"Edgefield County as it Happens"

Sections
Headlines
Opinion

Obituaries
Sports
Crime Blotter
Happenings
Country Cooking
Wandering Minds
Classifieds
On The Record
Church Listings
Archives

Featured Columns
Pastor Howle
Tech Professor
Life Down South
Editor's Column






Registered Sex Offenders for Edgefield County

Contact us
Contact Info
Phone:
803-634-0964 day
803-279-5041 eve
803-279-8943 fax

Mail to
EdgefieldDaily.com
PO Box 972
Edgefield SC
29824


Archived Columns
Carl Langley
Wise Tech Tips
Dr. Skip Myers
School System
EC District Office
School Board
Strom Thurmond

Charter Schools
Fox Creek

Private Schools

Wardlaw Academy

Public Offices
Edgefield County
Edgefield
Johnston
Trenton

Political
State and Federal Legislative Contacts

Local Political Parties
Republican Party
Democrat Party
Rep Women of EC

Chamber of Commerce
Edgefield County Chamber

Historical

Edgefield Genealogical
Society



News links    
The Jail Report
Aiken Standard

North Augusta Star
The State
Augusta Chronicle
Atlanta  Journal
United Press
Associated Press
FOX News
Reuters
CNS News
WorldNet Daily
Newsmax
Drudge Report
GoogleNews
Yahoo!News
New York Times
New York Post
Los Angeles Times
Washington Times
Washington Post








NASCARís Birthplace


By Tom Poland
web posted July 17, 2015

LIFE DOWN SOUTH Ė At 289 miles you may not want to see this old lonely track, but if you are a serious NASCAR fan, you owe it to yourself to see the abandoned Occoneechee Speedway in Hillsborough, North Carolina. I visited it July 1, a steamy day threatening rain. The trackís ghostly presence sent me way back to the Sundays when Dad and I followed King Richard on the radio.
 
Appropriately enough The Hillsboro 150 was the 43rd race of the 1968 NASCAR Cup Series season and it took place at Occoneechee Speedway September 15, 1968. Richard Petty won the race in his 1968 Plymouth from his number one starting position with an average speed of 87.681 mph.

He outran twenty-three drivers. The King raced 150 miles, taking home $1,600 of the total prize purse of $6,900. Other drivers in that race included future legends Bobby Allison, Bobby Isaac, David Pearson, Curtis Turner, and Buddy Baker.

As I walked the back straightaway, I was mindful of all the cars that once roared through toward the third turn. The only traffic on the track now are joggers, walkers, and those walking their dogs. I struck up a conversation with a fellow walking a small dog. He told me a great story about Fireball Roberts. Men would climb trees at the edge of the track so they could see the race for free. Roberts lost control in turn two one day and smacked a tree hard. It was raining men as the song went.

The one-mile Occoneechee Speedway, the only surviving speedway from NASCARís first season, was an active NASCAR track from 1949 to 1968. 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 thick with 47-year-old pines and sycamores. Parts of the infield look like a grassy plain. The cement grandstand overlooking where legends Fireball Roberts, Richard Petty, and Ned Jarrett went round and round still stands.

It all began in 1947 when Bill France flew over a dirt horse-race track next to the Eno River. He bought the land and turned the track into Occoneechee Speedway, later called the Orange Speedway in 1954. In 1949, NASCARís third race took place here. France wanted to build a super speedway here but seven church ladies fought him hard. Racing, they said, was too noisy for the Lordís Day. France moved on and built a racetrack in a place called Talladega. NASCAR grew into a huge sport and Petty and other drivers mentioned became legends, setting the stage for big-time stock car racing.

The track is one of just three racetracks on the National Register of Historic Places.

For more information visit http://www.historicspeedwaygroup.org/

Photos by Tom




Have a comment on this story? Email the Editor with your comment to be placed in the Wandering Minds reader comment page.

For all past articles please visit our Archives

© Copyright 2015 - All material is property of Edgefield Daily and/or parent company ECL and cannot be reproduced, rewritten or redistributed without expressed written permission.












+