Among the deepest traditions in the ARCA Menards Series is the late-summer race on the one-mile clay oval at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds in DuQuoin, Illinois.
With the exception of a couple years, including 2020, when the DuQuoin State Fair shut down amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the track has hosted the Southern Illinois 100 once a year since 1983. And that doesn’t include ARCA’s first four DuQuoin visits in the late 1950s.
Located in the southern part of the state about 90 miles southeast of St. Louis, the track appropriately nicknamed the “Magic Mile” is one of two one-mile clay ovals remaining on the ARCA Menards Series schedule. The other, the Springfield Mile at the Illinois State Fairgrounds, is located about 150 miles north of DuQuoin.
The magic this track produces — especially with a newfound tradition of running the Southern Illinois 100 under the lights — is a big reason why it’s a favorite among ARCA Menards Series drivers and teams.
Below is everything you need to know about the “Magic Mile” at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds.
Track Profile: DuQuoin State Fairgrounds
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The DuQuoin State Fair was founded in 1923, but the racetrack was not constructed until 1946 ahead of its first national championship race in 1948.
The venue over the years has gone through a series of grandstand upgrades upon adding events, from horse races to auto races to concerts during the fair.
What’s now the ARCA Menards Series first raced at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds in 1957, when Jerry Unser became the 39th different winner in series history. That race was part of a DuQuoin doubleheader; the next day, Jimmy Bryan became the 40th different winner in series history.
ARCA raced at DuQuoin again in 1958 and 1959, with Fred Lorenzen winning both races, before a 24-year hiatus. The series returned in 1983.
Since then, ARCA has raced at DuQuoin as part of the fair every year since, with the exceptions being 2012 (weather) and 2020 (pandemic). Frank Kimmel, the series’ all-time wins leader, has the most DuQuoin victories with five.