Aerial photo of the track from 1995
|Location||Flemington, New Jersey|
|Former names||Flemington Fair Speedway (1915-1990)|
|Major events||Stevens Beil / Genuine Car Parts 150 (1995-1998)
Race of Champions (Modified) (1992-1995)
|Length||0.625 mi (1.000 km)|
|Lap record||0:18.817 (Stacy Compton, Impact Motorsports, 1998, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series)|
Flemington Speedway was a motor racing circuit in Flemington, New Jersey which operated from 1915 to 2002. The track was known for being the fastest 5/8 dirt track in the United States. Later it was for hosting four NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races and its pioneering use of foam blocks used to lessen the impact of crashes, which led to the adoption of the SAFER barrier and was America's longest-running Saturday night shorttrack until its closing.
Flemington Speedway was created as a nineteenth century fairgrounds horse track. It was a half mile, four-cornered dirt oval. Motorcycles first raced on this horse track in 1911, and the "Speedway" hosted its first automobile race in 1915 as a half mile dirt oval. The first race was promoted and won by Ira Vail. The track's grandstand opened in 1917 and remained standing until the track was demolished in January 2005. Auto races were a nearly annual event at Flemington Fair. Stock Car Races became the weekly Saturday night featured attraction when lights were added in 1955. The track was reconfigured over the 1966-1967 off-season into a (nearly) 5/8 mile, semi-banked rounded rectangle, nicknamed "The Square." The track remained this way until being paved at the end of the 1990 racing season. The speedway hosted one of a handful of public appearances by 1992 Presidential candidate H. Ross Perot. More than 25,000 people attended and tied up local roads for hours.
Life as a paved track
After being paved, speeds at the track dramatically increased. The higher speeds led to "a series of horrible crashes," leaving drivers, such as future NASCAR Sprint Cup team owner Ray Evernham, severely injured. After talking to crew chiefs and drivers, track officials decided to add foam blocks to lessen the impact of crashes. The foam bricks allowed crashes at up to 140 mph (230 km/h) leaving no serious injuries.
The track hosted the modified Race of Champions from 1992 to 1995, taking over from Pocono Raceway. The race moved to Oswego Speedway in Oswego, New York from 1996-2014. This year, it has a new home Chemung Speedrome.
The last Pro-Touring series to race at the speedway was the then ARCA Bondo/Mar-Hyde Series' (Now ARCA Re-Max) Flemington ARCA 150. The winner was Frank Kimmel who would go on to win his first series title that season. The race was to be run on August 14, 1999, but due to a severe thunderstorm that hit the track after qualifying, the race was run the next day before a nearly empty house. It was the only ARCA race at the Speedway.
The track continuously lost money after being paved, and closed on November 8, 2002. The track was sold off to developers and demolished in early January 2005. A multi-use development called Raritan Town Center now occupies the surrounding area, and a Lowe's store sits on the defunct speedway property.
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series history
|Season||Date||Race||Winning Driver||Truck Model|
|1995||August 19||Stevens Beil / Genuine Car Parts 150||Ron Hornaday Jr.||Chevrolet|
|1996||August 10||Stevens Beil / Genuine Car Parts 200||Mike Skinner||Chevrolet|
|1997||August 9||Stevens Beil / Genuine Car Parts 200||Ron Hornaday Jr.||Chevrolet|
|1998||August 8||Stevens Beil / Genuine Car Parts 200||Terry Cook||Chevrolet|