What Bank Attamont Speedway? [Facts!]

On the last day of April, the unthinkable happened. In one of the greatest sporting disasters in history, four drivers – including two-time defending champion Bobby Allison – were killed at the Bank Attamont Speedway in Oklahoma. This was a national tragedy, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the early days of NASCAR. Many people still haven’t come to terms with what happened that day, 40 years later. Thankfully, the sport has moved forward, and today we will take a look at the 10 things you should know about the track.

1. It Was Named After An Early Auto Trader

You might be familiar with the name Bob Jenkins or Arthur Blank after reading the book If It’s Tuesday, It Must Be Belgium, in which Eddie Siedler reminisces about growing up in the small town of Jenkins, Oklahoma, and competing in the iconic Talladega races against guys like Roy Porter and Kenny Brack. If it’s Tuesday, it must be Belgium! In fact, Jenkins and Blank were involved in the early days of automobile racing, owning and operating dirt tracks in the area. Their first venture into race track ownership was the Jenkins 55 Speedway in 1957, and later that same year, they purchased the then-New York Racing Association track in Flushing, New York, renaming it “Blank Memorial Speedway” in honor of their friend Bob’s passing.

You might not be familiar with the name “Bank Attamont Speedway” but you’ve definitely heard of its more famous neighbor, the Brickyard. Many of the same owners and operators of the Brickyard also had a hand in the creation of the smaller Bucklewomac Speedway, and the two tracks sometimes drew massive crowds in the summertime. They were also the first tracks to implement the “window” rule, where cars were allowed to run on the track without their windows open, to allow for better air circulation.

2. The Track Was Operated By The “Mighty Quinn’s” Auto Club

The team of Quinn, Jenkins, and Blank had a hand in a lot of things during their time in motor sports, and in 1957 they created something that would eventually become legendary, the Quik Start, an early version of which is on display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Quinn, the son of an Irish immigrant, began his involvement in motorsports in the early 1900s, purchasing his first car, an Oldsmobile, at 15. Later that year, he organized the “Mighty Quinn’s Auto Club” and became more and more involved in the world of motorsport, joining forces with the trio named above and creating one of the most iconic tracks in the country. The trio would go on to construct a quarter-mile dirt oval in Portage, Oklahoma, which they later donated to the City of Portage.

3. It Is Now A Heritage Track

After the tragedy of April 13, 1969, the track that had been known as “Bank Attamont Speedway” was renamed “Four Mile” for a brief period of time. The City of Attamont in Oklahoma purchased the track in 1976 and began a multi-year, multi-million dollar renovation project to return it to its original state. Today, the track is named after the city and it is owned and operated by the Oklahoma Historical Society.

What was originally designed as a short-track changed a lot over the years, with the first asphalt track being constructed in 1939 and a second half-mile clay oval added in 1958. On the night of April 13th, 1969, the final quarter-mile dirt track was torn down and a brand new state-of-the-art asphalt track was laid down. This was a very emotional time for the city of Attamont, with many people still hurting from the loss of more than 50 years of racing tradition.

The historical society that now owns the track did a lot to preserve the memory of that fateful day in April 1969 as well as the glory days of the track that were founded by the legendary Bob Jenkins and continued by his son and grandson. The track now plays host to some of the biggest events in motorsports, including the AAA Auto Racing World Championship and the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Car Festival. The annual “Heritage Days” festivities, which include the Hall of Fame Induction Dinner, bring fans and participants together for a month-long celebration of all things motorsports-related.

4. It Is The Site Of Many Historic Moments

Let’s be honest, who hasn’t been there? For all intents and purposes, the track is a destination for fans of NASCAR and motorsport. While much has changed at the track over the years, the location continues to have significance for drivers, crew chiefs, and fans. Here are just a few of the more significant dates that happened at the site.

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