Meridian Speedway is one of the oldest high octane racing facilities in central Mississippi. It was built by three local men – D.W. Brooks, Bill Horton and Bud McGowan – who shared a dream to pioneer a new form of motorsports entertainment for Meridian and surrounding communities.
The first race at the speedway was held on April 24, 1948. Of the four drivers in that race, two were local men and two came from out of town.
The first national stock car champion to win on the Meridian Speedway was Fireball Roberts on June 8, 1952. He drove his #30 Ford to victory in front of more than 6,000 fans. The track had no lights to run night races.
The biggest purse offered at Meridian Speedway was $5,000 in the late 1960s. Nowadays, the winner of a 100-lap race can walk away with $3,000 or more. The money is paid out by the speedway gate receipts and concession sales during the event, not by donations or other sources.
The Meridian Speedway is owned by four members of the Horton Family, including Bud McGowan’s sons – Billy Joe and Forrest. The family also owns area lumberyard businesses.
Meridian Speedway averages 22-25 races per year with drivers from surrounding states participating in these events. Every race weekend, the speedway provides over $20,000 in purse money.
The speedway has also held annual events for the past 34 years honoring members of the Armed Forces who have served our country during times of war and peace. This is one fundraiser that helps to support local families with food and medicine. The Military Appreciation races are held every August along with a car show.
The Meridian Speedway, located at the intersection of 10th Street and U.S. Highway 80 in Meridian, Mississippi is a half-mile paved asphalt track that opened on April 24, 1948. The track’s first race was held on that day and it was won by local driver Connie Moran driving a 1940 Ford .
The speedway is a very unique facility as it is a half-mile rather than the more common one-mile tracks. The turns are banked at 18 degrees and the straightaways have nine degree banking.
In addition to hosting weekly Sunday afternoon races, Meridian Speedway has hosted such notable NASCAR drivers such as Fireball Roberts, Junior Johnson, Ned Jarrett and Bobby Allison.
The speedway is owned by members of the Horton family that also owns the Meridian Lumber Company as well as two other local businesses.
There are 22-25 races at the track annually and it provides over $20,000 in purse money every race weekend. The funds come from gate receipts and concession sales.
Meridian Speedway has been holding annual events for the past 34 years that honors members of the armed forces who have served our country during times of war and peace. The Military Appreciation races are held every August along with a car show.