Dargan Watts

Ashwood Speedway Bishopville

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Ashwood Speedway was built in the Ashwood Community in Lee County, S. C. south of Bishopville. Local car dealer, Bob Smith, built the super-smooth 1/2-mile oval in the mid-50's, but after about five years the track became submerged in water. It was built over a Savannah and no matter how hard Smith tried to pump the water out, it continued to flow right back in. Drivers such as Ralph Earnhardt, Ned Jarrett, Johnny King, Cale Yarborough, Bobby Isaac and many others competed on Friday nights at the NASCAR sanctioned oval. The white oval in the picture shows where the track was located and the dark lines inside the bigger circle are drainage ditches for the huge amount of land.
Dargan Watts
@dargan-watts   12 years ago
There was a Grand National event scheduled one fall, but NASCAR decided to cancel it and scheduled a big Limited Sportsman race instead. Actually, two drivers pulled all the way from Atlanta (Jack Smith was one) to compete in the Grand NAtional event. Someone forgot to notify them. If I'm not mistaken, Ned Jarrett won the Limited Sportsman event. The night Cale Yarborough graduated from Timmonsville High School (1957), Promoter Bob Smith held up the main event until Yarborough got there. He crawled into his race car wearing black dress pants and a white, long-sleeve shirt. Not sure where he finished in the race. The track was located about two miles from Hwy 15 on the south side of Hwy 441. The road is S31 157.
Jack Walker
@jack-walker   12 years ago
Robbie,There was not a GN or Converible race held at Ashwood, but one was scheduled and cancelled as Dargan noted. However there was a Grand National race held at the near by Hartsville Speedway.
Dargan Watts
@dargan-watts   12 years ago
There was a Grand National event at Sumter (about 17 miles south of Ashwood) in 1960 (won by Ned Jarrett) and one at Hartsville (21 miles north at Hartsville and was won by Buck Baker) in 1961. Much of the dirt track scenes of the movie Thunder In Carolina was filmed at Hartsville. If you go to Google and type in Bo Bo Newsome Blvd at Hwy 15 - Hartsville, S. C., you can see a little bit of Hartsville Speedway. The Hartsville track, which was owned by Robert McFarland, replaced Ashwood on the Friday night calendar. After Hartsville closed another dirt track was opened almost directly across from Darlington Raceway, and was named Hartsville-Darlington Speedway.
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