But, the old track had one more cheer left — for now.
Al Chapman of Chickamauga, Ga., had the winning bid of $800,000 for the property on which the Speedway sits.
He won the bid after three minutes and 52 seconds of bidding, starting with $700,000 among 121 registered bidders participating.
Auctioneer Flipper McDaniel then announced there would be a sale of all the “equipment of the property necessary to run the track.”
“The person who bought the real estate has an interest in keeping everything with the track, so it may be used for a possible future endeavor,” McDaniel said, bringing applause.
When Chapman won the bid to buy all of that equipment in a block for $7,100, a cheer went up as the throng of dirt-track faithful saw it as a sign of hope cars will run again.
Chapman, according to the rules of the auction, took immediate possession of the property and materials.
In an ironic twist, the owner had actually raced on the track many years ago.
However, he remained noncommittal about any future races there — for him or anyone else.
“I don’t know. We’ll just have to wait and see. I think it’s a good investment,” Chapman said.
As far as racing again, he said he would have to “feel it out and see what happens.”
“It could be made back into a racetrack, or something else,” he said.
He recalled being a race driver on the track in 1964, and he said Thursday was a little like coming home.
“I’ve seen a lot of mud slung around here,” Chapman said with a laugh. “Our car tore the gates down out there. That ended our racing.”
Chapman acknowledged it is a different feeling now that he owns those gates.
McDaniel opened the afternoon calling it “a great day with a great property with a lot of history to it.”
“I know there’s a lot of emotion surrounding this and there’s a lot of people who have shared a lot of good, happy times here for a number of years,” McDaniel said.
He said the property being offered “has made money, money, money over the years.”
McDaniel introduced the caller, Terry Posey, as “a good Cleveland guy.”
The successful buyer had to confirm a cash-down payment of 20 percent with the remainder to be paid at the time of closing on or before Aug. 29.
The auction terms were specific that it be a confirmed cash sale without any contingency financing involved.