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For MidWesterners: Meadowdale Raceway


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#1 russomey

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 18:16

Just thought I would share this website which was forwarded too me from an employee. I am at home and just got done reading it over. I do have family in the area and was never even aware of this place :eek:

Looks as though it was a nice facility.

Here is the link.... http://www.meadowdal....homestead.com/

http://www.meadowdal...oloraerial.html

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#2 Buford

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 18:41

Yes - the site of my first ever road racing spectator experience. I whined and whined to my parents to take me there since it was only 30 miles or so from our home. Our oval racing family went and a whole new world was revealed to us. Race cars could turn both ways!!!

#3 russomey

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 19:06

Excellent!

Here is a shot of the famous "Monza Wall"

http://www.miroldpix...dprodwalltn.jpg

#4 David Beard

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 19:13

Not just Midwesterners..I’m interested.
TNF has been there before, but the threads have not achieved their deserved mileage..

http://forums.atlasf...ight=meadowdale
http://forums.atlasf...ight=meadowdale
http://forums.atlasf...ight=meadowdale

#5 russomey

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Posted 31 December 2003 - 20:12

Christ I used to ski Wilmot (Wisconsin). I had no idea that the damn parking lot entrance was the race course :eek:

http://www.wilmothills.homestead.com/

#6 WDH74

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Posted 01 January 2004 - 03:13

The latest Cobra book by Rinsey Mills has a few pictures of the works Cobra team at Meadowdale in about 1964 (for the USRRC event). Mostly pit area shots, but it shows how big and wide that main straight was. Still is, actually, as I went there last April to nose around. It's kinda creepy- the trees pretty much insulate the track grounds from the traffic noise of Rt. 31, so standing on the straight, looking at the rusty skeleton of a bridge, makes one feel as if you're in the middle of a ghost town. Very weird. Somewhere I have some pictures from that hike.
-William

#7 russomey

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Posted 01 January 2004 - 06:35

Yeah I agree... I was there a few years back with the boys and I had thought that I covered the majority of the track. But after looking at the satalite shots, I realize that I probably only covered 1/3 - 1/4 of the actual circuit :eek:

I'll have to visit again.

BTW - My apologizes for problems here - check the time - I am drunk!

:drunk:

#8 HistoricMustang

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 21:55

:clap:

There is hope out there for those that put forth the effort! Had Ross and his organization not persisted this silo would now be gone! Perhaps with effort, other former racing icons could have been or will be saved.

Henry

http://www.meadowdal...ressReport.html

AIRPS will attempt to have the same results with the Augusta "Pit Wall".

#9 WDH74

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 22:11

Heh, was out there last week, as I was still under the impression that the silo would be coming down soon. Took a few new photos of that and the recently cleared straightaway.

[IMG]http://img267.images...ilo07yg3.th.jpg[/IMG]


-William

#10 Terry Walker

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 01:15

While looking at Meadowdale via Google Maps, I came across this structure less than a mile due west:

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Horses? Speedway?

#11 chuckbrandt

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 11:59

I walked Meadowdale last summer. It was a little creepy, the land is taking it back. The neatest spot I thought was the banked down hill corner at the end of the long straight.

Regarding the silo, it appeared to me to be coming down on it's own. Erosion had undermined the whole area. I don't know how much longer it will last without some work.

Chuck

#12 RA Historian

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 14:29

I went to many of the big races at Meadowdale when I was a youth. It was a spectacular track with many simply tremendous spectator vantage points. To wit: back then I had my first camera, a simple 35mm with fixed 50mm lens, no telephoto. The spectator fencing was so close to the track that I have photos that one would swear were taken with a long lens but no, just the regular 50mm! The cars almost fill the frame whereas at other tracks cars shot with this camera are small objects in the middle of a big frame.

The only fencing was some feeble chicken wire. Going into Doane Corner, the spectator area included the inside of the 270 degree turn and at one point the cars were going straight at the spectators, who were just 15 or 20 feet away from the OUTSIDE of the turn. No guard rail, no cement wall.....simply insane!

Looking back on those pictures now I realize that I was crazy to have stood in those locations! One slip, one car launched off course, and there would be no me. It is amazing that there never was, to my knowledge, any accident with spectators. Most fortunate indeed.

But, back then none of us thought about that, did we?

#13 HistoricMustang

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 19:22

Originally posted by chuckbrandt
I walked Meadowdale last summer. It was a little creepy, the land is taking it back. The neatest spot I thought was the banked down hill corner at the end of the long straight.

Regarding the silo, it appeared to me to be coming down on it's own. Erosion had undermined the whole area. I don't know how much longer it will last without some work.

Chuck


Apparently structural reinforcement work has been done and the silo is in great shape!

Henry

#14 chuckbrandt

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 15:26

Originally posted by chuckbrandt
The neatest spot I thought was the banked down hill corner at the end of the long straight.

Chuck


Here is a picture looking up the corner towards the straight. Most of the track that is in the woods is like this, going back to nature.

