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 track has been in a fight for its life over the past few years since our current mayor has decided that the property would be better suited to something else.  "Something Else" tends to change directions with the wind and it is still questionable whether the track will survive for much longer.  SaveMyFairgrounds.Com, a group of local residents who oppose the redevelopment plan, have been fighting the redevelopment and so far have managed to prevent the destruction of this racing icon.  Whether they will continue to be successful is open to conjecture but we can hope they will be.

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)