Memphis-Arkansas Speedway, 1954-1957
Buck Baker finished third in the 1954 NASCAR Grand National points standings and won four races in #87 during the campaign. His biggest victory of the season was the Mid-South 250 at the new Memphis-Arkansas Speedway.
Backstory and Context
The Memphis-Arkansas Speedway was located just west of West Memphis, Arkansas in the community of LeHi, Arkansas. The track opened in 1954 and was a high banked 1.5 mile track dirt oval. The track was closed in 1957 due to the owner being unable to afford the $100,000 to pave the speedway.1
The NASCAR Grand National series competed at the track numerous times in 1955 and 1956. The dirt track was a 1.5 mile oval with a seating capacity of 15,000. Two drivers, Clint McHugh from Iowa and Cotton Priddy from Kentucky, both died in accidents at this track. When Clint McHugh wrecked he was going close to 90 mph when he reached Turn 3 where he swerved, flipped and tumbled over a guard rail into a lake 50 ft below the embankment. 2
The first race at the track was the Mid-South 250 and the winning driver was Buck Baker.3 He took the lead when Lee Petty (father of Richard Petty, seven time NASCAR champion) snapped an axle and had to pull out of the race.4
The last race at the track was the 1957 NASCAR Grand National Series 1957-30 with Marvin Panch the winning driver, with Buck Baker finishing 4th and Lee Petty 6th.5