Opened in August 1963 as "WV International Speedway," Ona Speedway is West Virginia's only asphalt racetrack and was once owned by American Bandstand host Dick Clark. It is the former host of a NASCAR Grand National Race which included NASCAR legends including Richard Petty, Ned Jarret, Bobby Allison, and Junior Johnson, among others. Today, the track still hosts local short track races in different series including modified, late models, and hobby stocks.
Backstory and Context
The first race ran at Ona Speedway (at that time known as the West Virginia International Speedway) was a NASCAR Grand National Race on August 18, 1963. The race was titled "The Mountaineer 300" and had a 1st place prize of $1,600. Several NASCAR legends competed in the event including "The King" Richard Petty who would go on to win 7 NASCAR Winston Cup Championships. The winner of the first "Mountaineer 300" was Fred Lorenzen as he led 165 of the 300 laps. Richard Petty would finish 10th in this race. 16,000 fans were in attendance.
The NASCAR series would race here the following year again but this time go 500 laps in the "Mountaineer 500". Richard Petty would get the win this time. NASCAR then wouldn't return to West Virginia until 1970 where they again ran the "Mountaineer 300". The last NASCAR race at Ona Speedway was in 1971 as the "Mountaineer 500" won by another NASCAR Hall of Famer, Bobby Allison.
Every October the inaugural race lives on through the "Mountaineer 100" for the late model series. Today, the grandstands only hold about 2500 people instead of the 16,000 that showed up in 1963. The asphalt track is presently in need of maintenance but the track remains a local favorite for short track racing fans.
History of Ona Speedway. Racing In. March 05, 2011. Accessed September 20, 2018. http://www.racingin.com/news/Details.aspx?Event_ID=1040#.W61Qn2hKiUk.
Schwarze, Kevin. History Is On The Minds Of Everyone This Weekend At Ona Speedway And The ARCA Truck Series!. ARCA Truck Racing. June 13, 2013. Accessed September 20, 2018. http://www.arcatruckracing.com/2013/06/13/history-is-on-the-minds-of-everyone-this-weekend-at-ona-speedway-and-the-arca-truck-series/.
Cox, Stephen. Richard Petty, Third Place & The Night The Track Fell Apart. Speedway Media. April 14, 2017. Accessed September 20, 2018. http://www.speedwaymedia.com/2017/04/14/richard-petty-third-place-the-night-the-track-fell-apart/.