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Former Speedways of New York - Part 2
Posted 02 January 2011 - 02:00 PM
Anyone near Lyons, NY in Wayne County that can hit up the historical society? If so, this is what I found. As you head east toward Clyde on Rte. 31, there is a caution light just outside of Lyons where Cole Rd. and Clyde intersect with 31. Turn left onto Clyde Rd. Directly behind where the sewage treatment plant is today used to sit an old fairgrounds track. I have an aerial photo dated 6/14/1938 that shows the track being close to a mile, and the 2 factories behind the treatment plant would be in this tracks infield, as would Manhattan Street, the tennis courts on the left side of Manhattan, and most of the high school track on Manhattan. This track was HUGE. I'm hoping that the historical society would have pictures of cars on the track, or at the very least, newspaper accounts of a race at the track.
Addison Hill - aka Tuscarora http://i108.photobuc...llTuscarora.jpg
Adirondack International http://i108.photobuc.../Adirondack.jpg
Airport - aka Poughkeepsie http://i108.photobuc...ew/Airport1.jpg
Airport Stadium - Rochester (1939) - 1/4 mile asphalt midget track on Scottsville Rd. Still researching for exact lacation.
Akron Motor Speedway - 1st event 7/26/36 http://i108.photobuc...ew/Akronnew.jpg
Arkwright aka Van's http://i108.photobuc...ng/Angelica.jpg
Ashland Park http://i108.photobuc...AshlandPark.jpg
Ballston Spa Fairgrounds http://i108.photobuc...BallstonSpa.jpg
Bennett Airport - Binghamton (1935) (see James Strates) The airport was located in the area of Interstate 81’s ext 5, between Front Street and the Chenango River. The interstate was built over the old airfield. Some of Broome County’s first organized “stock car” events occurred on this property in 1935 which were put on by the Johnson City Racing Committee. These events were called “hobo races”. A 1935 press release said “any old car is qualified to enter. All cars are to have mufflers and have glass removed from both headlights and windshields." And ad for the race said: Welcome the entire Southern Tier to witness 150 laps, 75 miles of automobile racing at Bennett Airport Saturday afternoon, Sept. 28. Most thrilling, outstanding and longest ever held in Broome County. The entire Southern Tier is invited to witness races. Children free. Free parking. Admission only 25 cents. I haven’t been able to ascertain whether there was an actual oval constructed around the grass airstrip or some type of course set up on the grass itself. This is also the same property were James E. Strates (of the James E. Strates’s Carnival Shows) first planned to build a horse track but could not get the town’s blessing to operate past sundown. He quickly changed gears and announced plans to build a half mile paved speedway for automobile racing. Not long after, the land was acquired for the interstate and that was the end of the speedway plans.
Bennett's Field http://i108.photobuc...nnettsField.jpg
Berkshire Park - Gloversville
Big Flats aka Airport Speedway http://i108.photobuc...peedway1955.jpg
B&K Speedway http://i108.photobuc.../BKSpeedway.jpg
Bolton Landing http://i108.photobuc...ngTroutLake.jpg
Brighton Fairgrounds http://i108.photobuc...Fairgrounds.jpg
Buffalo Civic Center http://i108.photobuc...ivicStadium.jpg
Burden Lake - Averill Park (1948 - 1956) Tilted dirt 1/4 mile. The track was on the south side of Garner Road between Sheer Road and Pond Hollow Road. Track was built on a hill where cars climbed a 30 foot elevation from turn 1 to turn 2, and then down 2 grades to turn 3. http://i108.photobuc.../BurdenLake.jpg
Caledonia Fairgrounds http://i108.photobuc.../caledonia2.jpg
Cambridge Farigrounds http://i108.photobuc...w/Cambridge.jpg
