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David Melson

Picturing the Past 107: Early dirt track racing

Posted Tuesday, April 19, 2011, at 1:43 PM
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  • Nice picture David. The only time that I paid any attention to race cars during that time frame would have been at the Tennessee State Fair every year in September. They raced on the track where the harness races were held, and this picture was obviously not made there. I think that it was about 1 mile in length. Redddj could tell us all about the track. I do not know if car races were ever held at the Bedford County Fair or not. It was in the late 50s when I first began to pay attention, and the only tracks locally that I attended were in Winchester, McMinnvile, Chattanooga, Birmingham, and Huntsville. Then later I attended a race or two at Duck River Speedway. Sorry, but I can not be of much help to you on this one. By the way, the car appears to be a 1936 Ford.

    -- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Apr 19, 2011, at 2:48 PM
  • I can't add anything toward solving the mystery, but in the "larger view" version, note the significantly different texture of the track under the front wheels...much larger rocks(?). It reminded me of the days when driving down country dirt roads in the fall and running over walnuts that had been placed in the large, dry "mud-holes" on the roads so that cars running over them would knock off the thick green hulls, which--if you did it by hand--would leave you with green hands for quite a spell! Appreciate you keepin' our old brain-gears a'grinding, David. These flashes from the past are fun!!

    -- Posted by dkd57 on Tue, Apr 19, 2011, at 5:11 PM
  • Could this picture possibly have been taken during the early days at Winchester?

    -- Posted by bomelson on Fri, Apr 22, 2011, at 7:52 AM
  • Bo, I am not sure when the Winchester track first opened. It was in the late 50s when I first went there.

    -- Posted by leeiii on Fri, Apr 22, 2011, at 3:12 PM
  • Bo and leeiii, the speedway website www.winchesterspeedway.net says racing since 1957.I wonder though, if that could mean "continuous" since 1957. That was about the year that a friend and I started going over there to the races, but I don't recall the grandstand standing out as a new structure, so I wonder if there might have been a period of inactivity with racing starting back in 1957 to the present. Just a thought.

    -- Posted by ilikeoldsongs on Fri, Apr 22, 2011, at 4:27 PM
  • Been a racing fan for years, but I can't help you with this particular mystery. However, this is one great pic David!

    -- Posted by Tim Lokey on Sun, Apr 24, 2011, at 5:24 PM
  • Is this car on a track or the pit area?

    -- Posted by bomelson on Mon, Apr 25, 2011, at 3:08 PM
  • David there was a dirt track between Tullahoma and Manchester, at what is known as Hickerson Station. There is now a memorial garden (cemetery)there. This does look somewhat familiar

    as to what I remember it to be. That was in the late 40's and early 50's. There was a Drive-In

    theater there, also, and that could have been after the dirt track.

    -- Posted by walrite on Wed, Apr 27, 2011, at 3:25 PM
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