Memphis International Raceway

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Memphis International Raceway
Location 5500 Victory Lane, Millington, Tennessee, 38023
Time zone GMT-6
Coordinates 35°16′58″N 89°56′51″W / 35.28278°N 89.94750°W / 35.28278; -89.94750Coordinates: 35°16′58″N 89°56′51″W / 35.28278°N 89.94750°W / 35.28278; -89.94750
Capacity 35,000 (Oval) - 25,000 (Drag Strip)
Owner Joseph G. Lubeck
Opened 1987
Major events

IHRA Nitro Jam
Summit Racing Equipment World Finals


ARCA Series
Memphis 250
Tri-oval
Surface Asphalt
Length .75 mi (1.2 km)
Banking Turns - 11°
Straights - 4° front, 3° back
Drag Strip
Surface Asphalt
Length .8326 mi (1.34 km)
Road Course
Surface Asphalt
Length 1.8 mi (2.9 km)

Memphis International Raceway (formerly known as Memphis Motorsports Park) is an auto racing park located across the Loosahatchie River from Memphis, Tennessee, approximately ten miles south of Millington, Tennessee. The facility opened in 1987 with a drag strip and 1.8-mile (2.9 km) road course. It includes a 3/4-mile tri-oval short track, built in 1998, which once hosted the NASCAR Nationwide Series and Camping World Truck Series, as well as an ASA Late Model Series race. The 4,400-foot (1,340 m) drag strip used to host such events as National Hot Rod Association, American Drag Racing League, AMA Dragbike Championship Series, and the Super Chevy Show. Since its re-opening in 2011, the IHRA Nitro Jam, American Drag Racing League, and Automobile Racing Club of America continue to hold events at the facility.

History[edit]

Memphis International Raceway, more commonly known as MIR, was founded in 1986 by Ed Gatlin who, along with a group of investors, bought a 400-acre tract of land in northeast Shelby County, Tenn., and built a drag strip with an adjacent road course, a dirt track and go-kart track.

The entire facility was purchased by the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach in 1996, and in 1997, a ¾-mile paved tri-oval was added on the site of the old dirt track, while a new dirt track was built on the site of the former go-kart track. The name of the facility was also changed-to Memphis Motorsports Park-and the tri-oval opened on June 5, 1998.

The following month, Memphis Motorsports Park was acquired by Dover Motorsports, Inc. in connection with its purchase of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach. Memphis Motorsports Park closed October 30, 2009 due to lack of finances. Its parent company, Dover Motorsports, Inc. announced that it was ceasing all operations at Memphis Motorsports Park and that it would not be promoting any events in Memphis in 2010. The Memphis facility was under an agreement of sale to Gulf Coast Entertainment but Gulf Coast was unable to secure financing.[1] The track's Camping World Truck Series date was moved to Nashville Superspeedway and its Nationwide Series date to Gateway International Raceway, and later abandoned after a year. Dover Motorsports, Inc. auctioned off the complex on December 14, 2010 to Palm Beach International Raceway for $1.9 million.[2][3][4]

It was announced on January 31, 2011 that the deal between Palm Beach International and Dover Motorsports was finalized, and the track re-opened in April 2011. The track was also renamed to Memphis International Raceway, and a new logo was created to reflected the change which adopted a similar theme with its sister track in Palm Beach.[5][6] The track became sanctioned with IHRA, which has held the IHRA Nitro Jam finale at Memphis since 2011.[7]

2013[edit]

Picture of a NASA Autocross in November of 2012 at Memphis International Raceway.

In 2013, MIR gained more events for the park, including the 2nd annual Ford Fun Weekend at Memphis (was hosted at MIR in 2012 as well),[8] and the Mega Mopar Action Series.[9] This was the first year where the three major domestic manufacturers (Chevy, Ford, and Dodge) held an event at Memphis in the same year under the new owners. The track also drew attention to the Mid-South NASA program, which uses the road course for High Performance Driving Events (HPDEs) and local autocross events as well. Retired NASCAR driver, Rusty Wallace opened up his driving experience and go kart facility on the NASCAR Oval in May 2013.[10] MIR also picked up the Xtreme Xperience Supercar venue which allows anyone to drive vehicles such as Ferrari's, Lamborghini's, and Audi's around the track for a fee. Its first event was February 9 and 10, but the event was prematurely canceled on the 10th due to weather.[11] A make-up event was rescheduled for a Sunday run on October 20, 2013.[12] The ARCA series also made a return to the oval, making it the first racing event held on the oval since the new ownership in 2011.[13] The Memphis 250 was held on October 26 with Brian Campbell being the race winner.[14]

Tracks[edit]

Drag strip[edit]

The drag strip immediately drew the attention of the NHRA and was awarded a sanction in 1988 as the host site of the Mid-South Nationals. While the NHRA has 140 member tracks, Memphis was one of only 23 to host a national event. It also was the section of the complex used by other events such as the Mid-South SCCA events and the Super Chevy Show. The last NHRA race, O’Reilly NHRA Mid-South Nationals, at Memphis was to be hosted on October 4, 2009, but a rain delay postponed the event to October 5, 2009. In the winner's circle were Jeff Arend (Funny Car), Morgan Lucas (Top Fuel), Jason Line (Pro Stock) and Michael Phillips (Pro Stock Motorcycle).[15]

The strip will host IHRA events with its new owner, including a Nitro Jam event, as their sister track in Palm Beach is also affiliated with IHRA. The American Drag Racing League announced, on March 3, 2011, that they would hold an event during the weekend of May 20, 2011 at MIR.[16] The IHRA Nitro Jam series continues to race at Memphis, and have setup another finale event for 2014.[17]

