The History of Dacotah Speedway
The history of auto racing in the Bismarck-Mandan area spans all the way back to the early 1950s. Many drivers, tracks and cars have come and gone in that time – but North Dakotans’ love for the greatest sport on earth has only grown stronger.
The Bismarck-Mandan Stock Car Association (BMSCA) was founded in 1980. Its mission was simple: to represent participants’ interests in stock car racing. After operating at the old Bismarck Raceway for several years, BMSCA members realized the pressing need for a new and modern racing facility. In 1989 our organization partnered with the Mandan Board of Park Commissioners to develop a mutually beneficial plan. The city of Mandan would move its century-old rodeo grounds to a new facility that would also feature auto racing, and offset the cost of a project that had been projected to cost $1 million in the process.
Thanks in no small part to the efforts of many volunteers, the new Dacotah Speedway was able to host its inaugural race on June 8th, 1990. During its first season Dacotah Speedway hosted three classes: WISSOTA Street Stocks, WISSOTA Modifieds and Hobby Stock division. Dacotah Speedway also proudly featured the current Dakota Classic Modified Tour and a sprint car race. The season concluded with a sizable profit which the BMSCA eagerly reinvested into improving the track even further.
Dacotah Speedway and the BMSCA both began to flourish. Over time the group added a new concession stand with indoor plumbing, restrooms, scales, parking pads, and better track maintenance equipment. In 1995 the BMSCA and the Mandan Board of Park Commissioners invested in a state-of-the-art grandstand that could seat 4,000 spectators. The grandstand’s addition permitted both groups to host major special events such as monster truck shows, demolition derbies, big racing specials, and the ever-growing Mandan Rodeo.
As Dacotah Speedway continued to increase in size, the BMSCA adopted the current IMCA sanction for Modifieds and added IMCA Sport Compacts and INEX Legends beginners’ racing divisions. Soon the track added a new scoring tower powered by software that scores races electronically, as well as a secondary pit area and new registration building that would better accommodate drivers.
Dacotah Speedway celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2019. Dacotah Speedway TV launched that same year, thus allowing fans to watch racing live and on demand all over the world. The track now welcomes an average of 100 cars across its five racing divisions each night, and continues to expand its racing program thanks to the generous support of the Bismarck-Mandan community, the good people of North Dakota, and visitors from throughout the Midwest.