Tyler County Speedway…..Home of the Bullring
On a warm Saturday summer evening as the sun fades behind the hills of Tyler County a hypnotic sound draws thousands to their favorite race track in Middlebourne, WV. From all walks of life come men, women and children come to compete against the best or watch their favorite weekend warrior battle on the highbanks of the Tyler County Speedway.
The idea of bringing a speedway to the Tyler County Fairgrounds began in the spring of 1973. The Tyler County Fair Board voted to approve the construction, operation and maintenance of a dirt track speedway. Volunteer labor and donations were used and the construction of the track area was completed in the summer of 1973. Labor and earth moving equipment was provided by area businesses, local contractor citizen volunteers.
During the spring of 1974, bleacher construction was completed as well as support structures, fences, restrooms, ticket booths, concession areas and access areas for the pits and stands. The first race was held on June 9, 1974 in the afternoon with Pat Herrick grabbing the first checker as lighting had not yet been completed.
A tradition that started on that 1974 Sunday afternoon in June and continues today as week in and week out fans line up to witness daring dirt daredevils quest for a coveted Tyler County Speedway checkered flag.
A popular Saturday Night jaunt to the Tyler County Fairgrounds in the early days featured battles among local legends such as Earl Hill, Frank Wilson, Butch McGill, Pat Herrick, Tye Long, Deak Parsons and Charlie Maloney. With $2.00 admission and a new alternative to the popular Drive-In movie theatre had fans lining up in droves to check out the newest speedway in the region.
While the Tyler County Speedway is entering into its 44th season of continuous operation many of the same fine folks who were in attendance on that first race day and were instrumental in its development continue to call the Speedway home today. Many of the same people who brought the dream of the track to fruition, or have kept the Speedway functional over the years, still play key roles today. Some as current or retired racers, car owners, sponsors, or track staff have passed the competitive torch onto their children or hung up the helmet for the last time and became car owners or fans in the stand, many continue to support the in any manner possible today. There has always been a strong sense of family and community pride that has always been associated with Tyler County Speedway and is very evident when you talk with any of the fans who regularly attend races at speedway.
Today, Tyler County Speedway annually hosts some of the largest and most popular events in the Ohio Valley region. National and regional touring series such as the Lucas Oil Dirt Car Series, World of Outlaw Late Model Series, FASTRAK Racing Series and much more appear frequently. In addition to the incredible Special Event lineup, the Tyler County Speedway Weekly Racing Series consists of some 100+ weekly grassroot racers in the Super Late Models, FASTRAK Late Models, Open Wheel Modifieds, Hotmods, ModLites, Sport Compacts and MWRA Mini Wedges on Saturday Nights April thru September.
The Tyler County Speedway plays host to some of the biggest events in racing including the ‘Granddaddy’ of all Super Late Model major events the Hillbilly 100 and the biggest Modified show on the East Coast, the ‘Mega 100’. Also the speedway has seen its share of dirt late model royalty grace its racing surface from the likes of Jim Dunn, Charlie Swartz, Donnie Moran, Scott Bloomquist, Billy Moyer, Rodney Combs, Bob Wearing to many other formidable gladiators who attempted to etch their name among dirt racings elite.
Tyler County Speedway is considered by fans, drivers and industry insiders to be one of the raciest tracks in the nation and has been dubbed the ‘Bullring’ over the years featuring a racing surface that frequently highlights three and four wide racing action. Some say Tyler County Speedway is a throwback facility and what it lacks in first class amenities it more than makes up with an old time nostalgic feel where elbows up, fender bangin’ short track racing is more important than the cushion of your backside.
Sitting on a bleacher board so close to the action that a swift breeze will part your hair as the field blasts into turn one as they fan out in classic ‘Bullring’ side by side posture down the backstretch leaving even the most die-hard fan in attendance in awe.
Year after year, the palace of speed for the racing purist awaits every Saturday Night at the tiny Tyler County Speedway as the regions finest wheelmen converge week after week to conquer the toughest competitors at the ‘Bullring’ and all its charm. And by the way when the night is over, if you ain’t dirty, you ain’t been!