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Milwaukee Mile Raceway
The Milwaukee Mile is the oldest operating motor speedway in the world. The Milwaukee mile was built in 1880, and is owned by the Wisconsin State Fair. The Milwaukee Mile has been one of the premier venues in American motorsports. During the past century, the facility has played an integral role in shaping the face of auto racing. The Milwaukee Mile has hosted a variety of events from turn-of-the-century "speed contests" and 24-hour endurance races to AAA and USAC-sanctioned Indy car and Stock Car events, to NASCAR Busch Series competition. The roster of past winners at America's Legendary Oval is a veritable "who's-who" of racing history, including names like Barney Oldfield, Rex Mays, Parnelli Jones, A.J. Foyt, the Unsers, the Andrettis and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Since the 1870s, there has been racing on what is now known as the Milwaukee Mile.
Located on land that was originally a horse farm, the track was used for training and racing thoroughbreds. In 1891, the farm was purchased by the Wisconsin Agricultural Society to create a permanent site for the State Fair. The first auto race was held in 1903 and the oval was paved in 1954. The Milwaukee Mile, located at the Wisconsin State Fair, is one of the country's most famous racing facilities. The track hosted NASCAR Busch Series races in 1984 and 1985, then rejoined the schedule in 1993 under the new management of Carl Haas. The first auto race was staged at the site on Sept. 11, 1903. William Jones of Chicago, driving a 30 horsepower Columbia, won the five-mile contest. Horses and autos shared the track until the mile oval was paved for the first time in 1954. The two inner tracks were removed in 1967 when the mile surface was repaved and the pit area was expanded over the space occupied by the two shorter ovals. From the first AAA-sanctioned stock car race in 1948 to today's annual NASCAR Busch Series Grand National Division event, The Milwaukee Mile's racing history is impressive. NASCAR's first visit to the track came in 1984.
The mile became part of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule in its inaugural season of 1995. In 1992, with Milwaukee in danger of losing its CART race, Carl Haas was given a long-term contract to organize all racing activity at the storied facility. Working feverishly with the combined help of the Wisconsin State Fair Board, Wisconsin Sports Authority and Miller Brewing Company, Haas was able to save the race and begin a series of improvements that have culminated with the completion of the new grandstands for the 2003 season. The venerable grand dame of racing has undergone many improvements in just the last few years, including a new all-aluminum bleacher and grandstand seating for the 2003 season, a new pit wall, a new scoring pylon, a repaving and retrofit of the infield road course, and the construction of a permanent infield care center building. The new fan-friendly grandstands seat 45,000 as well as provide significantly enhanced restrooms and concession areas. Competitor areas and paddock space has been enhanced at the state-of-the-art facility. The speedway's infield underwent a transformation.
As a complete retrofitting of the infield road course will offer greater usage of America's Legendary Oval, in hosting a variety of karting, car club and other motorsports activity. A non-tax supported bond allowed the removal of older structures in the infield paddock and made way for new construction of critical care/media building, new pavement along hot pit road, a new pit wall, and new scoring pylon which replaces the two-panel scoreboard dating back to the 1960's. In addition, the paddock area was expanded allowing pass holders up-close access to the action. In 2004, racing at the speed of night returned with temporary MUSCO Lighting illuminating the speedway.
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