Memphis-Arkansas Speedway

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Memphis-Arkansas Speedway
Racing image with driving directions
Location Bob Ward Township, Crittenden County, near West Memphis, Arkansas (LeHi, Arkansas)
Time zone Central Standard Time (GMT UTC−06)
Capacity 15,000
Owner Clarence Camp, Harold Woolridge and Nat Epstein
Operator Clarence Camp, Harold Woolridge and Nat Epstein
Broke ground 1953
Opened 1954
Closed 1957
Major events NASCAR Grand National Series
Surface Dirt
Length 2.414 km (1.500 mi)
Turns 4

The Memphis-Arkansas Speedway was a dirt oval track located just west of West Memphis, Arkansas, United States, in the community of LeHi.

This speedway had a total distance spanning 1.500 miles (2.414 km).[1] Its elevation is 200 feet above sea level and all races used the Central Time Zone.[1] While the track opened on October 7, 1954, it soon ran out of money.[1] Paving the track cost $100,000 ($852,725.12 when adjusted for inflation) and the dirt surface was unmanageable after a certain number of years.[1] As a result, the track was closed permanently in 1957 when it was sold to a local farmer [1] named Clayton Eubanks Sr.,[2] who used the abandoned race track for catfish, rice, and soybeans for a number of years.[2] The proposed Interstate highway that was being built near the abandoned rack track was not finished in time to save it.[2]

Richard Petty and his father Lee both remember the high banking that this race track had.[2] The dirt was used for the banking and two ponds were on opposite ends of the speedway.[2] Lee Petty finished third at the 1954 Mid-South 250[3] and nineteenth at the 1955 Mid-South 250.[4]

Racing history[edit]

The NASCAR Grand National (now the Sprint Cup) Series would visit this track numerous times during the 1955 and 1956 Grand National seasons.[1] Clint McHugh from Iowa (who tumbled over a guard rail and into a lake 50 feet below the embankment at the age of 28)[2] and Cotton Priddy (from Louisville, Kentucky) are the two race car drivers who lost their lives on this allegedly dangerous race track.[5] Since the 1960s, the track was never used for its intended purpose of stock car racing.[5] At a race held on November 1954, twelve thousand fans would attend a race spanning 250 miles (400 km) where Buck Baker would end up winning the 1954 running of the Mid-South 250.[6]

Only two named races would be held in this racing venue: 1954 Mid-South 250 and the 1955 Mid-South 250.[7] The Ford Motor Company would earn two wins on this track followed by single race wins earned by Pontiac, Chrysler, and Oldsmobile.[7] Fonty Flock was the only winner on this track to start from the pole position.[7] The highest purse ever offered at this track was $14,250 ($121,513.33 when adjusted for inflation).[8] The largest field to compete on the track was 52 cars, while the smallest was 28.[7]

Other notable drivers who have gained experience racing here included: Chuck Stevenson, Tiny Lund, Bob Flock, and Ralph Moody.


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Basic information". NA-Motorsports. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Clint McHugh's death information/The fate of the speedway". Arkansaw Pitchers. Retrieved 2010-05-13. 
  3. ^ "1954 Mid-South 250 information". Racing References. Retrieved 2010-05-15. 
  4. ^ "1955 Mid-South 250 information". Racing References. Retrieved 2010-05-05. 
  5. ^ a b "Map of the speedway". Wikimapia. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  6. ^ "1954 NASCAR season results". How Stuff Works. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Advanced track information". Everything Stock Car. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 
  8. ^ "Winnings information". Racing-Reference. Retrieved 2010-05-04. 

Coordinates: 35°8.31486′N 90°18.9617′W / 35.13858100°N 90.3160283°W / 35.13858100; -90.3160283