All About Speed at DuQuoin’s Magic Mile

USAC Silver Crown Track Enterprises Photo

By Jay Hardin
August 29, 2023- (DuQuoin, IL)-The Springfield Mile can lay claim to being the “World’s Fastest One Mile Dirt Track” for horse and ultimate automobile lap records. However, her sister facility, the “Magic Mile”, situated on the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds isn’t far behind in laying claim. As it is, the state of Illinois hosts and owns the two fastest one-mile dirt tracks in the entire world. We take a look at the speeds posted at DuQuoin in dirt car and stock car competition since 1948 in anticipation of the Ted Horn 100 and Southern Illinois 100 Labor Day weekend.

The mighty uprights first appeared at DuQuoin in September of 1948 as part of the AAA national championship. Standout Rex Mays set a one lap track record of just a tick under 100 miles an hour that day, while future “500” winner Lee Wallard set a 100-mile standard of over 88 mph. The one lap record was broken one year later by Tony Bettenhausen at just over 100 mph, while Tony also lowered the 100-mile record by over a minute.

Bettenhausen’s one-lap record stood for eight years before the “Earth Mover” Jud Larson hurled John Zink’s Offy around DuQuoin at over 101 mph. Two years earlier the “Cowboy” Jimmy Bryan shaved a full 2 minutes off the 100-mile record pushing the mark to over 93 mph. In 1958, Johnny Thomson was breaking records all over the country. He set a 100-mile mark at Springfield that would stand 24 years and he won DuQuoin on Labor Day with a new 100-mile track record as well.

1964 was the super season of A.J. Foyt and meant new records at DuQuoin as well. Champaign’s Don Branson reclaimed the one lap standard (he broke the record in 1960, Rodger Ward lowered it in 1963) breaking into the 33 second bracket, while Foyt averaged nearly 98 mph in winning the Ted Horn 100.

Over the next four decades the one lap record for dirt cars would fall eleven times, while Tom Bigelow became the first driver to run 100 miles on dirt in less than an hour on a track not named Langhorne.

It took lights to send the DuQuoin track record into the stratosphere. Teddy Beach in 2003 set a world record hurling a champ dirt car around DuQuoin at over 120 mph, and Tyler Walker lowered the mark the next year to a 29.138, 123.550 mph, the current track record. A decade earlier Johnny Parsons set a one lap record and then proceeded to run the fastest 100 miles on dirt 56:07.00, 107.047 a mark that still stands.

Stock cars did not appear until 1950. Myron Fohr ran a Lincoln around DuQuoin at a speed that would be slow on the highway, 63.966 mph. His lap would be erased ten times in the next thirty-four years by the likes of Jim Rathmann, Norm Nelson, Whitey Gerken, Nelson Stacy, Norm Nelson, Herb Shannon, Joe Leonard, A.J. Foyt and Jack Bowsher before Ohio’s Bobby Jacks cracked the 100 mph barrier in 1984. Since 1984 the one lap track record has fallen to Ken Rowley (twice), Ben Hess, Tony Stewart (twice), Brian Tyler and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. who broke into the 32 second bracket in a stock car in 2008. However, that was slow compared to the mark set by Sheldon Creed in 2018. The Californian ripped off a world record 31.805 in qualifying, or 113.190, the fastest lap ever by an ARCA car on the mile dirt.

The race record for stock cars at DuQuoin has an interesting history when looking at the changes in sanctioning bodies and the changes in race distance. Jay Frank ran the initial 100 miles in September of 1950 in nearly an hour and forty minutes or about as long as it would take to drive from Carbondale to St. Louis. The 100-mile record would be broken each year through 1958 and then again in 1960and 1961. Don White set records in 1966 at both Springfield and DuQuoin, the latter stood until Jack Bowsher completed the 100 miles in 1:02:52.34 (95.432). When ARCA began sanctioning in 1983 ARCA recognized the mark set by Dean Roper in September of that year, a record that stood until Christian Eckes averaged 92.119 mph in 2019.

Stock cars ran at distances of 200 miles (1984-1991) and 250 kilometers (1992-1995). Dave Goldsberry holds a record for the longest race ever at DuQuoin, nearly three and a half hours to complete the accident plagued 1984 200-miler. The fastest 200 miles was run by the “Black Bandit” Bob Keselwoski in 1988 at over 86 mph. The fastest 250K came in 1993 when Billy Thomas averaged nearly 84 mph.

Race fans can look forward to blistering speeds along with fast competition on Labor Day weekend at DuQuoin. The USAC Ted Horn 100 is slated for 2 p.m. Saturday September 2, and the ARCA Southern Illinois 100 is slated for 8 p.m. Sunday September 3.


Tickets will be available on raceday or by calling the Du Quoin Fair office at 618-542-1535. Info and tickets can also be obtained by calling the Track Enterprises office at 217-764-3200.


Advance Tickets (Presale)

$25 Adults Per Day

$10 Children 11 & Under Per Day

Day Of Tickets (At Gate)

$30 Adults Per Day

$10 Children 11 & Under Per Day

For more information, contact Track Enterprises by calling the office at 217-764-3200 or by visiting their website at