Banks County Speedway

Banks County Speedway

James Harrington at the Banks County Speedway in 1955. Photo from the Bobby Whitmire collection, courtesy GARHOFA.

James Harrington at the Banks County Speedway in 1955. Photo from the Bobby Whitmire collection, courtesy GARHOFA.


Pioneer racer Tommie Irvin opened Banks County Speedway, located between Homer, Ga. and Baldwin, Ga., just behind his home. With his brother as a co-promoter, Irvin drew drivers such as Bud Lundsford, Tootle Estes, T.C. Hunt and others from around the area. Banks County was a favorite of drivers and fans alike, fitting in nicely with Toccoa and Athens through the week.

A young driver named Buck Simmons got his start at Banks County, mostly by driving the water truck before races.

The track was paved briefly in the mid ’60s in an attempt to compete with the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, but the dirt won out in the end, as the asphalt surface was plowed up to bring the dirt racers and fans back.

Banks County Speedway was closed around 1971 as state safety regulations were increased following the disaster at the Yellow River Dragway. A brief attempt about 20 years ago was made to bring the track back, but was blocked by the county government.

Here’s a look at Bud Lundsford taking a victory lap after another win at Banks County (photo courtesy GARHOFA):

1956

1956

Today, you can still see much of the old track. But these days, Tommie Irvin is more than happy to have his goats graze there rather than high powered race cars tearing around the turns.

Banks Co. Speedway today

BanksCotoday


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