Flat Rock Speedway

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Flat Rock Speedway
LocationAsh Township, Michigan
Coordinates42°04′54″N 83°18′24″W / 42.0818°N 83.3067°W / 42.0818; -83.3067Coordinates: 42°04′54″N 83°18′24″W / 42.0818°N 83.3067°W / 42.0818; -83.3067
OwnerAutomobile Racing Club of America
Broke ground1952
OpenedAugust 14, 1953
Construction costUS$350,000[1] ($3.28 million in 2018 dollars[2])
ArchitectSheldon Hayes
Oval
SurfaceAsphalt
Length.40 km (.25 mi)
Turns4
Websitewww.flatrockspeedway.com

Flat Rock Speedway is a race track in Ash Township, Monroe County, Michigan, though the mailing address is Flat Rock, Michigan. Opened in 1953, it is owned by ARCA and is the sister track to Toledo Speedway. It features racing on Saturday nights that include Outlaw Body Late Models, Street Stocks, and Figure 8s for its weekly divisions.

History[edit]

Flat Rock Speedway was constructed in 1952, but financial issues led to the original investors backing out. Under Sheldon Hayes of the Cadillac Asphalt Company, the track was completed in 1953; using 70 tons of a mixture of rubber and asphalt, Hayes created a "rubberized" asphalt surface that was the first of its kind for a race track.[3][4] The speedway opened on August 14. It was initially scheduled to open on August 7, but the opening was postponed by a week after a raccoon drowned in its drainage system and subsequent rain flooded the track.[1]

Dick Good won Flat Rock's first track championship in the "Hardtop" division, which was rebranded as the Late Model class in 1954.[3] That year, NASCAR founder and president Bill France Sr. became its promoter and helped attract NASCAR drivers like Curtis Turner, Joe Weatherly, and Lee Petty to the track.[5] France left his position at the speedway in 1956.[6] Motor City Speedway promoter Andy Barto served as Flat Rock's promoter until he stepped down in March 1956 and was replaced by Hayes, who was the track president, to commit his work to Motor City;[7] Barto returned to Flat Rock as its general manager in 1959.[8]

During the 1953 season, the Midwest Association for Race Cars (MARC) began racing at the track, with J. H. Petty winning the first races – consecutive 100-lap events – on September 11.[4] Late models were introduced in 1962.[9]

Without NASCAR support, the track struggled in the late 1950s. In 1960, new general manager Joan Simmons created a points system and raised competitor numbers, leading to track attendance increasing by 81 percent.[10] A year later, Simmons formally established ties with France's friend and MARC head John Marcum, who became track owner the following year. Marcum would later rename his sanctioning body the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA), whose Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series continued racing at Flat Rock until 2000, with Frank Kimmel winning the final ARCA premier series race at the track.[6][4] Simmons remained in her position until 1970.[10] Following Marcum's death in 1981, wife Mildred and grandson John Drager took over track operations; when John departed for other interests, brother Ron became track promoter.[6]

In 1999, Drager purchased Toledo Speedway, connecting it to Flat Rock as a sister track.[11] As part of their new relationship, Flat Rock's marketing division Marcum Productions assumed the same role at Toledo, while Scott Schultz served as general manager for both tracks.[12]

ARCA race history[edit]

Year Date Race Winner Manufacturer Starting
position
Laps
completed
Ref
1985 July 13 Howard Williams Memorial Ed Hage Oldsmobile 1 851 [13]
1986 June 14 Flat Rock 125 125 [14]
1987 June 27 Miller High Life ARCA 125 125 [15]
August 8 Grand Auto Parts 150 2 1302 [16]
1988 May 28 Miller High Life 150 Bob Keselowski Chevrolet 1 150 [17]
August 13 Jomar Race Engines 150 Tracy Leslie Oldsmobile 11 150 [18]
1989 May 27 Miller High Life 150 Dave Weltmeyer Oldsmobile 150 [19]
August 12 Metro 25 Tire Centers 150 Grant Adcox Chevrolet 150 [20]
1990 May 26 Miller Genuine Draft 150 Bobby Bowsher Pontiac 4 150 [21]
1991 June 1 Miller Genuine Draft 150 1 1633 [22]
June 29 Metro 25 Tire Centers 150 Bob Keselowski Pontiac 4 150 [23]
1992 June 27 Metro 25 Tire Centers 150 Dave Weltmeyer Pontiac 9 150 [24]
August 8 Miller Genuine Draft 150 3 150 [25]
1993 May 29 Miller Genuine Draft 150 Harold Fair Pontiac 2 150 [26]
June 26 Metro Tire Centers 150 Jeremy Mayfield Oldsmobile 12 150 [27]
1994 May 28 Miller Genuine Draft 150 Gary Bradberry Buick 17 150 [28]
July 23 Metro 25 Tire Centers 150 Dave Weltmeyer Chevrolet 3 150 [29]
1995 May 27 Miller Genuine Draft 150 Andy Hillenburg Chevrolet 12 150 [30]
July 2 AC Delco 150 Marvin Smith Chevrolet 7 150 [31]
July 22 Metro 25 Tire Centers 150 Joe Ruttman Chevrolet 1 150 [32]
1996 June 1 Miller Genuine Draft 150 Dave Weltmeyer Chevrolet 3 150 [33]
July 6 AC Delco 150 Tim Steele Ford 4 150 [34]
1997 July 5 Clarklift of Detroit 150 2 150 [35]
1998 August 1 Flat Rock ARCA 150 Frank Kimmel Chevrolet 4 1513 [36]
1999 July 31 Jasper Engines & Transmissions 150 Bill Baird Chevrolet 1 150 [37]
2000 May 27 Jasper Engines & Transmissions 150 Frank Kimmel Chevrolet 5 1593 [38]