Paved oval[edit]

Start/Finish line of the NASCAR oval

On September 13, 1998, before a sold-out crowd and a national television audience, the facility hosted its first NASCAR event-the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Memphis 200. NASCAR returned every year since with two events—the Truck Series in the summer, and the Nationwide Series in the fall. Ron Hornaday took home his second consecutive Elvis trophy in the last MemphisTravel.com 200 Camping World Truck Series race held at the oval. A late caution forced a green-white-checkered finish which gave Hornaday the edge on the restart to beat Brian Scott. On October 24, 2009, Brad Keselowski won the race at the oval by holding off Kyle Busch to the finish line on the 11th and final annual racing event, for both the Nationwide Series and the oval, as the track would not carry any racing events in 2010, when Dover Motorsports, Inc. announced the closure of Memphis Motorsports Park, a week after that race.

Records[edit]

Series Driver Car Date Speed Time Layout
ARCA CRA Super Series Derrick Griffin Chevrolet SS October 26, 2013 124.804 miles per hour (200.85 km/h) 21.634 NASCAR Oval
NASCAR Nationwide Qualifying Jeff Green Chevrolet Monte Carlo October 28, 2000 120.267 miles per hour (193.55 km/h) 22.450 NASCAR Oval
NASCAR Nationwide Race Kevin Harvick Chevrolet Monte Carlo October 28, 2000 92.352 miles per hour (148.63 km/h) 2:01:49 NASCAR Oval
NASCAR Camping World Qualifying Greg Biffle Ford F-150 June 24, 1999 120.139 miles per hour (193.34 km/h) NASCAR Oval
NASCAR Camping World Race Travis Kvapil Ford F-150 June 30, 2007 91.806 miles per hour (147.75 km/h) NASCAR Oval
NHRA Top Fuel ET* Brandon Bernstein Hemi Powered Top Fuel September 2008 3.825 Drag Strip
NHRA Top Fuel MPH* Brandon Bernstein Hemi Powered Top Fuel September 2008 313.88 miles per hour (505.14 km/h) Drag Strip
NHRA Funny Car ET* Ashley Force Hood Ford Mustang September 2008 4.079 Drag Strip
NHRA Funny Car MPH* Melanie Troxel Dodge Charger R/T September 2008 302.28 miles per hour (486.47 km/h) Drag Strip
NHRA Pro Stock ET Allen Johnson Dodge Stratus R/T September 2008 6.591 Drag Strip
NHRA Pro Stock MPH Greg Anderson Pontiac GXP September 2007 209.17 miles per hour (336.63 km/h) Drag Strip
NHRA Pro Stock Bike ET Chip Ellis Suzuki Pro Stock Bike September 2007 6.892 Drag Strip
NHRA Pro Stock Bike MPH Chip Ellis Suzuki Pro Stock Bike September 2007 193.21 miles per hour (310.94 km/h) Drag Strip

*Top Fuel and Funny Car based on 1,000 feet records under the new NHRA regulations. Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle are still 1,320 feet.

Series hosted[edit]

Current[edit]

  • IHRA 2011 –
  • ADRL 2011 –
  • ARCA 2013 –

Former[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Dover Motorsports, Inc. Announces Closing of Memphis Motorsports Park and Realignment of Racing Dates (press release)". October 30, 2010. Retrieved October 31, 2010. 
  2. ^ Memphis Daily News (November 11, 2010). "Motorsports Park Set for Auction Block". Retrieved January 16, 2011. 
  3. ^ Memphis Daily News (December 14, 2010). "Memphis Motorsports Park Sells for $1.9M". Retrieved January 16, 2011. 
  4. ^ Yahoo! Finance (December 20, 2010). "Entry into a Material Definitive Agreement". Retrieved January 16, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Deal closed on sale of Memphis Motorsports Park". USA Today. January 31, 2011. Retrieved January 31, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Moroso Investment Partners closes on Memphis Motorsports Park facility". January 31, 2011. Retrieved February 3, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Memphis International Raceway joins IHRA family". February 8, 2011. Retrieved February 14, 2011. 
  8. ^ Ford Fun Weekend (May 1, 2013). "MEMPHIS ANNOUNCES 2013 FUN FORD WEEKEND SCHEDULE, RACE AND CAR SHOW CLASSES". Retrieved December 2, 2013. 
  9. ^ Memphis International Raceway (May 24, 2013). "Memphis International Raceway joins Mega MOPAR Action Series". Retrieved December 2, 2013. 
  10. ^ Memphis International Raceway (May 8, 2013). "New Home of Rusty Wallace Racing Experience". Retrieved December 2, 2013. 
  11. ^ WMCTV 5, NBC (February 8, 2013). "Xtreme Xperience Supercar Racetrack Event". Retrieved December 2, 2013. 
  12. ^ Xtreme Xperience (October 20, 2013). "Memphis International Raceway". Retrieved December 2, 2013. 
  13. ^ Memphis International Raceway (June 5, 2013). "Racing’s Back! Memphis 250- Coming to Memphis International Raceway on October 26th". Retrieved December 2, 2013. 
  14. ^ ARCA Racing (October 28, 2013). "Campbell wins in return to Memphis". Retrieved December 2, 2013. 
  15. ^ "AREND, TEAM KALITTA CELEBRATE EMOTIONAL WIN". October 5, 2009. Retrieved January 17, 2011. 
  16. ^ "ADRL Adds Memphis International Raceway As Tenth Race for 2011 Tour". March 3, 2011. Retrieved March 3, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Nitro Jam Schedule". December 2, 2013. Retrieved December 2, 2013. 

External links[edit]