Dreams become careers at Dillon Motor Speedway

Dillon speedway

DILLON, SC (WMBF) - Whether you're a Nascar fan or know someone who is, everyone can appreciate where drivers get some of their first starts.

The Dillon Motor Speedway has provided many of those starts, opening as a dirt oval track in 1966. After a couple closures, it got new life in 2005 and has been growing ever since.

So whether you're a driver chasing the checkered flag, or a fan in the stands rooting for your favorite Saturday night driver, the Dillon Motor Speedway has surely revved up plenty of memories.

Archie Adams Jr., his father, and his son Anthony and his father have raced for three generations. For Archie Sr. his memories of the track date back to dirt oval in the 1960's.

And the man behind the latest version of the track has plenty of his own memories too.

"Bill Elliott, drove for him, for Ricky Craven, Bobby Rahal, which is an Indycar driver, so I've been around the Nascar scene for many, many years. And in 2005 I came and built a local speedway here for the local racers to race at," says Ron Barfield, owner of the Dillon Motor Speedway.

Ron grew up in Florence, but says he came here and transformed the overgrown retired dirt track into asphalt because he knew this was the place where Nascar dreams began.

"Everybody wants to make it to Nascar. This is where they've got to cut their teeth, each and every Saturday night is at these local speedways," Ron explains. "My way of sharing with the new racers that are in the area to help the young and local racers - achieve a goal like I did."

It's a goal he wanted fans to see from all angles, so he dug out the infield to prevent the haulers hiding the back straightaway.

When it comes to racing the size of the track really means a lot. You would have to make three laps here at Dillon, to cover one lap at Darlington. And by comparison with the Myrtle Beach Speedway, there's just over a half mile distance.

The track in Dillon is just four-tenths of a mile, but Barfield says you shouldn't let the size of the track deceive you.

"You take 40 to 42 cars and you put them around that racetrack, you've got a full field of cars [at Myrtle Beach]. If you come here and you have 20 cars on this race track at four-tenths of a mile, it looks like you got 60 cars down at the MB Speedway. With it being narrow and walls on both sides, and the grandstands being so close, that 120 mph car looks might fast from the person sitting in the grandstands."

Barfield admits it's definitely different being on this side of the track, but says his family has supported him for the entire ride.

"I used to worry about how to make my car go faster. Now I worry about bathrooms, concession stands, ticket sales, making sure my racers are happy. It's a lot of multiple hats, but I wouldn't trade it for anything the world I love doing this," Barfield smiles.

Barfield says he takes pride in every detail, down to the air-conditioned, clean bathrooms - something he says attracts the whole family.

You can catch races at the Dillon Motor Speedway every weekend between April and September. Kids 11 and under are free.

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