1 Race shortened from 111 laps
2 Race shortened from 150 laps due to rain
3 Race extended due to green–white–checker finish

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Opening of Flat Rock Speedway is postponed". The Terre Haute Tribune. UP. August 3, 1953. Retrieved July 5, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  2. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Flat Rock, Toledo Champs Reaching Back..." ARCA Re/Max Series. January 4, 2007. Retrieved July 5, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Radebaugh, Don (March 17, 2016). "Flat Rock 500 fills ARCA history pages in early days". ARCA Racing Series. Retrieved July 5, 2019.
  5. ^ "Flat Rock Starts Night Races Sunday". Detroit Free Press. May 19, 1954. Retrieved July 5, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  6. ^ a b c "Flat Rock Speedway celebrates 50th year". The Blade. July 2, 2003. Retrieved July 5, 2019.
  7. ^ "Barto Quits Flat Rock Auto Track". Detroit Free Press. March 9, 1956. Retrieved July 5, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  8. ^ "Speedway Head". Lansing State Journal. AP. March 22, 1959. Retrieved July 5, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  9. ^ Goricki, David (May 30, 2017). "Flat Rock Speedway levels the track for racing purists". The Detroit News. Retrieved July 6, 2019.
  10. ^ a b "Joan Simmons". Michigan Motor Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved July 5, 2019.
  11. ^ Cowie, Steve (September 3, 1999). "It's time for stocks to cash in". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved July 6, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  12. ^ "ARCA to Operate Toledo Speedway". Motorsport.com. January 6, 1999. Retrieved July 6, 2019.
  13. ^ "1985 Howard Williams Memorial". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  14. ^ "1986 Flat Rock 125". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  15. ^ "1987 Miller High Life ARCA 125". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  16. ^ "1987 Grand Auto Parts 150". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  17. ^ "1988 Miller High Life 150". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  18. ^ "1988 Jomar Race Engines 150". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  19. ^ "1989 Miller High Life 150". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  20. ^ "1989 Metro 25 Tire Centers 150". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  21. ^ "1990 Miller Genuine Draft 150". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  22. ^ "1991 Miller Genuine Draft 150". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  23. ^ "1991 Metro 25 Tire Centers 150". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  24. ^ "1992 Metro 25 Tire Centers 150". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  25. ^ "1992 Miller Genuine Draft 150". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  26. ^ "1993 Miller Genuine Draft 150". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  27. ^ "1993 Metro Tire Centers 150". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  28. ^ "1994 Miller Genuine Draft 150". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  29. ^ "1994 Metro 25 Tire Centers 150". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  30. ^ "1995 Miller Genuine Draft 150". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  31. ^ "1995 AC Delco 150". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  32. ^ "1995 Metro 25 Tire Centers 150". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  33. ^ "1996 Miller Genuine Draft 150". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  34. ^ "1996 AC Delco 150". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  35. ^ "1997 Clarklift of Detroit 150". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  36. ^ "1998 Flat Rock ARCA 150". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  37. ^ "1999 Jasper Engines & Transmissions 150". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved July 7, 2019.
  38. ^ "2000 Jasper Engines & Transmissions 150". Racing-Reference. NASCAR Digital Media, LLC. Retrieved July 7, 2019.

External links[edit]