Throwback: Trenton Speedway

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

In this throwback story, we’ll look back on Trenton Speedway. This facility was located in Hamilton Township, Mercer County, New Jersey near State Capitol, Trenton, NJ at the New Jersey State Fairgrounds.

The track operated from 1900 through 1980. It was previously known as Trenton International Speedway.

Stock Cars
Stock Cars (Photo by

The facility had a half-mile oval (1900-1941), mile oval (1946-1969), and a dog-leg oval, which was also known as “Kidney Bean” from 1969 through 1980.

While the first race happened in 1900, no other racing happened until 1907. The first competition happened on Sept. 24, 1900 at the Fairgrounds.

There was regular competition at the track from 1912 through 1941. Then, the one-mile oval was opened in 1946 and held events until 1968 when it was changed to the dog-leg overall in 1969.

The dog-leg was on the back stretch and allowed for a wider turn between 3 & 4.

The track at the Fairgrounds closed down in 1980. The Fairgrounds itself stopped operating in 1983.

At the track, it held AAA and USAC Champ Cars. The NASCAR Grand National also operated at the track. Richard “The King” Petty had three wins at the track.

In addition, there was the Race of Champions from 1972 through 1976, the NASCAR National Championship from 1958 through 1971, and the State Fair’s Triple Headers, which also included URC Sprint Cars and ARDC Midgets.

The Race of Champions event moved to Pocono Raceway in 1977.

Trenton’s NASCAR event was replaced by Pocono Raceway’s previously named Purolator 500 event. When the USAC series competed in Hamilton in May 1976, it was Janet Guthrie’s first IndyCar race.

Besides Petty’s three NASCAR Grand National wins, Fireball Roberts, Tim Pistone, Lee Roy Yarbrough, David Pearson, and Bobby Allison had wins in Hamilton. Allison was the last NASCAR winner at the facility in 1972.

Bobby Unser had two CART Champ Car wins near Trenton. Rick Mears had the other win.

Myron Fohr won the lone AAA Championship event in 1949. A.J. Foyt led the USAC Championship Car events with 12 wins.

The former track is now occupied by Grounds for Sculpture, a UPS shipping facility, and Hamilton Lakes housing development.

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