The Mysterious Owner of Thunderbird Speedway in 1983

Thunderbird Speedway was a beloved racing track located in Phoenix, Arizona. In 1983, the track was at the height of its popularity, drawing in crowds from all over the state. However, despite its success, one mystery remains unsolved: Who was the owner of Thunderbird Speedway?

Many rumors have circulated about the identity of the owner, but no concrete information has ever been discovered. Some speculate that the owner was a wealthy businessman who preferred to stay out of the public eye, while others believe that it was a group of investors who wanted to capitalize on the booming popularity of auto racing in the 1980s. Regardless of who the owner was, Thunderbird Speedway left an indelible mark on the local racing community, and its legacy continues to be felt to this day.

Uncovering the Identity of the Thunderbird Speedway Owner

For decades, the identity of the owner of Thunderbird Speedway has remained a mystery, leaving racing fans and historians alike wondering who was behind the successful track. While there have been many rumors and speculations, the true identity of the owner has yet to be confirmed. However, recent research has shed new light on the subject, offering a few clues that could help uncover the owner’s identity.

Possible Owners

  • Tom Dittmer: Dittmer was a well-known promoter and owner of various racing tracks in the Phoenix area during the 1980s. Some speculate that he may have been the owner of Thunderbird Speedway as well.
  • Bob Green: Green was another racing promoter in the Phoenix area during the 1980s, and he owned several other tracks in addition to Thunderbird Speedway.

Clues to the Owner’s Identity

While there is no definitive proof as to who the owner of Thunderbird Speedway was, there are a few clues that could help uncover the truth. One such clue is the fact that the track was sold to a group of investors in 1984, indicating that the previous owner may have been looking to cash out. Additionally, some sources suggest that the owner may have had ties to organized crime, although there is no concrete evidence to support this theory.

Despite the mystery surrounding the owner of Thunderbird Speedway, one thing is clear: the track played an important role in the history of auto racing in the Phoenix area, and its legacy continues to be felt to this day. Whether or not the true identity of the owner is ever uncovered, the memories and stories of Thunderbird Speedway will live on.

The Legacy of Thunderbird Speedway

Thunderbird Speedway was a beloved racing track that drew in crowds from all over Arizona and beyond. Its success was due in part to the skillful management and promotion of its owner, whoever they may have been. The track hosted a variety of races, including stock car, sprint car, and midget races, and it became a hub for racing enthusiasts in the area.

While the track has long since closed down, its legacy lives on in the memories of those who attended races there, as well as in the ongoing popularity of auto racing in the Phoenix area. Today, there are several other racing tracks in the region, each with their own unique history and character. But for those who remember Thunderbird Speedway, there will always be a special place in their hearts for the track that captured their imagination and fueled their passion for racing.

The Rise and Fall of Thunderbird Speedway

Thunderbird Speedway was a popular NASCAR track located in Texas. The Speedway opened in the 1950s and quickly became a hub for racing enthusiasts. The venue hosted a number of high-profile events, including NASCAR races, IndyCar races, and even concerts. However, despite its early success, the Speedway eventually went through a series of ups and downs that led to its closure in 2013.

The story of the Thunderbird Speedway is a tale of triumph and tragedy. The track was initially built by a group of local racing enthusiasts who wanted to create a venue for their passion. The venue quickly became a popular destination for racing fans, and the Speedway grew in popularity as time went on. However, the Speedway faced a number of challenges over the years, including financial difficulties, changes in ownership, and even lawsuits. Despite these challenges, the Speedway continued to operate for several decades, and it remained a beloved institution in the world of racing.

The Glory Days

During its heyday, Thunderbird Speedway was one of the most popular racing venues in the country. The Speedway hosted a number of high-profile events, including NASCAR races and IndyCar races. Fans flocked to the Speedway to watch their favorite drivers compete, and the venue became known for its thrilling races and exciting atmosphere. The Speedway was also a popular destination for concerts and other events, which helped to further boost its popularity.

The Decline

In the 1990s, Thunderbird Speedway began to experience a decline. The venue faced financial difficulties and struggled to attract the same level of crowds that it had in the past. The Speedway also faced a number of legal challenges, including lawsuits from nearby residents who were unhappy with the noise and traffic generated by the venue. These challenges made it difficult for the Speedway to continue operating, and the venue was eventually sold to new owners.

The new owners made a number of changes to the Speedway, including renovating the track and adding new amenities. However, these changes were not enough to save the Speedway, and it continued to struggle financially. In 2013, the Speedway was forced to close its doors for good, ending a chapter in the history of Texas racing that had lasted for more than half a century.

The Legacy

Despite its closure, Thunderbird Speedway remains an important part of the history of racing in Texas. The Speedway was a beloved institution that brought together racing enthusiasts from across the state and beyond. While the venue may no longer be standing, its legacy lives on through the memories of those who attended races and events at the Speedway. Today, there are still racing enthusiasts who remember the excitement and thrill of watching their favorite drivers compete at Thunderbird Speedway, and who will always hold a special place in their hearts for this iconic venue.

The Importance of Local Race Tracks in the 1980s

The 1980s was an important decade for local race tracks across the United States. During this time, small tracks provided a platform for up-and-coming drivers to hone their skills and gain valuable experience before moving on to larger racing circuits. The role of these local tracks was pivotal in the growth of motorsports, and their importance cannot be understated.

Local tracks were also a vital part of their respective communities, often bringing in large crowds and providing a sense of excitement and entertainment for race fans. Many of these tracks were family-owned and operated, with generations of families working together to keep the track running smoothly.

