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Wall Stadium

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Wall Stadium

Wall Stadium (also known briefly as Wall Township Speedway) is a 0.333 mile, high banked (33 degrees in corners) paved oval track in Wall Township, New Jersey, United States. The track opened to the public in the spring of 1950 and has operated for at least a part of every year since. The track was an early home to racing stars Ray Evernham and the Truex family Also, it hosted NASCAR Strictly Stock Series (now Sprint Cup) event in 1958. The more prominent drivers over the years have included Gil Hearne (eight time champion), Tommie Elliott and Charlie Kremer, Jr. (both four time champions), John Blewett III, Jimmy Blewett (Two time champion), Jimmy Spencer (Garden State Classic winner), Tony Siscone (six time champion), Richie Evans, and Charlie Jarzombek (Garden State Classic winner).

Track Origins

Founders Tom and Jennie Nicol sought to build their own racetrack after enjoying stock car racing at Long Branch Speedway. The couple bought 55 acres of land off Route 34 in Wall Township and built a one-third mile oval with 30-degree banking in the turns, unheard of at the time. Racing began in 1950 with the annual Turkey Derby capping each season on Thanksgiving Day beginning in 1974.[1]

New Ownership

After the 2001 season, the late Jennie Nicol's son Tucker (Thomas Nicol, Jr.) decided to sell the speedway and, it was purchased by Timothy Shinn. His co-owners were Tom Mauser, Joe Sanzari, and Fletcher Cramer for the 2002 season. The track was retitled Wall Township Speedway. After two months, Mauser was dismissed as the Track Operations Manager. In 2004, Fred Archer came to the fold as co owner. By 2005, car counts and capacity crowd started to decline and, there were rumors swirling about the track's future.

Track's Demise

After the 2007 season, several employees were laid off from their positions. The track closed on March 14, 2008 with the track's marquee reading CLOSED FOR GOOD.[2]

Revival

After eleven months of being idle, former track operations manager Jim Morton secured a lease to operate the race track for the season ending Turkey Derby Event in November 2008, and the crowd was overwhelming.

The track officially reopened for a full season of racing in 2009, capped by the Turkey Derby. The name was changed back to the familiar "Wall Stadium".

The 2010 season started as usual, but as of September 2, 2010, the track closed once more, due to the expiration of Morton's lease on the property. The marquee, which earlier that week had noted the weekend's upcoming races, simply read "Racing cancelled till further notice".[3] The 37th annual Turkey Derby ran as scheduled on November 26 and 27, under the terms of a short-term lease to Don Ling and the Blewett family. The track was put up for sale shortly thereafter with an asking price of $18 million.

Racing resumed in 2011 under new management. Cliff Krause of Holmdel signed a one-year lease with track owners to conduct a full schedule of races.[4]

After running a full schedule of races, Krause secured a three-year extension on the track's lease after the 2011 Turkey Derby, with the 2012 season set to officially start April 28.

Special Events

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour

The 2003 season, hosted a NASCAR (then Featherlite) Whelen Modified Tour event. The race was contested at 150 laps, and that race was held the next year, and it was quickly dropped from their future scheduling. In 2007, the cars returned to the speedway after, being absent from the schedule for three seasons, and it hosted a "Flash" event with a pair of 50 lap races, and the feature is the final 50. Unfortunately, the Tour cars weren't scheduled again ever since.

Turkey Derby

After the 1974 season, the management/staff added a race for the Thanksgiving weekend, entitled "Turkey Derby", a 150-lap open competition race for Modified stock cars which attracted many of the top drivers in the division. After a successful debut, the race grew in stature and popularity and, in 1981, attracted a record field of 75 cars including NASCAR National Champions including Richie Evans. From 1974-1992, the Modified race was contested a 150-lap event. When the years went by, the format had been changed to three 50 lap events, if the driver finishes in a certain spot, he will be declared the overall winner. The full blown modifieds, returned in 2002 it was 150 laps. In 2004, it was 125 laps. From 2004-2009, was 100. 2010–Present 150 Laps.

Garden State Classic

The Garden State Classic, was established in 1957. The format of the event was first consisted a grueling 300 lap event, originally a NASCAR National Championship Modified race. When the 1980s started, it was cut to 200 laps (to eliminate pit stops, which were impractical at the track, and save the race teams much additional expense. The purse remained the same), 1993-2002 100 Laps, 2003 Twin 50's which wasn't well received, 2004-2007 100 Laps, 2009-2010 150 Laps, 2011-Present 125 Laps.

Modifieds dropped from schedule

For several years, two different Modified classes competed at Wall Stadium, the big-block based Modifieds, considered to be the top tier series, and the Modified Affordable Division (MAD), similar to the Stafford Motor Speedway SK Modified division, using small block engines and narrower tires, to reduce costs. Because of a purse structure dispute, in 1993, the senior Modified division left the weekly feature at the track for the now defunct Flemington Speedway.

External links

  • Wall Stadium Speedway
  • NJ Racing Nostalgia
  • Martin Truex Jr Official Web site

References

Coordinates: 40°10′31″N 74°6′55″W / 40.17528°N 74.11528°W / 40.17528; -74.11528

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