Cecil Harlan first became interested in racing in the 60's. While working for Donrey Media, he volunteered with the Fort Smith Racing Association. He began working at Tri-State at the pit gate for Gaylon Stokes and Foy Brown and soon afterward was promoting for them. As his love of racing grew over the years, he began operating the race track in 1980.
During his time, both as promoter and owner until 2001, Cecil worked to bring fine stock car racing to the area and to put Tri-State Speedway on the map. Well known NASCAR names such as Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin, along with the late legendary Larry Phillips, were both track champions and regular weekly racers at Tri-State. Thus the origin of "The Legendary Tri-State Speedway ... Where Future Stars Are Born."
In 1999, Cecil was awarded the Lanny Edwards Award, presented by Texas Motor Speedway, that honors individuals who demonstrate perseverance and improvement in short-track racing for competitors and fans and was presented by then Texas Governor, George W. Bush. Most recently he was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Ozark Vintage Racing Association (OVRA) for 30 years of dedication to stock car racing in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri.
Cecil passed away on November 23, 2011 after a battle with Lou Gehrig's Disease. He will be remembered not only at Tri-State Speedway, but all over the region, for many years to come, by fans and drivers alike.
Come help us celebrate his life, and time as the promoter and owner of Tri-State Speedway, this Saturday night, as A-Z Wholesale Warehouses presents the 1st Annual Cecil Harlan Memorial Races.
Just announced on Wednesday, added money in ALL classes by Shamrock Bolt & Screw and Budweiser. $700 to win USRA Modifieds, $425 to win Super Stocks and Economy Modifieds, $325 to win Factory Stocks,and $200 to win Mini-Stocks and Front Wheel Drives. Second place finishers will have added money, too!