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  • Trackrats

    Is there a track that means more to you than any others? Or is there more than one, for that matter? I wonder. This past Sunday I was at Salem and talked, as always I do, with a fine lady named Terri Boling. Salem has, I'm sure, its share ot trackrats, but I'd match Terri against most anyone there. She is there for each race, no matter who or what is running, with a bias for open wheel racing.

    I'd not wish to narrow my choices down to one; I'd doubt if there is any way I could anyway.

    But...if I had to, they'd be...Bloomington and Lawrenceburg. I'll stop at 2 because these are 2 places where you'll find me most any Friday or Saturday night. Can tell you that racefan20 is often with me on Fridays and itsanonwingthing is often with me (if he's not in the infield taking pictures) on Saturday night. And poor Liz is at Lincoln Park. Or Terre Haute.

  • #2
    In Indiana my choices would be Tri-State and Salem. Eldora and Milwaukee are right up there. And from back home (NY, NJ, PA, and NE) Lincoln and Thompson are my favorites.
    Dwight Clock


    • #3
      Manzanita, 'cause that's where my oldest memories are.


      • #4
        Lawrenceburg - Any Sat. Nite when USAC Sprints are not running elsewhere within 3 hours driving time.


        Eldora - Whenever USAC Sprints are in the house.
        Marv Fish


        • #5
          Bring back Sacramentos West Capitol speedway, where the mud flies so heavy and fast you couldnt tell wether it is going up or coming down!
          Born Again Race Fan seen at


          • #6
            I have a love/hate relationship with Lincoln Park - there's at least one evening a year when I decide I've had enough but always seem to change my mind come April. By far I've seen more races at Terre Haute than anywhere else, it's where I started.

            The track of my heart in many respects would be IMS - a lot of years & emotion invested even though things there are not as I think they should or could be.

            I have to also give a nod to the "old" IRP - before it was nascarized. Warped seats, skunks under the stands, and all - it felt like home. I could let the kids play on the hill between races & they had a great time. You could meet your favorite drivers easily in the pits after the race. Come to think of it, the drivers walked around the grandstand area quite a bit too. And you didn't have to pay $10 to park!


            • #7
              Hatfield Speedway in Pa for me. My grandparents lived down the street from there and during the week I would ride my bicycle out there and just sit in the stands remembering the great races I had seen there.
              Every now and then Mr Marshman would be there and I would tag along with him and of course he let me think I was helping him in whatever chore he was doing. I really loved that place, and boy was the racing great there.
              First it was a dirt 1/2 mile then they paved it, then they put a 1/3 mile high bank dirt track inside that and for me thats where the great memories started
              watching the "Untouchable" Red Riegel battle with the likes of King Carpenter Dutch Schafer, Len Duncan and Ernie McCoy.

              I cried when they closed that place and for years after they did I would still drive my car out there and look around at the grounds and remember.


              • #8
                Mother Duck will have to back in my files and dig out the late Len Calinoff's piece on Hatifeld.

                Yes, that was a track that was condusive to great racing.


                • #9
                  At one time I claimed to love Shadyhill Speedway. Over the past couple of years I've come to realize that it's not the speedway that I love but rather the folks in the pits and many of it's regular fans in the stands. It's ashame that the owner doesn't get any better at preparing a good race track for it's competitors. After about six years of ownership he is no better now than at the beginning of preparing a race track. He has a goldmine and doesn't seem to realize it and only looks to do what puts money in his pocket and doesn't seem to care for the fans in the stands or the competitors who put the show on for him. The folks in the pits are what makes SHS special!

                  Good judgement comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgement.


                  • #10
                    Thanks Taz would love to re-read it. Hatfield was the neatest track and who could forget those smells on a hot summer night.
                    Sitting up in the Grandstands with the smell of fresh slaughtered Pig all around you.
                    People some nights it was a true test of your love for racing that kept you sitting there. Wouldnt trade it for the world.


