The History of Weedsport Speedway Remembered

As the Weedsport Speedway is ready showcase a new state of the art facility in 2014, it’s also important to remember the rich history of one of the most important speedways in the entire Northeast that was once a family tradition on Sunday nights.

1950’s

After relentless urging by his wife Irene to build a race track, Stan Dudzinski finally gave in. The first railroad ties were laid in their berry patch to mark the front straightaway for what would become a 1/3 mile speedway. The labor of love, muscle and sweat continued until the Weedsport Speedway opened their gates for the first time on July 24, 1955.

During the late 1950’s, the track was shortened to 3/8 mile.  Turns three and four were originally located where the barns are currently located just outside the turns.  However, turns one and two remain the same.

Weedsport Speedway circa 1954

1970’s

In 1970, the track was purchased by Glenn Donnelly and Ken Ermiger. After seeing a small return on their investment as a stock car racing facility, the new owners expanded the facility year round with snowmobile races in the winter months.

In 1975, Donnelly took over full control of the facility and slowly started to expand the property to include a speedway office that would grow to an entire racing sanction known as DIRT Motorsports, Inc. in the Northeast and Canada. A new video production building was built that would house the famous weekly video magazine “This Week on DIRT.” And the DIRT Motorsports Hall Of Fame and Classic Car Museum was constructed to preserve the stars and cars of dirt racing.

1980’s

In 1981, the facility became home to the Cayuga County Fair to showcase the agriculture and youth of the county and eventually known as the Cayuga County Fair Speedway.

The track shape expanded to the back when Donnelly added a stage to the infield.  The track became nationally recognized as a concert venue by some of the biggest acts in rock history. There was a famous catchphrase synonymous during this era:

You Know It’s Summer When They’re Rockin’ in Weedsport!

The Post-Standard (Syracuse, New York) July 7, 1955

Legends Were Made

As you look at the extensive list of Former Track Champions and Modified All Time Feature Wins it reads like a who’s-who of legendary drivers of yesterday and today. The list of drivers who were not able collect a win could be just as large, as the speedway was known as one of the toughest tracks anywhere to gain a feature win.

Looking Toward the Future

Purchased by Al Heinke in 2013, the track was renamed back to the historic Weedsport Speedway.  Under Mr. Heinke’s vision and guidance, the track will return to a real racer’s track under several planned improvement phases.  The goal is to provide a complete racing venue for racers, their families and friends, and for the fans looking for motorsports entertainment.

Al Heinke and Jim Phelps