Hagerstown Speedway is located in Hagerstown, Maryland. The 1/2 mile oval was once home to some of the biggest names in NASCAR. Legendary drivers like Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, and Darel Knoepke all raced there. The most recent drivers to call Hagerstown home are Matt Craftes, Austin Dillon, and William Byron. Nowadays, Hagerstown isn’t exactly a marquee race track. That being said, it still hosts midget car races, USAC Silver Crown midget races, and some select NASCAR events.
The Early Years
Hagerstown Speedway was built in 1947 and is one of the first purpose-built sports venues in the area. The track originally had a dirt surface and held competitions throughout the year. Since its inception, Hagerstown Speedway has been owned and operated by the Hagerstown Lions Club. Today, the track still has the original brick stands from the early days. The stands have been preserved because the group that owns Hagerstown Speedway doesn’t want to see them destroyed.
The Golden Age
In the 1950s and 1960s, Hagerstown Speedway became a major hub for motorsport in the Mid-Atlantic region. A lot of the area’s top drivers called the track home. Between 1961 and 1968, the track had some of the most famous drivers in motor sports, including Lee Strickland, Wendell Scott, and Richard Petty. Some of those drivers are considered among the greatest of all time. In fact, the track was named one of the Top 50 Historic Sports Tracks in North America by Track and Field News in 2010.
After the stock car racing boom of the 1950s and ’60s, Hagerstown Speedway saw a decline in live spectators and events. The track still hosts racing every weekend, but it doesn’t have the same draw it once had. The owners of the track believe the current audience is made up of older fans who remember the glory days.
The Present Day
Hagerstown Speedway hasn’t been the same since its glory days. Those who knew the track during those years remember the caliber of drivers that frequented the track and the fans that came out to support them. The track still hosts midget car and motorcycle races throughout the year, but it hasn’t had a NASCAR race there since 1968. The owners of the track are committed to keeping the legacy of the legendary drivers that once frequented the venue alive. They also host a Halloween motorcycle night each year where fans can dress up and get a picture taken with their favorite motorcyclists.
Hagerstown Speedway has been trying to bring back the good old days. In 2017, the track announced a $9 million renovation plan. This included adding all-new digital scoreboards, installing a completely new paddock area, renovating the grandstands, and upgrading the lights.
The venue plans to host more auto races and events in the future, including the return of stock car racing. The owners of the track believe that today’s generation of drivers are more connected to social media than they are to traditional media, which they say has changed the way people engage with motorsport.
Hagerstown Speedway is located at 476 Old Hagerstown Road in Hagerstown, MD. The website is www.HagerstownSpeedway.com.