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Myrtle Beach Speedway closing down

In the same pit where he once played with Matchbox cars, Bryant Barnhill prepared for a final race.

The Myrtle Beach Speedway – the track his grandfather managed, the place where his father raced and the site where Barnhill tasted victory before he could legally drive on a highway – will close this month. A developer plans to raze the track and convert the property into offices and townhomes, maybe even a hotel.

But it will no longer be a racetrack. After 62 years, the Speedway has entered the final turn of its final lap. The last race is scheduled for Aug. 15.

What’s ending the track’s decades-long run is a lack of fan support. Attendance has waned and the property near the intersection of U.S. 501 and S.C. 31 is valuable.

"It’s hard to keep one of these boys going unless you’ve got people in the grand stands," said Bill Hennecy, who has announced races at the track for some 50 years.

Although he’s sad to see the Speedway go, Hennecy understands it’s a business decision. The situation is also not an unfamiliar one. He can rattle off a long list of shuttered racetracks: Columbia, Charleston, even Little River.

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