                    • #11
                      LIKE A HOOKER….FAST & DIRTY by Len Calinoff

                      The following was written by the late Len Calinoff in September of 2002. With the mention of the Hatfield Speedway in this thread I felt it was only appropriate to once again sahre this with you. The origional copy appeared on OpenWheelRacing.com

                      LIKE A HOOKER….FAST & DIRTY

                      By Len Calinoff

                      I don’t know how many times I have been asked (maybe twice) “what is the best track you ever saw a race at” Well, Hershey PA, was great, ditto Freeport here on long Island, and the Danbury, CT Fairground’s was outstanding, with it’s lighting that was almost as good as sunlight…and a sod infield. Then there was the mile at Trenton, NJ…Langhorne (although I hated the place)…John LeVan will agree with me about the merit’s of theReading , Pa. Track…and I enjoyed the cozy little bull ring at Dorney park in Allentown, PA…. When Mike Calinoff promoted at the Sandusky, OH Speedway, I used to “commute” there every weekend, to watch the great super-mod’s there (he let me in for senior’s price).

                      But there is one track that will forever be etched in my mind…the Hatfield Hi Speedway in Hatfield, Pa…. It started out as a half-mile dirt and was paved in the 1950’s…and became one of the fastest tracks on the nation. Despite the fact that it was ½ mile oval you could turn speeds there which one thought could be only turned on a mile track. Example…the ARDC sanctioned a race at the Trenton Fairground’s for a Sunday afternoon and had time trials on Saturday afternoon. That day Dutch Schaefer turned fast time on the Trenton mile at just over 100 mph. That evening the ARDC traveled to Hatfield for a 50 lapper and Schaefer once again cranked fast time at 101 mph !

                      When the crowd’s started to fall off at Hatfield, and promoter George Marshman (Bobby’s dad)…decided to change to change the racing surface to a 1/3 mile banked dirt oval in an effort to stimulate more business. It worked… In 1959, the track became one of the best attended midget tracks in the east…to say the racing was sensational, would be an understatement….it was awesome (sorry I used your favorite word Jeff Gordon).

                      The place was great ..well almost, there were a few things that
                      left a lot to be desired… As you arrived at the track, you could smell it, the pig farm across the street from the pit gate. Not only that, but the area was dirty… …it was just that the race cars sprayed dirt & clay every place, in and out of the racing facility. When you arrived at the track and bought a ticket, the ticket was covered with dirt from the track. You went to the concession stand and purchased one of the PA Dutch Pretzel’s and when they gave it to you, you told the vendor “ I don’t want a chocolate covered one” and he said, “that aint chocolate, that is the stuff from the track”. And the rest of the food, oh my…you purchased a raisin cake ..and the raisins were MOVNG. And the men’s room, wow…a great looking concrete wall with a trough. And the music…geez .Marshman who announced along with his son-in-law Dick heist, brought one record to the track, it was a banjo rendition of “ When You’re Smiling’…and he played it all night…over an over. Want to hear more ? at most races there were four Boston Terrier’s present…car owner Bill Dorer brought his, ditto driver Bill Brown, along with Ernie Mc Coy (I still remember the dog’s name Bunky) and my Boston (Stormy)…and I had a problem with my dog, he refused to sit on the ground…it was so dirty I had to bring a pillow case with me so he could sit down. And if the above wasn’t bad enough, when it came time to leave, you needed a trowel to scrape the mud and clay off the windows of your car.

