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History Found an old race track-With pics

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Joe T Creep, Feb 4, 2009.

  1. Joe T Creep
    Joined: Jan 1, 2003
    Posts: 1,145

    Joe T Creep
    Member Emeritus

    So I have been here in Perry Georgia for a few weeks for work. Its a little more than an hour south of Atlanta. Ive been working and driving all over this area and today while driving down route 41/11 I look right and see the side of an old oval and grandstands!!!!
    Its located at 4015 US Highway 41 N Byron, GA 31008 The front of it is now a golf driving range. I pulled in and went to the little gold shack and it was closed. There was a number on the window and I called it to see if I could go take some pictures of the track. No answer. There were a few keep out signs and a trailer that I knocked on the door but no answer. I took a few pics from the parking area and decided that I wasnt going to tromp across the 200 yard open space past the keep out sign to take some more pics. I drove off and saw a small side street into a trailer park right behind the grandstands so I drove down there thinking I could get some closer shots from the side. Maybe a name or something. So I drove to the end of the street and I saw a spot to take some pics. As I got closer I saw that there was no fence there so I decided to get a closer look.
    The place was great. Very overgrown and dilapitated, but I could just close my eyes and hear cars and people that had run there in the past. I walked under the stands and onto the track. I was amazed. I know its not that huge of a deal but I was just amazed. Paved banked oval. It was so neat to stand there. Why cant there be any places like this out near my place in CA? It may sound silly but it had an effect on me.
    I did some searches on it and I found out it was called the Middle Georgia Speedway. It operated from 1966-1971. If what I read is correct a bunch of bands including Hendrix performed there in 1970 about ten weeks before his death.
    Not a super long run, but a very cool place.
    Im sure some local HAMBers know about this place. All the guys around here have been really nice about inviting me over to check out there places, but ive been working so much I havent had a chance. But thanks guys!!!

    Attached Files:

  2. 2002p51
    Joined: Oct 27, 2004
    Posts: 1,362


  3. pasadenahotrod
    Joined: Feb 13, 2007
    Posts: 11,776

    from Texas

    The bones of old raceways, dragways, and road courses are all over the USA. It's neat to see how many are still "there" but in absolute disrepair and decay though.
    Funny how that dirt which was so expensive and made the guy sell is still "as it was" with no improvements. I guess they're waiting for the NEXT land boom, oops, missed it!
  4. Retro Jim
    Joined: May 27, 2007
    Posts: 3,859

    Retro Jim

    Check this out . Nascar raced there ! Look what was found there :)

    Ole Days

    Middle Georgia Raceway

    [FONT='Comic Sans MS', Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]
    [FONT=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]Middle Georgia Raceway, Macon, Ga.
    [FONT=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]
    [FONT=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]This half-mile paved oval welcomed the NASCAR big leagues nine times between 1966 and 1971, four of those races were run by Richard Petty, two by Bobby Allison and one each by David Pearson and Bobby Isaac — all Cup champions.
    [FONT=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]
    [FONT=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]In 1968, government agents raided the racetrack as part of a major illegal liquor sting. A secret door located in the ticket booth led to a ladder, which descended 35 feet to another hidden entrance. That trap door led to a 150-foot tunnel, which ended at a cave beneath the track infield. Inside the cave was a gigantic moonshine still, which was promptly shut down and the track owner was sent to the slammer.
    [FONT=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]
    [FONT=Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]The race, however, was run as planned and won by Pearson enroute to his second series title.[/FONT]​

    There way a huge rock concert there , check out the performers !/
    Show:2nd Annual Atlanta International Pop Festival
    Date:Jul 3, 1970
    Venue:Middle Georgia Raceway (Macon, GA)

    Jimi Hendrix
    The Allman Brothers Band
    Jethro Tull
    Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band
    Procol Harum
    B.B. King
    It's a Beautiful Day
    Ginger Baker
    Richie Havens
    Hampton Grease Band
    Ballin' Jack
    Lee Michaels
    John Sebastian
    Ten Years After
    Ravi Shankar
    Symposium of Awareness
    Terry Reid
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2009
    jangleguy likes this.

  5. Jobe
    Joined: Oct 19, 2004
    Posts: 1,248

    from Austin, Tx

    now that is cool!
  6. Dirtynails
    Joined: Jan 31, 2009
    Posts: 843

    from garage

    Go back and take pics of the still!, watch out for snakes when you climb down the ladder though.:D:D
    Jimi Hendrix was in England then,unless he went back to the US for a concert.
  7. yankbuilt
    Joined: Jan 28, 2008
    Posts: 386


    That is very cool.They should do a show on the history channel about stuff like this.Hum?
  8. Very Cool.
    I sent this to dirty old man, sounds like his stomping grounds. I'm sure he'll chime in soon.
  9. Joe T Creep
    Joined: Jan 1, 2003
    Posts: 1,145

    Joe T Creep
    Member Emeritus

    Thats the place near Macon! WOW I might have to take another trip and look for that tunnel. You guys sure do find some cool stuff.
  10. Slickster51_50
    Joined: Jul 30, 2006
    Posts: 494


