Oklahoma State Fair Speedway

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City/Town:
Location Class:
Year Built: 1954 | Year Abandoned: 2010
Status: Demolished
Photojournalist: AbandonedOK TeamBilly Dixon

Construction of OKSFS ca. 1954. Provided by The Oklahoman

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.

Gallery Below




Bibliography
https://www.newspapers.com/image/452624825/?terms=oklahoma%2Bstate%2Bfair%2Bspeedway
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Gilmore
Gilmore
7 days ago

Over three generations of my family raced on this track in the late 70s the the 90s. We were heartbroken when it was demolished along with all of the memories.

Jeff Hodge
Jeff Hodge
26 days ago

I have not been to the state fair since they “gentrified” it.

Dave Dennis
Dave Dennis
2 years ago

Oklahoma City could not afford to spend the money to get the State Fair speedway up to date, but they spent Millions of dollars on the down River Park. The city needs to build a new Race Track for the STATE OF OKLAHOMA. The President needs to be fired and replaced as soon as possible.

ken
ken
4 years ago

Just saw this web site– my dad and I used to drive from Enid on many a Friday night to watch Harold Leep, Evard Humphries, Wayne Cox, and a bunch of other talented drivers fly around the Fairgrounds track . Great American entertainment. Tearing down these tracks is just part of the changing demographics in our country. Back then lots of driveways had a stock car parked on them, and many families involved in the racing. Now– video games and sim racing are about all the younger people need to satisfy their "need for speed".

Billy R. Brunson
Billy R. Brunson
4 years ago

Huge piece of history (Ann Margaret made a movie here!) GONE for no reason other than it has nothing to do with horse shows or horse-trailers (ironically, it once had a horse track outside the half-mile track). I will never attend the State Fair of Oklahoma again! I grew up watching the races, and dreamed of driving a Sprint on the half-mile myself. Short-sighted doesn't even begin to cover the hostility the Fair Board has against ANYTHING not horse show or horse-trailer parking space. They even got rid of the horse wagons that were on display (an old acquaintance of… Read more »

Pete
Pete
4 years ago

I have two Oklahoma City race track magazines from the early 80s and one at outlaw book from the early 80s if anybody's interested let me know call Pete 405-413-6730

webpa
webpa
5 years ago

The track was used in the filming of the 1962 (release) of "State Fair" featuring Pat Boone. That version was set at the Texas State Fair, which lacked (still does) a race track. The race scenes were shot sometime in the summer of 1960 … Because of a call for extras in the newspaper, I happened to be in the crowd while while they filmed. It seems the track and stands must have been built some time before that, possibly in 1958 or '59.

Randall Bowyer
Randall Bowyer
5 years ago

Hello, I attended SFS every Friday Night from 1992 until the last year it was open in 2009. I a copy of every Racing Program and Thousands of pictures of the cars that ran at the Speedway and other local tracks. I really miss SFS, it is something else to OKC is intranced with OKC Thunder that they wouldn't let the race fans have their track, or build a new one like they promised, also they have also let the hockey and Indoor arena footnall teams go, how much longer will we have the Soccer teams. I thought Mayor Cornett… Read more »

Hailey
Hailey
5 years ago

My house is about five minutes from the state fair speedway and from the time I was three to the time I was eight every single Friday night you could hear them racing around that track and it annoyed the crap out of my mom and dad but it was none the less part of my childhood, I'm now 15 and I find myself actually missing the sound of roaring engines on Fridays , another part of our states history is gone and will be missed , ps. The reason I said from the time I was three is because… Read more »

R. Dixon
R. Dixon
7 years ago

They could have saved the speedway, but the City leaders and the State Fair manager wanted more space for paid parking. The fair managers have destroyed the State Fair ,took out the monorail taken out the 4-H buildings, maid the booth space rentals so high a lot of vendors forgot participating here. I’ve been to the Tulsa fair since 2010 and it’s a lot better fair then OKC. The Tulsa fair should be the Okla. State Fair.

Chris
Chris
7 years ago

We lost Wedge wood, spring lake, Grnd standsg, all of our drive inns, except winchester… All in the name of $$$. We have no history left.

David Stroud
7 years ago

It is a shame that they did this. I went and watched the races there back in the 1980's and 90's, and watched some concerts there. I heard that the race track down in Lexington have been torned down as well. So, there is no oval track racing in central Oklahoma. Next closes is Meeker, but do not know if it is still there anymore. The majority of tracks left is on the east side of Oklahoma.

I read that the Jennins where trying to save the track. I guess no luck on their part.

Rod
Rod
8 years ago

It's such a shame that OKC's civic leaders have turned their backs on the accomplishments of previous generations, that they do not recognize what has been provided for them today. To destroy that time in our history and deny future generations of that same experience is appalling. Since history does repeat itself, I sincerely hope those responsible will have to endure the lessons of hindsight someday so that we who have been devastated by their actions will be able to pinpoint these events as their road to failure. So much gained and so much more lost, they truly are clueless.

Chris
Chris
Reply to  Rod
7 years ago

I agree Mike hell we lost the NFR cause of money

Tony Geinzer
Tony Geinzer
8 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
8 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
9 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
9 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
9 years ago

miss it alot

Mike Ramsey
Mike Ramsey
9 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
7 years ago

I agree Mike hell we lost the NFR cause of money

Sherry
Sherry
Reply to  Mike Ramsey
5 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
9 years ago

this place is no longer there

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