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-   -   In Remembrance... The Ghosts of old race tracks (http://autoracingmemories.com/forums/showthread.php?t=175)

webby 05-20-2009 02:39 PM

The Ghosts of old race tracks
 
Old, closed race tracks fascinate me. Especially fascinating to me is seeing the remains of the tracks via Google maps or other sources. This thread is dedicated to cataloging old, closed tracks and their remains as they stand to this day.

I hope you will all help me add to this thread.

webby 05-20-2009 02:42 PM

Re: Ghost Tracks
 
My favorite race track of all-time Lakeside Speedway. Opening in 1938 and closing in 1988. A library of books could be written about the great race cars, drivers and races that graced Lakeside Speedway.

For more on Lakeside Speedway make sure to check out this thread.

Here is how Lakeside Speedway looks today (although I have heard it has been completely torn down since this image was taken).

http://autoracingmemories.com/forums...&pictureid=394

A little closer....

http://autoracingmemories.com/forums...&pictureid=395

webby 05-20-2009 02:46 PM

Re: Ghost Tracks
 
Century 21 Raceways. The 1/3 mile oval opened in 1971 and closed in 1973. Century 21 was located in Aurora Co just off I-70. One cool thing about Century 21 was it's seating, every fan had their own plastic "bucket" seat as opposed to traditional bench seating.

For more on Century 21 click here.

Here is an image of all that is left of Century 21 Raceway....

http://autoracingmemories.com/forums...&pictureid=392

A little closer...

http://autoracingmemories.com/forums...&pictureid=393

webby 05-20-2009 02:55 PM

Re: Ghosts of Race Tracks gone by.
 
Englewood Speedway was one of Denver Colorado most famous and remembered tracks. Englewood Speedway was opened in 1947 and was later paved and hosted some of the most famous races in the history of Colorado racing. Englewood Speedway was located near Hampden and Federal in Englewood Colorado pictured below.

Englewood Speedway Today...

http://autoracingmemories.com/forums...&pictureid=396

Can anyone help me determine where the track was in the picture above? I can't remember. The "A" pin marker is directly at 2801 W. Oxford. It was just to the north of that marker right?

More on Englewood Speedway.

Last images ever taken of Englewood Speedway (images by Mike Bremkamp)

http://autoracingmemories.com/forums...&pictureid=123

http://autoracingmemories.com/forums...&pictureid=124

webby 05-20-2009 03:12 PM

Re: Ghosts of Race Tracks gone by.
 
Rocky Mountain National Speedway was a 3/8ths mile dirt track located in Commerce City Colorado. RMNS was originally named "Raceland" and was a large 1/2 mile dirt track. It closed in 2005.

RMNS as it sits today.
In this picture you can also see Second Creek Raceway the CARC raced on the paved oval portion of the road course a few times.

http://autoracingmemories.com/forums...&pictureid=397

Here is RMNS a bit closer. How accurate is this picture does anyone know? It looks like you could still race there!

http://autoracingmemories.com/forums...&pictureid=398

Olen McGuire 05-20-2009 04:28 PM

Re: Ghosts of Race Tracks gone by.
 
Here is a street view at S. Federal and W. Oxford looking North on Federal Blvd.
It doesn't seem possible that we would be looking at the parking lot at Englewood Speedway.

http://autoracingmemories.com/forums...&pictureid=399

Olen McGuire 05-20-2009 07:09 PM

Re: Ghosts of Race Tracks gone by.
 
Eric shows a google aerial view of Rocky Mountain Speedway above and this is a present day view from Buckley Rd facing east where the stands use to be.There is hardly a trace of the old speedway left.Those aerial views were made a few years ago.A very sad ending.

http://autoracingmemories.com/forums...&pictureid=400

Jeff Isenhart 05-21-2009 09:11 AM

Re: Ghost Tracks
 
The track at Lakeside has not been torn down completely and still looks the same as in the pics you posted. What a shame to see the old girl as she stands today. I have many fond memories of watching races there and as a crew member with Mike Barney and also being on the board of directors at one time. I also was on the crash crew for awhile with the RMMRA at both Lakeside and Englewood. Rest in peace Lakeside.

