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Racing at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds

Did you know?

July 10, 2014

The grandstand and race track at the Hamilton County Fairgrounds were built as a joint WPA and Fair Board project in 1938 and 1939. The cost of all the construction was estimated to be about $27,000. There no funds to put a roof over the bleachers, so fairgoers were charged 10 cents at the gate to begin the "Build a Roof" fund.

The first races on the new track were held during the 1939 Hamilton County Fair. There were car races, horse, pony and mule races along with bicycle races to inaugurate the new facilities. The track has been the site of many different race types - including celebrity ostrich races.

Cecil Greenley, Webster City, has the unique distinction of helping construct the Hamilton County Speedway in 1938 and 1930 and of being the city's only "big car" racer. Greenley traveled the "Big Car" circuit in the late 1940s and 1950s, running against racing legends, such as Emery Collins. He is shown here in the early 1950s in his No. 7 Cadillac Special. He was one of the few drivers to run a Cadillac engine. After his racing career, he was an official and a promoter at the local track.

Article Photos

Cecil Greenley

Race fans were treated to new aluminum seating in 2008 when many of the original bleachers were replace. The new seating was funded by the Fair board, then-track promoter Al Urlhammer and a Webster City Hotel/Motel Tax Grant.

Whit Hemingway, local attorney, was the Hamilton County Speedway's first promoter. He, along with the AmericanLegion, were responsible for bringing many of the "Big Car" and late model races to the trace beginning in the late 1930s and through the early 1950s. He is shown here with Gordon Johncock's Indy car at a late 1970s New York City convention.



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