After years of planning and construction, the Needmore Speedway & Motorsports Complex is finally open. The $20 million development in Paulding County, Georgia, just north of Atlanta, features a 1/2 mile paved oval track with 30 degree banking. The complex also features multi-level garages, technical innovation, and an entertainment center.
Located just off of Interstate highway 20, Needmore is a quick 30 minute drive from downtown Valdosta. One of the newest attractions in western Georgia, the speedway offers high-banking, rough terrain, and night life. It has something for everyone.
A Permanent Home For Speed Entertainment
The 1/2 mile paved oval opened to the public for night racing on Friday, June 23, with local businesses and residents opening up their garages and offering up their banquet halls for the historic event. With the exception of a brief period in the early 1990s, Needmore has been dormant since its opening in 1936. The track had originally been constructed by Florea Tiburon before she sold it to Denny Casper, founder of the city of Valdosta.
For decades, the track had been used for local high school and car club racing events. In addition, the complex had been the site of a few stock car races held by the Metro Junkyard Gang in the 1970s and 1980s. Although the Metro Junkyard Gang no longer races at Needmore, the city of Valdosta has maintained ownership of the track ever since it was constructed.
In 2010, the Georgia State Racing Commission approved a proposal to reestablish a racing program at Needmore. The approval allowed the city to bring back their NASCAR racing team, the Valdosta Speed Team, which had last raced at the track in the 1970s. In addition, the approval permitted the establishment of a dirt modified racing program at the site. As a result, the Needmore Speedway & Motorsports Complex received a historic overhaul with renovations to the track and garages, as well as upgrading the lighting and paving the surface. Since the reestablishment of the NASCAR racing program at the speedway, there have been multiple fundraisers, including an annual turkey trot, to help the city pay for improvements and maintenance at the speedway and in the community. The city’s baseball field, baseball academy, and softball field have also benefited from fundraisers held at the track.
An Opportunity To Reestablish The City’s Auto Industry
The need for speedway arose at a time when the city of Valdosta was in the midst of a major economic downturn, with industrial plants closing down and unemployment reaching record levels. The project provided an opportunity for the city to restore its auto industry and help its residents, many of whom were unemployed, find new jobs. It also provided a way for the city to hold on to a part of its history.
The inaugural night of racing was a major success, attracting more than 2,000 people to the track. The turnout was higher than expected, considering that the event was a public holiday in Georgia, Veterans Day, and that it was cold and windy. Race participants included NASCAR regulars such as Tim Richmond, Bobby Allison, and Mark Martin, along with several up-and-coming young drivers such as Michael Waltrip and Ricky Rudd. It was also the first NASCAR race held in Georgia since the 1967 Great Southern 500 in Atlanta, which was postponed due to the Atlanta Olympics. As a result of the successful grand opening, the city of Valdosta has committed to holding a NASCAR race every year at Needmore, with the next event set for August 25, 2021.
A Place For Young Professionals And Empty Nesters To Engage In Active Lifestyles
Valdosta is well-known for its active senior citizen population, with many engaged in regular sporting activities. In the nearby city of Woodstock, for example, there are more than 30,000 senior citizens, most of whom are members of a private tennis club. The city’s Parks and Recreation Department organizes several tournaments throughout the year for the seniors.
In addition to regular sporting activities, the city’s senior citizens also participate in a program called Active Adulting, which encourages residents to continue their education and learning, as well as engage in active sport and recreation. Needmore provides a place for the city’s empty nesters to do the same. The complex has a senior citizens’ center that hosts yoga classes and offers other activities for the community’s ageing population. These include bingo, shuffleboard, and lawn bowling.
The senior citizens’ center is one of several community hubs supported by the city, along with a public library and recreation center. For more information about the community’s many organizations, residents can visit the city’s website valdostaga.org. In addition, Needmore is close to several golf courses, including the Woodstock Country Club, Kennesaw Mountain National Golf Course, and the Metro Golf Club, all of which are open to the public. The city’s parks and recreation department also organizes leagues and tournaments for golfers, with the winners receiving trophies and prizes.
Needmore is close to several high-end restaurants, including the Spoleto Italiano, offering up homemade pastries and wood-fired pizza, and Osteria Mozza, which specializes in fresh seafood. In addition, the city’s Westgate Mall has several hundred retail options, including restaurants and galleries, as well as an IMAX theater. Traveling to and from work via public transit is easy, with the downtown area accessible by multiple bus lines and the airport just 15 minutes away. The future looks promising for the city, with multiple proposals for new housing and commercial developments, including a $100 million corporate office building, making it an ideal location for businesspeople and those looking for an active lifestyle.