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Race Tracks Everyone has their favorite race track(s) growing up as a kid. In this forum you can discuss your favorite old race track. Make sure to title your new thread with the name of the race track.



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Old 09-20-2009, 08:33 PM   #11
carc7
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Talking Re: Lakeside Speedway - Denver Colorado

Well, Bill, you do pre-date me, then, because I remember going to the Lakeside Shopping Center (then the largest between the Mississippi and the west coast) shortly after it opened, but don't remember the land without it! Maybe that explains why you have more gray hairs than I do.

But it was fun to watch the sunset between qualifying runs, and I do remember being in the stands in 1969 when they shut the cars down to announce that we had a man on the moon! The moon was almost full that night, and I can still picture it through the chain link fence that was mounted behind us.

Another great memory was being able to climb over the backs of the seats as we cut diagonally from our seats to the exit leading between the main grandstands and the turn 1 stands, to get to the pits. We beat a lot of people out by not having to stand in line! Also, if somebody bought a program but left it on the seat, it was mine!

When I was in high school, we sat up top in the 4th turn because we got there late (my buddy, who drove, wasn't concerned about qualifying - the heathen!) and I dropped my jacket underneath the stands. After the races, we had to wait with a CARC official until the stands were cleared, and he opened the door to underneath. I retrieved my jacket and had to explain to my mom that no, I hadn't been drinking beer; that got spilled on it down there! And the mud from the beer, too! NEVER did that again!
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Old 09-21-2009, 05:49 PM   #12
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Default Re: Lakeside Speedway - Denver Colorado

Paul, you triggered another memory. On those nights when I was 'on call' , I wouldn't risk going to the races for fear I'd get called away. A trick I quickly learned was to go to the track just before or when one of the mains events was on, no one taking tickets by then, so just walked in, grabbed a seat in turn four, and hoped after the last race that someone left their program on the seat. Picked up several that way.

A parking lot memory that most may not remember is the 44th Ave exit after the races. Instead of exiting the front gate onto Sheridan BLVD, It let cars out from the east lot, not far from that alley you mentioned right onto 44th Ave. The gate is still there, but probably hasn't been used in decades. That was before I-70, so zig zagging through the north Denver neighborhoods to get out of Denver was always interesting as we would come across a lot of stock cars being towed home. BP
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Old 09-21-2009, 07:59 PM   #13
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Default Re: Lakeside Speedway - Denver Colorado

Leaving the track was pretty easy for us. We usually went to the pits after the races and by the time we were done there, the traffic in the west lot was pretty sparse. If he had to get right home because Dad actually wanted to sleep before going to work on Monday, we had to dodge some cars on the way out. But we'd get to the car (after the pits) and would see a lot of the cars on their trailers as the crews and drivers would chow down at the Chicken King Restaurant before hitting the road. I vividly remember Jim Malloy's #16 on the trailer the night it got trashed after a run-in with Sam Sauer's #28. It was a mess!
Another required accessory was our trusty pair of binoculars. We'd see the blue light flashing from the far corner of the pits and use them to see who's car was getting welded on. And to check the damage on cars being towed to the pits. And, most importantly later on, to check out the trophy girls! I remember watching Tommy Pryor, Jr. through the binoculars as he rolled the aluminum-framed #73 into the infield. Can still picture it in my noggin. Fibreglass pieces flying EVERYWHERE!
You were mentioning the beer sellers. They didn't care if you were 16 or 86, as long as you wouldn't say anything. When we were in high school, my buddy, who was 17, signalled to him as a joke, and he came and sold Joe a beer! "Ice cold beer here" was the call. What a hoot!
Were you around in the late '60s when they sold the frozen chocolate covered bananas? Sounded terrible, but they were actually pretty good!
I also remember heading to the pits after the races, especially earlier, and having people running and yelling because there was another fight. Frequently started or ended at the Sauer pit, strangely enough. Can't imagine Sam being in a fight (he said sarcastically)! But when we got around the cars, we'd feel the tires to see how hot they still were. And seeing some of those drivers. . . I wasn't worthy to stand on the ground they walked on. If they had only known. . . Still felt that way when I met Fritz Wilson in the early 2000's. Oh, my gosh. . . that's FRITZ WILSON! Even when I hated to see him win back in the day, because it meant that Sam didn't!
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Old 09-22-2009, 02:36 PM   #14
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Default Re: Lakeside Speedway - Denver Colorado

I would like to compliment Thomas and Bill on their excellent articles. All of the entries on this post really bring back fond memories.

I started going to Lakeside in 1960. I would accompany the Huntsinger family and sit in the northeast corner. When the regular season was over my mom would let me walk across Berkeley Park to go to the afternoon races. We lived at 48th and Newton St. and I-70 didn't exist yet. Later we moved to Aurora and it meant quite a bit of begging to be hauled across town to watch the races. We moved back to North Denver a year later to 44th and Irving and my attendance went back up. My folks weren't racing fans so my dad would drop me off at 45th and Sheridan across from the auto gate. Today there is a Shamrock station on that corner, but back then it was a vacant lot. I would generally go alone, it didn't matter to me as long as I was there. I would sit in the east covered grandstand, second row, in front of the first support beam. The view was unobstructed. After the races I would go to the pay phone outside the north gate and call home. I'd wait for my dad on Sheridan where I had been let off.

