|City/Town: • Oklahoma City|
|Location Class: • Commercial|
|Year Built: • 1954 | Year Abandoned: • 2010|
|Status: • Demolished|
|Photojournalist: • AbandonedOK Team • Billy Dixon|
Construction of the giant Oklahoma State Fair Speedway was completed in 1954. The speedway became a sizeable part of fair-goers activities for over half a century. In 1961, late model stock car racing began on the half-mile oval track. That same year the State Fair Grandstand was chosen as a filming location for the musical Rodgers and Hammerstein. Then in October 20th Century Fox Film Corp traveled to the track to shoot a racing sequence for the movie State Fair. Residents of Oklahoma City were invited to watch filming and help fill the grandstands.
Over the years star racers have taken their turn on the dirt track such as AJ Fort, Johny Parsons, Steve Kinser and Ernie Derr just to name a few. It was also home to the ASCS National Tour’s Spring Nationals and many ASCS Sooner Regional races. The stadium having a large capacity made it the perfect place to host many events and concerts such as Garth Brooks and Clint Black.
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. Rather than spend the lump sum of money on bringing the track up to code it was then decided that the track would be demolished. This caused a great deal of protest from fans who had grown up on the track. A petition was created to try and convince Oklahoma City and the State Fair Board to spare the speedway.
The petition states; The Oklahoma State Fair Speeedway is in danger of having held it’s last race after 55 years of racing. The fair board and the city council want it demolished for new improvements at the Fairgrounds as part of the MAPS3 proposal. A proposal that made no mention that the track would be a target if passed. The excuses that being used are just that. Excuses. Please as a fan of the track please digitally sign the petition, so we can in numbers show the city and the fair board what this place means to us not only here in the metro, but across the state and around the country.
Demolition of the aging racetrack began in August of 2010 after petitioning fans’ cries went unheard. Fans snuck onto the site to collect bricks, dirt, chairs, and anything they could get their hands on to remember the beloved racetrack. Work was delayed for a short period of time when the construction crew found asbestos inside some of the piping that is part of the grandstands. Eventually, they did come down and now memories and pictures are all that remain.
Article by AOK Photojournalist Emily Cowan.