South Boston Speedway is an oval shaped dirt track located in South Boston, Massachusetts that hosts a wide variety of racing events. Although the track’s official name is South Boston Speedway, it more often than not is referred to as the ‘speedway’ which makes up for the lack of a better nickname.
The course is actually inside Boston city limits which makes it eligible for both Massachusetts and National Championship titles. It is a 1.75-mile-long dirt track that is somewhat banked, which adds an extra challenge, as well as an element of danger, to the mix.
The layout and design of the track is certainly creative with a variety of elevation changes and unique angles that make for a unique and exciting racing experience. If you’re a car fanatic looking for a challenge, then this is the place to be.
The track is generally free, which makes it popular with families and amateur racers. The cost of parking and general admission is just a couple bucks.
The Evolution Of The Track
The history of South Boston Speedway is definitely one of an upstart that struggled for its first couple of years before finding its feet. The speedway was originally built in 1949 and was originally a quarter-mile dirt track until it was paved in the early 1950s. The track was then extended to a mile and a half before being resurfaced in the 1970s.
Although the track has been around for nearly 70 years, it didn’t really begin to see major changes and evolutions until the early 2000s.
The first big change was the addition of a grandstand in the early 2000s, which enabled for a more spectator friendly atmosphere. The second change was the repaving of the track in 2007 to make it easier and faster for cars to pass through. The third change was the extension of the track in 2008 to 1.5 miles.
Today, South Boston Speedway is a state-of-the-art facility, with the fourth and most recent change being the construction of an RV Park in 2015.
How Many Car Enthusiasts Are There In South Boston?
When it comes to spectator sports in general and motorsports in particular, there are a variety of different groups that one could fall under. Typically, one would classify people into three groups: (1) casual fans who might show up just to see the cars and have some fun, (2) people who are extremely passionate about cars and are there more for the competition than anything else, and (3) diehard fans who show up at every event and know every detail about the cars and the sport.
As far as the general public is concerned, it’s quite difficult to gauge how large or small the car enthusiast population of South Boston is. Although the track is open to the general public, it is quite prevalent for there to be a large contingent of private spectators (primarily from the surrounding Boston area) who follow the action closely, tuning in to see who wins the race and how the cars perform overall.
The Biggest Event
The biggest and most prestigious event on the South Boston Speedway calendar is the Grand National Championships (GNC). The three-day event begins with a ‘warming-up’ race on Saturday afternoon, which serves as a good prep for the following evening’s feature race. This year’s event will be on April 12-14.
The Grand National Championship is the ultimate test of speed and endurance for cars and drivers alike. The race is a point-to-point competition that begins with a 100-mile-long qualifying race on Saturday afternoon. The top eight drivers from the qualifying race will then compete in the feature (main) race the following evening. A total of $20,000 in prize money is up for grabs, along with numerous other trophies and medals.
Other Races That Take Place
There are several other smaller races that take place throughout the year featuring a variety of cars and drivers. The following are some of the more prominent ones.
NASCAR Regular Season (Sun-Thu)
The NASCAR regular season runs from mid-June to mid-November and sees a variety of short races (mostly around 20-25 laps) take place on Saturdays and Sundays. The regular season culminates in a grand finale at the end of October. As with the GNC, the regular season provides a good opportunity to see how fast a car can travel around a track and also serves as a good measuring stick for overall car performance.
IndyCar Championship (Fri-Sun)
The Indy Car Championship also runs from mid-June to mid-November and is a little bit different to the NASCAR regular season in that it only features one venue ([email protected]) and only two race types (only one race on Sunday). The championship is named after legendary driver ‘Indy’ Laneforf who began the championship in 1924. The main race is a 100-mile-long road course that takes place on Friday night with practice and qualifying on Thursday and Friday, and the championship race on Sunday. Since 1924, the Indy Car Championship has been won by drivers from coast-to-coast, including some international drivers. The modern-day series also features many famous faces from Hollywood, with A-list celebrities often showing up at the races to support their favorite drivers.
USAC Silver Crown (Fri-Sun)
The Silver Crown is another great one-off race that takes place on the last Friday and Saturday of June and is named after the old USAC Gold Crown race which ran from 1923 to 1948. The modern-day version is contested by NASCAR drivers and other American race car drivers (including many international competitors). The 100-mile race begins at noon on Friday and is followed by a 50-mile race on Saturday. The overall winners of each race will then compete in a best-of-seven championship series throughout August and September.
Pike’s Peak Gold Cup (Sun-Thu)
The Pike’s Peak Gold Cup is named after the famous Pike’s Peak in Colorado and is the oldest continuing racing event in North America that still features automobile racing. The event was first held in 1914 and continues to be contested today by auto and motorcycle enthusiasts. The competition still follows its original format which entails a 100-mile road race up Pike’s Peak, followed by a second 100-mile race down the mountain. The race is held on Sundays in July.
Milwaukee Mile (Sun-Wed)
The Milwaukee Mile is another great name for a classic American race that takes place at the end of October and is named after the mile-long stretch of road that circles the Milwaukee Mile, an oval-shaped race track in Wisconsin Dells. The race is one of the original great American road races that still takes place annually today and features some amazing food as well as plenty of beer for spectators. The Milwaukie Mile is one of the most prestigious events that takes place in Wisconsin, particularly during the month of October.
Toyota Grand Prix Of Chicago (Sun-Wed)
The Toyota Grand Prix of Chicago is named after the famous Chicago race track and is another great American road-race that takes place in October. The event was first held in 1982 and continues to this day, making it the longest-running one-of-a-kind automobile race in North America. Unlike the other races mentioned so far, the Chicago race is held on Sundays, so it doesn’t clash with the NFL on TV. Some great food and drink are served at the start of the race, along with some fantastic cars and drivers. Naturally, with everything that’s going on in the city that month, there is also lots of spectator interest in the race. The Grand Prix of Chicago is one of the biggest events on the NASCAR calendar, along with the GNC and Indy Car Championship.
The Future Of South Boston Speedway
The future of South Boston Speedway is definitely quite bright, with several new proposals and projects in the works. The biggest and most exciting news is the potential to finally get a 5K race held there, which would be great for the community and give people a new and exciting way to get active, as well as meet other enthusiasts.
The potential for other sports and entertainment venues at the speedway is quite high, too, with the RV Park and other motels nearby catering to car enthusiasts and others who want to celebrate a special event. With the right marketing and promotion, the speedway is certain to attract other forms of sporting and entertainment venues, as well as make the community a more vibrant place.