A Little History
Oglethorpe Speedway Park celebrates it’s 65th Anniversary in 2016. The half mile speedway has entertained race fans since March of 1951 when championship motorcycle racing debuted in Savannah. The first stock car race took place at the historic half mile in May of 1951. Johnnie Parsons was the first winner. Parsons was the defending Indy 500 winner that year.
The half mile clay speedway hosted the NASCAR Grand National Series (today’s Sprint Cup Series) in March of 1954 and 1955. The winner of the race on March 28, 1954 was Al Keller in a 1954 Hudson. Lee Petty won on March 6, 1955. His son, Richard Petty, signed in as a crew member that day. Herb Thomas competed that day along with Curtis Turner, Junior Johnson and Buck Baker.
Many of today’s most recognized racers have turned laps here at OSP Former NASCAR Winston Cup champions Ned Jarrett, Glenn “Fireball” Roberts, David Pearson, Joe Weatherly, Buddy Baker, Dale Earnhardt and Speedy Thompson have competed at Oglethorpe Speedway Park.
Current owners, The Stone Family, purchased the speedway in 1977. Since then, Oglethorpe Speedway Park has led the way for many tracks in the area. Mr. Stone was the first promoter to offer dirt racers a purse of over $45,000. He was also the first dirt track to sign on with the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series.
In 1984, Oglethorpe Speedway Park re-entered the NASCAR record books. Oglethorpe Speedway Late Model champion David Into became the first national champion for NASCAR’s short track series. Into took home a $25,000 pay day for his 1984 efforts.
The historic half mile speedway has sprouted careers and entertained hundreds of drivers for the past half century in the Late Models, Street Stocks, Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks, Pure Stocks, Go Karts, Enduro Series, Powder Puff, 440 Series and Queen Bees.
The tradition of championship racing in a family oriented facility lives on as Oglethorpe Speedway Park runs weekly racing events on Friday nights at 8:00pm. Late Models, Street Stocks, Mini Stocks, Pure Stocks and 440s make up the weekly schedule.
FACILITY: Oglethorpe Speedway Park offers a 4,000 seat state of the art aluminum grandstand complete with hand rails, handicap accessibility, rest rooms, award winning concessions, VIP suites, concrete walkways and a full service Pub. The VIP Tower is constructed of steel and sits eighty-five feet directly above the grandstand concourse. Hospitality areas can accommodate groups in excess of 300. The massive speedway infield hosts concert events, car shows, and large group outings. The 144-acre property is located adjacent to US Hwy 80 just three miles from the I-95 interchange.
FAN BASE: Oglethorpe Speedway Park draws spectators from Chatham, Bryan, Effingham, Liberty, Bulloch, Screven, Long, Tattnall, Appling, Wayne, Candler, Toombs, McIntosh, Jasper (SC), Beaufort (SC), Hampton (SC), Bamberg (SC) and Colleton (SC) counties. For special events, the speedway draws from across the country. The Showdown in Savannah draws a record number of drivers from across the nation. The Annual AMA Pro Motorcycle & AHRMA Vintage Motrocycle weekend features the world’s fastest riders on two wheels.
ATTENDANCE: Oglethorpe Speedway Park has shown increases in attendance. The growth is attributed to promotional efforts, more community involvement, and an overall growth in interest for the sport of auto racing. This past season Oglethorpe Speedway Park entertained 106,832. The largest attendance of the year was for the Showdown in Savannah in October. The OSP Weekly Racing events average 1,400 fans, drivers and crew members each Friday night during the season. The special events for the Season Opener, and Season Championships reach higher attendance marks.
SPEEDWAY EVENTS: Oglethorpe Speedway Park is the area’s first choice for motorsports. The Friday night race events are the centerpiece of entertainment. But, fans will also enjoy special events for Sprint Cars, Super Late Models, Truck and Tractor Pulls, Go Karts, Monster Trucks, Motorcycles and more.
OTHER EVENTS: OSP has hosted concerts, festivals, carnivals, bike races, trail runs, paintball, rides in race cars and much more.