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History of the Southwest Speedway

The Southwest Speedway in Dickinson offers race fan many chances to enjoy the excitement that racing brings.

However, what the track is today has not always been around.

In the 1970’s, the track was built on the location it sits today, but its purpose was to be used as a snowmobile track.

In the late 1970’s Adam Stokert brainstormed the idea to turn the facility into a race track. The sport was popular in Minot and Bismarck, yet Dickinson did not have a track despite having the infrastructure at the snowmobile track.

The stock car track opened, but it lasted only a summer or two, before it reopened in 1980 as the Queen City Speedway. Many racers were from Bismarck, but Gene Hoyt, Ken Decker, Kenny Heidt, Frank Klein, Danny Brecht, Digger Degenstein and Gary Paul were some of the top drivers from Dickinson.

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In 1981, the track was made longer and faster, and in addition to the oil boom in the early 1980’s drivers flocked to the track from all over the state.

However, the tracks success was short lived. In 1985 and 1986 car numbers and fan attendance declined, so the track shut down again for two years.

Paul Ritcher opened the track back up in 1987, but it was under the name Badlands Speedway.

Stockert took the new opening to roll out his new model of cars which are now known as Dakota Modifieds.

The Badlands Speedway was the only track at the time with Modifieds, but shortly after every other track in the area followed Dickinson’s lead.

Despite the hit with modified cars, the struggle continued as cars and fan attendance still weren’t great. A large number of volunteers had to work countless hours to ensure that the track succeeded.

At the time, every track had their own local rules, but in 1989 all the western tracks changed to Wissotta Modified and became sanctioned.

This meant that they all were under one governing body and used the same rules; therefore, this led to racers beginning to travel to all of the tracks in the area.

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In the early 1990’s, the name was changed Southwest Speedway, which is still the name of the track today.

The racing and track stayed the same during the 90’s, but in the early 2000’s change once again was inevitable.

The track at Williston and Southwest speedway joined forces to host events where they would race at each track and racers from each town would participate.

Due to the success, in 2004 the Stark County Commission agreed to help build a new track.

The process started in 2005 and volunteers even helped build the grandstand that is still there today.

The new track and interest meant a boom for Southwest Speedway, and the track began to thrive.

Car counts were increasing rapidly, and there were even consolation races that had to be held.

The final addition to the track as it stands today was a modern concession stand in 2008.

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With the work that has been done, the Southwest Speedway still has high car numbers today and is benefiting from the investment that was put into it over a decade ago.

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