Suicide Circle Comes Full Circle - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Suicide Circle Comes Full Circle

February 25, 2007

Albany -- The Suicide Circle Speedway is reborn, as the quarter-mile race track in Albany has new ownership and a new title.

The name of the speedway has been borrowed from the famous dirt track here in the 1950's, when some of the top drivers in the sport made Albany a regular stop.

Suicide Circle Speedway manager Jerry "Strollin" Nolan is ready to resurrect a legend.

"We're bringing a blast from the past back to life," says Nolan. "That's what we're gonna do."

Nolan says he always dreamed of seeing the original track come back to life.

"When I was 9-years-old, I'd ride my bicycle over there, just hoping I could see a race, because the track was already closed at that time," says Nolan. "We'd ride our bicycles around there, just me and some of my old buddies, and act like we were race car drivers."

The original Suicide Circle brought in some of the sports top talent.

Nolan says, "It was a NASCAR stop, before NASCAR was NASCAR. For the drivers going to Daytona, Suicide Circle was one of the tracks they stopped on."

Ken Ragan raced on the NASCAR circuit in the eighties, is the father of current Nextel Cup driver David Ragan, and remembers the old Suicide Circle from when his father was racing in the 50's.

Ragan says, "I can remember coming down to Daytona to the beach course with daddy in the 50's. That goes way back. He raced around Albany, Macon, Central City Park, and Lakewood, a lot of the dirt tracks in Georgia in the day. So I remember that Suicide Circle track."

Nolan says the local drivers always knew when the NASCAR drivers were in town.

"I talked with some of the drivers still living now, that drove at Suicide Circle, and they said when the NASCAR guys came to town, all the had was a ringside seat, because the NSACAR guys would burn them up.  Then they'd go to I-75 raceway and run there, then go on to Daytona. "

Suicide Circle Speedway will hold its first race next Saturday.

The gates open at noon, with the green flag dropping at 7:30.

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