The Virginia short track has written a heartfelt explanation to fans
Southside Speedway is a 1/3-mile asphalt oval located in Midlothian, Virginia.
The history of the track began as Royall Speedway and Wack-A-Mole Speedway between 1949-1959. Midget cars were the headlining class.
In 1957, the track was saved from residential demolitions. Fans packed the grandstands, under protest and saved the track from the bulldozers.
Soon after, the track hosted four NASCAR Cup Series events. Those were won by Junior Johnson, Jimmy Pardue, Jim Paschal and Ned Jarrett.
In 1987, the track came under attack once again. This time, it was the latest craze in real estate, shopping malls. However, the track remained.
This became one of the home tracks for current NASCAR star Denny Hamlin. He began racing mini-stocks at the Virginia short track in 1997.
Denny Hamlin’s Short Track Throwdown was hosted at the track between 2008-2010. Those races were won by Kyle Busch (twice) and C.E. Falk.
The race track was officially founded by J.M. Wilkinson on April 15, 1959 (despite operations under different names years prior). For 60 years, they’ve races on Friday nights from April to August.
Despite saving itself from destruction, multiple times, 2020 was too much for the small Virginia track. Just ahead of the 2020 season, a pandemic struck the world. Gatherings in the state were limited and now those limits are being further increased heading into Christmas.
The track was unable to race a single night all this year. Now, track owners are forced to close the facility.
A change.org petition has been created by AJ Marshall. It’s collected a few hundred signatures.
Southide Speedway: Announcement
“We wanted to write to you all directly, so that you can hear in our words the plans we have for the future of Southside Speedway,” the letter opened.
“When COVID began to affect us here in Central Virginia, we were just days away from beginning our 2020 season. With cautious optimism, we held off canceling our season. Ever-hopeful that the numbers would improve, the safety advisories would be favorable and that all would feel safe returning to race in the 61st season of Southside Speedway. That was not to be, and for the first time in over 60 years, there was no racing to be had.”
“After much discussion, work and prayer, we have decided that Southside Speedway’s time has come to an end. Please know that this was not a quick or an easy decision, and that we grieve along with you. The pandemic proved to be more than we could overcome, and rather than continue to keep you all in limbo, we have made the decision to close our gates.”
Speedway offers thanks
“To our staff, our dear friends. Thank you. Thank you for showing up! You are all such a talented group of competitors. We hope that the cheers from your fans and the trophies in your shops will bring you joy for years to come. We have loved cheering for you, and seeing your successes. You showed us all what racing is suppose to look like. We will be rooting for you, as you find new places to race, and we hope that your time at the toughest short track in the south has left its mark on your heart.”
“To our fans, there wouldn’t be a Southside Speedway if it weren’t for y’all. In 1957, when the land was purchased with the intent to develop a community, the fans pleaded for it to remain a race track. The fans showed up, supported and cheered each week. You brought your families, and then they brought theirs. Generations have grown up on Friday night racing. We will miss you all so much and truly hope that you find new traditions and new ways to spend those Friday nights with your families.”
“For generations, there has been Southside Speedway. We are grateful that you were a part of it’s story.”
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Date | Winner
August 18, 1961
May 4, 1962
June 22, 1962
May 19, 1963