Pennsboro Speedway: It Returns in 2024, with a Shorter Oval

Pennsboro Speedway: It Returns in 2024, with a Shorter Oval

Many hailed the resurrection of the storied Pennsboro Speedway in West Virginia. It had been closed since 2002. Then, the racing community found out the plans to turn the large 5/8-mile into a ¼-mile dirt oval, which soured some.

Promoter Barry Braun, of XR Events, said keeping the track its historic size would prove difficult.

“What made Pennsboro Speedway unique was that there were three bridges on the track that went over creeks,” said promoter Barry Braun. “The bridge in turns one and two is way too narrow and cannot be a consideration for today’s racing conditions. To rebuild all of those bridges, and have the surface wide enough to race on, it would take approximately five years of permitting and meeting regulations. The Environmental Protection Agency has very strict rules.”

Braun plans to build the ¼-mile track using the existing front straightaway, away from the creeks. A smaller track also comes with other benefits, according to Braun.

“Big tracks just don’t work any longer,” Braun said. “The drivers want shorter tracks. Why build a big track no one would come to it?”

Braun cited the success of XR-promoted events at ¼-mile bullrings while bigger tracks, such as the nearby 5/8-mile West Virginia Motor Speedway, struggled with car counts.

“I understand that people were fond of the facility years ago,” said Braun. “But I ask, ‘Was the racing any good?’ Few say it was. So, why bring back a bad track?”

The new ¼-mile will incorporate the iconic grandstand carved into the hillside. Braun’s crew will add grandstands for Tier 1 seating. The hillside seating will make up Tiers 2 and 3. On top will be luxury suites. The plans call to renovate all existing buildings.

XR Events entered into a five-year lease with the board of the Ritchie County Fairgrounds. It first season in 2024 will consist of five events:

  • April 20: Mountain Blossom 50, with 602 late models and steel-block late models
  • May 25–27: Race of Regions, with super late models
  • July 4–6: 410 winged sprints and non-wing sprints
  • August 3: Throwback Night, with 604 late models and modifieds
  • October 24–26: Mason-Dixon 100, with XR Super Series late models

“It’s a walk-before-you-run plan,” Braun said. “Our first goal is to get the track up and running. We will assess and determine what is feasible for the future as time goes on.”

Braun remains confident that his changes to the historic Pennsboro Speedway will win over some of his ardent critics as well as new generations of fans and racers.

“It’s how the track will come back, by creating a new experience for fans and racers,” said Braun. “It won’t be the old Pennsboro Speedway; it will be the phenomenal, new Pennsboro Speedway.”