Auto Racing in Georgia is Alive and Well!


A few days ago there was an article about the winner of the first Super Late Model Division in 30 years at Senoia Raceway.

May 10, 2014; Senoia, GA, USA; Track workers take a break during a rain delay at Senoia Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

This got me to thinking about auto racing in Georgia, especially in the Atlanta area. I also envisioned some of the walking dead zooming around Senoia Raceway, but that would be a different story. Auto racing is alive and well in the state of Georgia.

The first raceway that I remember in the Atlanta area was the old Lakewood Speedway.  Lakewood Speedway opened in 1915 and was the site of many different forms of auto racing. At one time it was known as the Indianapolis of the south.  Stock cars and Indy cars both raced on the track.

I remember watching the Joie Chitwood Auto Thrill Show from those stands when I visited the old Southeastern Fair. If you drive by Lakewood today on your way to the Lakewood Amphitheater for a concert, you may be able to spot the grandstands which are still standing.

Stock cars by Royalbroil via wikimedia

Another defunct raceway that I remember is the old Peach Bowl Speedway. The Peach Bowl was located on Brady Avenue in Atlanta. Just about every form of auto racing took place at the old Peach Bowl with the exception of Indy cars. Yes, NASCAR did run Grand National Sportsman cars on the tracks. The last race run at the facility was in 1971. The city of Atlanta purchased the property in 1972 and it is now the home of the MARTA bus repair station.

There is still a lot of auto racing around Atlanta. While Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton and Road Atlanta near Braselton, Georgia receive most of the national attention, there are many smaller tracks both dirt and paved to be found in our state.

I mentioned the Senoia Raceway earlier. This 3/8 mile race track reopened this year for racing on March 7. 2015. This track is now scheduling racing for Super Late Model Stock Cars for its 2015 season.

May 10, 2014; Senoia, GA, USA; Dirt track driver John Holcomb (in blue) is interviewed after winning in the bomber class at Senoia Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Liles-USA TODAY Sports

Crisp Motorsports Park is home of the Watermelon Capital Speedway which is a 3/8 mile paved facility located 1/2 mile off of Interstate 75 near Cordele, Georgia.  The speedway has racing scheduled through the end of October. There are multiple divisions of racing at this facility and certainly something of interest for any race fan.

Dixie Speedway in Woodstock, Georgia began its 46th season of racing on March 7, 2015. The track has racing scheduled through the end of October.  Dixie Speedway is a 3/8 mile clay track originally built in 1968. It posts attendance of 150,000 a year for its many racing events.  You will find many different divisions racing at this facility.

I had not been aware of the road course located just 20 miles from Savannah, Georgia. Roebling Road Raceway is a 2.02 mile asphalt track with nine turns which is available for rental events. It also has a schedule of races for motorcycles, karts and SCCA and NASA events. I think I need to check their calendar when I next visit Savannah.

modifieds by Royalbroil via wikimedia

Drag racing is also available in the state of Georgia.  I remember the old radio commercials for the Yellow River Dragstrip. Sunday, Sunday, Sunday the announcer screamed at the top of his voice!

Unfortunately, Yellow River was the scene of one of racing’s worst tragedies in 1969. As two funny cars raced down the strip a fan standing close by the track reached out for a beer can. He was caught up in the parachute one of the racers had just deployed. The man was swept up in the chute and killed instantly. The car went out of control and bounded into the crowd injuring 40 fans and killing 11 others.

There was never another race run at Yellow River. Many other uninsured and unsanctioned tracks were closed after this tragedy. Since that time sanctions and safety features have been installed to protect the fans at such events.

by Bentuttle via wikimedia commons

Tracks sanctioned by the IHRA (International Hot Rod Association) in Georgia include the Brainerd Optimist Dragway in Chatsworth, the Savannah River Dragway in Sylvania and the South Georgia Motor Sports Park in Cecil, Georgia. Atlanta Dragway in Commerce, the Silver Dollar Raceway in Reynolds and the U.S. 19 Dragway in Albany, Georgia are sanctioned by the NHRA (National Hot Rod Association.)

There is a long history of automobile racing in Georgia and it looks like the sport is alive and well in the Peach State. Whether you are visiting or live in the state it certainly looks like you can get your racing kicks here.

Next: Visit Road Atlanta, Atlanta's Other Racetrack

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