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#1 Barry Boor

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Posted 28 January 2001 - 22:45

After I had stopped drooling at the Birdcage Maserati on the back of the latest issue of Motor Sport, (if I win the lottery before 26 March - I'm having it!) I resolved to read, yet again, Joel Finn's excellent book about those wonderful cars.

In the sections given over to the successes or otherwise of those cars that had been purchased by American drivers, many races were described at tracks all over the United States.

Although I am a self-confessed circuit freak, I must admit that so many circuits mentioned in those pages were unknown to me, I listed them and went to Darren Galpin's fantastic circuit database expecting to see maps of them all.

Imagine my surprise on finding that of 27 circuits I did not know, only 5 were listed by Darren.

So, can anyone suggest a way of finding out what the others looked like? And at the same time, making Darren's site even more complete.

Here is a list of the missing circuits: in no particular order;
Pensacola (Fla); Marlboro (Maryl); Cumberland (Maryl);
Montgomery (NY); Louisville (Ky) (Not the oval shown on Darren's site); Pomona (Cal); Lawrenceville (Ill);
Roosevelt Field (NY); Oaklahoma City; Vaca Valley (?);
Cotati (Cal); Midland (Tex); Mansfield (Lou);
Vineland (NJ); Danville (Vir); Courtland (Al);
Hondo (Tex); Hammond (Lou); Norman (Oak);
Green Valley (Tex); Tucson (Ar); Oakland (Cal);
Santa Barbara (Cal).



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#2 fines

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Posted 28 January 2001 - 23:30

At Pomona there used to be a famous drag strip. Cotati is known to me as the home of a twenties' board track, but I can't imagine any Birdcage Maseratis driving there! Surely that was razed.

#3 Barry Boor

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Posted 29 January 2001 - 00:24

It seems they built a road course there after demolishing the speedway.

#4 GT Action Photo

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Posted 29 January 2001 - 05:32

Bird Cage Maseratis:
What do you give to a man that has everything ?
An other Bird Cage Maserati.

Jim Hall (65) and Roger Penske (6)
Posted Image
Photo: GT Action Photo

Roster of Tipo 60/61 Maseratis:
http://www.symbolicm...M_birdcage.html

Old American Circuits:

This site has some information about Pensacola,Marlbroro, Cumberland,Vineland and Santa Barbara.
http://www.na-motors...ks/roadcrs.html

Vaca Valley is located in northern California.

Louisville,Ky was a temporary circuit around the
State Fairgrounds (not the horse track),
with haybales,phone poles,fences,and fire plugs.

Lawrenceville,ILL circuit was the WW II George Field,
a bomber training base for the Army Air Force.
The wide concrete runways and roads were used in
different configurations.The Centeral Illinois Region
of the Sports Car Club of America was the host
and conducted races from the mid-1950s thru the early
mid-1960s.
Entries came from a 300 mile radius,places like Chicago, Detroit,St.Louis,Cincinnati,and Memphis.

Many of the listed circuits are now defunct.They were often
temporary in nature,on unused WW II airbases,in city parks,
and on real motor racing circuits.

I hope that this is some help.

With kind regards,
Gary Trobaugh[p][Edited by GT Action Photo on 01-29-2001]

#5 Marcor

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Posted 29 January 2001 - 05:38

I quote Tom Burnside, extract from AMERICAN RACING Road Racing in the 50s and 60s.

"...Airports and their support roads offered a safer, more easily controlled venue than public roads for racing. As the danger to the drivers of deep ditches, solid trees and narrow roads and to the spectators of problematical crowd controle became increasingly evident, race organizers sought small-town airports or abandoned military facilities on which to held their events. Just as race through twon street had yielded to races through the countryside now the countryside was increasingly replaced bt airports as the most common site.

Hay bales, cones and stacks of old tires marked the course and cut chicanes out of the featureless expanses. Though drivers could now spin off the course with impunity and spectators could be kept at a safe distance, the lack of variation in terrain or other distinguishing aspects stole much of the flavour of road racing from these venues. Since it was often airports or nothing the choice was obvious.

Many airport courses were used once or twice and never again. But the granddaddy of them all, Sebring, is still in use today, although much modified and using little of the original circuit.

Airports were often highly abrasive (the various course put together for Nassau Speed Weeks leap to mind). Tires were chewed up at a most expensive rate. But damage from mowing down fences, side-swiping trees or up-ending in a ditch was greatly reduced on the wide open spaces. And racing, after all, wherever it might be, is racing..."

Airport events:
Cumberland (56).
Montgomery (56)
Beverly (55 - 56)
Eagle Mountain (56)
...

Airports courses rarely boasted stand or pits - just cars and people.

The Eagle Mountain National Guard near Forth Worth provided its vast expanses for a June 1956 race meet. The main race was won by Carroll Shelby, Ferrari 750 Monza.


