Middle Georgia Raceway

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Middle Georgia Speedway
Location Byron, Georgia, United States
Time zone EST/EDT (-0500/-0400)
Coordinates 32°40′8.00″N 83°42′45.93″W / 32.6688889°N 83.7127583°W / 32.6688889; -83.7127583Coordinates: 32°40′8.00″N 83°42′45.93″W / 32.6688889°N 83.7127583°W / 32.6688889; -83.7127583
Owner Thornton Realty Company
Opened 1966[1]
Closed 1971[1]
Construction cost $500,000
Major events NASCAR
Oval
Surface Paved [1]
Length .548[1] mi
Turns 4

The Middle Georgia Raceway was a raceway located in Byron, Georgia, in the United States. Although operational for five years, it has been the location of a record-breaking race and a Dodge Durango commercial over the years.

Nine NASCAR Grand National (now Sprint Cup Series) races were held at the track between 1966 and 1971. Richard Petty won four races, Bobby Allison won three, and David Pearson and Bobby Isaac each earned one victory.[1]

History[edit]

NASCAR history[edit]

Opened in 1966 at a cost of $500,000, the first race, the Speedy Morelock 200 NASCAR Grand National stock car race, became the location of a speed record when Richard Petty broke the half-mile NASCAR record for half-mile tracks with an average speed of 82.023 miles per hour during the 100-mile (160 km) event. The next year, federal agents discovered a moonshine distillery in an underground bunker at turn three. Petty returned to win the 150-mile (240 km) NASCAR race during the following season.[1]

NASCAR began its 1968 season at the track. LeeRoy Yarbrough sat on the pole position and Bobby Allison won the 267-mile (430 km) race.[1] Later that year, David Pearson won a 150-mile (240 km) race from the pole.[1] NASCAR's 1969 season again began at the track. Pearson qualified on the pole and Petty won his third race at the track. He covered the 250 miles (400 km) with a speed of 85.121 miles per hour (136.989 km/h) which was the fastest in the track's NASCAR history.[1] In the middle of the season, Bobby Isaac won the second of the three NASCAR races held at the track in a 300 lap event.[1] He beat by pole-sitter Pearson by 4 seconds and they were the only two cars on the lead lap.[2] The final race was held near the end of the year. Isaac sat on the pole after recording a 98.148-mile-per-hour (157.954 km/h) lap, which was the fastest in the track's history.[3] Allison won the 274-mile (441 km) event in a 1969 Dodge.

The 1970 Georgia 500 also occurred at the track. Petty started on the pole position and won the 274-mile (441 km) race.[1] The final NASCAR race was held on November 7, 1971. Bobby Allison drove from the pole to win the 274-mile (441 km) race.[1]

Other[edit]

In 1970, the second annual Atlanta International Pop Festival was held in a soybean field adjacent to the track. Jimi Hendrix and the Allman Brothers Band performed in front of 300,000 concertgoers; the town had a population of about 2,000.[4] Seven years later, it was the location for filming of race scenes of the Richard Pryor flick Greased Lightning about Wendell Scott.[4] A few years ago, it was purchased with the goal of converting it to a land development site. After the economy crashed, plans were placed on hold.[4] On September 15, 2012, an official Georgia Historical Society marker was placed near the raceway to commemorate the 1970 pop festival.[5]

In 2011, Dodge contacted the current owner and asked to use the track for an advertisement. After eleven days of filming for the Dodge Durango, filming wrapped up and the commercial was eventually aired. Although the current owner had placed a fresh coat of paint over the walls, Dodge "aged" the walls and even bought a local car for $2,000 and crashed it to add realism to the scenes. In the commercial, a sign stated that it was the Brixton Motor Speedway.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Track statistics". Racing Reference. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  2. ^ "1969 Macon 300 results". Racing-Reference. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  3. ^ "1969 Georgia 500 results". Racing Reference. Retrieved 29 July 2011. 
  4. ^ a b c d Morris, Linda S. (16 July 2011). "Byron raceway roars back to life in car ads". Macon.com. Retrieved 20 July 2011. 
  5. ^ Kulkosky, Victor. (2012-09-19). "Byron Pop Festival Gets Historic Marker". The Leader Tribune, Peach County, GA.