Olen McGuire 05-21-2009 09:43 AM

Re: Ghosts of Race Tracks gone by.
 
Here is a recent street view of Lakeside Speedway.
Taken from 44th ave this would be the rear of the west stands.

http://autoracingmemories.com/forums...&pictureid=401

Olen McGuire 05-21-2009 11:49 AM

Re: Ghosts of Race Tracks gone by.
 
Here are some pics that Jerry has taken a couple of years ago.These really give you the feeling of a dying race track.



“What were once small weeds are now big trees growing up through what’s
left of Lakeside Speedway. I took these pics Labor Day weekend 2007.” –Jerry Lee
(J.L.M. collection)
http://autoracingmemories.com/forums...&pictureid=402



(J.L.M. collection)
“This is what the North entrance to Lakeside Speedway looks like nowadays.
The refreshment stand is on the left while junk and debris fill the walkway.
Note the trees have grown so thick that they block the way to the East stands.” –Jerry Lee
http://autoracingmemories.com/forums...&pictureid=403



(J.L.M. collection)
“Here’s the West grandstands looking where the start/finish line would be.
The thicket of weeds and trees are reaching the seats in the front row at
this point. The seats are covered in at least an inch of bird droppings.” –Jerry Lee
http://autoracingmemories.com/forums...&pictureid=404

Mitch G. 05-21-2009 12:31 PM

Re: Ghosts of Race Tracks gone by.
 
4 Attachment(s)
While visiting family in Lakewood, last summer I snuck into the old track, and brought my son and daughter with me. My wife who grew up at the track did not want to go in. My daughter shot some photo's. First, looking back down the front chute, toward turn 4. Then, form the front chute out over the infield, looking at the back chute stands, me and webby and our dad sat on the top row at the very end of the stands, closest to where the cars came out of the pits onto the track. Third photo is in the main grandstands, looking toward the announcers booth, from the turn one entrance.
Then a shot right about the start finish line, from the main chute stands. Late July of 2008, what memories.

Mitch G. 05-21-2009 12:41 PM

Re: Ghosts of Race Tracks gone by.
 
