When Did Desoto Speedway Close? [Updated!]

When did Desoto Speedway close? Was it because of the Coronavirus pandemic that caused racetracks to suspend their operations? Was it because of declining attendance? Or has the track just always been closed? Find out the answers to these questions and more in this article.

The Early Years

One of the first organized races in Texas was held at Desoto Speedway on May 20, 1930. It was called “The Great American Race” and was won by Jack McGrady. That same year, the track opened for business. However, it wasn’t until 1937 that the track really started to boom. That’s when the National Guard and other state agencies began promoting the track and holding their official meetings there. During World War II, the track temporarily closed down to repair damages from bombing raids.

The Big Surge During The 40s

After the war ended, Desoto Speedway reopened in 1946 and immediately went back to its original layout. On September 13, 1946, Bill France’s legendary car, the Pontiac GTO, was the first vehicle to ever lap the track. Three months later, on April 7, 1947, another car called the Ford Cougar set the unofficial track record with a lap time of 11.1 seconds. Since then, Desoto Speedway has been on an upward trajectory, attracting many famous names in motor racing.

The Coronavirus Pandemic

In early March, the entire world seemed to be in lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Most tracks were closed down and no one was certain when—or if—they would open up again. Even NASCAR, the sport that Desoto Speedway is mostly known for, canceled all of its racing events indefinitely.

The Attendance Plummet

After the NASCAR events were canceled, many expected attendance at Desoto Speedway to take a hit. However, that didn’t seem to happen. In the month before the racetrack closed down, attendance was up by 14% from the previous year. It’s likely that people were attracted to the track because of the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and the decision by NASCAR to cancel its season.

Is It Always Been Located In The Desoto, Texas Area?

The short answer is yes. Desoto Speedway has always been located in the Desoto, Texas area. It has never been held in other parts of the state, nor has it ever been relocated. The track has always been built on farmland and has always operated on a cash-basis.

What Type Of Attracts Fans To The Track?

One of the most interesting things about Desoto Speedway is its unique mix of sports cars and motorbikes. Since the 1950s, the track has attracted many famous racing drivers and motorcycle legends. While some may argue that the speedway is best known for its array of famous speedsters, it actually does have another side that most people aren’t familiar with: stock car racing. At Desoto Speedway, the two types of racing are held in the same weekend. This is something that hasn’t happened at other tracks across the country. Usually, the two types of racing take place on separate days at other tracks, with the occasional combined race held at the same venue.

A Brief History Of The Track

Desoto Speedway has been around since the early 1930s and has always been located in the Desoto area. However, it was originally called “Lone Oak Raceway” and was built in 1929 by Fredrick Hightower. Hightower wanted to establish a paved road alongside his cornfield and used the money he made to buy land for the track. The grandstand was first built in the 1940s and has been expanded several times since then. In the 1950s, the track temporarily closed down due to a lack of funds. However, Hightower soon recouped his losses and brought the track back to life. In the 1960s, Hightower sold the track to Lamar Gee, who donated it to the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife. In 1969, Joe Weatherly bought the track, renamed it “Desoto Speedway”, and began expanding it. Since then, the track has been steadily growing and now covers over four acres of land. In 2007, the track was expanded again to its present size of approximately five acres. This is largely due to the efforts of Joe Weatherly and his family.

The racing at Desoto Speedway is still held in the traditional “Saturday night lights” format, with the occasional “Sunday night miracle” taking place on a random Tuesday or Wednesday night.

So, when does Desoto Speedway close? Sadly, it’s not yet clear. However, with the current situation surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, it’s likely that the track will be closed for a while.

While it’s unfortunate that the track won’t be open this year, that’s not to say that it will always be closed. Weatherly, the owner of the track, has always said that he plans to make it a permanent fixture on the motorsport calendar. Even if the track does close down temporarily, it will always be remembered for its pivotal role in motorsport history.

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