SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – “Sharing Stories of the Crossroads” is a new radio program created by The History Museum on the Square on 92.3 FM.
This week host John Sellars spoke with Lynn Sanders and Brent Slane about the history of racing in the Ozarks. Sanders and Slane are both members of the Racing Association.
Sellars said a lot of the most famous names in racing raced through Springfield at different times.
“Mark Martin… The Wallace Brothers… people like that that are, you know, famous in NASCAR… the NASCAR circuit… cut their teeth racing here… at the racetrack. At the fairgrounds,” said Sellars.
“One of the first races was actually in 1911 and it was a car race from Springfield to Joplin and back,” said Sellars. He said the race took several days.
Nowadays, the track in Springfield has closed, but there is still one in Bolivar and Lebanon. Sellars mentioned there is still a smaller track near the airport.
He said due to people moving in closer around the fairgrounds and the zoo getting bigger likely ended up closing down the track. He said he thinks that because there was no place secluded enough to not cause neighbors to complain about noise is why they could never reopen elsewhere.
Next week, Sellars said he will talk about Route 66 tours, history and events.