O.K. some us strayed away from Lakeside, and Englewood, and Colorado National Speedway. My dream was to to to Ascot Park, Gardena CA. I had read about the CRA (California Racing Association) sprint cars, and the legendary dirt oval. I went for the first time in 1976 ....... WOW! Nowhere, ever, did sprint cars "back in" to the corners like the hero's of the CRA. I became hooked for life, even when owning and driving my own midget at Lakeside, and Raceland, and CNS, I dreamed of running a sprint car at Ascot. I never did, but I went out there many times, and attended the last ever sprint car race, and midget race held in November of 1990. Here is a couple of interesting shots from Gardena, CA.
http://autoracingmemories.com/forums...&pictureid=411
This is Carrell Speedway, a 1/2 mile dirt track very successful from 1940 to 1954, this is 1954. If you look at the drive in theater just to the right of the speedway, to the right is a dark grove of trees, and a salvage yard. The white letters are hard to see, but it says "Future Ascot park site",
and that's where the great Ascot Speedway was built. Carrell Speedway suffered parking problems, and drainage trouble, and gave way to development in 1954.
In 1957 Ascot was built on an old land fill, it was a huge success, this is where legends were born, Parnelli Jones, Jim Hurtubise, Chuck Hulse, Bobby Unser, A.J. Foyt at ran midgets, and sprints many times at Ascot. In the photo below, you can see Ascot, this is 1962, you can see the drive in theater below and to the left of Ascot, and if you look carefully you can see half of the old Carrell Speedway oval under the words "Carrell Site", they built a street right through the middle of the track, and houses exist where the other end of the old 1/2 mile used to be.
http://autoracingmemories.com/forums...&pictureid=410
[I]Ascot was a hit from 1957 till 1990, but alas the Agajanian family had let a developer buy and hold a option on the land. Land in So.Cal became way to valuable, and the new owner closed the track down, it sat vacant for years not making anybody any money, but was finally turned into a auto auction site.[/I]
I've highlighted the above few sentences because I need to correct my posting. I merely repeated what I've heard, and or read in the past, since Ascot was my personal favorite, and in my opinion the greatest dirt track in American history, I felt in necessary to update this post. I've had the great pleasure, and honor of being contacted by Cary Agajanian, the son of the legendary J.C. Agajanian, and he wanted me to set the record straight about the closing of Ascot Speedway. It's a long story, and deserves it's own thread, but for now, I'll write a quick recap of what happened. The land was owned by a Mr. and Mrs. Ziegler, it was a landfill, as far back as the 1930's, but some hopeful business men talked Zeigler into a lease on the property and built LA Speedway (by 1959 it became known as Ascot), it had it's ups and downs, by the 1970's it became obvious to the land owners, that only J.C. Agajanian (who would bring USAC national series to the speedway on special occasions), and his ties to USAC and legacy of successful auto racing promotions coast to coast, could stabilize, improve, and grow the speedway. With the lease in default, Agajanian stepped in, and the rest is history. J.C. Agajanian passed away in 1984, but Cary and his brothers, Chris and Jay, kept the legend going. The lease was up in 1990, Mrs. Ziegler decided to accept the rather "overly optimistic" offer by a land developer, over the existing arrangement with the Agajanian family, who were trying frantically to extend their lease, or even buy the property outright. The new lease holder tore the track down, only made Ziegler a couple payments, and went bust. Mrs. Ziegler wanted the Agajanian family back involved, but the city of LA had "grandfathered" the speedway into it's zoning laws, and would never again allow a race track to be built on that land, with the track torn down, it was a lost cause, this was as painful to the Agajanian family, as it was to it's legions of fans across the US. Again, I want to thank Cary Agajanian for being so gracious with his time, and to contact me and give me the important, and accurate history we try to put forth on our pages. And I'm still in depression over the closing of Ascot, it's why I drink so much.

webby 05-21-2009 01:58 PM

Re: Ghosts of Race Tracks gone by.
 
Here is what Ascot looks like today...
(I made a overlay of where the track was in it's approximate location)
It now looks to be some type of parking lot but not one used for the public because the cars are packed in each row like 4 deep (you need to zoom in way closer to see how the cars are parked). Maybe it's a junk yard or possibly a car dealership? Anyone know?

http://autoracingmemories.com/forums...&pictureid=412

Mitch G. 05-21-2009 04:00 PM

Re: Ghosts of Race Tracks gone by.
 
5 Attachment(s)
Wow, webby that's pretty darn close, here are some Ascot photo's. Check out the aerial, you can see the water canal outside turn 3, and Vermont Ave running along the parking lot. The next photo is the main gate, entrance, up those stairs, through that entrance was something special, a lot like Lakeside Speedway. This double decker bus was outside turn one, you had to be hard core to go here, the mud from the sprint cars was like bullets, people used to watch the races with tear off's on their glasses, no kidding. The next photo is what you got to see once inside those hallowed gates, Steve Ostiling performing a typical Ascot "Broadslide"(early 1980's). Last photo, a sad fate for another great speedway, the remains of turn one.

webby 05-22-2009 09:42 AM

Re: Ghosts of Race Tracks gone by.
 
In post #4 of this thread I posted a picture of where Englewood Speedway was and how it looks today.

Here it is again...

http://autoracingmemories.com/forums...&pictureid=396

As you can see there is not a shred of evidence that a great race track was once there.

So I asked Mitch to overlay an image of Englewood on top of the shot so we could get a feel for where the track was in relation to the map. Mitch said this recreation should be fairly accurate and he took a bit of time making sure the scale was as close as possible.

Therefore... if Englewood hadn't been torn down it would be situated in the shot like this...

http://autoracingmemories.com/forums...&pictureid=419

webby 05-29-2009 02:46 PM

Re: Ghosts of Race Tracks gone by.
 
