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Wall Township (N.J.) Speedway closes
Wall Township Speedway General Partners  Managing Member Timothy H. Shinn announced March 14 that the  57-year-old oval has closed.

"It is with an extremely heavy heart that I must, at this  time, formally announce the closing of our beloved Wall  Township Speedway, formerly known to the vast majority of us  as Wall Stadium," said Shinn in a letter posted on  wallspeedway.com Friday night. "Unfortunately, we find  ourselves joining the long, ever-growing list of short tracks  across the country which have been forced to close.”

Shinn, in his two-page letter, said that he and his three  co-owners "did everything in our power since 2002 to provide top  quality short-track racing and keep the Speedway open.

  "We've made numerous attempts to create a scenario which would  enable us to continue with the Speedway operation," said Shinn, of  Manasquan, "all to no avail. Please also know that this decision  was made on March 14, 2008 as we were still exploring certain  options available to us in an attempt to remain open for the 2008  season; again to no avail.”

Shinn made his announcement before the Garden State Quarter Racing Club was to hold an annual swap meet March 15 and a novice  racing school March 16. Although the swap was cancelled due to  forecasted bad weather, GSQMRC President Wayne Wilson said that  March 16's classes and its remaining season on "Little Wall" was to  continue as scheduled.    "I had word from Tim Shinn months ago that we would run whether  'Big Wall' was open or closed," said Wilson, of Old Bridge. "We've a  separate insurance policy.”

Children seven- to 16- years-old have competed in scaled midget cars  on a separate 1/20th-mile concrete oval since 1993. The Quarter Midgets  of America-sanctioned club is to run on most Sunday mornings March 29 -  Nov. 11.

How long the GSQMRC will run at "Little Wall," however, depends on the  48.46-acre industrial-zoned property's fate. There is no word about the land's future use.

There may be movements of vehicles and equipment owned by the managing  partners' companies for now. A date has not been set for the Garden  State Vintage Stock Car Club to remove its "Racing Through Time" museum.

"Our Board of Trustees will meet on or before our March 18 monthly meeting," said GSVSSC President Ray Shea, of West Long Branch. "I got the news Friday night. We've had 100 percent support from the start -  first with the Nicol family and then with Tim Shinn and Fred Archer.”

The banked, paved one-third-mile oval will miss its first season since  builder Tom Nicol opened it on Memorial Day 1950.

Wall hosted weekly stock car racing plus midgets and other visiting  tours. Its headlining modified stock car drivers included the likes of  Bobby Allison, all-time Wall feature winner Gil Hearne, NASCAR modified  king Richie Evans and Frankie Schneider. Martin Truex, Jr., of Mayetta,  and Ray Evernham, of Hazlet, won several features here on their ways to  respectively become 2004-05 NASCAR Nationwide Series Champion and  three-time Sprint Cup titlist crew chief.  Wall once hosted a Sprint Cup race July 26, 1958. Jim Reed, of Fishkill,  N.Y., held off fellow 1957 Chevrolet drivers Rex White and Buck Baker to  win the then-NASCAR Grand National 300-lap race.

Curtis Turner, of Roanoke, Va., won Wall's sole NASCAR Convertible  division race, in a 1956 Ford, after 300 laps July 14, 1956.

Wall pioneered the nationally-known post-Thanksgiving Turkey Derby  annual in 1974.  USAC Ford Focus and NASCAR midgets, The Race of Champions, NASCAR  Whelen Modified Tour, the American Three Quarter Midget Racing  Association, the American Micro Stock Racing Ass'n., United Racing Club sprint cars, the International Super Modified Ass'n. and the 4Cylinder  Supermodifieds were among Wall's visitors.

Wall Stadium's other uses included a gridiron for the 1957 New Jersey  Sharks semi-pro football team and as a 1960s concert venue.

Second-generation owner Tucker Nicol, of Brielle, sold Wall Stadium to  Shinn, Dale and Glenn Creamer, Joseph Sanzari and Tom Mauser in 2002. Fred  Archer succeeded Mauser as a General Partner. The Creamers, of Hackensack,  and Sanzari, of Ho-Ho-Kus, are well-known New Jersey highway builders;  Newark native Archer is a steel erector; former modified stock car owner  Shinn owns United Crane Rental, of Kenilworth.  The four co-owners made several improvements. Steel guardrails replaced  wooden planks and a fifth-mile inner oval was added. The inner oval was  used for a Sunday afternoon series for go karts and scaled race cars.

Wall returned to NASCAR sanctioning, allowing its drivers to compete for  divisional and national Whelen All-American Series championships. As a NASCAR  Home Track, several star Sprint Cup drivers made special appearances and  ran in match races.

WTS also hosted the SCCA Formula Drift series 2005-07.

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