#6 dbw

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Posted 29 January 2001 - 07:42

i assume that the oakland[cal] ref was to oakland speedway located near san fransisco....i don't really know much about it but i have photos of my old AAA "big" sprinter up high on the cement banking..[complete with "no slot" halibrands]....this would have been in the late 40's or so.....i'll see what i can find out......also have a shot of a famous local car tagged "half a hisso" in ref to the engine being a hisso aero engine with one bank of cyls removed,and ran as a inline vertical 4...apparently lots-o-torque..

#7 Roger Clark

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Posted 29 January 2001 - 07:55

Originally posted by Barry Boor
After I had stopped drooling at the Birdcage Maserati on the back of the latest issue of Motor Sport, (if I win the lottery before 26 March - I'm having it!) I resolved to read, yet again, Joel Finn's excellent book about those wonderful cars.



the odd thing is that most contemporary reports remark how ugly the Birdcages were.

#8 Allen Brown

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Posted 29 January 2001 - 08:36

Barry

I have a program from Cotati somewhere, I think dated 1968, and that may have a circuit map - I'll try to dig it out for you.

Green Valley was used as late as 1984 for Can-Am so it should be possible to find something for that too.

Wasn't Midland the Chaparral test track?

Allen

#9 Ray Bell

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Posted 29 January 2001 - 12:33

I'm sure you're right about Midland... and it was owned by Jim Hall, wasn't it?

Isn't that where he had the sensors round the circuit to time the cars over parts of a lap to test changes?

#10 David M. Kane

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Posted 29 January 2001 - 14:33

Barry:

Danville has re-opened and has been resurfaced. Several drivers who driven there say it is fantastic. I plan on
driving there twice this year. I drove it in the '70s in
Winkleman (Palliser) FF and it was a blast then. It is located on the border of Virginia and North Carolina. It
was a favorite partying spot for the many colleges in that area. It is a beautiful piece of Virginia countryside. As
an American I feel it has an English feel to it, very much
like the landscape around Brands Hatch.

Upper Marlboro is a small Maryland town known as the marketing center for Maryland tobacco. It was closed down
years ago and made into a shopping center. I still haven't got over that. It was dream to race there one day. It was
replaced by a new track called Summit Point in West Virginia
about a two hours drive. It was the home track for SCCA racing in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore area. Many participants like Bob Grossman drove their cars down from
New York which is only 3-4 hours away. It was a small tight
track, but it had great racing. My first race there I saw
Tim Mayer win the FJ race, I believe in a Cooper. Roger Penske won the feature in a Porsche RS-60 or RS-61. Others
who ran were Gaston Andre in a Tipo 60, Bob Grossman in a Ferrari 250GT, Charlie Hayes in a SWB and Dr. Dick Thompson
in the Corvette Stingray.

Cumberland was a airport circuit in Western Maryland not far
from the border to PA. It was nothing fancy, but it had a
great atmosphere that was loved by both the participants and the fans. If you wanted to see Corvettes and Mustangs, this
was the place to go.

VIR (Virginia Interational Raceway/Danville, VA) has an active Website, so it should have a map of the circuit on the site.

The other two, I would suggest contacting the Sport Car Club
of America.

#11 GT Action Photo

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Posted 29 January 2001 - 23:20

Originally posted by Allen Brown
Barry

Wasn't Midland the Chaparral test track?

Allen


The circuit at Midland,Texas was "Rattlesnake Raceway"
when it first opened.A syndicate of Hap Sharp,Ronnie
Hissom,Dave Morgan,Dave Fosset,and Jim Hall had the
circuit built.
At the first or second race held at Rattlesnake,Dave
Fosset went off the course and was killed.The remaining
syndicate members then knew the circuit was not suitable
for amateur racing.Chaparral Cars,Inc. bought the circuit
from the members and used it for testing.
Frank Winchell,of Chevrolet R & D liked the seclusion
of Rattlesnake and used it to test the Chevrolet R & D vehicles.
Hall,Sharp,and Penske received mileage rates for their
testing services.

With kind regards,
Gary Trobaugh [p][Edited by GT Action Photo on 01-29-2001]

#12 Don Radbruch

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Posted 31 January 2001 - 00:48

The Oakland, California track dbw refered to was Oakland Stadium which ran from 1946 to about 1955. It was a 5/8 mile track with one turn banked at 45 degrees--we called that the "flat" turn. The other turn was banked at 60 degrees. These high banks were sort of a lip around the top of the track---the banking was moderate below the lip. dbw also refered to a Hisso powered sprint car. This was the #404 owned by Bayliss Levrett.

Cotati was a WW 2 airport. Vaca Valley was a one mile oval plus a road course and drag strip.

Don Radbruch

#13 Don Capps

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Posted 31 January 2001 - 01:11

Here is a list of the missing circuits: in no particular order;
Pensacola (Fla); Marlboro (Maryl); Cumberland (Maryl);
Montgomery (NY); Louisville (Ky) (Not the oval shown on Darren's site); Pomona (Cal); Lawrenceville (Ill);
Roosevelt Field (NY); Oaklahoma City; Vaca Valley (?);
Cotati (Cal); Midland (Tex); Mansfield (Lou);
Vineland (NJ); Danville (Vir); Courtland (Al);
Hondo (Tex); Hammond (Lou); Norman (Oak);
Green Valley (Tex); Tucson (Ar); Oakland (Cal);
Santa Barbara (Cal).