Mitch what do you know about this old track in Deer Trail Colorado?

http://autoracingmemories.com/forums...&pictureid=457

webby 05-29-2009 02:58 PM

Re: Ghosts of Race Tracks gone by.
 
This is where Continental Divide Raceways was located. This is about 2 miles south of Castle Rock Co. It doesn't look as if there is much evidence left of the track which was a road course, drag strip and half mile oval.

http://autoracingmemories.com/forums...&pictureid=458

Here is a diagram of the track...

http://autoracingmemories.com/forums...&pictureid=459

Continental Divide Raceways diagram overlay. I believe this is how the track was situated when it existed, based on the remnants of the track that are still there.

http://autoracingmemories.com/forums...&pictureid=460

webby 05-29-2009 03:22 PM

Re: Ghosts of Race Tracks gone by.
 
Continental Divide Raceways trivia... Evel Knievel performed there on July 30 1972. Were any of you there?

Rumor has it that Evel almost crashed his plane trying to land it on the drag strip at CDR.

Mitch G. 05-29-2009 04:19 PM

Re: Ghosts of Race Tracks gone by.
 
CDR is all housing now, I have a program from the "Rocky Mountain 150" USAC National Championsip race held on the road course. I was there in 1968, got to see A.J., Bobby Unser, Dan Gurney, Gordon Johncock, all those guys. I'll post the cover later. I don't know anything about the Deer Trail 1/2 mile, it's still there you can see it easily on I-70. I can't find any evidence there was ever an auto race there, it looks neat from the highway. The midget races on the paved track that appear on the DVD I made out of Dad's old 8mm movies, are from CDR's 1/2 mile paved oval, 1960 I believe.

GECCO 08-23-2009 09:33 PM

Re: Ghosts of Race Tracks gone by.
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by webmaster (Post 516)
Mitch what do you know about this old track in Deer Trail Colorado?

I'm pretty sure that's actually a rodeo/fairgrounds facility with a 1/2 mile horse racing track around it. I'll be in the area in the next couple days and try to check it out to confirm.

Flagman 08-26-2009 04:45 PM

Re: Ghosts of Race Tracks gone by.
 
I like and dislike seeing the pics of closed tracks. The history that took place at those hallowed grounds is fascinating. I still dream of Lakeside coming back to life. I miss those hot summer Sunday nights watching the coupes run.

webby 12-29-2009 11:30 AM

Re: Ghosts of Race Tracks gone by.
 
Please add your ghost tracks to this thread! Make sure to include a bit of information about the track, pictures of the track in operation and pictures of the track in it's current form.

jraney 12-31-2009 06:02 AM

Re: The Ghosts of old race tracks
 
2 Attachment(s)
Here are some photos of the old Langhorne Speedway in Langhorne, Pa. The red circle shows where the track used to be. I was fortunate enough to be at the champ car races from 61-71

Mitch G. 01-10-2011 11:14 AM

Re: The Ghosts of old race tracks
 
Check out my newly edited post, on the closing of Ascot Speedway. Cary Agajanian, son of truly legendary J.C. Agajanian, contacted me about the accurate story behind the end of the speedway. I have to tell you, Cary is one of the nicest most patient and friendly people I've had the pleasure to speak to. It was amazing to relive many memories of that wonderful track with someone so directly involved with such a historic speedway.

indybigjohn 01-10-2011 12:23 PM

Re: The Ghosts of old race tracks
 
You will never find anyone connected with motorsports who is as much a gentleman as Cary Agajanian. I was a great fan of his father, who befriended me one night at the Fairgrounds Motor Speedway in Louisville, and he is a credit to his father's memory.

