In the 71 years of Columbus Motor Speedway’s existence there have been untold thousand of race events but only one first, and one last. Bobby Hill is the only person who will have attended both come Saturday when the legend acts as The Grand Finale Grand Marshall.
While this Saturday will be the final race ever at the third-mile oval, history of the very first race will be on display in living color as rider Hill, and one of his bikes wow the fans. The last stock car race ever will showcase him along with a 1953 Harley Davidson KR “flat track” motorcycle he once raced.
It was October 13, 1946; a sweltering Sunday afternoon when the Columbus Motorcycle Club conducted the first ever event, a four star motorcycle race. While Bob Shaw took the expert event a virtual unknown amateur rider by the name of Bobby Hill finished third in the amateur race. Hill had just returned from World War II as a Marine and was looking to have a little fun.
While Bobby remembers fondly long time Columbus Motorcycle Club president and eventually speedway owner, John Nuckles, the actual event that Sunday afternoon is a little blurry. One memory that is, however, etched in his mind is his 1953 Daytona 200 victory. Hill beat Dick Klamfoth that sunny March day on a BSA Motorcycle.
Hill went on to claim two AMA National Championships and was eventually inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame.
Saturday’s Grand Finale will include four dramatic final track championship battles in four NASCAR stock car divisions.
Several former legendary drivers are also scheduled to appear including, but not limited to Carl Smith, Lennie Waldo, Jerry Mitchell and Skip Thornton. Others are still being invited to this historic event.
-Columbus Motor Speedway Press Release. Photo Credit: Columbus Motor Speedway