Pensacola had USRRC races in 1964 & 1965, the latter won by George Follmer in the Lotus 23-Porsche. I think I had a map somewhere...

R&T did a series on the US circuits in the May thru July 1964 issues (& now I can't find the July issue!!!???) with decent circuit maps & other info.

May covered:
Bridgehampton
Daytona Beach
Augusta International
Lime Rock Park
Marlboro
Vineland -- which is just down the road from me!
Savvanh-Effingham
VIR
Thompson Raceway
Watkins Glen

June covered:
Lynndale Farms
Greenwood Raodway
Meadowdale
Indianapolis Raceway Park
Mid-America/Wentzville
Mid-Ohio
Road america
Milwaukee Fairgrounds
Nelson Ledges
Waterford Hills
Wilmot Hills

I can't believe I can't find July!
Add Walterboro, SC to the list

Whoa! Just found a whole ton (14) of California/West Coast circuit maps:
Del Mar
Dodger Stadium
Kent
Laguna Seca
Palm Springs
Pomona
Riverside
Santa Barbara
Stockton
Torrey Pines
Tracy
Vaca Valley
Westwood
Willow Springs

#14 dbw

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Posted 01 February 2001 - 07:43

bayliss levrett!!!god how my mind is getting foggy!i almost bought the remains of this car from a local scrap dealer but the price seemed too high at the time...[and was missing the mag].i wonder where it ended up...[interesting note...to run one bank of four cyls on a v-8 crankcase,he turned the whole thing upside down and adapted the cyl block to fit where the sump plate was..]

dbw

#15 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 February 2001 - 10:40

That's one of the most interesting things I've ever heard of, dbw... can you tell us more?

#16 dbw

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Posted 01 February 2001 - 17:09

sure..what's most interesting?
1.bayliss?
2.the local scrappie?
3.hisso engines in general?[cool; but wicked valve adjustments]
4. this "half a hisso in particular?
5.just how i found it and why i turned it down?
6. my incredibly bad mind???
please..one at a time...

#17 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 February 2001 - 23:30

You must know the drill around here by now... tell it all!

In any order you reckon is okay, but I would like to hear about this very different engine first if you don't mind...

#18 Don Radbruch

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Posted 02 February 2001 - 00:40

On Hisso engines. Using half of the Hispano-Suiza (Hisso)V8 aircraft engine was relatively simple. The cylinders bolted on to a common crankcase and the rods had a rather strange forked arrangement. One bank of cylinders, plus the pistons and rods, were removed and an aluminum plate bolted over the hole. A few other modifications and one had a potent 358 cubic inch engine. This would be the cheap Hisso. The Bayliss Levrett Hisso was state of the art with a special crankcase, crankshaft, pistons and other goodies.

On Oakland. I seem to remember that a sports car race was held around Lake Merritt in downtown Oakland around 1950.

Don Radbruch

#19 GT Action Photo

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Posted 02 February 2001 - 05:57

Originally posted by dbw
sure..what's most interesting?
1.
2.
3.hisso engines in general?[cool; but wicked valve adjustments]
4.
5.
6.
please..one at a time...


Here is a photo of a full Hispano-Suiza Aero-Engine.
Posted Image
Photo: GT Action Photo

With kind regards,
Gary Trobaugh

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#20 dbw

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Posted 03 February 2001 - 02:45

well,here we go....when i examined the remains of the leverett car the cyl assy[4 cyl,en bloc]seemed stock,complete with the original internal threaded stem valve adjusting setup[very sophisticated and well executed]it still had the fabricated header and a pair or big-ass winfield carbs,most likely BB's.it may have been set up for methanol but i'm not sure.
now here's where i'm uncomfortable...what i saw was a modified original hisso aero crankcase,not,as described,a "special" one...the modifications included an adaptor to attach the cyl bank onto an inverted crankcase.the two now upside-down "vees"where the cyls originally bolted were plated over. there was a setup to use an original cam drive tower..i can't remember the mag drive but it needed a dual spark mag as it was still set up with two plugs per cyl.it also still had a offy style multi-plate flywheel/clutch unit.[looked a lot like a ford a-r unit]i don't really recall looking at the crankshaft.
the point here is that i'm not sure mr.radbruch actually has seen this car or just read period articles on it.it would be interesting to know...while i'm no expert on old dirt cars, i did restore the old west coast AAA "gillson special"[running #9] and raced it at vintage events...and while i don't profess to all there is to know about miller-fords, i can tell you all about chassis #5 as i went completely through it when i owned it.the same goes for my t-35b bug [chassis 4948].
i really don't want to seem like too much of an asshole but i have found in my old car adventures nothing is as good as actually getting your hands on the actual car or part to conduct your research.this is why i'm amused with endless speculation on car's chassis/engine numbers and the like..usually a close examination of the actual part will show an overstamp or a slightly different stamp font[or even a period modification that confuses identifcation]..i know,we can't access all the cars we would like to but it seems to me to be fairly definitive and can often dispell long held missconceptions and legends....
ok..off my soapbox and back to normal; the car wasn't really in a scrapyard but was owned by a local auto wrecker that had it stored at his yard...he wanted close to $5000 for the pile of bits and it seemed too much at the time.[always does!]
around this time i got to know jim rickleif,possibly the west coast expert on hisso's and SPAD's[he had a set of original and operational browning machine guns in his office!!] and was fortunate enough to have access to his considerable stock of OX-5 bits for another project of mine.....

