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Motor racing places to visit in California?

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#1 Gregor Marshall

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 20:10

Dear All

A bit short notice I know (I only booked it yesterday), but does anyone know of any museums or race tracks in California that are worth a visit?

I'm off to LA on Thursday for 4 weeks and have no plans so far (other than staying with my cousin whose father introduced my late father into motorsport) and am trying to get some ideas - I will be in Santa Monica but have no plans at all, the joys of no ties!!

I've been to Laguna Seca and the Las Vegas Speedway before but would like to use the opportunity to see some different stuff and any ideas will be greatly appreciated.


#2 Michael Ferner

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 20:19

Well, Santa Monica is a good place to start - you know that they raced around the streets for a decade or so, a hundred years ago? Including 2 GPs, 1914 & '16. I am told all the streets are still in use today...


Edited by Michael Ferner, 09 December 2012 - 20:21.

#3 Darren Galpin

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 20:46

If around San Francisco there's Ingleside - was a 1 mile dirt oval used from 1900. The track was paved and built around, but still exists.

To the north of San Francisco is Sears Point/Infineon Raceway.

The Presidio in San Francisco was also used for racing.

#4 buckaluck

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 21:03

There is the Peterson museum and the Riverside museum and also Justice Brothers museum then there is Willow Springs raceway out toward Palmdale.
There is a great book store in Burbank called Aerobooks/Autobbooks then there is the Nethercutt museum http://www.nethercuttcollection.org/ then if you don't mind a bit of a drive or plane ride the Penske museum is in phoenix penskeracingmuseum.com. there is even one in San Diego.


#5 arttidesco

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 21:30

My friend Geoffrey Horton has sent me pics of some pretty exotic vehicles that are to be found at the Blackhawk Museum at Danville which I believe is in California.

#6 WhippendellWoods

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 21:37

Not four wheels, but there's a big speedway grand prix type meeting with the best riders in the world at Industry Speedway just outside LA on December 29th.

Sears Point Raceway or Infineon just North of San Francisco gotta be worth a look?

Or Chip Foose in Huntington Beach?

Edited by WhippendellWoods, 09 December 2012 - 21:38.

#7 geoffd

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 22:07

The Wally Parks NHRA museum http://www.museum.nhra.com/ is interesting. It's not too far from the Riverside museum, so you can do both in one day.

Further east there is the Chuckwalla Valley Raceway http://goracecvr.com/ in the desert - they hold historic race meetings there.


#8 D-Type

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 22:16

Didn't they hold sports car races on the roads of the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco?

#9 Gregor Marshall

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 09:59

That's great, thanks for the ideas so far, definitely a couple I will do.
Thanks Michael for the tip on Santa Monica, really interesting to know, as I've been to a few of those streets in the past and will look at them very differently this time.

#10 Jim Thurman

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 17:39

Though the greater Los Angeles area museums mentioned, aside from the Petersen, are a distance away from Santa Monica, they are all worthwhile stops (Nethercutt, Justice Brothers, Riverside International, Parks/NHRA). The Parks NHRA Museum, while rightfully focusing on drag racing, does cover other forms of racing with some interesting cars, memorabilia and displays.

I'll also second Autobooks/Aerobooks in Burbank.

Edited by Jim Thurman, 10 December 2012 - 17:44.

#11 Jim Thurman

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 17:40

Didn't they hold sports car races on the roads of the Golden Gate Park in San Francisco?

Yes, they did.

#12 Francois78

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 20:24

. North of San Francisco , Saugus speedway . 1/8 mile asphalt . Saw here train race figure 8 . Great saturday night...
. North of Los Angeles , El Mirage . Land speed record on dirt .

#13 MoMurray

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 21:56

If they're were any way at all (use whatever motoring contacts you have) try to get a visit to Jay Leno's Garage. A must see. If you're in Orange County, there's a 1991 Group C Mercedez sitting in a dealership in Foothill Ranch. Parnelli Jones has a great museum that I think is open to the public.

#14 Frank S

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 23:54

Museums and tracks are nice, and your advisors have touched on most of them. From my point of view, SoCal wouldn't be so interesting if it weren't for the "twisties" available to enthusiastic enthusiasts. Denizens of the L.A. area will be able to guide you to roads other than Mulholland -- a must-do even if it's crowded, as you can expect for the Ortega Highway, a little farther afield. A good dose of six-tenths does wonders for the spirit, and has the lasting benefit of mental movies you can rerun at will.

I speak while still in the thrall of a forty-five minute episode in the San Diego County back country, late morning last Thursday. Luckily I was almost alone on the roads, the two or three drivers I overtook very kindly used turnouts and made/received friendly gestures as I resumed speed. Some of the curves seemed unfamiliar, as I'd never seen them unimpeded. To top it off, a goodly portion of the twistiest part has recently been repaved. Different strokes.

#15 Jeff Weinbren

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 05:52

Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard is worth a visit if you are into French cars. Check opening times as it is not open every day.

#16 RA Historian

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 15:28

Parnelli Jones has a great museum that I think is open to the public.

Not any more, as I understand it. Parnelli sold the whole lot to the IMS Museum.

#17 AugieAscot

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Posted 11 December 2012 - 19:18

Willow Springs, abour 80 miles north of Santa Monica. Take the 405 north to the 5 north. Take the 5 to the 14. Say on the 14 for about 40 miles exit at Rosamond Blvd, turn left onto Rosamond Blvd and go straight for about 6 miles. Track is on the right. Usually something going on. Check out their web site.


#18 Gregor Marshall

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 00:37

I've ended up being much busier than I thought but I visited the Petersen Museum (I will post the pics when I get back) and I have got tickets to go to filming of the tonight show tomorrow, so might get to meet Jay Leno. I tried contacting him through one of his fellow Octane writers and no luck but I did get tickets which apparently are hard to get, so fingers crossed.
I did have a good nose around the local Fisker dealer, beautiful car and I love the technology.
I was trying to explain to my cousin yesterday, in England you hear a V8 burble behind you and when you turn round 9 times out of 10 it's something interesting, whereas in the US, when you turn round for a V8 9 times out of 10 it's something boring!!
I did get to watch the last ever Speed channel show, that was pretty good and watched the 2012 FoS with my cousin and wife; they didn't believe I had competed/driven there, especially as not in the footage and then, finally, my 15 seconds of fame at the end when they interviewed Justin Law and Anthony Reid and I are peeing around in the background drinking Anthony's champagne - that showed 'em!!