ozens of short tracks and paved drag strips racing everything from stock cars to lawn mowers to motorcycles have come and gone over a span of almost 100 years across our region, and some still hold events each week in front of thousands of fans and competitors.

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DeSoto Speedway operated through parts of the 1960s and into the 1970s, at times known as D&F Speedway, and featured an A Class and B Class. The track was close to reopening in the early 1990s but couldn't clear zoning issues.


Active facilities

Benton Racepark • Several acres east of Benton were turned into a oval dirt track and drag strip racing complex that opened in May 1991 and operated as Missouri International Racepark under owner Earl Simpson and his sons Jeff and Keith. Grounds behind the facility originally were left open for a campground and an RV park that were later dropped. The Simpson family owned and operated the track through 1996, and each season the track hosted holiday events for sprints, along with specials for late models and other classes. The dirt oval track closed after the 1997 season, then reopened under new ownership as Auto Tire and Parts Racepark in 2001. It closed again in May 2004 amid a lease dispute and a lawsuit when the Stacker2 national late model tour claimed in court that its drivers weren't paid the purse guaranteed by the track. It reopened in April 2007 under its sixth different management group, then was renamed Benton Raceway Park for the 2008 season. After sitting idle for four years, the track was bought in late 2012 and reopened for 2013 and 2014. After being closed from 2015 through 2020, the track was purchased by Rob Russell in 2021 with plans to lease the track (renamed Benton Speedway) for special events starting with an ATV/motorcycle event in August 2021.

Results: 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2007 | 2008 | 2013 | 2014 2021
Closed: 1998-2000, 2005-2006, 2009-2012, 2015-2020

Bonne Terre Drag Strip • The facility near Bonne Terre features weekly Saturday racing from April through November with motorcycles, junior dragsters, ET class, comp, and super comp, along with a variety of special events.

Jeffers Motorsports Park • This 1/8-mile drag strip (the former Sikeston Drag Strip) north of Sikeston near Blodgett features weekly Saturday racing from April through October, along with several special events. The strip opened in 1969.

Poplar Bluff Speedway • The track was built as Poplar Bluff Speedway by former late model competitor Keith Adamson and opened in April 2004. It operated on Saturday nights and hosted a variety of special events. Shon Stuart took over operations of the track in 2007. The track was heavily damaged by flooding before the start of the 2008 season and remained idle for three years. It reopened in April 2011 as Black River Racepark under new ownership but closed after one season. In 2013, the track opened late in the season, then ran a full schedule in 2014. After being closed again from 2014-2018, the track reopened at Poplar Bluff Motorsports Park in 2019 for special events.

Results: 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2011 | 2013 | 2014 | 2019 | 2020
Closed: 2008-2010, 2012, 2015-2018

Saint Francois County Speedway • Gene "Tubby" Black and Ray Marler opened Empire Speedway in 1970 as part of the county fairgrounds north of Farmington, and it was renamed in the 1980s. It is the oldest operating oval track in Southeast Missouri and has consistently featured sprint cars as its top class, although it has also hosted special events for UMP-sanctioned late models. Its signature event is the annual Queen's Royale for sprints in the fall.

Results: 1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020

SEMO Raceway • The eighth-mile oval track was built in 1997 near Blodgett in central Scott County. It competes on Saturdays and features karts, multis, and mini sprints. The track also has hosted special events for RAMS-sanctioned mini stocks, MARA midgets, and a lawn-mower racing tours.

Inactive facilities

142 Speedway • The quarter-mile dirt clay oval track was built 1.5 miles west of Thayer at the junction of Highway 142 and State Route 363. It opened on a Sunday afternoon in July 1965 with late models (A Class), along with a B Class and C Class. By early fall, the track decided to switch weekly racing to Friday nights. The track closed after the 1979 racing season. The track and banking remain visible, although its infield is mostly underwater.

Arena Park Speedway • The track featured auto racing on its half-mile oval from 1947 to 1969 at Arena Park in midtown Cape Girardeau. It also was known at times as American Legion Speedway. After originally built as a horse racing track, it first held weekly A-modified and B-modified races each Monday in 1942, then switched to Saturdays. Racing ended at the track after the 1969 season because of noise complaints by neighbors, although motocross events, demolition derbies, and horse races were later held. The track ran the A Class (sprints) as its top class in its final years. The track's original grandstands now seat fans for concerts and an annual demolition derby during the annual SEMO District Fair. The oval track and lights remain mostly intact. The track suffered a fatality in 1942 when competitor Everett Saylor was killed during a race won by Joie Chitwood.

Birdsong Speedway • The quarter-mile dirt oval track was built by the Birdsong family in 1962 and operated until 1977 near Poplar Bluff.

Bismarck Fairgrounds Speedway • The quarter-mile dirt oval track ran weekly racing from the late 1950s to 1963 before it closed.

Butler County Fair Speedway • The half-mile dirt oval track near Poplar Bluff opened on Sept. 29, 1918, and operated through 1937, then reopened for racing in 1950 before closing for the final time after the 1951 season.

Caruthersville Speedway • Kenneth and Becki Pritchard built the quarter-mile oval dirt track in rural Pemiscot County off Interstate 155 and opened it in July 1988; the track initially operated weekly on Fridays, then moved to Sundays. Its final events were in 1995. It hosted events for UMP late models, MLRA late models, sprints, modifieds, and stock car divisions. Its biggest event was the Bootheel Fall 40 late model race in 1992 (won by Skeet Amason) and 1994 (won by Randy Sellars, pictured). The grounds were razed and became farmland shortly after the track closed.