#21 David M. Kane

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Posted 03 February 2001 - 22:31

The Pomona race I attended in the summer of 1960 was on airport circuit. My only recollection is seeing Max Balchowsky's Buick Special Old Yeller II. Also racing that
day was one of the singer from the "Kingston Trio" in a Lotus 23...the short one, can't remember his name, Nick something...Reynolds?

#22 Ray Bell

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Posted 03 February 2001 - 22:37

Whatever his name, he must have had extremely good connections at Lotus. Even Clark didn't race a 23 until 1962!

...maybe it was a 19, or maybe it was later?

#23 Don Radbruch

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Posted 04 February 2001 - 00:36

On the Bayliss Levrett Hisso. Yes, I have seen the car and raced against it in Northern California when the car was owned by Floyd Glidewell. Unfortunately, at the time, I paid little attention to the car or the motor. Most of what I know(?) about the Hisso in the car has been learned during the past ten or so years. I'm deeply involved in racing history and the Hissos are just one of the things I got interested in. The Levrett car was orginally the Merkler Hisso which raced in the 1930s in the Midwest---a horrible looking machine. It passed through the hands of one other person before Bayliss bought the car---it was a beauty when he had it. Someplace around here I have a photo of the partly assembled engine.

#24 Barry Boor

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Posted 05 February 2001 - 19:36

I should like to take this opportunity publicly to thank Don for e-mailing me a huge number of circuit maps relevant to my original request on this thread.

When I have reduced them in size and tinkered with one or two I will pass them on to Darren and then they will be there for all to see.

Thanks again, Don.

#25 David M. Kane

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Posted 05 February 2001 - 19:48

If it wasn't a Lotus 23 that Nick Reynolds was running that
day what type was it then? When was the 23 introduced? As to having one before Clark, Chapman was known to run over small
children for a bag of Gold. Just ask DeLorean.

#26 Ray Bell

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Posted 05 February 2001 - 21:36

The Lotus 23 first ran - to my knowledge and recollection - at the Nurburgring 1000km race of 1962.
I think we've been through this before, but I seem to remember it had an 1100cc twin cam engine. I think I was told this is untrue, but I'm not sure. Anyone got SCG or R & T reports on that race.
Lotus had front engined cars like the 11 and 15 running in large numbers, and the rear engined 19, which was bigger and usually ran a 2.5 engine.
I don't think there was enough gold in the world to get Chapman to build someone a car before he'd designed it.

#27 Roger Clark

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Posted 06 February 2001 - 00:43

THe 23 was par tof Lotus'range for 1962 and was essentially a two seater version of that year's formula Junior car, the 22. It usually had an 1100cc engine as, of course, did the 22. I don't know when it made its debut but I'm sure that it was beefore the Nurburgring 1000kms. THe Nurburg race saw the debut of the Lotus twin cam engine in the 23. All reports i have een say that it was 1480cc at that race.

#28 ray b

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Posted 06 February 2001 - 01:32

pensacola was a airbase [navy?] track
rooosevelt field airport[lucky lindy flew to paris from there]don't know about track ray


#29 Ray Bell

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Posted 06 February 2001 - 01:46

Maybe there was some point in the 23 having an 11 engine in England, but only one of the many that came to Australia every had anything other than a 1500 or 1600cc Twin Cam, and that was the Howard & Sons car driven by Les Howard.
It was out chasing the Lola lap records set by Johnny Martin and Frank Demuth, and got a few of them too, ultimately being fitted, I feel quite sure, with a downdraft alloy head made by Geoff Smedley.

If the 23 made its debut before the Nurburgring, it was not long before... anyone got that SCG report? I'm sure it was the first time that reporter had seen the car and the engine...

Of course, there was the garbage they went through at Le Mans that year... what engine was used there?

#30 Don Capps

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Posted 06 February 2001 - 02:06

As always, Roger is on target. The 23 was the 22 configurated to support a sports car body. It came with either a 997cc or 1470cc optional to the FJ 1093cc which was standard. It was designed to the Appendix J Group 4 specs and weighed in at about the same as the FJ, 400kg.

I will look for its debut, but the new 116E based Lotus engine raced at the Nurburgring with a 1498cc version. Clark led the first lap by 27 seconds and had a 45 second lead at the end of the second lap. After five laps it was a 1min 28sec lead. 10 laps, a 54 second lead. However, the 23 was starting to fall apart, the exhaust pipe being broken and gassing Clark as the fumes were blowing into the cockpit. Clark was slowly being poisoned by the CO and before he could stop slid of into a ditch in the Kesselchen. Needless to say, Lotus Components had a line in front of their office on Monday....

#31 Don Capps

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Posted 06 February 2001 - 02:32

I am uncertain and can't narrow it down to the point I would like, but perhaps the 23 made its debut at a Mallory Park meeting shortly before the Nurburgring race, apparently in 1100cc form. :confused:

#32 Roger Clark

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Posted 06 February 2001 - 06:27

Paul Hawkins drove a 23 at the silverstone International Trophy meeting in May. This was with a pushrod engine. Nurburgring waas the debut of the twin-cam.

#33 Ray Bell

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Posted 06 February 2001 - 06:33

Wasn't the 1000kms in May also?

#34 Roger Clark

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Posted 06 February 2001 - 08:00

silverstone was May 12, Nurburgring May 27

#35 Darren Galpin

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Posted 07 February 2001 - 08:13

Posted Image
Marlboro


Posted Image
Santa Barbara (also known as Goleta Airfield)



Posted Image
Danville

Posted Image
Vineland


Posted Image
Cumberland



Posted Image
Pensacola

#36 Darren Galpin

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Posted 07 February 2001 - 11:34

Barry B - some of the tracks were there, just under different names. If you had used the search facility in your browser to look for Santa Barbara, it would have found it, only I had the main name as Goleta Airfield. As for Vineland - oops! The html file and image existed, but for some reason it never got linked in, so unless you knew it was there, you wouldn't have found it. The others I have just added - see the updates thread.

#37 tifoso

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Posted 07 October 2002 - 22:12

Originally posted by David M. Kane
Upper Marlboro is a small Maryland town known as the marketing center for Maryland tobacco. It was closed down years ago and made into a shopping center. I still haven't got over that. It was dream to race there one day. It was replaced by a new track called Summit Point in West Virginia about a two hours drive. It was the home track for SCCA racing in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore area. Many participants like Bob Grossman drove their cars down from New York which is only 3-4 hours away. It was a small tight track, but it had great racing. My first race there I saw Tim Mayer win the FJ race, I believe in a Cooper. Roger Penske won the feature in a Porsche RS-60 or RS-61. Others who ran were Gaston Andre in a Tipo 60, Bob Grossman in a Ferrari 250GT, Charlie Hayes in a SWB and Dr. Dick Thompson in the Corvette Stingray.

Upper Marlboro is the county seat of Prince Georges County Maryland, and was indeed a tobacco town. I became interested in the track after reading about it in the program for the 2002 ALMS Cadillac Grand Prix, which was held in Washington, DC, this past July. Here's the bit about the track from the program:

Perhaps the most well-known racing events held in the DC area took place at the Marlboro Motor Raceway in Prince Georges County. Beginning as a 1/3-mile dirt oval in 1952, the track evolved into a 1.7 mile road course in 1955 thanks to the considerable efforts of a sports car enthusiast group known as the “Lavender Hill Gang.” Sprints, midgets, and stock cars all ran at Marlboro, as well as SCCA-sanctioned sports car races and a few races in the Trans-AM series in the late 1960s. The annual President’s Cup races held at Marlboro attracted big-name racers like Roger Penske, Dick Thompson and Gaston Andre in exotic machinery like Maseratis, Lister-Corvettes, and Porsche RSKs.

Perennial fan favorites at Marlboro in the 1960s were the Refrigerator Bowl held each January, and the annual November Turkey Bowl. These were festive events that mixed all types of cars on the track at once and served as the unofficial season opener and finale. Marlboro Motor Raceway remained the home circuit of the DC region of the SCCA until the track was forced to close in 1969, the victim of unfriendly zoning laws and competition from the new Summit Point Raceway in West Virginia. If you know where to look, though, the track and some of the stands are still visible today near the intersection of Routes 3 and 4 in Upper Marlboro.

I'm trying to convince Hubby Tifoso that finding the track is a wonderful idea for a Sunday drive. I would love to get pictures of the old grandstands and what portions of the track remain.

Mark Donahue raced Elva Couriers at Marlboro Raceway in the 1950s. I believe this is a picture of him at the track:

Posted Image

Mario Andretti raced there. There used to be a picture floating around on the Internet that I can no longer find that shows him at Marlboro Raceway in 1963 in Scats Anfuso's URC Sprint car. Apparently his twin brother, Aldo, was shown in the photograph leaning on the back of the car.

I've found a couple of other pictures of events at the track, but this is of Bill Long, driving a MG TF (#70).

