The Orange County Speedway in Middletown, within Orange County, New York. This popular speedway is an oval-shaped dirt speedway. The speedway spans 1.006 kilometers and is an important location for car racing and other motorsports. These events are usually scheduled during the summertime.
The Orange County Speedway track was created in the year 1857. Horse racing was usually conducted on this track during the Orange County Fair. The speedway experienced its first-ever automobile race in August 1919. The Fair itself started in the year 1853 as an agriculture exhibit. In 1857, this fair then found its permanent location in Middletown.
The exact location of the Speedway is 239 Wisner Avenue. The land on which the speedway was built used to be called The Odgen Tract in the 1850s. The speedway was initially used for horse racing, called the Harry Clay Oval. It was named as such after a famed racehorse of the time. As time passed and the usage of the track changed, the track was lengthened.
History of the Speedway
The fair society’s director was an automobile racing enthusiast. He wanted to replace horse racing with automobile racing. However, the society’s board rejected the director’s proposition for almost six years. In 1919, the director, Martin, finally convinced his colleagues. Five thousand attendees watched the first-ever automobile race on the track.
In 1924, the track was revised. It was surfaced with clay so it could be used for multiple purposes. This way, this track was suitable for horse racing as well as auto mobile racing. This gave this track the reputation of ‘hard clay’ that guaranteed speed. This reputation exists even today.
Until the Second World War started, automobile racing carried on this track.During the war, all motorsports were banned due to a rubber, aluminum, steel, gasoline, and iron shortage. Once the war ended, weekly car racing resumed in the year 1950. It has continued on ever since. Also, after the war ended, the racetrack was renamed the Victory Speedway, and stock racing on the track soon began afterward.
The Speedway Today
The speedway operates to date every week. It is open from April to September. A popular nickname for the speedway is the house of power. The Fair speedway is known far and wide for its history of auto racing. Many drivers have put the hard clay on the speedways track to test.
This speedway is also home to several renowned dirt track drivers. These drivers include Will Cagle, Ray Brown, and Frankie Schneider. Today’s drivers, such as Jerry Higbie, Rich Eurich, and Danny Johnson, have also tested the limits of this speedway’s track.
Other than auto racing, another facility has also begun on the Fair Speedway. This is motocross racing, which started in 2013.
Mike Gurda, the owner of the speedway, made a major announcement regarding the speedway. He announced that this speedway would run as a solo track from 2015 onwards. This ended the speedway’s sanction and alliance with DIRT car Northeast.
Major Events on the Speedway
A major event is hosted on the speedway every year. This is known as the eastern states weekend. During this event, sportsmen drivers indulge in car racing in 50, 150, and 200-lap races. This weekend is usually scheduled for October. This month brings an end to the car racing season for most regulars.
One of the oldest consecutively run championship events on the speedway isthe modified eastern states 200 races. Cars that are modified for a dirt track run in this race.
The first ever dirt track-modified car race took place in the year 1962. The winner of the race was the famous Frankie Schneider from New Jersey.
In 1969, this 100-lap race was then increased to a 200-lap race.
Another car racing champion is Brett Hearn, who achieved victory 12 times since 1979 in this race
About The Orange County Fair
The Fair was an annual fair that used to take place in the town of Wallkill in New York. The farmers of Orange County began an agricultural society and promoted this fair. However, in 1808, the fair did not generate much interest. The society tried again in 1818 and then in 1825 but did gain much success.
The fair leaders met again in Goshen, New York, in 1841 and created the Orange County Agricultural Society. This gave birth to the Orange County Fair, held in Goshen in 1841. This fair started gaining popularity amongst the local as well as surrounding communities. In the year 1897, the fair was permanently located in Middletown.
Weekly Events on the Speedway
Automobile races are held every Saturday night at the Orange County Track Speedway. This is between April to September. A variety of stock car divisions are featured in these races. Besides these weekly races, a brand new motocross track was built on the Fair Speedway. This track was inaugurated in 2014.
Adult drive-in tickets for the Fair Speedway cost $20. Tickets for senior drive-in costs $16. Kids under the age of 12 can enter free of charge. Several reserved drive-in parking spots are available in Rows D, E, and F, costing $15. However, reservation is optional.
The Fair Speedway is a must-visit place, especially if you are a car racing enthusiast. This speedway is known for its high-speed car racing and historical significance. Many renowned race track drivers in the past and even today have called this track home and tested its speed limits.