Results: 1988 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995

Charleston Jaycees Speedway • The track operated from 1964 through 1969 east of Charleston on property near the intersection of Interstate 57 and East Marshall Street. The track featured an A Class (sprints) and other weekly divisions and was operated by the Charleston Jaycees. After the track closed, a truck stop was built on the property.

Results: 1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1968 | 1969

DeSoto Speedway • The quarter-mile dirt oval track also was known as D&F Speedway. It operated weekly from 1968 to 1978 and featured an A Class and B Class. Among the track's noteworthy features was a dangerously steep drop behind the back straightaway that drivers referred to as Thrill Hill. In 1992, promoter Pamela Griffaw Cernik invested heavily in renovating the track and was 10 days from reopening when Jefferson County officials reversed their decision and said the track would not be allowed to open because of noise concerns from neighbors.

Doe Run Raceway • The facility near Farmington was one of the region's smallest dirt oval tracks at 1/6-mile in length. The track featured a variety of kart classes when it opened. The track opened in 1995 but closed after two seasons, then reopened in 2000 with a variety of kart classes every Friday. The track later added B-modifieds, mini stocks, and pure stocks to the weekly schedule. Doe Run closed after 2016 and was put up for sale.

Fredericktown Raceway • The fifth-mile dirt track nicknamed The Rock opened in 1953 and operated until 1970, reopened for the 1972 season, then remained closed until new ownership took over in 1997. UMP late models debuted at the track for the 2002 season. It competed on Fridays before shutting down after the 2004 season. It reopened again under new management in early 2007 following extensive renovations, then held its final season in 2010. The track remained closed in 2011, and in 2012 owners announced the track was for sale. In 2013, the track announced plans to reopen, but those plans fell through.

Results: 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010
Closed: 1972-1997, 2005-2006, 2011-present

Hillsboro Race Track • The facility known as Hillsboro Race Track was open in 1964, 1965, and 1966, and featured weekly racing on the quarter-mile dirt oval.

Malden Jaycee Speedway • The quarter-mile dirt oval track was operated by the Malden Jaycees and opened in 1953. Its final event was on Sunday, Sept. 15, 1975. The track was on Highway 25 north of Malden.

Results: 1964 | 1969 | 1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973

Malden Speedway • The quarter-mile dirt oval track opened north of Malden in Dunklin County as Heartland Motorsports Speedway in July 1996. It later was renamed Malden Speedway after an ownership change. Parts of the facility — including grandstands and portions of the blue and white concrete wall — were purchased from Caruthersville Speedway, which had closed in 1995. Malden Speedway hosted special events for MARS late models, Fastrak late models, and USCS sprints, and because of its location often attracted a varied mix of competitors from multiple states. Track owners put the facility up for sale in 2012, but after finding no buyer, the facility was closed and leveled after the 2012 season. Wood from the grandstands was sold to Benton Racepark, which used it to replace its original aluminum grandstands in 2013.

Results: 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012

Potosi Speedway • The quarter-mile dirt oval track competed with weekly racing through the 1960s. The track was located at the Washington County Fairgrounds off Highway 8 and was operated by the Chamber of Commerce. Track was also known as the Potosi Stockcar Arena.

Saint Mary Speedway • Two different tracks operated near Saint Mary. The first was a quarter-mile dirt oval track that operated in the 1950s; after it closed, another quarter-mile oval track used the same name and opened on a different site.

Sikeston Arena Speedway • This track opened in 1953 on farmland owned by W.R. Lewis west of Sikeston off Highway 60. This track operated on Wednesday nights.

Sikeston International Raceway • A.C. James opened Sikeston International Raceway on July 23, 1976, alongside Interstate 55 near the northern city limit of Miner. It operated on Friday nights in its first season, then switched to Saturdays in 1977 to go head-to-head with nearby Sikeston Speedway. The track also was known at times as A.C. James Raceway and Sikeston Stock Car Track. It underwent management changes in 1985 and in 1986, then In early 1987 again opened with new management as Double Nickel Speedway and featured a weekly Friday night lineup entirely of street stock divisions; that arrangement lasted just a few weeks before James again took over operations. The track held its final events on July 18, 1987; after an altercation between James and several competitors, he announced that the track would not reopen. Portions of the track's grandstands and lights remained visible from I-55 for several years. In 1986, the track made history when it hosted the first UMP-sanctioned late model event west of the Mississippi River. The track featured winged late models from 1980 through 1984 and also hosted a special event for MARA midgets in 1986.

Results: 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987

Sikeston Speedway • The track operated from 1971 to 1978 on the east side of Interstate 55 about 2 miles south of Miner of Route AA. The track was opened in June 1971 by James Satterfield and Charlie Hampton as Plantation Speedway, but the name was changed in 1974 when new owners switched racing to Friday nights. Weekly racing eventually returned to Saturdays, and in 1977 the track saw weekly head-to-head competition from the new Sikeston International Raceway. Low car counts and poor attendance led to the track closing after 1978.

Results: 1971 | 1972 | 1973 | 1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978

Sikeston Speedway • The quarter-mile dirt oval track west of Sikeston opened with 1,500 fans on hand for daytime racing on Sept. 7, 1952, and it raced on Sundays until the end of 1953. It was located south of Highway 60 on Brown Spur Road on farmland owned by Willie Jones.

Thunder City Speedway • The small dirt track 6 miles southwest of Doniphan opened August 7, 2009, with weekly stock car divisions. The track originally was D-shaped, then was reconfigured before the 2010 season into a full quarter-mile oval. Its last events were in 2014. It featured modifieds as its top weekly class. The track's owner has mentioned his plans to eventually reopen the track.

Results: 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014
Closed: 2015-present

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