Athens Speedway Remembered At Inaugural Reunion

The front gate at Athens Speedway, circa 1965.

By Brandon Reed
Posted in Feature Stories 3/12/10

On Saturday, March 6, the inaugural Athens Speedway Reunion was held at the Bogart Community Center in Bogart, Georgia, just a few miles from the site of the Athens Speedway in Athens, Georgia.

Around 400 former drivers, officials, fans and family members came out to remember the speedway, which opened around 1959 and closed in 1991.  The speedway has long been a part of north Georgia racing lore, viewed by those who saw racing there as being one of the finest facilities in the northern part of the state.

The track saw all kinds of racing there over the years, but was known by many as the home of the ‘skeeters’, modified coach bodied racers that buzzed around tracks all over the south, including Athens, Banks County Speedway, Toccoa Speedway and the famed Peach Bowl in Atlanta.

Though the track is quickly eroding, the memories of the grand speedway are not.  And thanks to organizers of this event, headed up by former driver Donald Brooks, it looks like the speedway will live on in the hearts and memories of those that came out to remember the Athens Speedway, and to tell others about the great track where racers once thundered by.

Here’s a look at some of the sights from the first Athens Speedway Reunion.

First, here's a look at the Athens Speedway from 1966.

Here's the Athens Speedway today.

Check out the back of Don Rhodes' shirt. To his left is Lewis Cooper. Rhodes and Cooper bought Athens Speedway during the winter of 1968/69, and made the track into a 3/8 mile facility. It was also Rhodes and Cooper who added the concrete grandstands to the track after a tornado destroyed the existing stands. Rhodes sold his portion of the track to Cooper in 1978.

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