes and (Wayne)Eanes; Before their speed shop, they managed to capture both ends of the NHRA National class record with their Canary yellow '55 Chevy hardtop ("Outlaw"), among the first of the Modified Production cars ('60's). Competing in the hotly contested C/MP class, their records were better than those of the larger motored and/or lighter "B" class cars of the time.
I have searched and searched, guys, and am coming up short on this car, as well as any pictures of Mallory Speed Shop, Cline Automotive, or Hoehnes and Eanes. Man, those shops really are like ghosts. Gone without a trace. The best I've come up with is a mid-'60s NASCAR stocker that Mallory helped sponsor.

Also, 'Mo mentioned sprint car racing at a couple venues around the city. Our son's roommate at college is from Richmond. His grandfather used to work at City Stadium and thought he might have some pics of sprint car racing at the stadium. Stay tuned. I'll see what I can turn up.

In the meanwhile, sure would like to see that '55 C/MP car. Very, very competitive class.

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Old 09-14-2011, 07:29 AM   #160
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Occoneechee Speedway was one of the first two NASCAR tracks to open and is the only track remaining from the inaugural 1949 season. The site is now heavily forested in 40 year old pines and sycamores. Visible still are the grandstands which once held thousands of enthusiastic fans.

This site is one of only three race tracks on the National Register of Historic Places.

The track is a mile long and is nestled down in the woods in a development next to the historic town of Hillsborough, NC. It is now a park, and managed by the Eno River Association. The river runs on the backside of the track location, and there are numerous hiking trails through the site.

It is a spiritual place. Highly recommended. You need to go see it for yourself.





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Old 09-14-2011, 01:40 PM   #161
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

One more N.C. track not on the list is Moyock, N.C.....Grand National Races, which became known as Cup, ran there for a few years....the last one run there was won by Ned Jarrett, for you trivia buffs......
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Old 09-14-2011, 02:00 PM   #162
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in the '60's i ran at a drag stripe near roanoke va. , do not remember the name . im sure its gone by now also ............. steve
most of the tracks i ran out here are gone also . bummer !
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Old 09-14-2011, 02:22 PM   #163
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

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More on Wendell Scott from Danville....




Here's the link. Good essay.

http://therevivalist.info/wendell-scott/

What a nice little film here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_qTgUJaO5B0

And from ESPN films, this docu-drama on Wendell. Captivating. It'll break your heart.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnPvPqPYyHA

Thanks for the link. Really enjoyed the documentary on Wendell Scott. I have seen the movie about 10 times and read the book about his life.
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Old 09-14-2011, 02:32 PM   #164
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Champion Speedway in Fayetteville NC. Was still there on business 95 when I lived down that way in the early 80's, used to go ride my motorcycle around it, gone in '86 for an industrial park.

http://www.localracechat.com/forums/...ayetteville-NC

http://www.ultimateracinghistory.com...hp?trackid=294
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Old 09-15-2011, 06:06 AM   #165
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

There's more to the story on Occonneechee Speedway...it's another one that's come back to life. This time as a park with walking trails.






A ways down in the woods is the site of the actual track. It's still there, but now a walking trail:










The same place in 1964....

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Old 09-15-2011, 06:11 AM   #166
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

that is so cool
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Old 09-15-2011, 08:44 PM   #167
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

This thread is great, I love the history. It clearly shows that motorsports is on the way out. How about making regular visits to your local tracks and bring friends with you! If you don't like the show or accommodations, tell the management. Maybe, just maybe we can keep this thing we love around a while longer.

Following my own advice, historic (1956) 3/8 mi red clay Sumter Speedway in Sumter, SC has new management and these people know how to keep fans entertained! The bathrooms are clean and the food is damn good too. http://www.sumterspeedway.com/ Bring the kids, grand kids, neighbors or whomever! They can always use your support. Yes I race there and yes I love the track!

Here's a link to the website for the Occoneechee Speedway mentioned above. Lots of great old pics there. http://www.historicspeedwaygroup.org/
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Old 09-16-2011, 09:45 AM   #168
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

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This thread is great, I love the history. It clearly shows that motorsports is on the way out. How about making regular visits to your local tracks and bring friends with you! If you don't like the show or accommodations, tell the management. Maybe, just maybe we can keep this thing we love around a while longer.

Following my own advice, historic (1956) 3/8 mi red clay Sumter Speedway in Sumter, SC has new management and these people know how to keep fans entertained! The bathrooms are clean and the food is damn good too. http://www.sumterspeedway.com/ Bring the kids, grand kids, neighbors or whomever! They can always use your support. Yes I race there and yes I love the track!