Posted Image

#38 WGD706

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Posted 07 October 2002 - 22:40

Barry
Roosevelt Raceway on Long Island has/had a long history. The 1936 & 1937 Vanderbilt Cup races at Roosevelt Raceway attracted European Grand Prix Cars and drivers competing with American Track Cars and Drivers. William K. Vanderbilt, the New York sportsman, established a trophy raced for on Long Island from 1904 through 1909 (except for 1907) at distances ranging from 450 to 482 km. Thereafter the race was run at Savannah, Ga.; Milwaukee; Santa Monica, Calif.; and San Francisco until its discontinuance in 1916. Later Vanderbilt Cup races were run in 1936 and 1937 at Roosevelt Raceway.
The Long Island Motor Parkway website has some interesting photos of races and very good maps of the different tracks.
http://home.att.net/...s/limpvcup.html
The year was 1906 and William K(issam). Vanderbilt, Jr. (or II) was at the top of the heap. He was only 28, yet had beautiful homes all over the place; including in Manhattan, in Lake Success (Deepdale), and out in Suffolk. So did many of his friends. He was an early automobilist, quite the scorcher, with many speeding summonses and had sponsored the famous Vanderbilt Cup auto races for several years. Unfortunately, a spectator at the third Vanderbilt Cup race (in 1906) had been killed by a race car which slammed into the crowd; Vanderbilt was deeply ashamed, even though unruly spectators crowded up against, and onto, the course (as can be clearly seen in contemporary photos), and he and his sportsman friends, including Ralph Peters, President of the LIRR, Harry Payne Whitney, August Belmont, President of the IRT, Frederick Bourne, President of the Singer Sewing Machine Co., and John Jacob Astor, meeting at the elegant, old Garden City Hotel, decided build a private road for auto racing, which they started planning in 1906. One of their first ideas was to build a 35-mile long private racing road from Floral Park to Riverhead, with high-speed turning loops at Hicksville and Riverhead. Actual construction, of the 11 miles between Garden City and Bethpage, started with 2,000 men on 06 Jun 1907 (or 1908, depending on whose authority you accept) in a barren field just off Jerusalem Avenue in what later became Levittown. The groundbreaking ceremony for the Long Island Motor Parkway took place at Central (Bethpage) Park on June 6. Just 4 months later, 10 miles of parkway were readied in time for the Fall Cup Race.
After many shenanigans, the 16'-wide (it was later widened to 22') road was opened virtually its full length in 1911. Vanderbilt Cup races had been run on that route in 1908, 1909, and 1910 and new models of autos were tested (for a healthy fee, of course) on the road. Tolls were originally $2.00, then, briefly, $1.50, and mostly $1.00, until they were dropped to 40¢ in 1935 after Robert Moses' Northern State Parkway, part of his great parkway system begun in 1929, opened in 1933. The original plan to run on out to the Suffolk County seat in Riverhead, an additional 23 miles, was shelved when the land required could not be acquired.
Those three Vanderbilt Cup races were run, both on the incomplete road and the nearly-finished road, but, when four spectators were killed and over twenty injured in 1910, racers refused to use the course.
Warren

#39 Ralliart

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Posted 08 October 2002 - 04:03

:smoking: Pensacola is a naval air station. My father had his own squadron there during the war, doing ASW, and my brother trained there in the late 60's and got his commission as a Lt. Jg.

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#40 bobbo

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Posted 09 October 2002 - 01:26

In addition to the above-mentioned circuits, I sort of recall a series of events in the early/mid '60s at the Reading, Pennsylvania airport. I don't remember much, just that there were some races there. Any one have any more information on this one?

Bobbo

#41 Pikachu Racing

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Posted 09 October 2002 - 05:01

The short track in Midland. Could it be this? It was also formerly known as Twin Cities. It's still running.

#42 Jim Thurman

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 00:46

I evidently missed this thread, which appeared shortly before I discovered TNF. Too bad, this is my area.

I'll start with the California circuits, simply because I'm more familiar with them:

Vaca Valley Raceway - located alongside Interstate Highway 80 between Vacaville and Dixon (themselves almost midway between Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay area). The asphalt is still there!. A road course, drag strip and oval that all shared the same straight. Vaca Valley operated from 1958 through 1971, hosting SCCA San Francisco Region events. There were some fairly big Sports Car races held at Vaca Valley from '58 through about 1965. If anyone wants to check it out, I provided Darren with a fairly recent aerial view of the track. Much like many other circuits, there were rumors of various things being built upon it, but when I actually found out the precise location of the track...there it still was! To get there take I-80 to the Midway Road exit. Turn right (if Northbound from San Francisco-Oakland, left if Southbound from Sacramento) to the next road, Lewis Road.

Cotati Raceway - not the same site as the board speedway. Was an abandoned airport that was used for drags and by the San Francisco Region from the 50's through late 60's (interestingly, a falling out with the Vaca Valley operator led to Cotati re-opening around 1967). The circuit was briefly given a glorious, grandiose name...which escapes me at the moment (something in Spanish along the lines of Circuit de Oro). I get the feeling it was facetious based on the rather spartan facilities. Like Allen, I have a program from Cotati that has a diagram in it. I picked it up at a used book/magazine shop, but can't seem to locate it. Also picked up at the same time was a program from...

