Saturday, November 28, 2009

Who can remember these tracks from the past? Part II

When I posted this back in July, never did I think this would conjure up so many memories for our readers. So, back by popular demand...

Champaign Motor Speedway, Champaign, Ill. - 1/4 & 1/2 mile oval that opened September 23, 1973 and ran until April 4, 1979. Torn down in the spring of 1980.

Sioux Falls Fairgrounds, Sioux Falls, S.D. - 1/2 mile dirt oval. Built in 1954 by Fred Buckmiller. Grandstands burnt to the ground in 1959 when struck by lightning. Danny Lasoski won the last race on September 26, 1999. Track was converted to a paved parking lot soon after.

Newton Speedway, Newton, Iowa - 1/5 mile dirt oval. Opened 1947, closed 1973. Site is now a little league ball park.

Hiawatha Speedway, Red Wing, Minn. - 1/4 mile dirt oval. Opened in 1955, closed in 1974. A vintage car program was run on September 26, 1999 and track was torn down soon after. The site is now a medical campus.

Chariton Speed Bowl, Chariton, Iowa - 1/2 mile dirt oval, opened in 1948 and closed in 1963.

K & L Raceway, Mt. Vernon, Ill. -1/8 & 1/5 mile dirt oval on southeast side of town. Opened in 1988 and closed in 1991 when promoter bought Mt. Vernon Raceway.

Lee County Raceway Park, Keokuk, Iowa - 1/4 mile dirt oval. Opened 1966, closed 1977.

Franklin Speedway, Franklin, Neb. - 1/4 mile dirt oval. Opened in 1953, closed in 1977.

Muncie Motor Speedway, Muncie, Ind. - 1/4 mile paved oval, opened in 1964 and closed by the EPA in 1990. It turns out the track was built on a toxic dump site.

Dawson Creek Speedway, Scotland, S.D. - 1/4 mile dirt oval. Track was in operation from 1969 until it closed in 1976. The track is still there today. Doug Wolfgang started his racing career here.

Bob McKim won the first-ever IMCA stock car race at the Topeka Fairgrounds on May 30, 1949. - Photo courtesy of Bob Lawrence

Topeka Fairgrounds, Topeka, Kan. - 1/2 mile dirt oval, opened in 1902 and closed in 1981. Track completely torn out in 1983. The first ever IMCA stock car race was held here on May 30, 1949.

O' Hare Stadium, Chicago, Ill. - 1/4 mile paved oval. Opened in 1956 and torn down in 1968. NASCAR star Fred Lorenzen was track champion in 1958. The site is now an industrial park located south of O'Hare Int'l Airport.

Minnesota State Fair Speedway, St. Paul, Minn. - Was a one mile dirt oval in the beginning (1904 - 1939) Reconfigured to a 1/2 mile dirt oval in 1940 and remained that way until 1963 when it became paved. Track was closed in 2002.

Ord Fairgrounds, Ord, Neb. - 1/4 mile dirt oval. Was originally built as a 1/2 mile flat oval horse track. Closed in 1964, the site is now warehouses and 4-H fairgrounds.

Waukon Speedway, Waukon, Iowa - 1/4 mile dirt oval, located at the Allamakee County Fairgrounds. Opened 1964, closed 1978.

Jayhawk Speedway, Newton, Kan. - 1/3 mile dirt oval. First race on September 26, 1948 and closed on August 17, 1956. It is now the site of a retirement home.

White Squirrel Speedway, Olney, Ill. - 1/4 mile dirt oval that opened in 1956 and closed in 1977. Now the site of a cement plant. Town is known for it's white squirrels, hence the name.

A full grandstands was the norm at Jungle Park Speedway in it's heydays. Here, fans enjoy a Sunday afternoon race.

Jungle Park Speedway, Rockville, Ind. - 1/2 mile dirt/paved oval (Corners were dirt, straights were paved). Built by Earl Pagett in 1920, the first race was on July 5, 1926 and closed in 1960. Sprint car star Bobby Grim got his start here.


  1. Hey Kyle,
    Lots of old Stock car pics on this website of midwest
    Thanks for posting what you do. I enjoy it.
    Mike Townsley

  2. Fred Buckmiller did NOT build the Sioux Empire Fairgrounds speedway in 1954. The track dates back to the very early 1930's and was a race track before the entire area became a fairgrounds.The grandstands burned down in 1956 and Fred Buckmiller DID reconfigure the oval to a tri-oval in 1972.

  3. My cousin and I used to race at the old Newton dirt track in the early 60's. We ran a '49 Ford, black, number 13 - sponsored by Bucklin's Sinclair, Ira, Iowa. I remember it was "locked" in 2d gear.

    1. I live in newton does anyone hav any pictures they can share with me from the 50s-60s of the race track and drivers email me thank you

    2. I drove a 57 ford there in 1965 I think. Number 9, won a couple of races.

    3. Hey used to race Jr Stock at O'Hare in the 60's ... Ham Labasa was the track manager. a big dude that didn't put up with no bull sh_t back then.

  4. When did they pave O'Hare/ I remember watching Freddy Lorenzen win at O'Hare when it was dirt! Great Memories!!!!

  5. The Sioux Falls Fairgrounds started as a race track, then the Fairgrounds was built on the property and a second track was built. In 1954, the wooden grandstands were moved west and a third track was built. The backstretch of the second track was right behind the present grandstands. The wooden grandstands were struck by lightning in July of 1958 and burned to the ground. Also, regarding Jungle Park, in the 1940s a local driver raced Sprints there before migrating to California and becoming an actor. His name is Gene Hackman.

  6. My early memories of racing was at the Chariton speedway in Iowa. I can remember the old jalopies and in particular a Black coupe with (as I remember it) a yellow xXx as the number. On this particular night he ended up on his roof in front of Dad Mom and I. I was probably five years old at the time. It hooked me and here we are 64 years later

    1. Born and raised in chariton went to track mid to late 50s

  7. does anyone hav any pictures of ed warnick who raced at the old newton iowa dirt track plz call or text 641-840-9204 jon

  8. there are still a few of the newton iowa old dirt track racers around . I myself wasn't so lucky to be driving at that time , but helped my brothers at that time with thiers . and even a few competitors . meny good moments whent on there and are still remembered and talked about even to this day. I still get to talk to some the old drivers from the olden days as we call it . also I I remember right all cars ran together , it was race as you bring , from stock to open class as now classed as .I do remember it being said newtons dirt track was the fastest track in iowa . and you wanted to see if you had the guts and know how and could stand the fast pace and excitement .... it was the pace to show it . so meny of the guys to remember , from the every day auto to the very very fast direct drive coup's . e mail here is no I don't have pictures wish I did I would share .


  9. Been around Jalopy Journal awhile but just now found Midwest Racing site. I seem to be 3 1/2 yr
    late. They go somewhere else? I'm Fireball 5 on JJ The Hamb, Google

  10. If you have any pictures of Mazon Speedbowl (Ill.) please send them to me: