DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. --The old dirt track known as Dillon Raceway used to be the place to be so many years ago. Now, starting in April, on the same site, the brand new Dillon Motor Speedway will be the new place in South Carolina to go.
Spearheaded by former NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Ron Barfield and his partner Stuart Jackson (an Englishman with an impressive European racing resume), Dillon Motor Speedway (DMS) is quickly rising from the weeds of the former dirt track.
“This facility was sitting closed for more than 30 years and there wasn’t much left but the clay from the original track,” said Barfield, president of Dillon Motor Speedway. “It was a shame as my dad used to race here and my grandparents watched from the grandstands. This area needed a new racetrack and this will be one of the first new tracks to be built since the early 1980s. And since the new oval will sit where the old one once was we feel like we are able to stay in touch with the history of all the drivers that raced here.”
The new DMS is a paved 0.40-mile oval, slightly larger than the dirt track it replaces. The concrete wall on the front stretch and the first nine rows of the concrete seats are from the original facility, but the remainder is all-new construction. Continuing the historical ties to the South Carolina racing heritage, the catch fence and grandstand seats came from Darlington Raceway.
The first event at DMS will be the March 31 Open House, followed by Opening Night on April 14. The track will feature Saturday night racing right through November with the running of the “Turkey 300.”
“The old track used to end their season with the ‘Turkey 300’ which was the culmination of the year and took place around Thanksgiving. We want to continue that tradition and end our year with the ‘Turkey 300’ and also keep that tradition of the facility intact,” Barfield explained.
There will be five main divisions racing at DMS; a 4-Cylinder class, Street Stocks, Chargers, Late Models and the Seneca Super Trucks. The Late Models and Super Trucks will compete on alternate weeks. Barfield said that the track plans to introduce a U-Car class mid-season in an effort to help the grassroots racing movement in the area and to get more people involved in the sport through an economical entry-level class. The complete schedule and track information can be found online at www.DillonMotorSpeedway.com or call (843) 774-1888.
Though much work remains to be done prior to the official opening in just three weeks, and Barfield said, “We are wide open trying to get up and running,” he noted that one of the first things on the “to-do list” was to sign DMS with the ASA Member Track program. This is a national organization of short tracks which are dedicated to working together to improve the state of weekly racing for both fans and competitors.
“I really wanted us to become involved with a group of people that knew about racing at the short track level, and one of the biggest reasons for us to join the ASA Member Track program was Dennis (Huth). I have known Dennis for a long time and always thought the world of him and could always talk the business side of racing with him. My goal was for Dillon Motor Speedway to be self-supportive, but I saw how quickly the ASA Member Track program is growing and saw that we can grow together,” said Barfield.
“I am really proud of Ron and what he and Stuart have done in such a short time with Dillon Motor Speedway,” said Dennis Huth, president of the ASA Member Track and Regional and National Racing programs. “I have known Ron for many years going back to his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series days as a driver, and even before that when he raced in the NASCAR All-Pro Series. He was always a tough competitor and very determined on the racetrack, but fair to the other competitors. I think those same traits will come through as a track operator, and he has already proven how determined he is to make this racetrack a reality from just rubble. Once those gates swing open the competitors will see how fair he can be and I think that Ron, Stuart and Dillon Motor Speedway will be very successful in 2007 and for many years into the future. There is no doubt in my mind that this will become a short track that drivers will want to race at, the fans will want to come to, and other tracks will want to emulate. I am really excited that they are part of the ASA Member Track program and look forward to taking my relationship with Ron to the next phase of his career.”
To learn more of the Daytona Beach, Fla.-based ASA Racing Member Track program, call (386) 258-2221 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. For news and information from all the racetracks and regional tours involved in the ASA, visit www.ASA-Racing.com.