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Saugus Speedway
LA's place to race
Saugusspeedway20007.jpg
Saugus Speedway in 2007
Location Saugus, Santa Clarita, California
Broke ground 1927
Opened 1939
Closed July 19, 1995[1]
Major events
Asphalt Oval
Length 0.54 km (0.333 mi)
Banking flat
Asphalt Figure 8 infield
Saugus Speedway (2009)

Saugus Speedway is a 1/3 mile racetrack in Saugus, California on a 35-acre (140,000 m2) site. The track hosted one NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event in 1995, which was won by Ken Schrader.[2] Schrader became the first NASCAR driver to win in a race in all three of the sanctioning body's major series, for he had previously won in the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series.[3]

History[edit]

The track started out as a rodeo arena called Baker Ranch Stadium in 1927. Its construction was announced in December 1926. It was owned by Roy Baker, brother of shoe businessman C. H. Baker. The stadium held 18,000 spectators. During the Great Depression, it was sold in 1930 to Cowboy actor Hoot Gibson. He used the stadium for movie sets. The stadium was sold to Paul Hill in 1934. The valley that the stadium was in got flooded in 1937. Debris from the flood was too much for Hill to deal with, so the bank got the property.[4]

William Bonelli purchased it and renamed Bonelli Stadium. In 1939, Bonelli started hosting open wheel racing on the flat dirt surface. Crowds of 10,000 to 12,000 watched drivers such as Walt Faulkner, Mel Hansen, Allen Heath, Johnny McDowell, Jack McGrath, Danny Oakes, Troy Ruttman, and Bill Vukovich.[4] The track was part of the United Racing Association in 1940 and 1941. The last race before World War II was held on June 30, 1942. The track was unused in 1943 and 1944, like all racetracks in the United States. The track was the first circuit on the West Coast of the United States to host a post-war race when it reopened on September 9, 1945.[4] Bill Vukovich won the race. Nine races were held that season, and Vukovich was crowned the champion.[4]

The track was paved in 1946, but the pavement was removed and the track returned to dirt. Midget car racing was the national sensation in 1946, drawing large crowds to the track. Roadsters were the main class raced at the track from 1947 until 1950, until midget cars came back.[4] The grandstands in the backstretch needed repairs, so the grandstands from Gilmore Stadium were installed after the track closed in 1950.[4] From 1951 to 1955, the roadsters and midget cars shared the track equally, with occasional rodeos and circuses.[4] The track was paved for a second time in 1956.[4] The first stock car racing event on the track happened in 1957. It was promoted by Tony Coldeway, who later formed the Pacific Racing Association. 23 cars and 523 spectators came to the event.[4] The track became mainly used for stock car events after that event. It featured USAC stock cars, NASCAR Winston West Series, and the NASCAR Southwest Tour.[5] It also hosted the third race in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series history during the series' first year on April 15, 1995. Ken Schrader beat Geoffrey Bodine by 1.7 seconds.[6] The race had the slowest speed in Craftsman Truck Series history with an average speed of 43.526 miles per hour (70.048 kilometers per hour).[7] The track closed unexpectedly on July 19, 1995 in the middle of the season after the grandstands had been red-tagged and condemned by the County of Los Angeles.

Current use[edit]

The track hosts weekly swapmeets on Sundays, and Tuesday flea markets. The Saugus Swapmeet features over 600 vendors and 15,000 people each Sunday since around 1970.[8] The track hosts numerous special events and festivals, including car shows, antique appraisals, and concerts. The track has been used for numerous films and television scenes.

Notable drivers[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Osmer, Harold; Lyn Pherigo. Saugus Speedway Scrapbook. Chatsworth, California, United States: Harold Osmer Publishing. ISBN 0-9659533-4-3. 
  2. ^ Craftsman Truck Series track history at racing-reference.info
  3. ^ 10 years tough; July 25, 2005, Cup Scene Daily; Retrieved December 14, 2007
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Wilkings, Marshall; Lyn Pherigo. A Tip of the Hat to Saugus Speedway Champions. Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society. Retrieved 2007-12-10. 
  5. ^ Winners of notable races in the track's history, Retrieved December 14, 2007
  6. ^ From the archives, April 7, 2004, Retrieved December 14, 2007
  7. ^ NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Notes (Week of July 14), July 18, 1997, Retrieved December 14, 2007
  8. ^ Saugus Speedway, Retrieved December 12, 2007
  9. ^ a b Woodside still on track; ex-Saugus Speedway star races today at California Speedway; June 21, 1997; Dave Desmond, Daily News; Retrieved December 12, 2007

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°24′59″N 118°31′40″W / 34.416360°N 118.527881°W / 34.416360; -118.527881


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saugus_Speedway — Please support Wikipedia.
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2 news items

 
RacingWest.com
Wed, 01 Oct 2014 07:03:45 -0700

The veteran driver campaigned his race cars at the former Saugus Speedway and then, later in life, made the Havasu 95 Speedway his racing home where he won two consecutive Street Stock championships. Commenting on the loss of his good friend, ...
 
White House Dossier
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 17:36:56 -0700

They had an awesome home near Saugus Speedway. Kind 4-H family. We had fun 4-H parties at their house. Island Girl October 10, 2014 at 4:35 am. Very interesting!!!!! Rick October 10, 2014 at 1:22 am. If someone would attend these remarks and video it ...
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