Campville aka Triple - Cities - Campville (1937 - 1938) Campville Speedway was open for just a couple of seasons for bi-monthly sprint car events, before racing in the Southern Tier moved to Kirkwood Speedway. Triple-Cities Speedway was built somewhere between the railroad tracks and the river just outside of Campville off of what is today Route 17c between Owego and Endicott. The track was built on land eased by two area race drivers, Harry Sents and Charley Knarr, who also raced at their new track. http://i108.photobuc.../CAMPVILLE3.jpg
Carmel Race Track http://i108.photobuc... new/Carmel.jpg
Carroll's Grove http://i108.photobuc...rollsGrove2.jpg
Champion Park - aka Fairmont Midget http://i108.photobuc...ampionTopo2.jpg
Chariot Park http://i108.photobuc...perance2006.jpg
Chenango County - Afton (1933-41, 1946-48, 1950?) Long before the inner quarter mile dirt track was built in 1990, Afton’s original ½ mile horse track was a hot bed of auto racing during the “big car” barnstorming days of the ‘30’s and ‘40’s. The tracks first winner was supposedly Bob Sall. Stock car racing was advertised in the Binghamton Press for Sunday, September 3, 1950. The Mohawk Racing Association was to conduct a 50 lap championship classic starting 27 cars. http://i108.photobuc...nangoCounty.jpg
Chenango County Fairgrounds - Norwich (1935, 1950?) The one known big car event at the Norwich fairgrounds was held on August 25, 1935. The winner was Stan O’Bryan of Waterloo driving the Finger Lakes Special in a program presented by Simmons Speedway and brought to Norwich by the efforts of Gene Stewart who was a local Norwich racer. About ten cars were on hand to put on a show. Stock car racing, conducted by the Mohawk Racing Association of Utica, was to be held at the Norwich Fairgrounds in September and October of 1950. http://i108.photobuc...Fairgrounds.jpg
Circle K - aka Whitesville http://i108.photobuc...Whitesville.jpg
Clearview aka Shippies http://i108.photobuc...ew/Shippies.jpg
Coon Rd. Speedway http://i108.photobuc...rdWestfield.jpg
Corinth Asphalt Track
Corning Memorial Stadium http://i108.photobuc...ing/Corning.jpg
Cortland Fairgrounds Speedway - Cortland (1932-41, 1949?-1953) The fairgrounds were north of Cortland and south of Homer between Fisher Ave and Bell Drive. Early big car and midget events were held at the Cortland Fairgrounds before WWII. The earliest stock car races were held on Sunday afternoons here in 1950, although Syracuse’s Billy Blum reportedly raced at Cortland in 1949. Later stock car events in 1953 were promoted by Al Richardson who also promoted Shangri-la Speedway at the time. One of the last races at the fairgrounds, before it was torn down, was a URC sprint car event held on July 4, 1953 won by Steve Yannigan. http://i108.photobuc...ndsSpeedway.jpg
County Line Speedway (Broadalbin)
Cuba Lake http://i108.photobuc...ng/CubaLake.jpg
Cuddebackville - Deerpark http://i108.photobuc...debackville.jpg
Deposit Fair - Deposit (1936) The fairgrounds in Deposit was located on Main Street on the edge of town. The Johnson City Racing Committee, which also conducted the auto racing events at Bennett Airport and Morris Farm in Binghamton, staged an auto racing program on the last day of the Deposit Fair on August 8, 1936 on the fairgrounds’ one-third mile track. http://i108.photobuc...new/Deposit.jpg
Dunkirk Speedway http://i108.photobuc...new/Dunkirk.jpg
Dutchess Co. Fairgrounds - aka Rhinebeck http://i108.photobuc...CoRhinebeck.jpg
Eagle http://i108.photobuc... new/Eagle4.jpg
East Greenbush http://i108.photobuc...stGreenbush.jpg
Ebenezer aka Legion - West Seneca (mid 1930's) Legion Speedway was located on Mill Rd. at the intersection of Seneca Street where the Queen of Heaven Church sits today. A 1928 aerial photo of the property shows the track is just being carved out of the ground. A 1958 aerial photo shows the church (built in 1957) standing. Little information exists about the track, but the 2nd link in this post shows the image of a Big Car which indicates a 1/2 mile track. http://i108.photobuc...egion090736.jpg
