Remembering Lakewood Speedway

 Lakewood Speedway, from over turns one and two.  Photo was taken sometime in the 1940s or 1950s.

Lakewood Speedway, from over turns one and two. Photo was taken sometime in the 1940s or 1950s.

By Brandon Reed
Posted in Feature Stories 6/26/09

A few weeks ago, a group of Georgia race fans and former drivers made the trip out to the old Lakewood Fairgrounds in south Atlanta to have one last look at a race track once called the “Indianapolis of the South”.

The city was due to get the lease on the property back in their possession the next day. The word on the street was that Lakewood’s days were numbered.

Not that there’s much left of the old track anymore. While the old concrete grandstands were still intact, although grown over with kudzu and brush in places, the only easily recognizable section of the track was the treacherous first turn.

Lakewood Speedway logo, used in 1979, the year of the track's last auto race. Logo courtesy Neil Rucker

Lakewood Speedway logo, used in 1979, the year of the track’s last auto race. Logo courtesy Neil Rucker

But if you knew where to look, you could still see the track that men traveled from all over the world to race on, and where many lost their lives trying to find victory.

Georgia’s racing historians list the track as being the most historic and important in the state, with only the famed Peach Bowl being close in significance.

Winners from Daytona and Indianapolis traveled to compete there. It was considered to be one of the four premier tracks on the east coast, along with Langhorne in Pennsylvania, Darlington in South Carolina and the famed beach and road course in Daytona.

Everybody wanted to win at Lakewood, and many tried. Some were able to stand in victory lane at the tough old track, while others paid the ultimate price while trying to win.

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