Here's a link to the website for the Occoneechee Speedway mentioned above. Lots of great old pics there. http://www.historicspeedwaygroup.org/

What a great point. If we don't support these old, historic tracks, they will fail. That doesn't serve anybody's purpose. I'll post up a couple operating tracks that are nevertheless on the "endangered species" list. Go attend a race there. Go spend some money. Thanks for the reminder.
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Old 09-16-2011, 12:10 PM   #169
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas



PETE

Great thread Phartman!
Of course we would be remiss if we left out the Louisa Drag Strip in Louisa,VA. If my memory seves me right it opened in 59 and closed around 65. The track was 1/5 mile and the shut down lane was maybe half that! The cars I think just out grew it, plus Eastside Speedway in Waynesboro opened around 65 which was a great 1/4 mile track, so that didnt help. Eastside BTW is still open and looks just like it did for the most part as it did in 65.
On the way back from the Asphalt Angles Carshow in Richmond one year. The group of "old Timers" that I was Chauffeuring for asked me to go home via rt 33 so they could try to see where the old Louisa Drag Strip was. Well, sure enough we found it so I just drove on in. The land was for sale and the gate was open so...... Luckily I had my video camera with me. Pete, who was with us raced there for many years and he was like a kid walking around telling stories. When we left i pulled up on the old concrete launch pad and told Pete to hang on (With video rolling of course. I stood on it and down we went. He had a ball going down the 1/5th mi. for one last ride. He passed away about a year later. Something That I will always remember! Here are some pics. The vintage shots were taken by Alan Garletts and sent to me by his son Steff who is a HAMBer. I hope he dosent mind me sharing a couple. ENJOY
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Old 09-16-2011, 12:12 PM   #170
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas



This is Sheldon Early of Early's Cycle Center in Harrisonburg, VA. This bike is on display in his shop.
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Old 09-16-2011, 12:14 PM   #171
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Old 09-16-2011, 12:17 PM   #172
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This is the very sign that is in the motorcycle photo

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Old 09-16-2011, 04:38 PM   #173
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Wow! That is great stuff. I knew that Willie Glass raced a flathead at Bonneville, but never realized he campaigned on the dragstrip. And if Willie was racing the likes of Hubert Platt, then he was no slouch! Thank you so much for posting. Just terrific.

And here's a pic of the Eastside (Waynesboro) dragstrip from the early days, previously posted on the HAMB.

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Old 09-16-2011, 09:29 PM   #174
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Hudson Drag Strip (Caldwell Co, NC)



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Old 09-17-2011, 06:31 AM   #175
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

More from Hudson Drag Strip and the early days of Pro Mod racing before it was known as such....



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Old 09-17-2011, 06:48 AM   #176
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Jackson (SC) Drag Strip- the "old" dragstrip. Here's the story:

Carolina Dragway is a 1/4 mile facility located in Jackson, SC. Carolina was built in 1957 by Junior Steed and family as Jackson Dragstrip to ease the ever growing problem of street racing.

Fast forward to 1985, Jackson Dragstrip was purchased by Jeff Miles Sr. and renamed Carolina Dragway. 1986 brought the first major improvement to the facility since it's inception. Concrete walls, new control tower, permanent restrooms and paved pit parking were just a few of the improvements made. Since 1986 over 3 million dollars has been spent to bring Carolina Dragway to "state of the art" status with improvements planned each and every year.








Racer Bogan Renfroe was from Atlanta and campaigned the "Cat Skinner" Willys. Here's more on him:

http://www.georgiadragracing.com/art...n-renfroe.html



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Old 09-17-2011, 07:23 AM   #177
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Thanks for posting the Hudson Dragstrip pictures. It is the only track I have raced at that had the side of a mountain as the shutdown.
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Old 09-18-2011, 09:22 AM   #178
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Phartman,
Actually that photo was taken at Richmond 1964. I have some old Eastside Photos. Ill stick one on here when I get a chance.
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Old 09-18-2011, 10:53 AM   #179
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After reading this entire thread, I'm surprised no one has mentioned Robinwood Speedway It was a short,dirt oval in Gastonia NC, located on Robinwood Road (oddly enough !). The promoter was "Humpy" Wheeler, later to become well known @ Charlotte Motor Speedway. Lotsa local dirt-track heroes ran there. Bryant Wallace,Ervin Carpenter ran there for S&R Wrecker outta Charlotte.Bob & Doug Cooper, The Dimeo boys... There's an apartment complex there now @ Robinwood Rd & Hudson Blvd
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Old 09-18-2011, 11:39 AM   #180
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Phartman,
Actually that photo was taken at Richmond 1964. I have some old Eastside Photos. Ill stick one on here when I get a chance.
Yes, I stand corrected. You can tell from the grandstand and the trees in the background (which are still there). Please post up some Eastside shots. That strip is largely unchanged, as is Richmond. Still just a country dragstriP, God bless 'em (with a very short shutdown area).
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Old 09-18-2011, 11:47 AM   #181
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After reading this entire thread, I'm surprised no one has mentioned Robinwood Speedway It was a short,dirt oval in Gastonia NC, located on Robinwood Road (oddly enough !). The promoter was "Humpy" Wheeler, later to become well known @ Charlotte Motor Speedway. Lotsa local dirt-track heroes ran there. Bryant Wallace,Ervin Carpenter ran there for S&R Wrecker outta Charlotte.Bob & Doug Cooper, The Dimeo boys... There's an apartment complex there now @ Robinwood Rd & Hudson Blvd
Did the track ever go by any other name than Robinwood? It is a little difficult to follow the various tracks in that area since a couple were bought and sold, the names changed over the years and it is hard to tell which place is which. Anything you might add here would be much appreciated.

