Mount Airy Speedway - Elusive Ghost Track Aerials

Robert Mitchell
@robert-mitchell
8 years ago
327 posts

Mount Airy Speedway was opened on May 26,1946 by Garnet "G.W." Golden (Real name Garnett Woltz Golding - still living as of 2013 age 94). It was possibly the first purpose made stock car track of the North Carolina & Virginia area after WWII and became legendary for where Curtis Turner watched and then drove his first race. Built in a crop field, 3/4 mile track was almost perfectly flat with no banking in the turns. Most of the early pre and post-war southern stock car legends raced there, along with early motorcycle and midget car greats. There was also horse racing on occasions, and at least one Hell Drivers Thrill Show.

Not wanting to give up any control, G.W. Golden never gave in to Bill France and NASCAR sanctioning. France started penalizing drivers for driving in non-NASCAR races and this ultimately squeezed out the independent tracks like Mount Airy, which closed by the end of 1949.

Bobby Williamson did an awesome job hunting down the location of the track, down to the very field where it once was. From there I was able to find a 1948 aerial of the track on the just recently updated HistoricAerials.com along with other gold from old newspaper archives.

This photo shows Glen Dunaway and Jimmie Lewallen heading the field at Mt. Airy in 1946 or '47 -

Glen Dunaway again leading the field -

Cars backed up on Lowgap Highway 89 -

Aerials from 1948 -

Here is an aerial from 2003 where you can still see the footprint of the track after the crops were harvested -

A clearer image from Google Earth from 2003 -

Also of interest is an article from 1948 about Mr. Golden's moonshine adventures -

Photo of G.W. Golden (Garnett W. Golding) -


updated by @robert-mitchell: 12/05/16 04:08:38PM
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
8 years ago
9,134 posts

You guys are unbelievable when it comes to your historical research. What wonderful stuff.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Robert Mitchell
@robert-mitchell
8 years ago
327 posts

Thanks for checking it out, Dave. I wish I could take credit, but Bobby found the location a long time ago. That website is great, and I can spend way too much time there.

Robert Mitchell
@robert-mitchell
7 years ago
327 posts

I went through every issue of the 1946Mount Airy News to find all mentions of races at the track. Unfortunately, they only printed one issue a week (on Friday) and rarely did a write-up on race results.

First race May 26 was rained out-

Robert Mitchell
@robert-mitchell
7 years ago
327 posts

I forgot this one - not a race, but still history -

Margaret Sue Turner Wright
@margaret-sue-turner-wright
7 years ago
14 posts

Hey Robert! Did you or Bobby Williamson, happen to look also at the year 1947? 2 particular dates I am trying tofind, are: Saturday, August 30th, and Sunday, August 31-both from 1947.

Thanks!

MargaretSue

Robert Mitchell
@robert-mitchell
7 years ago
327 posts

Hi Margaret Sue,

I did look through all the Mount Airy News archives from 1946 to 1949. Unfortunately, the newspaper was only published on Fridays back then and race coverage was very spotty. Although they did occasionally have a small article like the ones above, you were lucky if they decided to publish the results of a race because by Friday it was five day old news. I just went and looked for anything on August 30-31, 1947 but I didn't find anything.

Here is the archives - http://news.google.com/newspapers

Bobby Williamson
@bobby-williamson
7 years ago
907 posts

Fantastic Job, Robert!!

Margaret Sue Turner Wright
@margaret-sue-turner-wright
7 years ago
14 posts

Thanks so much! I shall keep on keeping on then, till I find that elusive race!

NCGuy032
@ncguy032
one month ago
1 posts

Hey everyone, I've been trying to find this track both on Google Earth and in person and only lead I got is it's near North Surry High School and I'm still lost. What street is it off of? I know it's off of highway 89 but exactly where? 

Thanks for any support