When you think of NASCAR, places like Charlotte, Talladega + Daytona may come to mind. However, when it comes to NASCAR’s history, Greenville should not be overlooked.
The Greenville-Pickens Speedway off Highway 123 (3800 Calhoun Memorial Hwy., Easley) has hosted and continues to host hundreds of NASCAR races — including the first live-televised race in 1971, and some familiar names in racing, like Earnhardt and Pearson.
Before you catch this Saturday’s race at 4 p.m., take a look back on some pivotal moments in the second-oldest NASCAR sanctioned track’s 80+ year history:
1940: Greenville-Pickens Speedway (GPS) is built as a half-mile dirt track.
1946: The $50,000 track formally opens on July 4 (the first post-WWII July 4 celebration in Greenville) with a stock car + horse races to an estimated 20,000+ spectators.
1970: The dirt speedway is paved.
1972: NASCAR’s national races at the speedway end as the organization moves to super speedway venues (think: Talladega Super Speedway), and GPS becomes one of 100+ tracks across the country in NASCAR’s Weekly Racing Series.
1995: Greenville racer + GPS track titlist Butch Lindley’s son, Mardy Lindley wins the 1995 track title, becoming the only father-son duo champions at GPS.
Bonus: Visit the Upcountry History Museum now through Sun., Nov. 6 to see “FAST LANE: The NASCAR Photography of Darryl Moran,” which showcases photos from 1990’s NASCAR races + shares the story of Greenville-Pickens Speedway’s history.