Plymouth Speedway features a three-eighths (0.375) mile banked dirt oval owned by Ed Kennedy. Follow Plymouth Speedway’s official Facebook page, @PlymouthSpeed on Twitter, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paul Meyers, Howard Bauman, and Shorty Mentzel leased 16 acres of land and bulldozed a 3/8 mile surface. Slab wood was purchased in Indianapolis and used for construction of a wall around the track with Railroad ties posted 5 feet into the ground. “We worked like slaves putting the rails up”, recalls Meyers.
The gates opened for the first time in the Spring of 1952, with a surface of oil and stones. After 2 weeks, the drivers rebelled, complaining that the surface was impossible to race on. The owners decided to take imeddiate action and applied a new surface, losing only one night of racing. They had 180 tons of limestone applied as a base., followed by a two inch base coat, a one inch coat of finer material, and a 2 inch layer of 1,025 tons of asphalt. And thus, a new and stronger dimension of racing came to the area. Chuck Engel had set fast time of 20.31 before, 17.22 after.
The early years were dominated by Dick Good, with competition by Chuck Engel. in his Hudson Hornet, and Berrien Springs driver Dave Paul. Others included Hook Henderson, Cap Arnold, Oscar Faye, Kenny Fry, and Gordon Johncock.
Following a 10 year layoff, the track reopened with new owners Curtis and Russell Thews, who hired Dave Schroeder as track manager in 1967. This time the track had a new $150,000 remodeling look. A new track surface, with a special compound, and the wall removed with a new retaining wall added on the Frontstretch.
The 2 classes were Late Models and Supers. The stars included Stockers Buck Cravens, Hal Apple, Dan Rogan, Grandpa Johnson, Eldon Byler, Bill Kranenburg, Dave Byler, Ronnie Drake, Leroy Skiles, Larry Schrock, Jiggs Myers, Dave Roahrig, George Migacz, Jim Blount, Denny Nyari, and Dave Sabaj. The Supers were highlighted by Ernie Nash, Gene Beecher, Walt May, Billy Jo Havens, Ozzie, Jeff Bloom, Willie Stutzman, Dick Bandy, Lanny Scott, and Frank Demske. Another class was started, called the Hobby Stocks. Those entries included Larry Horn, Dave Wagoner, Manfred Back, Bud Masterson, Lyle Bailey, Keith Berger, Rocky Bradley, Gary Wiles, Butch Ryman, and Ron Dickson.
In 1969, Joe Hamsher and Howard Bice purchased the track after which Bice sold out., leaving Hamsher the sole owner. The track campained under the Tri-State Racing Association. This was a 3 track, 3 race night operation, with South Bend running Friday, New Paris on Saturday, and Plymouth, on Sunday. For the years up to 1973, Tri State was a very sucessfull operation with big car counts, and tremendous crowds, especially Blueberry weekend.. Then in June 73, the South Bend Owner, Louie Freeburn, broke away, and the car counts went down drasticly, as a ruling was in place that if a car ran South Bend, he could not run New Paris or Plymouth.
In 1974, Plymouth was tried as a Friday night track. At this time the Super Modifieds were getting more expensive running Slicks and V-8 engines, with that class dropping out by mid year. The Late Models ran, along with the Hobby Stocks, plus a new “stock” class, the Roadrunner Division.
1975 and 1976 , Plymouth went back to the Sunday format, running Late Models, Hobby Stocks, and Roadrunners.