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Hickory Raceway - Hickory Twnp PA

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Hickory Speedway and its one-mile blacktop racetrack was opened along the Harlansburg Road on Friday, May 29, 1959. It was owned by Mike J. Pollio and featured micro midgets and 3/4 midgets. Later that year the track was converted to primarily handle stock cars. The track changed ownership a few times – and in early 1967 was purchased by a group led by Joe Andio of Boardman OH. The raceway did not reopen for the 1967 season and underwent major improvements. It was reopened in 1968 as the New Castle Speedway. It had a limited opening in 1969 and was sold again in early 1970 to the Tri-State Midget Auto Racing association. It opened in late May 1970 for midget racing as the Tri-State Speedway. It was shut down for the 1972 season, but reopened in 1973 for a limited time. It apparently hosted dune buggy racing for a time, but was soon closed in 1974. (1967) Full Size


Hickory Speedway, now with a 1/4-mile asphalt track, was reopened in May 1978 under new owner Walt Keller. Racing continued at the location for many years. In 1992 veteran racing enthusiast Vern Hawley purchased the raceway and undertook a major renovation that including bringing back the original dirt track (shown above). Tom and Gina Mayerchak of Sharon acquired the raceway in 1997 and continued to make improvements. On Monday, May 29, 2000, Danny Burns, a fifty-two-year-old driver from Allegheny County, lost control of his stock car and struck a wall at the raceway. He initially seemed fine but died in a Pittsburgh hospital five days later. It was a stunning blow to the racing community throughout the region. Almost immediately, the devastated owners decided to sale the racetrack. After a few more special racing events, including one held in honor of Burns, they put the track up for sale. No buyers apparently came forward and track never reopened. The forty-eight-acre facility remains idle to this day. (1992)


Among the drivers who frequented this track was the legendary Johnny Axe, a Princeton native known for his distinctive #34 Chevy coupe. Axe was active in the regional racing scene from 1953-1973 and won an estimated 150 races during his lengthy career. He was best known for dominating the “super stock” division. (c1970) Full Size


A late 1960’s program from Hickory Speedway. (c1966) Full Size


The inside of the program provides the standings for the races held at Hickory Speedway. (c1966) Full Size


(Apr 1993)


(Jun 1993)


Bob Kraus of Erie after winning the 20-lap V-8 Modified race on Saturday, June 12, 1993. (1993)


Danny Burns, an E-Mod racer from Imperial PA, was knocked unconscious during a wreck at the track on Monday, May 29, 2000. He initially seemed fine and climbed out of his car on his own accord. Burns was transported to the Jameson Memorial Hospital to get checked out. It was learned he had a spinal fracture and later that evening he was airlifted to a hospital in Pittsburgh. He died of his injuries five days later on June 3. His tragic death led to the closing of the raceway. (c1999)


New Castle News Wednesday Jun 7, 2000


The raceway sits abandoned these days and the dirt track is now shrouded in grass. (2014) Full Size

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Comment

  1. Jeff, It dawned on me reading this page that we could hear the sounds of this racetrack post-1973. Unfortunately, I recalled that a death of a driver after an accident led to the last shutdown in 2000. I googled Hickory Racerrack, and found info.

    Tim Hall · 11/23/2014 11:47 AM · #

  2. Racetrack. Sorry!

    Tim Hall · 11/23/2014 11:48 AM · #