Chuck

Posted Image

#15 RA Historian

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 00:17

Looking at that, it certainly is hard to believe what it once was. Having said that, kudos should be given to the folks in the area who have preserved the area as Raceway Woods. I was there in the day, so sometime when I have the time I will have to go back and relive the memories, and listen to the ghosts............

Tom

#16 WDH74

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 18:56

Terry Walker-I've noticed that oval too. I've no idea what it is, and maps of the area don't give any names to the area. Next time I'm up that way I'll have to remember to stop and look.

"The only fencing was some feeble chicken wire. Going into Doane Corner, the spectator area included the inside of the 270 degree turn and at one point the cars were going straight at the spectators, who were just 15 or 20 feet away from the OUTSIDE of the turn. No guard rail, no cement wall.....simply insane!"

Old photos of Meadowdale show some fencing along the curves, that appear to be cables strung between fenceposts. Those still exist, if you go up the hill from the silo (opposite direction of the Little Monza banked turn).

-William

#17 HistoricMustang

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 21:33

Originally posted by RA Historian
Looking at that, it certainly is hard to believe what it once was. Having said that, kudos should be given to the folks in the area who have preserved the area as Raceway Woods. I was there in the day, so sometime when I have the time I will have to go back and relive the memories, and listen to the ghosts............

Tom


The ghosts seem to be around the old places.

Sightings are beginning at our place of the lady that lost her life at the track while skydiving at one of the early events. The images are at and near "Cemetery Turn" at pit exit.

Neighbors next to the former facility are also explaining that they hear open exhaust at odd times during late evenings.

Oh boy!

Henry

#18 Buford

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 06:14

I was there one year for a USAC stock car race. My dad and I were sitting on the hood of a car behind the pits. Not our car BTW. Bill Shoulders came off the Monza banking, lost it and hit the pit wall. The cement pit wall shattered in thousands of pieces and a near soccer ball size chunk flew in between us at head level and smashed the windshield on the car we were sitting on.

The last race I was there, and last ever run was a SCCA or Midwestern Council race around 1969 or 1970. During one of the races a contractor who had not been paid for a bridge he had put in pulled a tractor out on the track during the race and refused to move it. The race was red flagged and the rest of the races canceled. That was the end of Meadowdale.

#19 WDH74

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Posted 30 March 2007 - 23:52

Originally posted by Buford
I was there one year for a USAC stock car race. My dad and I were sitting on the hood of a car behind the pits. Not our car BTW. Bill Shoulders came off the Monza banking, lost it and hit the pit wall. The cement pit wall shattered in thousands of pieces and a near soccer ball size chunk flew in between us at head level and smashed the windshield on the car we were sitting on.

The last race I was there, and last ever run was a SCCA or Midwestern Council race around 1969 or 1970. During one of the races a contractor who had not been paid for a bridge he had put in pulled a tractor out on the track during the race and refused to move it. The race was red flagged and the rest of the races canceled. That was the end of Meadowdale.


Didn't the contractor who installed the underground steel tube tunnel under the main straight go out between races and dig it up?

-William

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#20 Tmeranda

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Posted 31 March 2007 - 13:45

Can anyone post the coordinates so I can get a sat. pics. I would like to attempt to walk it.

#21 chuckbrandt

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Posted 31 March 2007 - 13:54

I walked the whole thing but it's a challenge. There is about a 30' ravine washed into the track on the north west side (Big Washout). I climbed down to the west through a marsh and back up the other side. But I was picking tiny little cockle burs out of my jacket for weeks. I'd probably skip that part if it was me :) Also the track was run clockwise (I walked it anti-clockwise).

Chuck

Google Maps

Hike Map from Meadowdale site

#22 WDH74

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Posted 31 March 2007 - 22:23

Originally posted by Tmeranda
Can anyone post the coordinates so I can get a sat. pics. I would like to attempt to walk it.


Oddly enough yes. I posted the coordinates on a different forum. Weird.

42 06' 58.87"N
88 18' 05.56"W

#23 Buford

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Posted 01 April 2007 - 06:43

Originally posted by WDH74


Didn't the contractor who installed the underground steel tube tunnel under the main straight go out between races and dig it up?

-William


No it was an overhead walking bridge never used because they didn't have insurance.

#24 WDH74

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Posted 01 April 2007 - 15:32

Originally posted by Buford


No it was an overhead walking bridge never used because they didn't have insurance.


Speaking of which they've pulled down the skeleton of the old main straight pedestrian bridge. The vehicle bridge near the south end of the track is still there, for the moment.

-Wm.

#25 Buford

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 09:48

Re-reading what you said I don't know about an incident concerning an underground tunnel. The hassle I saw was concerning the overhead bridge. May have been the same contractor if both happened.

#26 RA Historian

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 11:52

Speaking of the track, a few years ago a chap in the Chicago area named Bill Pohnan wrote a book about the history of Meadowdale. I helped him with some info, statistics, etc. Last I heard he was searching for a publisher, but that was three or four years ago. I have lost track of him. Does anyone know if this project is still alive?

#27 Tmeranda

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 13:32

Thanks for the cord.s and maps. Does anyone have a decent orginal layout of the track I can use as a hiking guide?

