State Fair Speedway

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City/Town: Oklahoma City
Location Class: Commercial
Year Built: 1960's
Year Abandoned: 2010
Status: Demolished
Photojournalist: Cody CooperJustin Tyler MooreBilly Dixon

The State Fair Speedway has been a major part of fair goers for over 55 years. It has also hosted some of the biggest names in dirt car racing including AJ Foyt, Johnny Parsons and Steve Kinser just to a name a few. It was also the home to the ASCS National Tour’s Spring Nationals and many ASCS Sooner Regional races. The stadium has also hosted many concerts over the years including Garth Brooks and Clint Black.

Demolition of the aging racetrack began in August of 2010, but was delayed when the construction crew found asbestos inside some of the piping that is part of the grandstands.

Since work began, dozens of nostalgic racing enthusiasts and preservationists have stopped by State Fair Grounds to try and grab their own piece of history, said Chris Kates, from Midwest Wrecking Co.

“We’ve had lots of visitors,” Kates said. “People want souvenirs – bricks, dirt, chairs, all kinds of stuff, anything they can get.”

The 2010 racing season at the speedway was canceled after problems with electrical wiring in the stands were discovered, causing city officials to raise concerns about public safety. The grandstands also weren’t up to par with accessibility standards.

Racing fans urged the city and State Fair Board to spare the racetrack, And even created an online petition to gather signatures to save the speedway but the speedway still came down. Bringing the track up to code would just cost too much money, officials said.

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Tony Geinzer
Tony Geinzer
6 years ago

Even though I am glad they saved Nashville, and the fact The Oklahoma Chili Bowl is the Winter if not World Open Wheel Rose of today, but, what bothers me is the apathy of some of the realization Oklahoma City and Oklahoma was spooled of its Sports History in the Summer. It still has better Open Wheel than Indiana even, but the mismanagement that was purposeful and orchestrated would genuinely be missed once the Westerners and Northerners go back to their home regions and the Thunder get placated and relocated.

rezman
rezman
7 years ago

I worked at the fairgrounds for the food service for about a year and a half during the mid 80's, and spent a lot of time at the grand stands working the races. I have a lot of good memories from working out there. One thing I remember doing took place after a week and weekend of horse shows, gun shows, antique shows, races, etc. It was regular practice for food service would to put all all their receipts from the weeks worth of events in bank bags, and put the bags in milk crates. We then took the milk… Read more »

Nick Pierce
Nick Pierce
7 years ago

When I was a young boy in the 80's, I had a friend of the family that worked for the bigfoot monster truck crew.
He got me in the day before the event and I was able to ride in the bigfoot monster truck! man i will never forget that. Its a shame they tore this landmark down. 🙁

Builder Bob
Builder Bob
7 years ago

For the majority youth (2yo>23yo), I went to sleep every Friday night to the sound of the cars running at SFS. It was music to my young ears, and helped start me on my life-long love of auto racing. It was my great pleasure to watch many (and meet a few) of the racing heros of the day run Modifieds, Supers, and Sprinters there. It was also my pleasure to meet Bud Carson, and to work onhis son's (Shane) sprint car. IMHO, bulldozing the track was a politicaly-motivated (and short-sighted) move, done to apease the track's neighbors and to limit… Read more »

Judith Arlene Mcmurtry Rees
8 years ago

miss it alot

Mike Ramsey
Mike Ramsey
8 years ago

The only reason that facility could have been described as "aging" is the intentional, purposeful lack of maintenance performed in recent years by the Fair Board. At the time it was destroyed, SFS was still one of the very best dirt tracks in the entire country. The money needed to refurbish SFS was absurdly trivial.. With some vision and support, the track could have easily been used as a platform for major national races that could have brought millions of dollars to OKC, as we have seen happen with the Chili Bowl in the Tulsa Fairgrounds Expo Center. OKC is… Read more »

Chris
Chris
Reply to  Mike Ramsey
6 years ago

I agree Mike hell we lost the NFR cause of money

Sherry
Sherry
Reply to  Mike Ramsey
4 years ago

I wholeheartedly agree with you. A good many years ago I raced on that track and several others and as always impressed with the track. I have long since moved to Texas but always looked forward to coming home to go to the track while there. I was soooo sad to see it torn down.

kayl
kayl
8 years ago

this place is no longer there

Lady Lelouch
Lady Lelouch
8 years ago

Why do they always leave the drink machines? Are they just too large to move or something?

Jeremy Green
Jeremy Green
9 years ago

Nice to see they spent more to tear it down than it would have taken to fix it. They havent done anything with the land since the grandstands have been tore down, what a joke. Micky (jerk) Cornett is showing his intelligance level again with the 2 hundered some million to be blown on a new convention center, who the hell elected this guy, I am glad he is on devon energy and chesapekes under the table payroll cause he is going to need it when all his dirty politics come out, and he is without a job like we… Read more »

princessa2j
princessa2j
9 years ago

I agree, after the report of the Tower not beaing able to work last year & we haven't heard anything since then, makes me very doubful of it's future 🙁 I too loved the monorail, was a nice way to see everything

Michael
Michael
9 years ago

My dad raced Super Modifieds on 1/2 mile here in the late 60s-mid 70s (#40). Man, what memories…Thanks for taking these–almost got me misty-eyed!

Dan Gallion
Dan Gallion
Reply to  Michael
5 years ago

Was your dad's race car nicknamed "The Purple Bomb"? Out of Purcell?
Or, was it yellow, with your dad/driver knowing almost every chevy part interchangeability known?
My memory is fading. His name Collins, or something like that? I, along with Woody Woodard, was the track announcer in either '75 or '76. Woody had the Supers. While I had the modifieds and jalopies. Unless one of us had to be gone, then whoever was there, did it all for that night. Seems it was '76.
Such great memories for me also!

Dan Gallion

"Taz"
"Taz"
9 years ago

Lot of memories there. Great racing, good people, loooong nights! Sad to see it go. Got my first win there, met Michael Waltrip, Kenny Wallace, and Jeremy Mayfield there…….a piece of history is gone.

Ninja
Ninja
10 years ago

Well they finally torn down the raceways to turn it into parking lot.

John
John
10 years ago

Spent many Friday nights during the 60's..Quarter and half mile dirt track stock cars. What a blast! Thanks for the memories…

David
David
10 years ago

Although I was not a racing fan, I thought it was a horrendous shame that the city manufactured reasons to shutter the raceway out of nothing more than snobbery. They've ruined the fairgrounds, and it will never be the same.

April Buntin
April Buntin
10 years ago

I have spent every year of my life at that track and I am 30 years old now and I am so sad to see it look that way. I feel as if a piece of me is gone. I hope everything the mayor and his greedy crew do in the future fails and pieces of thier life and existance is ripped away from them.

ForgottenTracks
10 years ago

I did get your photos…thank so much for taking these. Sad to see it go. Thanks for sharing.

Sidney
Sidney
10 years ago

What a grand ol' gal she was…quite a shame to let her fall apart.

richard
richard
10 years ago

too bad the "powers that be" want to scrap all the building with any history
especially in this case, they want a new entrance to the fair ??
seam to me they need to make it in the shape of a very large cow/horse pile
before too long thats all the fair will be, a big barnyard

dad197
dad197
10 years ago

wow, you guys did a great job.

just dont know what the city was thinking that place had to be making the some $$$$

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