A new chapter in racing at the Hibbing Raceway was written in 1952. On June 5, 1952
the first weekly “Stock” Car race was held. Until this time, races were held only once or
twice each year. Nearly all being staged during the St. Louis County Fair. Now, the racing
would be a weekly affair held under the auspices of The Arrowhead Racing Association.
This association was headquartered in Rhinelander, Wisconsin and ran eight other race
tracks. At the time, only the ½ mile track existed. The association built a new ¼ mile
track within the larger oval. (It would later be expanded to 3/8 mile) For the first few
years, racing took place on Thursday evenings. On that first night, a crowd of 1,000
saw about a dozen local drivers compete. There were a total of 18 races held in 1952
with grandstand attendance increasing steadily to as many as 5,000 at some events.
Car counts also increased to 50 or more cars present on race night. These first racers
were also socially conscious. In a two year period, starting in 1952, they raised over
$6,000 to help fight Polio.
The IMCA “Big Car” event at the county fair is also notable. A record breaking crowd
of over 7,000 people saw 1949 Indy 500 winner, Bill Holland win the feature. And, there
were 5 drivers in the field that are now in The National Sprint Car Hall of Fame. They
include, Bill Holland Bobby Grimm, Bob Slater(Killed while racing in 1955) Don
Branson (killed while racing in 1966) and Jerry “Scratch” Daniels.
Tragically, the tracks first and only fatality occurred during this race. Bob Grab, from
Madison, WI. was killed when he tangled with another car. It was only his 2nd time
driving one of these sprint cars.