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Denny Hamlin hopes to operate or own Southside Speedway

The three-time Daytona 500 winner wants to save his home track

Chesterfield County

Denny Hamlin has maintained a legitimate interest in operating or otherwise owning his childhood home track, the currently closed Southside Speedway in Midlothian, Virginia in Chesterfield County.

The 0.33-mile track closed in December 2020 and the 41-acres of land was purchased for $4.5 million by the county in June 2021. The county issued a formal request for proposals on Monday and Hamlin said on Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway that he has remained in contact with the county over his interests.

“I’ve met with the county and the state on that, probably earlier this year,” Hamlin said during a media scrum. “My interest would be to own it. I would love to run it but I would love to own it if I were to run it. We’d have to work around that for sure. It sounds like the county does own it, but again, but if we’re going to put effort and time, I would like to have some kind of stake in the facility.”

Southside hosted the NASCAR Cup Series from 1961-63 with Junior Johnson, Jimmy Pardue, Jim Paschal and Ned Jarrett winning the four races there. Richard Petty, Joe Weatherly, Buck Baker and Wendell Scott were amongst those in the field as well.

Bobby Allison and Darrell Waltrip spent their formative years at the speedway after Cup departed. In recent time, it had become a launching pad for young drivers like Hamlin, who attended races there as a child before racing local division and Late Model Stocks.

Originally, the county intended to redevelop the property into restaurants and commercial space. But conversations with parties like Hamlin and the Save Southside Speedway group has generated momentum for maintaining the space as a motorsports venue.

Axios reports that the county found ‘developers interested in building hotels and retail weren’t interested in also building a racetrack, while the folks interested in reopening the racetrack weren’t equipped to build a hotel.’

Hamlin said he intends to circle back with the county but would likely not submit a proposal anytime soon.

“I think the next thing for us would be to follow back up with the county,” Hamlin said. “I basically said to them, ‘We need ‘X’ amount of money to redo this track, really upgrade the facilities, make it super nice.’ I know Dale (Earnhardt) Jr. said ‘Listen, you do it, I’ll bring the Cars Tour there twice a year.’ There’s a lot of opportunity and certainly that’s something the county or the state would really see interest from.”

The county is seeking RFPs for a deadline by October 11 which is a quick turnaround, but Hamlin says there have been previous deadlines too.

“They had deadlines on those different proposals earlier this year and we were just waiting and see so it’s later days,” he said about the current status.

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Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He also has extensive experience covering NASCAR, IndyCar and Dirt Sprint Cars.



  1. Chris Phillips

    September 23, 2023 at 4:24 pm

    Who did Denny make these comments to? This gets a lot of people’s hopes up. Including mine. We would surely run there with Mason Bailey.

  2. Matt Weaver

    September 23, 2023 at 4:34 pm

    “Hamlin said during a media scrum” “on Saturday at Texas Motor Speedway”

  3. kathy l royall

    September 23, 2023 at 6:29 pm

    I hope he is serious this time, heard he had no interest earliest. Would love to see the track that was originally, owned, and built by my grandfather before it was Southside speedway. We don’t need more unaffordable housing built on that land.

  4. Bailey the NASCAR DOG

    September 23, 2023 at 6:56 pm

    This is great, would luv DH to retire from Cup racing and annoying us as an owner as well as his annoying comments on Dentimental… yeah I think it’s a great time to change his career trajectory….all for this move… right after year end when he’s sulking about not winning championship yet again.

  5. Vickie Sanderson

    September 24, 2023 at 9:23 am

    He was serious the first time. Noone would work with him. Shut him down before it started. My brother in law ran it for 3 years. Saw Denny out there everything the track was open. I ran concessions. We did alot of work out there but it was gonna take a lot more than us and volunteers. I’d love to see it reopen. Irv Sanderson would be proud if he was still with us.

  6. Sharon Wiles

    September 24, 2023 at 9:32 am

    I would love to go there to see a race. Denny will make a good designed track. Can’t wait to see it!!

  7. Anonymous

    September 24, 2023 at 1:19 pm

    If it by his rules it won’t be worth running there

  8. Sandy Brown

    September 24, 2023 at 2:37 pm

    It would be nice to reopen Southside Speedway! I grew up seeing Late model racing. My Dad Mike Poston was Chief Stewart and signed Wendell Scott as first black Nascar driver! Many memories.

  9. Mike Stickley

    September 24, 2023 at 11:55 pm

    Was hoping someone would buy the rockford il track….closing after 76 yrs…all in the name of stripmall progress…
    Was there way before and.develpements or housing now.will be gone forever

  10. Scott Stewart

    September 27, 2023 at 8:06 pm

    I worked at Southside Speedway for several years during the summers cleaning the grandstands parking lots and painting the guardrails on the track. I remember all the drivers Sonny Hutchison Bill Dennis Jimmy Scott even Richard Petty and the Allison Brothers.
    I knew Denny somewhat, he dated my daughter for a short spell while attending Manchester High School. I’m glad to learn of Dennys interest in South Side Speedway. I do hope he saves it from Chesterfields grip.

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