                      So you may ask, was there anything good about the place ? Well there were only two good thing’s about the joint… the condition of the dirt surface, I have never since then seen a track where the racing was so fast on dirt because of the way the track was set up…better than Eldora and “Terry Hawt”. The other good thing…the races them selves…to say that they were exciting, would be an understatement. It was like when you dropped the green flag, every driver in the race had a chance, and they did until “HE” came along…William “Red” Riegel from Leesport, PA. That red-headed kid forever changed the way races were run there. They ran 20 features there in three season’s , Riegel won 14 of them, and aside from the Jim Barcley Offy, he also drove 4 other cars. Red had the other driver’s (with the exception of Ernie Mc Coy, who won five) talking to themselves. Even the great Dutch Schaefer (The original Intimidator) was “spooked” by Riegel. He was obsessed in beating Riegel. He once told me. .”If I could beat that kid, I would give him all my purse money”. Well one night Dutch told me he had THE car, and the only way Riegel was going to pass him was to leave the track, drive through the parking lot and come back on the track. I watched Schaefer in warm-up’s and he had the right rear chipping paint off the wooden guard rail, and I started think that this might be the night…you couldn’t slip a fly between Dutch and guard rail. Schaefer started up front third row on the outside…and Riegel 20th, in the last row. At the end of 50 laps, there was Riegel driving around the track with the checker in his hand, and Schaefer shaking his head, and he turned to me and said…”Didn’t I tell you what he was going to do, that Redheaded SOB, drove through the parking lot and passed me”.! Maybe a half hour later, Schaefer went to the pay off window, and standing in front of him was William “Red” Riegel, and Dutch patted him on the back and said, you were good tonight…you ever beat me to the pay off” .

                      I could go on and on about Hatfield, like the night they brought Parnnelli Jones and “Herk” in to drive…and they put on one of the finest exhibition’s of midget drivers ever seen. Then there was the time the ARDC ran an afternoon race at the Flemington NJ Fairground’s, and then went to Hatfield for a night show. The driver who won at Flemington also won the feature at Hatfield, but that is not where the story end’s. In addition to the regular main, they ran a second main event , because the previous feature was rained out…and the same guy won again. It made racing history, and the almost unknown driver gained national fame…and downthrough the years Mario Andretti still maintains his fame.

                      I failed to mention the fact that during that era, I was the PR director for the ARDC, and was partly responsible for the “booking” of Jones & Hurtubise, a situation which proved to be the most embarrassing moment in my association in auto racing. When the deal to being them in was finalized, I sent a press release to the Illustrated Speedway News, which stated that they would be driving there and I gave the date….WRONG…I gave the date a week to early, and one Saturday night the Hatboro PA police called George Marshman at his home, and said there was a mob of people, going nut’s outside the track, they wanted to know why the race with Parnelli Jones & Hurtubise was called off ! Well Marshman went to the track and must have handed out 300 free tickets for the race which was actually the following week. I am now grateful….that Illustrated was the only paper that ran the story with the wrong date. For weeks after that, every time I went into the pit’s at an ARDC race, one of the driver’s would ask me, “where are we racing next week” and when I told him, the reply was always the same. .”ARE YOU SURE” ?

                      I could go on and on about the great Hatfield Hi Speedway, and as I sit here typing with two fingers, I can close my eyes and almost see Duncan, Schaefer, Mc Coy, Jiggs (Peters), King Carpenter, Gig Stephens, Mario and the driver the called the “UNTOUCHABLE” , William “Red” Riegel….

                      As I stated above….The Place Was Like A Hooker…Fast And Dirty”.
                      I still remember the place like it happened yesterday …and it was 40 years ago.

                      Thanks for reading


                      • #12
                        My favs.

                        I would have to divide my favorites into two groups - Indy car tracks and sprint car tracks.

                        Indy car tracks would have to be Indy first of course followed by Phoenix. Must say Milwaukee and Laguna Seca were also awesome.

                        Sprint car tracks would have to be Eldora followed by Gas City. I would also have to give serious consideration to Bloomington or Lawrenceburg. They keep short track racing like it should be!


                        • #13
                          For Indy cars, USAC sprints, and USAC Silver Crowns (especially the soon to be outdated ones) I'm gettin' kind of partial to Richmond. Virginia, that is.


                          • #14
                            You can all laugh at me, but Syracuse means a lot to me...
                            "In memory of #17 Ronnie & Dick "Toby" Tobias."


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