When I got older I would walk to the track and once I bought a motorcycle, I was set. In high school I had a couple of buddies that would join me. One friend of mine tried to talk me into buying a modified but at 18 and 1-A with the draft it didn't make much sense.


Paul, we pulled the same stunt, faking out the beer guy. You're right they didn't care as long as they didn't get caught.

In the '70's we also used the west gate leaving the races, with the race car in tow it was easier to exit the shopping center than to get out on Sheridan. They pernanently closed that gate when the shopping center complained the race track traffic was tracking too much dirt and mud into the parking lot.

My wife and I went to the races when we were dating and contiued after we were married. My wife worked in the pit shack when I returned to racing in the '80's. It's a big part of both of our lives.


Lakeside was a magical place to me. On one season of "The Twilight Zone", Rod Serling would open the show saying "It's a dimension of sight and sound and mind." Lakeside felt that way to me. The lights of the amusement park, the sights, sounds, and smells of the race track and the lights of the surrounding area. Nothing supernatural but a sensory overload that I haven't experienced since the grand old place closed.

I will always have fond memories of Lakeside and the heroes of my youth and of the friends I made there.

Chris Ertler "Professor Coupe"
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Old 09-22-2009, 04:09 PM   #15
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Default Re: Lakeside Speedway - Denver Colorado

Here's Frankie mantello (93), Eddie Jackson (5), Grier Manning (42), and Earl Kouba (55) contesting a trophy dash in 1963. Bet some of your were there. From the looks of the stands you could probably pick yourself out Sad to see so few attending.
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Old 09-22-2009, 05:27 PM   #16
carc7
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On the midget picture from 1963, those were great years for racing. We went to a few midget races, but to be honest, I was one of those who preferred the stockers because there was more action (read: CRASHES). And when there were crashes, people generally didn't get hurt seriously, as was more likely to be the case with the midgets. I appreciated the midgets more as I grew up, and although my brother Jim prefers them, I still love the CARC modifieds. But to me, there still hasn't been racing like that during the early years at Lakeside. I mean, come on, over 100 cars show up!

Time Trials at 7:00, Races at 8:00! So we didn't even START until 8:00. Yeah, it went late some nights, but GAWD, what great racing! Until Don Wilson got some years in the 19 car, the Main Event was open! Sometimes guys who ran at the front of the Fast A field would actually win! And those 100-lappers; WOW! Here's to us old-timers dribbling in our beer!
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Old 09-23-2009, 09:56 AM   #17
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Default Re: Lakeside Speedway - Denver Colorado


Midgets, what a car

May favorite midget events at Lakeside . . .

The 4 car, 4 lap trophy dash. 4 for 4, what an event

The 40 or 50 lap main event.

And paricipating with some of the owners and drivers in walking the midgets to the start finish line for the driver introductions for the main event and some times for the trophy dash.

May favorite midget (and I liked them all) was Ray Koch's #93, I even built a scale model of it for Frank Mantello, using Monograms models Midget Race Car. I also built cars for Ed Jackson #5, Warren Hamilton #6 (green), Dave Barlett #15, Jack Peachey #1, and a black #55 for Earl Kouba.

I remember when there were times infield was the pit area.

I also like the watching the CARC stockers, the modifieds, and those 50 lap flag to flag main events. Didn't care much for the wings though.



"Stay tuned for the greatest spectacle in racing" ~ Sid Collins

LAKESIDE - Late at night by the old Lakeside Speedway, you can hear the ghosts - The barking, crackling "Flathead Fords", the zinging "Chevy Stove Bolt's", The rumbling of the "KK-Offy's", and the snarling "Ford V8-60's". Listen and faintly hear the announcer say, "Ladies and gentlemen, the line up for the trophy dash," and the place would erupt with the mix echoes of cheers and boo's...Remember...
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Old 09-23-2009, 11:01 AM   #18
Mitch G.
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Default Re: Lakeside Speedway - Denver Colorado

Wow! the story's just keep getting better and better. We used to sit top row, on the back chute, as far up in the south corner under the covered stands. My dad used to draw sketch's of race cars on the wall behind our seats, wonder if the drawings are still there. Jimmy K, that's the picture of the week for sure!
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Old 09-23-2009, 05:44 PM   #19
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Since you liked that one, here are couple more. The first is Speed Roberts in the Lively Duece (2) leading Foster Campbell (4). It not clear, but I think the third place car is Grier Manning. The second shot is Earl, leading Joe Giba, with Grier Manning avoiding a Frankie Mantello oops.
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Old 09-23-2009, 06:04 PM   #20
Mitch G.
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Man, your killin' me, those are amazing. I try to tell younger fans who will never see, what we got to see. Imagine a trophy dash at Lakeside with the midgets, the 4 cars slowly circle the track, line up, pick up speed on the back chute, get the green flag, those 4 Offy's screaming, (Maybe a hot Chevy II), and as the cars near the first turn, all four drivers, like poetry in motion, all lean as far out of the car as they can!! You would have to see it to believe it, I'm lucky I got to see it and can remember what it looked like. As they flash by and enter the next turn, all four drivers again almost simultaneously lean toward the infield, out of the cockpit to fight the centrifugal force of the corner, or to aid in weight distribution in cornering?, it was awesome to see. There is nothing in auto racing like it today.
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