Is 311 Speedway Open? [Fact Checked!]

311 Speedway, located in Hackettstown, New Jersey, is one of the premier harness racing tracks in the country. The complex includes the standard 2,220-yard dirt track, a 1,600-yard plastic turf track, and a 1,200-yard artificial snow track. It was built in 2004 and hosted its first races in 2005. This blog post will tell you about the track’s opening days and whether or not it’s worth making a road trip to New Jersey to see a harness race.


Hackettstown owes its name to Samuel Hackett, an industrialist who owned a lot of land in this area. After the Revolutionary War, Hackett and his brothers established the first textile mill in America in what is now known as the Blue Diamond District of town. One of their first projects was to build a road that connected their mill with nearby towns. This road, which later became known as County Route 311, played an important role in the development of modern-day Hackettstown.

After Samuel Hackett’s death, his sons Samuel Jr. and John inherited the company. In 1873, John died and his son Samuel Jr. took over as president of the corporation. In 1888, Samuel Jr. hired Carl A. Park as the track’s architect. The following year, the younger Hackett built a railway stop for passengers headed to and from New York City. This railway stop, which became known as Hackettstown Station, was used until 1938, when trains were replaced by motor coaches.

During World War II, the U.S. government closed various sporting venues in an effort to reduce the country’s dependency on sports. However, the young and the old alike flocked to the track to play cards and others came to watch horse racing. The federal government reopened the track in 1946 and on October 1, 1947, 311 Speedway hosted its first harness race.

That same year, Dr. A.J. Groski bought the track and was subsequently elected its president.

In 1965, a fire nearly destroyed the entire complex. Fortunately, no one was injured and the damage was largely contained to the track. Following the fire, Dr. Groski extended the hours the track was open and began hosting post-race fireworks shows and rollicking parties. That same year, the original 2,220-yard dirt track was constructed. The next year, the wooden grandstand was rebuilt and expanded, adding a covered walkway around it. This same walkway remains today and continues around the track’s perimeter, providing spectators with an excellent view of the action all the way around. The new track was dedicated in June 1966.

The Dirt Track

The dirt track, which is actually made of clay, is one of the more traditional racing surfaces. However, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t updated now and then. For example, the track was resurfaced in 2014 and the grandstand was renovated.

Clay tracks are easy to maintain and quick to dry. However, they are less slippery than most other surfaces and they wear out more quickly. If a horse hits a bump or skids on the track, it can potentially strain its leg. To help prevent injuries and strain on the legs, horses are usually restrained by the jockey using a device known as a bit. A traditional bit keeps the horse’s head steady while allowing the jockey to guide the animal by speaking into its ear. The use of a traditional bit prevents horses from snorting or flaring their nostrils, both of which can lead to injuries.

The clay track at 311 Speedway is 6.21 miles long, starts at the flag pole and ends at the grandstand.

Turf Track

Turf tracks are becoming more and more common throughout the country. They are made of synthetic fibers that are milled and heat tempered to create a playing surface that is both durable and aesthetically pleasing.

Synthetic grass is cut and shaped to form a playing surface with very little bumps and hollows. Therefore, it requires less water and less fertilization than a traditional grass track. Besides being easy to maintain, synthetic grass tracks are also more visually appealing as they don’t blow in the wind like traditional outdoor grass tracks do.

Turf tracks are a great alternative for horse owners who live in colder climates where the grass never really grows well. However, the playing surface still needs to be maintained and fertilized in order to stay alive and in good condition. One important factor to consider when choosing a turf track is the condition of the football fields around it. It’s no secret that athletic fields are sometimes used to hold track and field events, so having a good condition track wouldn’t be a bad idea in that case. Similarly, some synthetic grass fields are better suited for soccer or rugby matches and others are better suited for American football. It’s important to try and find a sport that suits both the field and the facility.

Sandy Track

Artificial sand tracks, also known as concrete tracks, are becoming more and more popular. They are the perfect alternative for outdoor tracks that get damaged or worn out easily by the elements. They are also perfect for indoor tracks as they make for ideal practice surfaces. A concrete track is molded into the shape of a racing surface and then filled with rocks or small stones for added traction.

Concrete tracks are durable and abrasion-resistant and they also come with warning lines and other markings called ‘bursts’ which are used to signify positions throughout a race. They are also easy to clean and maintain. Additionally, the fill behind the caution lines can be altered to provide varying degrees of difficulty while keeping the same track width. This makes concrete tracks customizable without having to replace the surface entirely.

However, one important factor to consider when choosing this type of track is the cost. Concrete tracks are more expensive than dirt, clay, or turf tracks because they require a lot more maintenance and they are also less forgiving. If a car or truck hits a concrete track after a heavy rain, it can potentially damage the surface. Besides car and truck accidents, concrete tracks are also susceptible to deterioration from wind, water, and sun exposure. This makes it more important to protect and shield the track from the elements. Additionally, the fill behind the caution lines can decompose and cause the track to become less level over time.

The Snow Track

Artificial snow tracks are becoming more and more common as well. They are perfect for use in areas where it snows heavily and frequently. They are also great for ice hockey, figure skating, and other winter sports. The track is typically made of fiberglass, wood, and metal in order to provide the desired durability while also allowing it to reflect and scatter light like real snow.

The track at 311 Speedway is actually two separate tracks: a plastic one used during winter and an artificial grass one used during the rest of the year. The plastic snow track is 2.65 miles long, while the original grass one is 3.35 miles long. The two tracks meet in the middle and run alongside each other for the duration of the mile-markers. This allows for plenty of room and visibility for both drivers and spectators. The length of the track can be extended by adding more lanes or using an extension marker. This track was installed in 2002 and is used all year round.

The Grandstand

The grandstand, which was rebuilt after the fire in 1965, is the most recognizable and iconic structure at 311 Speedway. It continues to this day as the venue’s seating area. In addition to serving as a viewing point for the horses, the rebuilt grandstand also provides an excellent vantage point for the action on the track. It also contains a small shop and an oversized loading dock where trucks can unload and reload equipment and supplies. The structure is made of wood, metal, and concrete with a tile roof.

One of the grandstand’s most defining features is the clock tower. It’s an excellent example of both Art Deco and Streamline Moderne design elements. In addition to the clock, the structure also features a bell that rings out the hours and alerts the public to changes in the status of the races.

Future Of Racing

With the Covid restrictions lessening and more races being held, it’s fair to say that racing is back with a vengeance. However, not all tracks are prepared for the sudden increase in activity and spectators. This is why it’s important to do your research before making a trip to a particular track to see a race. If you’re looking for a traditional dirt track experience, you should probably check out either of the New Jersey tracks – Millville or Trenton – as the majority of the state’s tracks have either installed a synthetic track or converted to an all-weather layout.

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