Oglethorpe Speedway Park closing a motor racing track in Pooler Georgia


It’s advertised as “The Final Race”, and it’s not marketing hyperbole. It’s the truth.

Oglethorpe Speedway Park in Pooler is closing after 70 years of all kinds of racing. The dry land track its last season this weekend, with a practice session on Thursday and races on Friday and Saturday.

OSP announced in a post on its Facebook page on May 28 that the 2021 season will be the last of the races on the facility, which is owned by the Stone family. Emory Stone, a native of Hazlehurst, returned to the track in 1977 and competed in dirt races in 1979. The family – headed by his wife Betty and son Andy – have continued to operate the business since his death in February 2013 .

The announcement:Oglethorpe Speedway Park to close in 2021 after 70 years of racing

The 200 Jesup Road facility has hosted a variety of sports since March 1951, when motorcycle racing made its debut in the Savannah area, according to ospracing.net. The first stock car race on the half-mile track was held in May 1951 and first place went to Johnnie Parsons, also winner of the Indianapolis 500 in 1950.

Randall Jenkins, who manages OSP’s sales and marketing as well as the weekly shopping announcement, said after the announcement in May that the economy – increased competition for entertainment spending from area residents in Pooler and smaller crowds – had led the family to sell the property, with the buyer unlikely to continue the racing tradition.

Mike Helmly (# 29) leads the field in a Street Stocks division auto race at Oglethorpe Speedway Park in this Savannah Morning News file photo.

“Something’s always happened, be it motorcycles, stock cars, monster trucks, bikes, concerts, rodeos, auto shows. Anything you can imagine has happened here over the years, ”said Jenkins, who started announcing himself on the track in 2001 and working there full-time in 2009.“ It’s a nice setup. . It’s a great place to work, great people, a great family to work for. I really hate to see this happen. In life times change and what happens might be the right decision to make. I can’t say anything else that I enjoyed being here.

The “November to Remember” ends this week, with open practice for all auto racing divisions on Thursday. The pit area opens at 5.30 p.m., with practice from 6.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. free.

It’s $ 20 for a weekend ATV license (must be 16 years or older). RV sites cost $ 30 for the first night, $ 15 for each additional night.

More coverage:The end of an era for drivers and fans of Oglethorpe Speedway Park

On Friday, the pit area opens at 4.30 p.m., the grandstands at 5 a.m., followed by hot laps at 6.45 a.m., the obligatory drivers’ meeting at 7.35 a.m. and the race at 8 a.m.

The divisions are FWD (Amateur 4 / Super 5) rounds and a 15-round event with $ 500 to the winner; Mini Stock series and 15 round function with a price of $ 500; Mini Late Model Series and 15 round feature with a price tag of $ 500; Road Warrior heats up and functions 20 laps with $ 750 to the winner; and 602 Crate Late Model qualifier and 25 round feature with $ 1,500 to win.

Michael Screen performs hot laps in the Mini Stock Division race on June 4, 2021 at Oglethorpe Speedway Park in Pooler.

On Saturday, the National Vintage Racing Association will bring open-wheel, full-body vintage cars to Pooler. The pit area opens at 3.30 p.m., the stands at 5 a.m., followed by hot laps at 5.45 a.m., the obligatory meeting of the drivers at 6.35 a.m. and the race at 7 a.m.

The divisions are the Crown Vic series and 20 rounds with $ 500 to the winner; Gladiators / CRUSA playoffs and a 25-round event and a $ 1,000 prize; Southern Clash Late Models qualifiers and 30-lap race for $ 2,500 for first place; vintage open impeller heater and 15-turn function; and heats the whole vintage body and functions 15 turns.

A farewell party with a bonfire is scheduled at the end of all major races.

Tickets for one day (whether Friday or Saturday) are:

– Pass: $ 35 for 16 years old and over, $ 15 for juniors 11-15 years old, $ 5 for 10 years old and under.

– Grandstands: $ 15 for 11 years old and over; $ 13 for military personnel and people aged 55 and over; $ 5 for children 10 and under.

For more information, visit ospracing.net or visit the OSP page on Facebook.

Nathan Dominitz is the sports content editor for Savannah Morning News and savannahnow.com. Email him at ndominitz@savannahnow.com. Twitter: @NathanDominitz

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