20.5.06

Lakeland International Raceway Ghost Track

A Look at Abandoned Lakeland International Raceway Near Memphis, Tennessee.

The 1999 release on video and DVD of Monte Hellman's film 'Two-Lane Blacktop' prompted me to pay a visit to the grounds of the Lakeland International Raceway; a track that made its debut on July 4th, 1960. (Ironically, 'Two-Lane Blacktop' made it's theatrical debut in New York City on the Fourth of July weekend too.) Incredible as it seems with all of the development going on in and around Lakeland these days that the track and surrounding acreage remains largely untouched; left to return to nature. Word is, the facility is slated to be developed within the next few years even as many of Lakeland's current residents are wary of overcrowding & traffic in their community.

Closed in 1979, this track saw a lot of action in its heyday hosting major NHRA, AHRA and IHRA events. The best names in drag racing have traveled this asphalt; Jungle Jim, Dyno Don, Arnie "The Farmer" Beswick, Shirl Greer, Bob Glidden, Lee Shepherd, Shirley Muldowney, Tommy Ivo, Gene Snow and many more! In 1972 Big Daddy Don Garlits set an AHRA national E.T. record, traversing Lakeland Raceway in 5.95 seconds.

A road course constructed on the site in the late 60's which integrated the dragstrip as a long straightaway even hosted SCCA and USAC races. A.J. Foyt, Roger McCluskey and Parnelli Jones competed here in the Memphis 200. After you tour the track, check out 'the old days' section, the article archive and the 'WHBQ' section where you'll see some of the exciting action that took place here.

If you have any stories, photos etc. to share related to Lakeland International Raceway feel free to contact me and sign the guestbook. I'm sure there are plenty of interesting memories out there. This site can serve as a gathering place for all things Lakeland International Raceway. (Thanks to all those who have contributed so far!)

In the meanwhile, enjoy your look around this ghost track.


*This dragstrip was such an intregal part of my youth, growing up in the early sixties -- I had forgotten it ever existed until lately -- really cool to look back at it, and sad to see it as it is...

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