Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway – 2011-2016


The Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway has always claimed to be the place where “Legends Are Born” and it does tend to live up that reputation.  Coo Coo Marlin, Sterling Marlin, Darrell Waltrip, Bobby Hamilton, and others are all racers that got their start at this little 5/8 mile track.  I’ve spent many an enjoyable hour watching cars go around and around that track and each time I go back these days it brings back memories of a lot of great times.



ARCA Music City 200 – Fairgrounds Speedway – April 9, 2016

And we are back for another season at the FAirgrounds Speedway.  Somehow the old track has managed to resist political pressure for another year and has a race scheduled each month between April and October.  It’s a far cry from when we were here every weekend, but a lot better than the alternatives.

The first race of the season was actually last weekend, on April 2.  I was at the race but didn’t take my camera.  It’s unusual these days for two races to be scheduled a week apart but tonight wasn’t just a regular monthly race, it was a special event.  The Late Models ran on Friday night and Saturday saw the return of the ARCA series.

Three groups were racing tonight, ARCA (Automobile Racing Club of America), CRA (Championship Racing Association), and SSS (Southern Super Series).  CRA and SSS started the show with a combined 75 lap feature race and then ARCA ran a 200 lap race of their own.  In all quite a night of racing.  Literally a “Night” of racing.  The CRA/SSS race started at 6:45 and finished up just as the sun was going down while the ARCA race started at 8:00 and was run fully under the lights.

ARCA Cars Before The Race …

CRA/SSS Cars Before The Race …

     

CRA/SSS Day Race …

 

ARCA Pits Between The Races …

 

ARCA Night Race …



Fairgrounds Speedway Final Race of the Season – November 7, 2015

Amazing.  It seems that it was only a couple of months ago that I went to the season operner but it was 8 months ago and the season is done.  Most of the cars that were in pristine condition in April are somewhat beat up, patched, and dented but they are still there and ready for one more shot before they put them up for the winter.

I love race tracks at night.  It’s hard for the crews to work on the cars, it’s hard for me to get decent photographs, but the colors are so vivid against the black night sky that it’s worth it.  It is absolutely gorgeous to watch, especially from about 25′ from where the cars come past!
     
So ends another season for the old track.  Races have been held there since 1904 (the first was a “horseless carriage” race on June 11, 1904) and at the end of each season I wonder whether it will be the last one.  Political pressure has long been trying to do away with the track and sooner or later it will likely win out.  But not this year!  This one is in the books and the chapter is closed.  I guess we will find out about next year in April.


Fairgrounds Speedway Monthly Race – July 11, 2015

Hot summer nights!  And this one truly lived up to that moniker.  It was hot, humid, and ugly until the sun finally went down.  Of course that’s when the mosquitos came out in droves.

Tempers were hot on the track to it seemed.  Wrecks in every division were turning 30 lap races into 60 lap races due to caution laps.  Since racing is required to end by 10:00 the race director shortened just about every race just to get all the divisions in.  It was not a good night in my opinion.

I got there just in time to see a few of the last cars qualifying so I got a couple of shots of them and a few static shots of them waiting for things to start.

And some action on the 1/4 mile track:
     
And finally some night shots of the Late Model race.  Straight up: I hate every one of these photographs.  I’ve been to that track many times and I know where I like to stand to take photos of the cars during races.  Tonight I tried a different spot and it just didn’t work.  The fence railing is in every shot, and it was generally just a bad spot.  Next time things will be different!


Fairgrounds Speedway Season Opener 2015

The 2015 season opening race at the Fairgrounds Speedway was on April 4 this year.  Horrendous thunderstorms the previous day ushered in a cold front that washed the sky clear but dropped the temperature dramatically.  We went from the mid 70’s on Friday to the mid 50’s on Saturday with a bit of breeze left over as well.  But the skies were clear and everyone was ready to see some racing.

The races didn’t start until 5:00 so by the time the Limited and Late Model Stock Car classes began their race on the large track it was dark, I was cold, and decided to head home.  The only photographs I took were of the Legends class, and a few from the qualifying runs, but it was great to be around that track again and I had a blast.

   




Fairgrounds Speedway Season Opener 2011

It’s been a long time since I want to a race at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway.  Too long to be honest.  This is an historic track (a brief history can be found on Wikipedia) that featured its first race on June 11, 1904, five years before Indianapolis Motor Speedway opened their doors in 1909.  The track has been through several renovations over the years and has been holding regular events since 1958.  Many NASCAR greats have gotten their start at this track, and between 1958 and 1984 at least one Winston Cup race was held here each year.

The season opener for the 54th season of racing was held on May 28 and I decided to go and take some photos of what may be one of the last races there.  Much has changed since I was last there, there was not a driver’s name that I recognized, and even the classes are different.  I was pleasantly surprised to see some “Next Generation” drivers with familiar names though.  Some of the classes are pretty “Budget Minded” but they do give prospective racers a place to start and it keeps them off the streets.  I didn’t stay for the last race, I got tired of watching the Late Model Stock Cars go around the track under caution, about as many under caution as green flag racing, and decided to head home.  It was still a great afternoon at a memorable old track.

I hope I get the classes right below.  They have changed a lot since I was last there, so if I mess things up someone please let me know!



Dwarfs Class (1/4 mile track)



Legends Class (1/4 mile track)

   


Super Stock Class (1/4 mile track)

 


Front Runners Class (1/4 mile track)



Challengers and Pro-4 Class (1/4 mile track)


 


Interlude …

These critters were absolutely everywhere!  They hatch once every 17 years and this area has been absolutely covered up with them recently.  I love to listen to their sounds when several hundred of them start to chirp at the same time.  They are a nuisance though, and were constantly landing all over me.


Limited Late Model Stock Car (5/8 mile track)

     


Late Model Stock Car (5/8 mile track)


Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway – August 21, 2010

There was a time when I virtually lived at the Fairgrounds Speedway on Saturdays.  Those days are past and I don’t spend much time there any longer.  In fact today was the first time I’ve been there in probably 15 years or so.  The old place still looks pretty much the same as it did the last time I was there.  The track and pit area, the small concession stands at each end of the track, the huge white-painted tractor tires on the corners of the track, even the scars on the track walls are still there.

Walking back into that track really brought back memories.  The track claims to be the place where “Legends Are Born” and it does tend to live up that reputation.  Coo Coo Marlin, Sterling Marlin, Darrell Waltrip, Bobby Hamilton, and others are all racers that got their start at this little 5/8 mile track.  The names that came back to me were not as well known but they were memorable to me all the same.  Nicky Formosa, Darrell Sage, Mike Alexander, Joe Buford, Chad Chaffin, Mike Reynolds, Andy Kirby, and so many others that I used to know or watch every Saturday night during the hot summer months and whose names I can no longer remember.  The guys that I hung out with each weekend; Keith and Tim, Charley and Rodger and Mike.  Good Times!


5/8 Mile Track – Turn 1

Hoosier Tire Banner

The Tire Barn

Former “Mini Modified” Pit Area

The Tunnel Entrance

Many A Burger From Here

Front Straight Toward Turn 4

Front Straight Grandstand

1/4 Mile Track – Turn 1

Pit Road

Main Scoreboard

Even The Flags Look Tired