Edgerton Park - http://i108.photobuc...dgertonPark.jpg
Erie Co. Fairgrounds - aka Hamburg http://i108.photobuc...eCountyFair.jpg
Fort Covington http://i108.photobuc...rtCovington.jpg
Fulton Montgomery Speedway
Fultonville Cinder Track
Glen Aubrey - Glen Aubrey (1950 - 1967) This third-mile dirt track, mostly known for running 50’s era modified stockers and low-buck, full-bodied divisions during its 17 year history under numerous promoters and sanctioning bodies. It was the place to be on Friday nights in the Southern Tier in the 1950’s but fizzled as the 1960’s drew to a close. The last known modified race here was won by Dave Kneisel in 1966 when new promoters brought the modifieds in to help boost sagging attendance but could only muster a small handful of cars. The URC sprint cars ran here in ’63 and ’64 which were won by Jim Maguire and Red Riegel respectively. A mobile home park sits today on the former raceway property. http://i108.photobuc...GlenAubrey2.jpg
Glider City http://i108.photobuc...ortBigFlats.jpg
Goodle Speedway aka Little Falls http://i108.photobuc... new/Goodle.jpg
Goshen - 1/2 mile http://i108.photobuc...new/Goshen5.jpg
Goshen - Mile http://i108.photobuc.../Goshenmile.jpg
Hardy Speedway - Schuylerville http://i108.photobuc...huylerville.jpg
Hollywood Bowl - aka Route 66 http://i108.photobuc...BowlRoute66.jpg
Hudson River Driving Park
Hyde Park Stadium
Ida Mae http://i108.photobuc... new/IdaMae.jpg
Ithica - Dreyden http://i108.photobuc...thicadryden.jpg
Kelly's Motorsports Park http://i108.photobuc...rsportsPark.jpg
Kirkwood - Kirkwood (1938 - 1941) This was a half mile dirt track promoted by Owen Heath, the brother of future 5 Mile Point Speedway founder Irv Heath. Big car (sprint car) racing was the featured attraction however jalopy races were held here as early as 1939. The track drew great crowds (a Binghamton Press story reported that 3,000 people saw Al Newton of Syracuse win a 30 lapper at Kirkwood on May 14, 1939). Portions of the track were located roughly where the Kirkwood Town Park sits today. Also, portions were buried under by the highway that connects Route 11 with Route 7 on the east side of the Susquehanna River. Doubtful any remnants of this old track exist today. http://i108.photobuc...ew/Kirkwood.jpg
Lawrenceville The Lawrenceville mystery has been solved. See entry below.
Lockport - aka Remick Park Speedway http://i108.photobuc...ew/Lockport.jpg
McKown - aka Capitol City http://i108.photobuc...CapitolCity.jpg
Monroe Co. Fairgrounds http://i108.photobuc...Fairgrounds.jpg
Morris Farm - Binghamton (1936) The track was supposed to be a mile and a half long, consisting of eight curves and patterned after the Roosevelt Raceway. Three races were scheduled in July and October of 1936. One took place Sunday, October 4, 1936 which reportedly took place on a half mile track. The race was put on by the Johnson City Racing Committee and won by Clarence Schaffer of Binghamton. By 1937 the Morris Farm land was sold off for the new Morris Heights subdivision. Not sure of the exact location. Advertising for the races have it on “Upper Conklin Road”, three miles from the Binghamton city line. I’m guessing it was west of the city on a portion of Conklin Avenue which no longer exists.
Morris - Midstate http://i108.photobuc...ew/Midstate.jpg
Naples http://i108.photobuc... new/Naples.jpg
Nassau Fairgrounds http://i108.photobuc...irgrounds-1.jpg
Niagara Falls Convention Center http://i108.photobuc...ntionCenter.jpg
North Collins aka Johnnies Speedway http://i108.photobuc...rthCollins3.jpg
Northridge aka Argyle http://i108.photobuc...ing/Argyle2.jpg
Olean http://i108.photobuc...- new/Olean.jpg
Olive Bridge - aka Onteora http://i108.photobuc...idgeOnteara.jpg
Onondaga County War Memorial - Syracuse - 12/9/1959 Site of NY States first indoor midget race.
