"A History of Brewers Speedway"
- In the words of Brewers Racer Mike Wheeler -
The Brewers story begins in Lawrenceville, Virginia when the Brewer brothers, George, Ervin, Jarvis, and Bobby ruled the 100cc class. The guys that started it all were the Brewer Bros. and names like Jeff Pinno, Johnny Goad, Bob Sharpe, Troy Wheeler, Ralph Grady, Ken Tilley, Terry Temple, Mike Wall, Bill Travis, Glen Wester, Ed Sutton, Leslie Ellis, Dan Ellis, Ted Yarborough, and the "Pops" Pinno, Ezzell, and Sharpe, and many others I fail to remember. Then George got the fever to open a track, a 1/8 mile go kart track in Wilson, NC. Flat track racing was born in Eastern Carolina. George rescued this track from becoming only a memory, graded it with just enough banking and powdered it down with enough calcium to cut through diamonds. Now came the move to Sharpsburg with the 1/4 mile clay oval which had a groove about 18 inches wide, finally being redesigned into a cushion style track where the competition became extremely fierce, and a great crowd pleaser to boot.
Here's some of the names from that era. Van Etheridge, Ron Langley, Wally Walston, Mike Wheeler, Jeff Pinno, Bob Sharpe, Ed Sutton Sr., Eddie Sutton, Ervin Brewer, Ralph Grady, Harris Merrit, Bill Travis, Lance Cherry, Ervin Smith, Sam Anderson, Jim Weaver, Don Williams, Phil Ellis, Bill Travis, Rusty Brewer, Gordon Hodge, Gerald Griffin, Tommy Griffin, Jimmy Pope, Mike Wall, Jimmy Williams, Roy Tennant, Travis Smith, Don Hately, Bobby Yarborough, William Davis, Ken Steele, Jerry Steele, Jerry Pittman, Jeff Land, Randy House, George Webb, Steve Mendenhall, Joe Clay, Jerry Outlaw, Jack McCloud, Chuck Bugsby, Buster Wall, Sammy Langley, Herndon Boyette, Sharky Carter, Bob McCormack, and the Cox brothers; Gary and Jerry; Ricky Farrington, Mark Cox, Mike Eades, Robert Lewis, and too...too many others which I also can't recall at this time. And don’t forget the Dad’s, Chief Etheridge, Avery Davis, Lee Pinno, Louis Ezzell, Pop Sharpe, Mr. Cherry (Lance’s dad) and Mr. Walston (Wally’s dad). We all were family, spending whole weekends at tracks like: Greene's Raceway, Leisure Living Campground, Wallace Speedway, Hickory Fairgrounds, Mountaineer Speedway, Bowman Grey Stadium, Dorton Arena, Cumberland County Speedway, Johnston Co. Speedway, and Wilson Co. Speedway where we would on occasion see the likes of Gary Nixon, Hank Scott, Dick Mann, Bart Markell, Randy Cleek, Tommy Norris, Garth Brow and other AMA greats many of which who would sneak into the Brewers 1/4 mile outlaw track (unsanctioned according to AMA rules) and disguise their identities while getting in some welcomed racing action.
George Brewer was track owner, race starter, promoter, and master of ceremonies all rolled up into one. Brewer’s Speedway also birthed the most unique ending to the night’s racing... “The Grand Finale”. George wanted everyone to have a chance at winning so he began this final event made up of racers who failed to qualify for their class main events. All classes from 100cc – 360cc raced from a staggerd start for a 5 lap shootout that kept the crowd on their feet every time. You never knew whether the 100’s would hold off the big boys or not and often did as it was always anyones race.
Brewers Speedway 1993
Aerial shot provided by Brewers Racer Joe Yanulevich