Around 43 years ago a few people loaded up and took a road trip to 411 Speedway to watch some country folks drive fast on a clay-dirt racetrack. One of those men was Blaine Frazier. Frazier came home with an idea in his head that was stimulated even further after a talk with Claude Donovan. Blaine and his brother Bill looked curiously up to a portion of their fathers land and thus began the story of Tazewell Speedway. The two basically began work on a racetrack without actually getting their dad’s permission to do so. Lawrence Hurst was invited to bring his equipment over and the track began to take its original shape. Blaine and Bill at first built a mostly flat track with very little banking. The track was so flat in fact that they could drive the water truck around the top and let gravity do the work. A good seam of red clay was already there making the creation of the track even easier. Racing began in 1965 according to Blaine but he admits that time has gotten away from him making him unsure about Jim Arnwine’s thoughts that he raced in the fall of 1964. Regardless, the racecars came and so began the tradition that is Tazewell Speedway. Many fans call the racing at that time the “good-ole-days.” According to Frazier there was great feats of driving mixed with some occasional drinking and fighting. Making it even more of a spectacular was that the townspeople could see the drivers actually drive through town on the way to the track. Blaine’s love of racing led him to Knoxville, TN where he operated another track in 1970. He enjoyed the challenge and made money but did not like the larger overhead and brought his full attention back to the Taz. He had another interesting idea in his head in 1982 and banked the track giving it the shape that race fans now recognize. With the banks came the higher speeds that the drivers desired and craved. This tweak created a lot of buzz around the area and even further took the track into legendary status. From 1985 to around 1990 the track sat idle. John Thompson reopened the track and had the concrete walls installed by James Vanover. Frazier watched his creation once again regain its status as the big series lined up to have races at his speed plant. The National Dirt Racing Association (NDRA) had held events there as well as Hav-a-Tampa (HAT), Xtreme, STARS, Southern All-Stars, Lucas-Oil as well as others. The track got world-wide exposure when Speedvision TV brought its cameras and for two years let the world get a glimpse of Tazewell Speedway during the HAT events. Blaine admits that he once thought of trying to race but laughed it off by saying, “I probably couldn’t have afforded to race.” When asked who was the best driver he ever saw race on his track he was reluctant to answer. Instead he stated, “I could never do that; narrow it down to one because there was just so many great drivers.” He did go on to mention one driver that he just loved watching and that was # 41 Buck Simmons.
Current track owner Gary Hall inducted Blaine Frazier into the Tazewell Speedway Hall of Fame last year and Frazier admits that was one of the most special things that had happened to him. Frazier takes pride in all those Saturday nights but admits when the track surface acted up that he feelt like going home and hiding but he still got back on the machinery and started working on the track in preparation of the next event. He goes on to say, “Anyone can do what I do on this track. I don’t know anything about the dirt that someone else doesn’t.” The drivers and fans would disagree with Blaine because after 43 years of working on the track nobody could ever do it better. In a moment of reflection he once again laughs and says, “It’s amazing that this track is still around considering the location.” The fans of the speedway hope that his creation will stay alive and healthy for many years to come and all would tell him that it was a job well done.