Race fans say goodbye to Oglethorpe Speedway Park after 70 years of memories

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POOLER, Ga. (WSAV) – Oglethorpe Speedway Park has been home to some of the Southeast’s most exciting racing moments over the last 70 years.

Saturday, the checkered flag waved one last time in the Pooler air, as fans had to say goodbye to the historic dirt track that has played such a special role in the lives of so many.

“To me it’s very sad the racetrack is closing, I hope in my heart this won’t be the end of Oglethorpe Speedway,” said local race fan Alan Williams. “I’ve been coming here for over 40 years and I’ve seen a lot of top notch racers out here.”

Since 1941, Oglethorpe Speedway Park has been a fixture of Coastal Georgia. From hosting NASCAR Grand National Series races in the mid-50’s, to becoming the first dirt track to sign on with the NASCAR weekly racing series in the mid-80’s, and even having the likes of Dale Earnhardt and Lee Petty compete at the track, OSP has played a prominent role in the race landscape of the Southeast.

“Back in the 70’s, there were two racers named Hubert Keller and David Into who used to butt heads out here all the time…I saw em’ one Friday night get in a fist fight down in turn three. They had to get the county police out there to separate em’ and I think they took Hubert home cause he was hot,” explained Williams.

Following 70 years of dirt track racing, fans had to say goodbye Saturday night. Marking the end of a historic journey for Mrs. Betty and the rest of the Stone family who have owned the track for over 40 years.

“She’s working with some folks, got some ideas going on but like I said, that’s something she’s got going. Once everything gets done we’ll find out more about it. I know she has said that’s it for racing, we’re done, we’re not gonna start back up next year because she’s got stuff in the works,” said Randall Jenkins, PA announcer at OSP.

But from those that traveled far and wide to catch a race.

“Well we didn’t meet here but we had our first date here. We went to dinner and then we came here…it’s gonna be sad and everything because I always look forward to being able to recreate the first date,” said Tammy Farley.

To the people who raced it themselves, this little dirt track tucked in between route 80 and I-16 is special, and it surely will be missed.

“It’s been great, it’s a landmark you know? And I just hope either the current owners or the new owners could figure out a way to keep it open,” Williams said hopefully.

“I hate to see it go but times changed. When one thing closes something else opens up so we’ll see what the next chapter is,” said Jenkins.

In a letter to fans penned on OSP’s final race program Saturday night, the Stone family says they’re sad to see the raceway go but the memories will live on forever.

The current plan is to sell the speedway in the coming months, but due to updated city ordinances over the years it’s unlikely that the land will remain a race track.

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