    That is freakin awesome!I bet there are a few guys on here that would remember that old place.I'de love to hear some stories.
  11. Ted Kempgens
    Joined: Jan 8, 2007
    Posts: 208

    Ted Kempgens
    from Florida

    Story is that they backed a concrete truck up to the tunnel and poured concrete. Use to travel up there with Wayne Reutimann to run sprints when i was kid. The reason the track closed as we have been told was that it sat on the line of two countys. One would alow racing and the other ruled against it. A local Florida promoter was the last to try and open it. Could not get approvel from the other county. Was a super fast high banked track. Ted
  12. Crazy Horse
    Joined: Sep 26, 2008
    Posts: 29

    Crazy Horse
    from Arnold MO

    Don't you love local government???? What they don't realize is the potential businees would come to both of their counties if the track was opened up and ran.........idiots:D Cool find tho..I bet it was fast in its days
  13. Kid Jeff
    Joined: Aug 8, 2006
    Posts: 152

    Kid Jeff

    That is awesome!!! I want to see some more pictures. You have got to go back and take more to show us. Very good find.
  14. Rootie Kazoootie
    Joined: Nov 27, 2006
    Posts: 8,134

    Rootie Kazoootie
    from Colorado

  15. vertible59
    Joined: Jan 25, 2009
    Posts: 1,058


    yep, that track is about 5 mi. from my home. it was a hot spot in its day and the "war stories" abound about the races and drivers. and yes, hendrix WAS on the bill at the second atlanta international pop festival that was held there. i was seated about 10 feet from procol harum when they played "A WHITER SHADE OF PALE"! grand funk's set from the show was used in their live album, and bob seeger, mountain, and rig also performed, along with the others previously listed. quite a storied place...race cars rock 'n' roll and the "powers that be" making sure that we don't do it again.
    Joined: Mar 6, 2008
    Posts: 1,527


    that is a cool place!!!!!! i hate to see tracks close
  17. fuel pump
    Joined: Nov 4, 2001
    Posts: 3,620

    fuel pump
    Member Emeritus
    from Caro,MI

  18. dirty old man
    Joined: Feb 2, 2008
    Posts: 8,911

    dirty old man
    Member Emeritus

    Sorry about my late entry into this thread, been busy offline.
    Yep, been there many times, both in the stands and in the pits, but never actually raced there, as my cars were all built for dirt and didn't work very well on asphalt.
    "Dirt is for racing, asphalt is for getting to the track."
    A local promoter once put on races with rules that allowed the dirt cars to run, but few if any had any success against the asphalt cars that showed up. Many had problems due to the greatly increased speeds which literally ripped apart some of the cars due to the force of air at these higher speeds on cars which had been built for 1/4-3/8 mi dirt tracks and had what little aerodynamic work setup for these slower tracks. Saw the roof blow off a couple of cars, just leaving the roll cage above the beltline!
    Seems to me that a lot of the problems about being in 2 counties came from "Sunday Blue Laws". Anyhow, the place just wasn't successful without the supplemental income from the liqour still.
    I remember that ticket booth right beside the track crossover to the infield and the pits, never saw any selling of tickets from thaty booth.
  19. Abomination
    Joined: Oct 5, 2006
    Posts: 6,717


    That's awesome- but whoever tries to find the tunnel, you HAVE to take pictures and post 'em here!

  20. Racewriter
    Joined: Nov 14, 2008
    Posts: 780


    What's amazing to me is how little the place has deteriorated after sitting for 38 years. That track is about two months' work from being race ready again. The pavement is cracked, sure, but no worse than many tracks that still hold races. The concrete bleachers still look usable, and the light poles are still up, some with light fixtures! The biggest need is a concrete wall in the turns, cleanup, and getting the systems working.
  21. revkev6
    Joined: Jun 13, 2006
    Posts: 3,351

    from ma

    now if only the still was still on the property it would do REALLY well :D
  22. dave lewis
    Joined: Dec 12, 2006
    Posts: 1,376

    dave lewis
    from Nampa ID

    Great find !
    Looking up info in my copy of The history of America's speedways past and present..
    "Middle Georgia raceway AKA Macon raceway"
    Macon Raceway - Byron / at the Peach State fairgrounds
    .562 (1/2) mile paved oval (5/10/66 thru 8/28/82) (10/14/84 thru 11/18/84)
    Says the still was found in sept of 67
    nascar gn races first one 9/8/51 last one 11/7/71 ( kinda conflicts with dates
    above )
    450,000 attended concert (with kenny rogers among other acts)
    I wonder if the concerts with that many people is what killed the track?? Had to be a strain on the local cops,sewer,water,roads, etc......
  23. k9racer
    Joined: Jan 20, 2003
    Posts: 3,091