The Impact of Local Tracks

  • Provided a platform for up-and-coming drivers to gain experience and hone their skills
  • Supported the growth of motorsports by providing a pathway for drivers to move up to larger circuits
  • Brought in large crowds and provided entertainment for race fans
  • Created a sense of community and camaraderie among drivers, teams, and fans

The Challenges Faced by Local Tracks

Despite their importance, local tracks faced numerous challenges during the 1980s. Rising costs, limited sponsorship opportunities, and the emergence of larger racing circuits all put pressure on these smaller tracks to remain viable. Some tracks were forced to close due to financial difficulties, while others were able to adapt and survive.

Today, many of these local tracks still exist, albeit in a much different landscape than in the 1980s. While they may not have the same level of influence on the world of motorsports as they once did, they continue to provide a valuable service to their communities and help to keep the spirit of racing alive.


The importance of local race tracks in the 1980s cannot be overstated. These small tracks played a vital role in the growth of motorsports and provided a platform for up-and-coming drivers to gain valuable experience. While they faced numerous challenges, the spirit of racing and the sense of community that they created continued to thrive. Today, many of these tracks still exist, serving as a reminder of the important role they played in the history of motorsports.

The Legacy of Thunderbird Speedway

Thunderbird Speedway was once a major attraction in Oklahoma City, drawing in racing fans from all over the region. Though the track is no longer in operation, its legacy lives on through the memories of fans and drivers alike.

For many, the Thunderbird Speedway was more than just a racetrack – it was a community. The track brought people together and created a shared sense of excitement and camaraderie. It was a place where fans and drivers could connect and share their love of racing. Today, many former fans and drivers look back on their experiences at Thunderbird Speedway with fondness, remembering the good times they had and the friendships they made.

The Importance of Thunderbird Speedway to Local Racing History

Thunderbird Speedway played an important role in the history of local racing. As one of the premier tracks in the region, it helped to elevate the sport and attract new fans and drivers. The track was known for its high-speed racing and thrilling events, drawing in crowds of thousands for major races.

Thunderbird Speedway also played a key role in the development of local racing talent. Many drivers who got their start at the track went on to achieve success on a national level. The track was a proving ground for up-and-coming drivers, and many saw it as a stepping stone to bigger and better things.

The Enduring Legacy of Thunderbird Speedway

The legacy of Thunderbird Speedway lives on today, long after the track has closed its gates for the final time. The memories of fans and drivers who experienced the thrill of racing at the track are still cherished, and the impact the track had on the local community and racing scene is still felt today.

Though Thunderbird Speedway may be gone, its legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of those who loved it. It will always be remembered as a place where people came together to share their passion for racing and create lasting memories.

Memories from Fans and Drivers of Thunderbird Speedway

Thunderbird Speedway was a special place for many fans and drivers alike. The memories made there are cherished by those who experienced the excitement of watching races or competing on the track. For some, it was a weekly tradition, while others traveled from out of town to witness the adrenaline-pumping action. Many fans and drivers have fond memories of Thunderbird Speedway that they will never forget.

One fan reminisced about attending races with their family as a child, saying, “My dad used to take my siblings and me to Thunderbird Speedway every Saturday night during racing season. It was a great bonding experience for us, and we always looked forward to it.” Another fan remembered the roar of the engines and the thrill of watching the drivers compete for the checkered flag.

Memorable Moments on the Track

  • One driver recalled a memorable race where they started from the back of the pack and worked their way up to first place, thrilling the crowd with their impressive driving skills.
  • Another driver reminisced about a time when they narrowly avoided a crash on the track, maneuvering their car out of harm’s way and continuing the race.

The Sense of Community at Thunderbird Speedway

Many fans and drivers remember the sense of community that existed at Thunderbird Speedway. It was a place where people from all walks of life could come together to share their love of racing. Fans would gather in the stands and cheer on their favorite drivers, while drivers would compete fiercely on the track, but still have a sense of camaraderie off the track.

One driver noted, “There was always a friendly competition between drivers, but at the end of the day, we were all friends. We would often gather together after the races to share stories and talk about the race.” Another fan spoke of the friendships that were formed among fans, saying, “I met some of my closest friends at Thunderbird Speedway. We bonded over our love of racing and have remained friends for years.”

The End of an Era

Unfortunately, Thunderbird Speedway closed its doors in 2009 after nearly 50 years of operation. The closure left many fans and drivers with a sense of loss and nostalgia for the memories they had made at the track.

One fan summed up the sentiment, saying, “Thunderbird Speedway was more than just a race track. It was a community, a tradition, a part of our lives. It’s sad to see it go, but the memories will live on forever.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Who ran Thunderbird Speedway in 1983?

Answer: The Thunderbird Speedway was owned by Frank Reakes in 1983, who also served as the promoter for the speedway.

When was Thunderbird Speedway founded?

Answer: Thunderbird Speedway was founded in 1953 and was initially called Danbury Racearena. It is one of the oldest and most renowned speedways in the country.

What types of races were held at Thunderbird Speedway?

Answer: Thunderbird Speedway has held a variety of races over the years, including Modified, Late Model, and Super Stock car races, as well as Demolition Derbies. It has been a hub of racing activity for decades.

Is Thunderbird Speedway still operating?

Answer: Unfortunately, Thunderbird Speedway closed in 1992, after nearly four decades of operation. However, its legacy still lives on in the hearts of its fans and drivers.

What was unique about Thunderbird Speedway?

Answer: Thunderbird Speedway was known for its distinctive three-eighths mile track, which was shaped like a paperclip. It was a challenging track that required a combination of speed and skill to navigate. Additionally, it had a vibrant community of drivers and fans that made it a special place for all who visited.

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