indybigjohn 01-10-2011 12:36 PM

Re: The Ghosts of old race tracks
 
The Fairgrounds Motor Speedway at Louisville, Ky. Opened in 1961, closed after the 1980 season when the state fair board declined to renew the lease. Said they wanted to build horse barns on the site. 30 years later, I think it's still a parking lot. Practically lived there, much of the time as starter/flagman. The irony of the situation is, as I understand it, an audit later disclosed that the speedway was the only entity on the fairgrounds property which actually showed a profit for the state over several of those 20 years. This photo was taken after the expansion from 1/4 to 1/3-mile. I don't think you'll ever see another track built so close to a major city.

http://i256.photobucket.com/albums/h...airgrounds.jpg

Olen McGuire 01-10-2011 01:49 PM

Re: The Ghosts of old race tracks
 
With all the people there, it looks like they needed to extend the grandstands to have more seats. I always like to see that cross in the middle of the track. :)

Nostalgic Mike 01-14-2011 11:49 PM

Re: The Ghosts of old race tracks
 
1 Attachment(s)
This shot is of Turn 3 at the old Century 21 Race track. I was stationed over in Germany at the time this track was in operation and never did get the chance to see any races run. I have been told though that the track was scary fast for all divisions. My son Scott and I took a day several years back and walked the place getting pictures and wondering what it must ave been like for the spectators and drivers! You can hardly make out any part of the figure 8 that was there. What's left of the seating was just the pedestal that the bucket seats were bolted to! It was fun just taking time to wlak the area, but sad to knwo that a great race track just sis there now, tree and weed infested and so quiet and dormant! I hope someone has some of the pictures from when thr track was open and running to add to the "before factor" IF any one wnats to see more of the 50 some odd pics we took there on that day, just ask and we can ad them here or I would be happy to email them to you. The stories that this track can tell even in it's very short life span!!...Mike B

webby 01-15-2011 12:15 PM

Re: The Ghosts of old race tracks
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Nostalgic Mike (Post 5496)
I hope someone has some of the pictures from when thr track was open and running to add to the "before factor"

I think there are several images of Century 21 floating around ARM in various threads. Here is a thread dedicated to the track.

I was lucky enough to go there several times when I was a kid. It was a really neat place.

indybigjohn 01-17-2011 11:17 AM

Re: The Ghosts of old race tracks
 
While we're talking about ghost tracks, how about the "old" Atlanta Motor Speedway? I know there's a 1.5-mile track there now, but it's a "cookie cutter" style track. They took one of the best tracks away when they reconfigured that oval. Not enough pure ovals on the NASCAR circuit now. I remember the first time ASA ran there in conjunction with CART. After I got up on the flagstand, Rex Robbins keyed his radio and said, "What's it look like, Potts?"

I told him it looked like Salem with a thyroid problem.

Olen McGuire 01-17-2011 01:06 PM

Re: The Ghosts of old race tracks
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by indybigjohn (Post 5513)
While we're talking about ghost tracks, how about the "old" Atlanta Motor Speedway?





Atlanta International Raceway on October 23, 1990 was renamed Atlanta Motor Speedway.
Click HERE for it's history.

NC Ghost Hunter 05-19-2011 09:17 PM

Re: The Ghosts of old race tracks
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jraney (Post 2897)
Here are some photos of the old Langhorne Speedway in Langhorne, Pa. The red circle shows where the track used to be. I was fortunate enough to be at the champ car races from 61-71

Langhorne was actually larger than the red area. Check out all the aerials for PA @ pennpilot.psu.edu

NC Ghost Hunter 05-19-2011 09:21 PM

Re: The Ghosts of old race tracks
 
Still trying to nail down the location of the Motordrome the real OLD Atlanta track. It was on the site of the current airport somewhere. I can find a layout and mention of the last remnant being bulldozed but i cant find and evidence of it.

