The Track
New Grandstands 1923
First Auto Race
1925 Race
1933 Race
1941 Race
The Little Track
Post War Racing
Nostalgia Nights
Ray Martin Page
Todd Lewis Gallery
Message Board

The History of
Orange County Fair Speedway
Middletown, N.Y.

Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown, New York is the oldest continuously operating dirt track in the United States. It was laid out and constructed in 1857 for horse racing at the Orange County Fair.

     In 1919, a group of visionaries decided to stage an automobile race during the annual fair.  The first race was a huge success, and auto racing has been an integral part of the Fairgrounds ever since.

     There were no races from 1942-1945 because of WWII.  Auto racing was suspended "for the duration" because of shortages of gasoline, steel, aluminum, and rubber.

     I began this website because I am fascinated with the long history of this speedway.  As much as I am a fan of dirt track auto racing, I am even more a fan of the speedway itself.  It has survived depression, wars, hurricanes, and calamities that would have sunk other enterprises. 

     In 1969 Ray Martin, who was the track announcer, wrote and published "The Hard Clay in Orange County - Fifty Years of Speed."  This is the definitive source for much of the information found on these pages.  Although Mr. Martin is no longer with us, his book is a timeless tribute to the track many call home.  When I read the book, I can hear Ray's voice.  He was one of the very best.  A brief tribute to Mr. Martin has been added to these pages.

     I was looking for a copy of "The Hard Clay" when I met Bill Boyle, AKA "Dr. Dirt."  We talked for seven straight hours one Saturday night at the 31st Lap.  Doc loaned me the book, and it took me four years to read it.  Well, it took me four years to return it.  Thanks, Doc.

     In addition to "The Hard Clay," the Middletown Times Herald-Record has been indispensable in the preparation of this website.  It has been the "Paper of Record" in Orange County since the beginning of the 19th century.   Also, the  Thrall Library in Middletown has been the source for all the newspaper headlines and clippings found on these pages.  The Thrall Library is one of the most beautiful buildings in Middletown.  The staff is very friendly and helpful.  Visit there soon!

     You might notice that much emphasis is placed on the very early days of the speedway.  I did this because quite a few fans have memories of the last three or four decades at OCFS.  But there are few people alive today who remember the Annual races at the fair.  I believe that these yearly events provided the foundation for what came after World War Two.  If the early history of the speedway isn’t your thing, you are invited to skip over it and proceed to the “Modern Era.”  

     Since I began this website, fans and friends of the speedway have loaned and donated countless bits and pieces of memorabilia.  There are still  mountains of programs, scrapbooks, and photos to be scanned and uploaded.  This takes time. Please be patient while I try to put it all together.  Eventually, every decade will be represented.

     As long as Orange County Fair Speedway continues to function as the motorsports capital of the New York Metro area, this website will pay tribute to all who played a part in its history.  Each and every person who helped build, maintain, promote, and compete at “Victory Speedway” is owed a debt of gratitude by race fans everywhere.

Legal Stuff: Commentaries on this website represent the views of the webmaster of “Victory Speedway,” and not those of the management or staff of Orange County Fair Speedway. “Victory Speedway” is an independent website, has no sponsors, and receives no funding from anyone. If you are the owner of the rights to a photo on this website, and you are not credited (or linked), please notify the webmaster. I will either give credit, provide a link to the owner or remove the photo, your call.