Palmyra - 1/4 mile http://i108.photobuc...a1954Aerial.jpg
Palmyra - aka Wayne Co. Fairgrounds - 1/2 mile http://i108.photobuc...ng/Palmyra1.jpg
Peekskill Stadium - A 1/5 mile paved track costing $30,000 to construct inside the old Peekskill Stadium ball park by Victory Speedway Association, Inc. and promoted by Enno Van Dam. (The same group was running Orange County Fairgrounds at the time) Racing Friday nites starting May 4, 1951 and continuing till Sept 27, 1957, at which time the property was sold for development. Nothing remains of the track.
Penn Yan aka Yates County Fair - Penn Yan (1899 - 1952) Perhaps the site of the first auto speed contest in Upstate NY, a race between an automobile and horse was staged at the fairgrounds in 1899 on the 1/2 mile track that was built in 1871. As the village grew around the fairgrounds, officers voted to sell the old grounds in 1952; they were purchased by Harry Sutherland who has developed it into a shopping center known as Lake Street Plaza. The fair then held its annual exhibitions on the field next to the Penn Yan Airport until 1960 when the Fair Board purchased property on the Penn Yan - Dundee State Road. http://i108.photobuc...ew/PennYan2.jpg
Penny Royal http://i108.photobuc.../PennyRoyal.jpg
Pine Bowl http://i108.photobuc...ng/PineBowl.jpg
Richfield Springs http://i108.photobuc...ieldSprings.jpg
Rock and Roll
Route 20 Speedway http://i108.photobuc...e20Speedway.jpg
Rudds Beach - Colonie http://i108.photobuc...ach-Colonie.jpg
Sandy Creek http://i108.photobuc.../SandyCreek.jpg
Saranac Lake http://i108.photobuc...SaranacLake.jpg
Satan's Bowl of Death http://i108.photobuc...BowlofDeath.jpg
Schodack Center Speedbowl - aka Ups and Downs
Seneca Falls http://i108.photobuc...senecafalls.jpg
Shangri La - aka Tioga - Owego (1946 - 2005) The ½ mile paved oval opened for big car racing on Sunday, July 28th 1946. That first race was won by George Bouley of Waterbury, CT. The inner ¼ oval was constructed in 1955 and jalopy races were planned for it that year by the "Shangri-la Jalopy Club". The much smaller microd track, located inside the ¼ mile, was constructed in the late 70’s. The track’s founder, Bill Owen, first had plans to build his new speedway in Apalachin NY on 21 acres south of Route 17 (now called Interstate 86). It was to be called “Apalachin Speedway”. However, when the necessary land couldn’t be acquired, Owen bought the Owego Country Club golf course instead and turned that land into Shangri-la Speedway. http://i108.photobuc...acing/Tioga.jpg
Sharon Raceway http://i108.photobuc...cing/Sharon.jpg
South Seneca aka Boyces Speedway http://i108.photobuc...necalarge-1.jpg
St. Lawrence Valley Speedway - aka Canton Speedway
State Line - Hoosick, NY http://i108.photobuc...w/StateLine.jpg
Stow Park Speedway aka Stow Flats - Binghamton (1912 - 1928) As far as organized automobile and motorcycle events go, this is where it all began in Broome County. Auto races were held once a year during the annual Binghamton Industrial Exposition (aka the Binghamton Fair). Some of the early events held in the teens were nothing more than speed exhibitions but the later races, held in the twenties, were full blown race programs with heats, match races and mains for the “big cars”. The championship event at the fair was known as the “Susquehanna Sweepstakes” and pulled crowds of 5,000 people. The expo and racing ended after the 1928 fair. The fairgrounds was later acquired by the city of Binghamton in the 1930’s and used as the city dump. The Binghamton Plaza shopping center was built over the old fairgrounds and city dump in the 1950’s. http://i108.photobuc...ew/StowPark.jpg