Pomona - which is the same site as the famous dragstrip. Located at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds. The road course and dragstrip shared a common straight. Sports Car races in the late 50's-early 60's. AMA Motorcycles ran on roughly the same layout as the Sports Cars did when they ran two races in the mid-90's (IIRC, '96 and '97).

Santa Barbara's airport course (as Darren had noted, the airport is actually in the neighboring town of Goleta) went through some changes over the years. At one point, it went around hangars and buildings on streets next to the airport. Unfortunately, I don't have a diagram of it during that era. Used in the 50's and 60's. Like Palm Springs, this was (and still is) a commercial airport and air traffic to those two cities increased enough to force discontinuation as racing venues.

Marlboro Raceway (Maryland) - despite reports to the contrary, has not been built on. It all remains, though some sections of asphalt have been lost through time and it is badly overgrown. I checked aerial photos from 1999 and 2000 and could not get over how much more overgrown the track had become in that time. tifoso had a very good post on Marlboro (thanks tifoso :up: ). Yes, that would be worth a trip to check it out. I have directions to it around here somewhere (an ad for a Marlboro race). Basically, much like Vaca Valley, the Washington DC Region of the SCCA and the promoter/operator of Marlboro had a falling out, so the members built Summit Point Raceway as a replacement. Marlboro only ran a few more races after Summit Point opened.

Montgomery (New York) - another airfield circuit. Roughly a fat, rounded triangle, with chicanes added later in it's existence. Regional Sports Car events. NASCAR held a race there around 1960.

Green Valley (Texas) - was also an airport, used also as a drag strip. Trans-Am races and the later version of Can-Am ran there in 1984. Now completely surrounded by houses. Hasn't operated since sometime in the 80's as far as I know.

Courtland (Alabama), Tucson (Arizona) and Mansfield (Louisiana) were all airfield circuits. The first two used into the early 70's. I think Hammond (Louisiana) was as well, but I'm not familiar with it.

Roosevelt and Pensacola were well covered. The others I'll have to look up.


Jim Thurman

#43 Flying Panda

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 04:17

Arial Photo of Marlboro

Is it just me or does it look like there was an oval of some sort in the centre?

#44 tifoso

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 12:00

Originally posted by Flying Panda
Arial Photo of Marlboro

Is it just me or does it look like there was an oval of some sort in the centre?

Thanks for the aerial, FP. Yes, according to the article in the 2002 ALMS National Grand Prix program, the track started off as 1/3-mile dirt oval in 1952. The track evolved into a 1.7-mile road course in 1955. Darren Galpin posted a track map of Marlboro earlier in the thread. You can clearly see the small oval (dotted lines).

Jim Thurman, please, please send directions. I'll go looking and take pictures, which I'll post here. It should only be about an hour from where I live.

I asked my Dad about Marlboro Raceway as he raced sprints, midgets, and stock cars all over the northeast U.S. in the late 40s and early 50s. He never raced there but did recall racing on an oval at what he called "West Lanham Speedway." I haven't had a chance to do an Internet search on that track yet, but I wondered if anyone had any information on it.

The article in the ALMS program mentioned the historical notes for the article had been supplied by Gordon Eliot White, Auto Racing Advisor to the Smithsonian Institution. His latest book Lost Race Tracks was scheduled for publication this fall and will be published by Iconografix. It is supposed to include detailed accounts of the Benning, Laurel and Marlboro tracks, as well as the stories of more than 100 other American race tracks. I haven't found the book yet and am thinking about emailing Mr. White to ask more details.

:blush: I need to make a few corrections regarding the pictures I posted earlier, which were taken at Marlboro Raceway. The first picture of Mark Donahue was taken in 1961, not the 1950s. It is apparently one of the first race pictures taken of Mark. He is leading the race, with Jay Signore and Bob Tullius. It is probably Eddie Diehl behind Mark and Jay coming up the hill. The second picture of Bill Long was taken in 1955.

#45 WGD706

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 13:41

Apparently some of the pavement for Marlboro still exists, but other portions of the circuit have been built on, rendering the course beyond saving.

Racing in the Washington, D.C. Region began in 1955 at a new road course, Marlboro Motor Raceway, in Upper Marlboro, Maryland. The so-called Tobbaccoland Circuit was originally 0.7 mile but was quickly lengthened to 1.6 miles. In 1960, the D.C. Region decided to establish a Regional Championship racing program that would give depth and continuity to the schedule of local racing. Regional Championship programs in all the popular classes were created. Points were awarded in each class and year-end Championship honors went to the highest placed driver.
Regional racing then consisted of a somewhat loose series of events conducted at Marlboro at monthly intervals throughout the year. The “season” regularly commenced with the Refrigerator Bowl races each January and concluded with the Turkey Bowl races the following November. At the top of the Marlboro heap was the annual National Championship event. For awhile this race was graced by the awarding of the President’s Cup to the winner of the feature race (the first time it was given at the White House). Later, it was transformed to the Governor’s Cup with the presentation held at the Maryland Governor’s office in Annapolis. Up until 1960, there were only twelve or so such distinguished events throughout the U.S., and the Washington D.C. Region and Marlboro were fortunate in snagging a coveted sanction.
Address of Marlboro Raceway is listed as Robert S Crain & Pennsylvania, Prince George's County.I found these directions to a 'WSSC field (MARLBORO) - Beltway to Pa. Ave. (Rt. 4) exit (#11) East. Rt. 4 to Crain Hgwy. (Rt. 301). South on Rt. 301 to RR tracks just past Marlboro Raceway. Make a U-turn at the RR tracks and an immediate right onto access road to guard shack. Field is on left approximately 1/4 mile inside guard shack gate.' It's on a page dedicated to Greater Washington Softball Umpires Association, so I wonder if parts of the old Marlboro Raceway are now softball fields?
Gordon White's web-page says the book should be published in 2003.
http://www.crosslink.net/~gewhite/
Warren