#28 chuckbrandt

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 13:43

This is from a sign at the track, it's the best I have, maybe someone else has something more vintage.

Chuck

http://www.chuckbran...tracklayout.jpg

#29 WDH74

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Posted 04 April 2007 - 20:59

Originally posted by Tmeranda
Thanks for the cord.s and maps. Does anyone have a decent orginal layout of the track I can use as a hiking guide?


The website linked in the first post of this thread has (or had) a good hiking guide, with a couple of period track maps.

-William

#30 chuckbrandt

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 11:17

I bought a Meadowdale video DVD from an ebay seller hereiswaldo a few months ago. I watched it again last night while exercising. It's really quite good. 36 minutes of 8mm movies taken at meadowdale from various vantage points, having been there it's still a little hard for me to recognize all the spots. It shows races in '58 and maybe up to '60. In the big car race we see a couple scarabs racing with one of the corvette prototypes. There are also brief segments at Wilmont and Road America.

Chuck

#31 Tmeranda

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 17:27

Chuck,

Thanks for the hint about the map. That will work out fine with the Sat. shot I downloaded. I be sure to take lots of Pixs if I can only figure out how to post them here.

Tim

#32 chuckbrandt

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Posted 05 April 2007 - 18:06

And don't forget to go clockwise. I have hundreds of pictures but they are all facing the wrong direction :confused:

Chuck

#33 HistoricMustang

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Posted 06 April 2007 - 12:14

Originally posted by chuckbrandt
And don't forget to go clockwise. I have hundreds of pictures but they are all facing the wrong direction :confused:

Chuck


Chuck, this is not all bad. Simply state the racers would be coming towards you! :wave:

Henry

#34 aportinga

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 18:30

Meadowdale will be hosting it's 50th Anniversary this Saturday (Sept 27). The event is free and the aport family will be there.

Bands, food cars and great stories :up:

There will also be Vintage posters (re-makes) and shirts for sale.

Visit the site for more information...

http://meadowdalerac....homestead.com/

#35 HDonaldCapps

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 19:33

Wasn't someone working on a book about Meadowdale? One which might fill some of the gaps in the history of the 1959 USAC RRC series if information concerning the (hopefully complete) results of the many events held in that series that year.

#36 etceterini.com

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Posted 24 September 2008 - 23:27

Here are some Meadowdale things I have:

1958 first year:

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1959:

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Cheers (I'm not drunk)

Cliff Reuter
www.etceterini.com

#37 Aero426

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 00:39

Nice ID captions on the post card. I will try and get down there on Saturday for the reunion.

#38 RA Historian

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 01:17

Originally posted by HDonaldCapps
Wasn't someone working on a book about Meadowdale? One which might fill some of the gaps in the history of the 1959 USAC RRC series if information concerning the (hopefully complete) results of the many events held in that series that year.

Don, see my post #26
Tom

#39 aportinga

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 05:08

Originally posted by Aero426
Nice ID captions on the post card. I will try and get down there on Saturday for the reunion.


I will have a black Minardi hat on - 9 yr old will have an Orange CCWS hat or Ferrari lid on. 2 yr old will have a pink CCWS hat on.

I look like your typical fat Friesian person :lol:

Awsome images etc!

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#40 Aero426

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 15:35

After a late start Saturday morning, I drove the 100 miles from Milwaukee for the celebration and am glad I did. I was pleasantly surprised with the large turnout of people. The police were directing traffic in and out of the facility all day.

The participants were a mixture of old timers and what appeared to be quite a few locals who were checking the place out for the first time. I took a group of four guys on a walking tour. One was from 20 minutes away and had never been inside despite driving by countless times. The others were from out of town.

There was quite a bit of old memorabilia on display and several old race cars. There was also a car show on the main straight featuring period correct cars pre-1970. Even though the street cars far outnumbered the race cars, it was very exciting to see cars parked on the straightaway in front of the old pits.

I would sure like to see the organizers repeat the celebration in the future, as it was a fun event.

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1961 vintage event poster - very nice.

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Car show on the pit straight

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The freshly restored Pure silo

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Don Devine's newly minted Scarab. These cars are available for purchase.

#41 Rob Semmeling

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 16:01

Boy that silo is looking good! :eek: I remember seeing photos of it pre-restoration.

Looks like a wonderful event, if only all 'lost' circuits got such a treatment...

#42 Aero426

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Posted 29 September 2008 - 16:23

That silo was very close to being taken down after being ruled a safety liability (not true). Only a public outcry and fund raising for the restoration saved it.

#43 RA Historian

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Posted 06 May 2010 - 00:38

In the May/June issue of Vintage Motorsport. just received, there is a several page article on Meadowdale. It is an overview of the track's eleven year life, and not a race history as such. Informative as to the origins of the track and its ultimate demise. Interesting, with just a couple items in the text that require a slight correction. However, the photo captions leave a lot to be desired, as several of the pictures grossly misidentify cars and drivers. A case where a quick look over by a historian (they used to use Jim Sitz, but apparently no longer do) would have caught these obvious errors.
Tom