About The Track
Hickory Motor Speedway is a short track located in Hickory, North Carolina . It is one of stock car racing ‘s most storied venues, and is often referred to as “The World’s Most Famous Short Track” and the “Birthplace of the NASCAR Stars”.
The track first opened in 1951 as a 1 / 2 -mile (0.80 km) dirt track. Gwyn Staley won the first race at the speedway and later became the first track champion. Drivers such as Junior Johnson , Ned Jarrett , and Ralph Earnhardt also became track champions in the 1950s, Earnhardt alone winning five of them.
In 1953, NASCAR’s Grand National Series (later the Sprint Cup ) visited the track for the first time. Tim Flock won the first race at the speedway, which became a regular part of the Grand National Schedule. After winning his track championship in 1952, Junior Johnson became the most successful Grand National driver at Hickory, winning there seven times.
The track has been re-configured three times in its history. The track became a 0.4-mile (644 meters) dirt track in 1955, which was paved for the first time during the 1967 season. In 1970, Hickory was shortened a second time to its present length of 0.363 miles (584 meters).
Hickory was dropped from the Grand National schedule after the 1971 season when R. J. Reynolds began sponsoring the series and dropped all races under 250 miles (402 kilometers) from the schedule. It remained in use as a popular NASCAR Late Model Sportsman Series venue. When the series was reformed as the Budweiser Late Model Series (later the Busch Grand National Series and currently the Nationwide Series ) in 1982, Hickory played a prominent part of its first season, hosting six of the series’ 28 races. Drivers Jack Ingram and Tommy Houston , two former track champions, each won eight times at the track in the Busch Series.
As more tracks began hosting Busch Series races, Hickory’s involvement was progressively reduced to two races a year by 1987, and then just the Easter weekend by 1995. By 1998, the Busch Grand National Series began adding more races at Winston Cup Series tracks, and Hickory was dropped from the schedule after 17 years.
Hickory is still used as a venue for NASCAR’s club racing division, the Whelen All-American Series . The CARS Tour featuring Late Model and Super Late Model touring series cars on the same night also features a full meet at the track.
A Special Day: The Inaugural Hickory Motor Speedway Reunion
HMS NASCAR legends, officials, track workers and fans to come together Saturday for special event.
STATESVILLE, N.C. (January 16, 2019) – For the first time since the historic .363-mile track opened in 1951 Hickory, N.C., native, GMS President and former HMS competitor Mike Beam – along with racing historian Phil Combs – have joined forces to host the inaugural 2019 Hickory Motor Speedway Reunion on Saturday, January 19 at the GMS Racing shop located on West Aviation Drive in Statesville, N.C.
Drivers, crew members and track officials from every decade of the track’s existence are expected to attend the event. Over 100 former drivers are expected to attend headlined by former track champions such at Tommy Houston and NASCAR Hall of Fame drivers Ned Jarrett and Jack Ingram.
VIP guests will be allowed to enter at 10 a.m. with doors opening at 11 a.m. for the general public. A limited number of Hickory Motor Speedway posters courtesy of Hickory Motor Speedway and hero cards will be available. Fans will receive a ticket upon admission that can be redeemed for a poster or hero card during the event. Tickets will be distributed on a first come-first served basis only.
Highlighting the day’s activities will be an unveiling of a car driven by the late Butch Lindley which Beam served on the crew for in the 1970s at HMS. A memorial service for former HMS competitor Clarence Ogle will also be held. Food vendors will be on site, and a driver autograph session will be held during the day.
Media outlets who wish for more details on the event can contact Sara Beam at 828-381-0310, email@example.com or Tim Southers at 828-449-5722, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit https://hickorymotorspeedwaymemories.com.
Schedule of events:
10 a.m. VIP/Media Meeting
11 a.m. Doors open for fans and the general public
11:20 a.m. Opening remarks from Mike Beam and Phil Combs
11:25 a.m. Invocation by HMS chaplain John Abernathy & National Anthem
11:30 a.m. Remarks from HMS Promoter Kevin Piercy
11:35 a.m. Unveiling of Butch Lindley car
Noon Clarence Ogle Memorial Service
12:30 p.m. HMS Organized Pictures
A. HMS Past Late Model Track Champions
B. All past HMS track champions
C. All former Busch Series/Late Model Sportsman Drivers
D. Current & Former Miss HMS Beauty Queens
E. All previous HMS officials and employees
1 p.m. Autograph Session (Collect tickets & distribute Posters & Hero Cards in front of line)