Twin Valley - Chenango Forks (1970 - 1972) This banked ½ mile dirt track opened for two Sunday afternoon races in the fall of 1970, ran a full season of Sunday afternoon shows in 1971, installed lights and held weekly Friday night shows for the 1972 season before the track’s owner locked the gates for good in July over a lease dispute with the promoters. It has remained shut ever since. Will Cagle won a Schaefer Qualifier and Harry Peek won a Memorial Day 100 lapper here during the 1972 season. While mother nature has taken back much of the property, portions of the track, grandstand and guardrails are still visible today. http://i108.photobuc.../TwinValley.jpg
Victory Speedway - First race Jully 26th, 1942 (Still looking for an aerial photo)
Washington Hollow - First race August 13th, 1939 http://i108.photobuc...Midgettrack.jpg
Whites Beach http://i108.photobuc...itesbeach-1.jpg
West Glens Falls aka Airondack Speedway http://i108.photobuc...lensFalls-2.jpg
West Perth http://i108.photobuc...w/WestPerth.jpg
West Seneca http://i108.photobuc.../WestSeneca.jpg
Still Researching --
Edgewood Park - Rochester
Cortland Fairgrounds - last ran in 1953
Elmsford aka Greenborough Fairgrounds 1950s
Fishkill - 1951
Fultonville Cinder Track - Danny Ody has pictures taken at this track
Goveneur Fairgrounds aka St. Lawrence Co. Fairgrounds
Gowanda aka Zor Valley -
Great Lakes Speedway - Buffalo (1936)
Next up... New York City and Long Island tracks --
Bronx Coliseum - 1/10 Mile indoor midget track
Castle Hill Speedway - (Bronx) 1/4 Mile dirt then paved midget track
Coney Island Velodrome aka Murderdrome - Bronx (1/8 mile board track)
Dexter Park - NYC
Empire City Race Track - Yonkers (Have still pictires from 1902)
Farmers Oval - NYC
Islip Speedway - Long Island
Jamaica Speedway - 1 Mile Dirt - 1908
Juniper Park - NYC
Mineola Fairgrounds - Long Island
Riverhead Raceway - Long Island
Sheepshead Bay Raceway - 2 Mile board track - NYC
Speonk Speedway - Long Island
Weissglass Stadium - NYC
Tracks started but never finished --
Etna? http://i108.photobuc... - new/Etna.jpg
Rte 5 & 20 Speedway - Hopewell (Story coming soon)
Johnson City Speedway - Carlton Street, Johnson City (1937): A 24-acre tract of land, west of Johnson Field, was leased by the Johnson City Racing Committee. Plans were made for a speedway to host automobile racing.
Apalachin Speedway - Apalachin (1945): (see Shangri La) Before he built Shangri-la Speedway, Bill Owen acquired 21 acres of land south of Route 17 in Apalachin and announced plans for an oval track to be constructed. Grandstands, seating 5,000, were to be located on one side of the track. Elevated parking spaces on the other side of the track were to accommodate an additional 30,000 spectators.
James Strates Speedway - Binghamton (1949): (see Bennett Airport) James Strates of James E. Strates Carnival Shows staked out a half mile track on Upper Front St. to be used for auto racing after the town placed a limits on his harness track planned for the same site which was the old Bennett Airport near Sunrise Terrace. The property is now the home of Broome County College.
**Lawrenceville** "Lawrenceville race track was right in town on lands across from the current softball field on rt49." As it turns out, Lawrenceville is the town where the big dam is on Route 15, and resides in PA, NOT NY. See image... http://i108.photobuc...villesolved.jpg
***Side note about Lawrenceville***
In the lower left corner of the image is the baseball field (dirt circle). Now look at the top left corner. If that's the track, then the track itself IS in NY. Can anyone confirm this?
No ice racing here.
Posted 10 January 2011 - 03:23 AM
First off, Danny Ody - for covering the Albany / Eastern NY area. Most of the tracks in his area would have been impossible to find without his help, and that's because there are so many. Thank you, Danny.