    Their are quite a few old closed race tracks in the general area that you can still make out or see.One is the Gray speedway close to Macon. Zebiolon is still visable. The one at albany is now a junk yard they even use the consession stands for storage The flag stand is still up. In Warner Robins you can see the Dunbar Road track.I dont know if they devoloped it or not but many years ago you could see the Houston County {{ Warner Robins}}drag strip and the dirt track that was next to the drag strip. I am not sure about the visibilaty of that one. Maybe the old Hawkinsville track is still around.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2009
  24. Karrera
    Joined: Jan 19, 2008
    Posts: 178


    Some friends of mine went to that concert that was mentioned and yes Hendrix was there and played the "Star Spangled Banner" just like at Woodstock. I can't remember why I didn't go
  25. Dirtynails
    Joined: Jan 31, 2009
    Posts: 843

    from garage

    you did,you just can't remember...:D;)
    kidcampbell71 likes this.
  26. vertible59
    Joined: Jan 25, 2009
    Posts: 1,058


    the rock music festival had NOTHING to do with the demise of the track. times were very different then...we weren't worried about all that "strain on this and that" stuff, therefore a LARGE time was had by all! the "perpetually offended" had not yet surfaced.
  27. 74TransAm
    Joined: Feb 7, 2009
    Posts: 1


    I grew up watching races at Middle Georgia in the 70's and early 80's. My father built race cars that were raced there in the 60's. Just some more info on the track. The finale of the Movie "Greased Lightning" starring Richard Pryor about NASCAR driver Wendell Scott was filmed there. You can see the track in pristine condition in this film. In the movie Scott's (Pryor)'s nemises is played by actor Earl Hindman who played "Wilson" on Home Improvement.

    Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin and many ASA regulars of the late 70's and early 80's raced at Middle Georgia. The last race of any notability was an ARCA race in 1984 that was won by the late Davey Allison.

    I have some great racing footage at the old track from the 60's and 70's on 8mm film my parents took. I have them on DVD...I am going to try to get them posted on the web, some of the footage you can see Petty's 67 Plymouth #43 the year he won I think 27 races.

    If I can answer any more question's about the track, anyone can email me at :

    Mark Haynes


    A couple old photo's I found online from Middle Georgia, Maybe this can give you an idea of what it was like in it's heyday.

    The Above Picture is Ken Ragan winning the last late model race at Middle Georgia, He is the father of David Ragan who drives The Jack Roush #6 Cup car

    The Above Photo is of Don Tomberlins Late Model At Middle Georgia, The sponsor "Haynes Bros" was my father and his brothers service station, they built and did alot of mechanical work on Don's Racecars.

    The late Enis "Snookey" McDade in his Ford Fairlane at Middle Georgia Raceway.

    Year Race Date Cars Winner Make / Model Miles Purse Pole Surface
    1971 1971 Georgia 500 Nov 7th 32 Bobby Allison '71 Ford 274 $14,595 9.999 P
    1970 1970 Georgia 500 Nov 8th 30 Richard Petty '70 Plymouth 274 $15,635 9.999 P
    1969 1969 Georgia 500 Nov 30th 29 Bobby Allison '69 Dodge 274 $15,110 9.999 P
    1969 1969 Macon 300 Nov 30th 24 Bobby Isaac '69 Dodge 150 $10,755 9.999 P
    1969 1969 Georgia 500 Nov 30th 30 Richard Petty '68 Plymouth 250 $13,075 9.999 P
    1968 1968 Macon 300 Nov 30th 30 David Pearson '68 Ford 150 $6,085 9.999 P
    1968 1968 Middle Georgia 500 Nov 30th 30 Bobby Allison '67 Ford 267 $13,755 9.999 P
    1967 1967 Macon 300 Nov 30th 24 Richard Petty '67 Plymouth 150 $5,600 9.999 P
    1966 1966 Speedy Morelock 200 Nov 30th 15 Richard Petty '66 Plymouth 100 $3,800 9.999 P
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2009
    dana barlow likes this.
  28. 48fordnut
    Joined: Nov 4, 2005
    Posts: 4,156


    come by the house and i will show you the old warner robins drag strip, as well as 3 other old defunct roundy round tracks.
    dana barlow likes this.
  29. Love the pictures!
  30. Robonwhls
    Joined: Dec 8, 2009
    Posts: 5

    from Macon

    Hey guys. I found this message board and wanted to talk about the track. First off after the 84 season and davey's win the track was Re-zoned from i believe industrial to commercial maybe vice-versa. Anyway,after that no racing took place and the area behind what is the backstraight was developed into manufactured homes. The area across the street from turns 1&2 were also developed and those neighbors along with the ones living behind the backside were the main ones complaing about it reopening. From what i can remember the track was there FIRST. They then built the trailer part behind the main grandstands. Those were also in the fight to keep it closed. As for the liquor still i think they dismantled it as at one time there was a huge hole going into 3&4. First place i went to when i got license to drive,made 3 laps and got outta there cause it was starting to fall apart then. If it were to EVER reopen and i for one don't see it unfortunately the right lawyer's would have to i think use the GRANDFATHER clause . My dad raced there when it opened until 73. The late Hoot Gibson.

    Rob Gibson

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