And while we're talking about the greater Charlotte area, did I understand that Ray Everham has bought one of the abandoned dirt tracks and brought it back to life? Anybody have an update on that?

Again, much appreciated.

Pete
Richmond, VA
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Old 09-18-2011, 12:26 PM   #182
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Did the track ever go by any other name than Robinwood? It is a little difficult to follow the various tracks in that area since a couple were bought and sold, the names changed over the years and it is hard to tell which place is which. Anything you might add here would be much appreciated.

And while we're talking about the greater Charlotte area, did I understand that Ray Everham has bought one of the abandoned dirt tracks and brought it back to life? Anybody have an update on that?

Again, much appreciated.

Pete
Richmond, VA
Yes, Ray Evernham did join an investment group a few years ago and purchase East Lincoln Speedway, a 3/8 mile clay track near Stanley NC. However, this track has been in operation since opening 20 years ago.
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Old 09-18-2011, 01:19 PM   #183
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

wow this thread brought up a old movie iv not seen in over 10 years.
Last American Hero,, was a good movie from what i remember.

chris.
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Old 09-18-2011, 03:33 PM   #184
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Phartman: Re: Robinwood Speedway
As far as I can remember it was known only known as Robinwood .. I've seen published articles about "Humpy" Wheeler and they always referred to it as Robinwood...it was one of his early times as a promoter... I'm not sure of how long it was in existence,but I contributed a 3 3/8" x 4" flathead ( Built by Willie Thompson ) to a car that ran there in the summer of '60..
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Old 09-18-2011, 03:43 PM   #185
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Pete, your pics. of Strawberry Hill ( Richmond) with the wooden fence brought back a lot of memories. I ,and a lot of my buddies,used to sit on the back stretch of that fence until they chased us off. Then we would vie for the best spots in the trees until a break between heats when we would jump the fence and scatter to keep them from catching us. Every now and then a car would come through the fence and kids would get knocked off or out of a tree. Amazingly, I don't remember anybody getting hurt.
Willie Glass is/was a lot more than a Bonneville racer. Back in the day he raced BSA motorcycles at the strip, had a blown Pontiac rail that tore up the middle east, a T-turtledeck Altered called the Deadwood Stage along with the Plymouth that Todd posted. They won't show pics. of his 200 MPH Bonneville roadster in any magazines because it has a little fat Rebel with a Confederate flag on the side and thats not politically correct. The man is a car guy and drag strip racer that is a story in his own right. I have known him since I was about 13 and I'm 69 now and he's 77. We share the same Apr. 27 birthday.
Wilson Duke can tell you a lot about Monte Kline cause he used to run a car with him. Willie and a bunch of us can talk to you about Sonny Mallory as we knew him fairly well. Willie may have found Sonny's old 34 Ford 3 window coupe but I can't tell you where it may be. Maybe the next time I'm in Richmond I'll give you a call. Howard
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Old 09-18-2011, 09:25 PM   #186
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Hey Howard, Was Sonny referred to as the Flying Fat Man? I have seen a pic of him at Louisa. Maybe I can get it and post it if it is him. Sure would like to meet Willie and see that coupe. hint, hint!
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Old 09-19-2011, 07:05 AM   #187
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas



Eastside Speedway Waynesboro, VA. It still looks just like this. This is another photo by Alan Garletts. Ronnie Sox taking on Phil Bonner. Dont know the year but I would guess around 67ish.
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Old 09-19-2011, 09:45 AM   #188
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Todd,,, Yes that was Sonny. Give me a call, One day soon....
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Old 09-19-2011, 12:22 PM   #189
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Default Re: Fading Thunder...Abandoned Racetracks in Virginia and the Carolinas

Thanks, guys.

Willie (and a number of other guys locally) are waaaaay overdue for a story in some national publications. Very puzzling that it's so long in taking place.

I'd say the same about Pee Wee Wallace and his many early funny cars.
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