Next, I want to thank Jay Mooney aka MoonDogSpot for his knowledge, incredible archive of newspaper clippings, programs and whatever else he has in his arsenal. The Binghamton area right now is the hot spot, and Jay has gone out of his way to help find tracks that would be lost forever without him. You are the man, Jay. Hopefully some day our paths will cross and we'll get to meet in person. And when it does, I'm bringing Danny with me.
BobK., you are next. Without your help, the Catskills neck of the woods would take forever to research because nobody else on DTD with an interest in finding these tracks lives there. Your help has been tremendous in sorting out misinformation. Thank you.
dan dan - it's your turn. Your willingness to do the legwork in the southerntier region is extemely welcome. Thank you for everything you've done. Much appreciated.
Other people that deserve a hand are Chuck Brownell, Bob Weaver, badbanana18 and TheDoctor27j. You guys have helped out more than you know. I'm not about to sit here and suck up all the credit because you guys deserve it as much as anyone does.
Posted 10 January 2011 - 12:45 PM
*NEW YORK TRACKS*
Angelica Raceway - 1/3 Mile Dirt Oval located on the Alleghany County Fairgrounds.1958 - 1964.
Bridgehampton Road Course - Now a Golf Course.
Burden Lake Speedway - 1/4 Mile Dirt Oval located southwest of Averill Park, New York. Opened in 1948, and ran into the early 1950's. The exact closing date is uncertain; America's Speedways gives 1956 but other local sources suggest 1952.
Cairo Fairgrounds Speedway - aka Cairo Speedway. 1/2 Mile Clay Oval located on the Greene County Fairgrounds. Operated from 08/18/1974 - 09/ 22/1974, roughly the length of time it took the promoter to run out of money.
Carmel Racetrack - 1/2 Mile Dirt Oval located on the old Putnam County Fairgrounds. Operated from 1929 - 1941. Also operated under the name Putnam County Driving Park. The Fair site is now abandoned.
Castle Hill Speedway - (Bronx) 1/4 Mile Paved Oval. Opened as a 1/4 Mile Dirt Oval on 06/10/1938 operating through 10/10/1939. Reopened as a 1/4 Mile Paved Oval on 05/14/1940, operating through 10/17/1941. Torn down in 1942 when a Defense Plant was built on the site.
Chatham Fairgrounds - 1/2 Mile Dirt Oval. Used for cars in 1922 and on 09/01/1935. Motorcycles ran on the track in 1978.
Clearview Speedway - 1/3 mile Dirt Oval located in South Westerlo. Operated from 1949 to 1953. Also known as Clearview Thrillway. It should not be confused with Clearview Raceway, another track in the Capital District of New York.
Empire Raceways - 1/4 Mile Paved Oval located in Menands. Operated from 06/12/1947 - 09/2/1963. Subsequently, the Two Guys Department Store was built on the site. The old store building is now leased by Bank of America for document processing services. Also operated under the name Menands Raceway.
Freeport Speedway - 1/4 Mile Paved Oval. The site is now the location of a BJ's Wholesale Club. Was built as a WPA project during the Depression. Opened as a 1/5 Mile Cinder Track for Motorcycles in 1933. Midget Racing on the Cinder Track on 05/04/1935 - early 1939. Reopened as a Paved 1/5 Mile Oval on 06/16/1939, operating through 09/23/1941. An Outlaw Race was run in 1944. Racing resumed after WWII on 08/30/1945, running through 1974. Increased to 1/4 Mile for 1975, and ran through 09/24/1983. The Town was unable to find a Promoter after 1983, and an attempted revival several years later was shot down. Also refered to as Freeport Stadium and Freeport Municipal Stadium.
Greenport Speedway - Paved(?) Oval located North of Hudson.
Hollywood Bowl - 1/3 Mile Dirt Oval located Southeast of Troy. 1952 - 1960. Also operated as Route 66 Speedway.
Islip Speedway - 1/5 Mile Asphalt Oval, last raced in 1984. Now a Cookie Factory.
Ithaca-Dryden Speedway - 1/3 Mile Dirt Oval 1954 - 1966. Also operated under the name Dryden Speedway and John Wood Speedway.
