Friday, July 24, 2020

Hidden West Virginia racetrack photos

My husband and I have been watching Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s new show on Peacock, Lost Speedways. It’s a pretty good show that Earnhardt hosts himself, telling stories of abandoned speedways. They’ve done their research and obviously have personal knowledge of and access to the people who raced on these tracks so it’s pretty interesting. As I watched the first four episodes, I was reminded of photos that are part of my husband’s uncle Ralph Murphy’s slide collection given to my husband by his Aunt Jean Murphy in 2007. The collection consists of 15 boxes of slides (thousands) taken by Uncle Ralph, spanning the years 1947 to 1984. Many are scenic shots from their travels across the United States, some are family members, and others friends and co-workers. I converted the majority of the slides to digital several years ago and have been enjoying them ever since.

The photos you see below appear to be from two different racetracks—one a dirt track and the other a circle eight. I don’t know where these tracks were located but assume somewhere in West Virginia. As far what city in West Virginia is concerned, several possibilities come to mind. Uncle Ralph lived in Nutter Fort in the 1950s. From a little internet research, there appears to have been tracks in Nutter Fort, Grafton, Shinnston, and Clarksburg, including one at the Clarksburg Airport. These are all cities I know Uncle Ralph would have frequented in work and play so any of them are possible. If you look closely, you’ll even see small parked airplanes in the circle eight track photos.

The dirt track













The circle eight




















What stories and history could be told about these racetracks? Do they still exist or are they abandoned now? Who were the people who raced there or cheered the racers on? I don’t know and probably never will, but maybe someone will stumble on this post and recognize these tracks. It would be fun to learn more about them.

If you’d like to see more photos from Uncle Ralph’s collection, click on the links below.

A boy and his bicycle
The beauty of nature
Ruth Miller
Share your photos and make a difference
Water sports at Tygart Lake
Nutter Fort, West Virginia Soap Box Derby
Warner’s Skyline Drive-In Theater
Palace Furniture Company and Pepsi-Cola—a colorful combination
Vintage Christmas photos
52 Ancestors – no. 40: Anna B. Church – (week 24) (Anna (Church) and Everett Evans photos only)

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