billmc 09-29-2011 11:00 PM

Re: The Ghosts of old race tracks
 
Olen
Maybe you can help me revive a very old memory. I have been mulling over a trip to denver in 1950 (was born and raised in Memphis Tn). During that visit our family attended the midget races at a paved track with a quirky enclosed grandstand that looked like an old baseball park. I remember that the bottom of the grandstand was enclosed by chainlink fencing because my mom dropped one of her shoes in there and i had to find the proper person to unlock it and then plow through waist deep beer/soft drink cans to find it. The place really impressed me because i had never before seen a paved track or witnessed an Offy doing it's thing. One other thing, it seems to me (out of the dim dark past) that Elitchs (Spelling?) Gardens was nearby and Frankie Caryle and his orchestra was performing.
I'm kinda hoping the place was Lakeside since i have read so many good things about the place on this website.
I would appreciate it if you could give me your opinion.
Thanks
Bill

Mitch G. 09-30-2011 08:23 AM

Re: The Ghosts of old race tracks
 
Billmc,
I can help with a little info. In 1950 the only midget track operating in Colorado was Lakeside Speedway. The opener was May 21, Keith Andrews won the feature, Tommy Rice won his first main on May 28. By July 23 Roy Bowe had 6 feature wins (trying for a 3rd straight title), he did not win another main, or the title that year. Sonny Coleman in the Kenz&Leslie Kurtis V8-60 started winning features in July, and Buddy Shay won the last 3 mains of the year, Coleman was the 1959 RMMRA and Lakeside midget champ the first to win a title in a non-Offy powered midget since 1939. Gib Lilly and Pete Headrick, Brad Bradford also won features that year, the safest season of midget racing in Colorado up to that point in time. Lakeside was located at 44th ave, and Sheridan Blvd, Elitches Gardens was close by on 38th ave and Tennyson Blvd. If you rode either roller coaster, the Cyclone at Lakeside or Mister Twister, or the Wildcat at Elitches, when you got to the top of the coasters highest hill, you could see the other coaster at the other park! Most of the big bands of the era played at Elitches "Tracadero Ballroom", and at Lakeside. The parks were less than a mile apart, so I'm guessing you were indeed at Lakeside Speedway in 1950.

Olen McGuire 09-30-2011 08:52 AM

Re: The Ghosts of old race tracks
 
Hey Bill, I didn't get to Denver until 1958. I started going to the auto races at Englewood Speedway in the 60's and to the late 70's. Mitch is right on with the two parks as I remember them. I did attend a few races at Lakeside and as Mitch said, you had to indeed be at Lakeside Speedway when you were there in 1950.

parrot 09-30-2011 04:25 PM

Re: The Ghosts of old race tracks
 
Yup! Bill, pretty sure you were at Lakeside Speedway. As for the Trocadero Ballroom at Elitch Gardens, remember dancing there. Great place to take your best girl. Lakeside Park also had well known bands playing at their El Patio Ballroom at the north end of the park. The CARC (Colorado Auto Racing Club) hosted some of their non racing events there as well.

billmc 10-01-2011 12:43 AM

Re: The Ghosts of old race tracks
 
Wow, that's what i call a response. Thanks MitchG, Olen Mcguire and Parrot. I must say MitchG, you do seem to have a total record of that period and i do now remember "Mister Twister". It was a beautiful spring evening and i can still remember how the sound of the engines blasted into that old curved grandstand roof.
Great Memories fellas
Billmc

nitro4dave 10-04-2011 07:39 PM

Re: The Ghosts of old race tracks
 
although not related to racetracks, the mention of the troc ballroom brought bac soom cool memories. if anyone else remembers how there was a "gap" when you stepped in. the entire ballroom was suspended on huge coil springs (made from horsehair i was told) so the whole floor floated and moved when the bands of the day were jumpin' and had the patrons cuttin' a rug. i did see the springs in the junk pile when they tore the place down in the 70's, they were 6-7 feet tall and about 3 ft in dia.. didn't get to hall one home was too big to hide from the folks at the time:chuckle:

JRHud 12-03-2011 01:57 PM

Re: The Ghosts of old race tracks
 
2 Attachment(s)
Here's a ghost image of where South Bay Speedway 117 was located southeast of San Diego.
This was one of the tracks in addition to Ascot that the CRA ran at. I was fortunate enough to run at both in the late 70's-early 80's.


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