#46 tifoso

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 13:49

WGD706, apparently some of the grandstands at Marlboro still remain, too. Anyway, thanks for the directions. :up: I will check it out and post pictures. My mother grew up in Brandywine, Maryland. That's less than an hour from where I live so it will make a nice one-day project.

#47 Jim Thurman

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 22:27

I believe those are the directions to the horse track Marlboro Raceway. A cause for confusion and probably why the auto track was known sometimes as Marlboro Motor Raceway.

The auto track should be South-Southeast of the horse track, across the highway.

I should have the directions up and posted in an hour or less...


Jim Thurman

#48 Jim Thurman

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Posted 11 October 2002 - 23:00

Better than the 1966 directions, here's a link to a topographic map:

http://www.topozone....061&s=25&size=m

Alongside Highway 301. I don't know which turn-off would get you to the road to the track site, but Patuxent River Park looks good.

Pete Hylton included Marlboro as one of his "Ghost Tracks" articles in SportsCar magazine. I have that issue, but I'll have to dig around to find it :) I believe that's a 2000 issue.

As far as West Lanham Speedway. According to Allan E. Brown's "The History of America's Speedways - Past & Present", Lanham Speedway (aka West Lanham Speedway) was a 1/5 mile banked paved oval that operated from June 24, 1942 through 1954 (with a break noted for WWII). No details as to precise location, but I know that's the type of info Allan is trying to get for his next edition.


Jim Thurman

#49 tifoso

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Posted 12 October 2002 - 02:01

Originally posted by Jim Thurman
Pete Hylton included Marlboro as one of his "Ghost Tracks" articles in SportsCar magazine. I have that issue, but I'll have to dig around to find it :) I believe that's a 2000 issue.

As far as West Lanham Speedway. According to Alan E. Brown's "The History of America's Speedways - Past & Present", Lanham Speedway (aka West Lanham Speedway) was a 1/5 mile banked paved oval that operated from June 24, 1942 through 1954 (with a break noted for WWII). No details as to precise location, but I know that's the type of info Allan is trying to get for his next edition.

Jim I would love to read Mr. Hylton's article about Marlboro.

The operating time for Lanham is perfect for when my Dad was racing. I'll ask him where it was located. And let you know.

#50 Jim Thurman

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Posted 26 October 2002 - 22:42

Courtland (Alabama), Tucson (Arizona) and Mansfield (Louisiana) were all airfield circuits. The first two used into the early 70's. I think Hammond (Louisiana) was as well, but I'm not familiar with it.


Was going through some old Competition Press & Autoweeks for an unrelated project and ran across Hammond (Louisiana) being an airfield circuit.

To get to the others Barry mentioned in his original post, as listed in Allan E. Brown's book (sorry, no diagrams), done alphabetically by state:

Oakland (California) - airport course at Oakland Airport, 1962.

Lawrenceville Airport (Illinois) - 1.7 mile airfield circuit (1954 - 1962)

Louisville (Kentucky) 1.8 mile paved road course using parking lots at Kentucky State Fairgrounds. 1957 - 1959. Was next to the old Fairgrounds Motor Speedway oval, which isn't the same as the Louisville Motor Speedway oval on Darren's site.

Mansfield (Louisiana) - Mansfield Airport, 2.4 mile airport course used 1954 - 1959 (a.k.a. DeSoto Parish Airport)

Norman (Oklahoma) - I couldn't find anything on this one, no listing.

Oklahoma City (Oklahoma) - another course through parking lots at the State Fairgrounds. Only date given is late 1950's. As you can see, fairground parking lot courses were quite popular in the U.S. as well. And when it comes to Oklahoma, we haven't even mentioned War Bonnet Park in Mannford or the Ponca City Grand Prix street course.

Hondo (Texas) - Hondo Air Force Base, January 30, 1960.

And I haven't gotten around to sorting the magazines yet, so I can't pass along info on the particular issues of SportsCar that feature Pete Hylton's articles (he covers Seattle International Raceway, Marlboro, Greenwood, Continental Divide, Vineland and Mid-America in the two articles). Hopefully I can get that done next weekend.


Jim Thurman