Glenn Donnelly

Glenn Donnelly

Auto Racing

Enshrined: 2006

Glenn Donnelly played football at Baldwinsville High and halfback at South Dakota State before becoming the founder and promoter of DIRT Motorsports, one of the country’s more prominent short-track racing organizations.

In 1970, Donnelly quit his promising job at General Electric and bought the old Weedsport Speedway, a bullring track where he ran the concessions and learned about dirt car racing. In 1972, he became Director of Racing at the New York State Fair, where he dreamed up the idea of Super Dirt Week, the Super Bowl of dirt track racing.

Soon, Donnelly was networking with other dirt track owners and attracting the attention of sports writers with his Super Dirt Series as well as the imagination of big time sponsors thirsty for the big TV audience his racing shows were producing. Even the networks got into the act. ESPN, TNN and TBS covered Donnelly’s events and his highlights shows. “This Week in DIRT” audiences were topping the 100 million mark each week. America’s sports idols included guys like “Barefoot” Bob McCreadie and Brett Hearn.

Under Donnelly’s guidance for nearly 30 years, DIRT Motorsports grew into the top regional sanctioning body of short-track racing on dirt in the country including 27 full-member tracks.

In 1986, Donnelly was named Short Track Promoter of the Year by his peers and Racing Promoters Monthly. Almost single-handedly, Donnelly made DIRT one of the largest and most successful motor sports sanctioning governing bodies in the country. He opened the DIRT Car Museum and Hall of Fame in Weedsport, NY in 1992.

Donnelly sold his racing empire to Boundless Motor Sports, Inc. in 2004. He departed with over 70 speedways raising the DIRT banner for both weekly and special events across the country.

Career highlights

1970: Bought Weedsport Speedway track for stock car racing

1972: Becomes Racing Director at the NYS Fairgrounds; created Super Dirt Week at the Syracuse Mile; added Rolling Wheels and Canandaigua tracks to the fold for local racing

1974: He founded DIRT Motorsports with two tracks

1992: Opened the DIRT Hall of Fame and Classic Car Museum in Weedsport

2004: Donnelly sells DIRT Motorsports and retires

2004: Inducted into the Lowe’s Motor Speedway (Concord, NC) “Dirt Walk of Fame”

 

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