Mettawee Speedway - (Granville)
Morris Fairgrounds - 1/2 Mile Dirt Oval located on the Otsego County Fairgrounds. About 05/30/1949 - 1972. Also operated as Morris Speedway and Mid-State Speedway.
New Paltz Fairgrounds -Site of a defunct Dirt Oval located on the Ulster County Fairgrounds southwest of New Paltz. The track was used around 1950.
Niagara Falls Convention And Civic Center -1/8 Mile Paved Indoor Oval for Karts and Quarter Midgets. Replaced by a new Conference Center. The old center was to be transferred to the Seneca Nation to be converted to a casino.
Palmyra Speedway - 1/4 Mile Dirt Oval. Was built in response to the end of Racing at the Palmyra Fairgrounds in 1949. Opened on Memorial Day in 1950. Was successful, but unable to control Spectator Access adequately (couldn't manage to charge them all Admission), and shut down after Labor Day Weekend of 1955.
Pine Bowl Speedway - 3/10 Mile Paved Oval located South of Troy. Opened in 1948 as a 3/10 Mile Dirt Oval. For 1949, Paving was planned. Due to problems with the Paving Machine, only the corners were Paved (by hand) for the 1949 season. The track was completely Paved for the 1950 season. Racing ended in 1965. A small number of Unadvertised Races were held in 1966. The track is still back in the woods, overgrown, but is not readily accessible.
Polo Grounds -Best known as a Baseball Stadium in New York City, but various Auto Racing events were held there on Wood, Dirt and Paved Tracks. The Warning Track of the Ball Field was used as a 1/4 Mile Dirt Oval around 1940 - 1942. A 1/5 Mile Wood Oval was used on 06/05 & 08/1948. A 1/4 Mile Paved Oval operated from 08/28/1958 - 09/12/1959, during the period between the departure of the Giants and the two seasons the Mets played there.
Roesch Stadium - (Buffalo) Was built in 1935 on Best Street and Jefferson Avenue. Was renamed Buffalo Civic Stadium, and the 1/4 Mile Cinder Track around the Sports Field was used in May 1940 for Midget Racing. It was Paved later that year, and Racing continued through until 1959 (it hosted Stock Cars after World War II), when the name was changed again to the War Memorial Stadium.
Tioga Motorsports Park - 3/8 Mile Paved Oval located 1 1/2 Miles West of Owego. Closed after the 2005 seeason.
Weisglass Speedway -
White's Beach Speedway - 1/4 Mile Dirt Oval located on the west side of Ballston Lake, near the town of Ballston Spa. 1952 - 1961. Also operated under the name Raceway Park.
a cold PBR on the way, life is good today!
president and founding member of the i like the old guy fan club!
2014 race count
Posted 22 February 2011 - 05:44 AM
Let's start with Edgerton Park. Edgerton Park definitely had a speedway, but let's look at the word "speedway." From the late 1800's until around 1920, the word "speedway" was commonly used in reference to pony tracks. The auto racing industry kind of grabbed a death grip on the word, and the horse tracks started embracing the word "raceway." Edgerton Park was also known as "Exposition Park" at one time, and is in Rochester. This would have been a fairgrounds type environment similar in looks to what the NYS Fairgrounds in Syracuse has. Inside one of the buildings throughout the '30s was a popular hangout called Roller Speedway. This was a board track for roller skating. No car racing was ever held there.
Let's move to Exposition Park. There is some confusion here, because several of the noted historical sites have both Edgerton and Exposition Park listed at the same time. I've found that Batavia ALSO had an Exposition Park in 1923 - located at the Batavia Fairgrounds (probably the Genesee Co. Fairgrounds of today). THIS Exposition Park scheduled a July 4th, 1923 match race between a Duesenburg driven by Penn Yan native Wild Bill Albertson, and the Fronty Ford driven by Rochester native Art Bartold. This was an extremely big event for the day. Extra police were brought in for crowd control, the grandstands were expected to be at full capacity of 5,000 - and extra parking room for up to 5,000 vehicles was made.
Off the list comes Edgerton Park as no car racing was held there. Staying on the list is Edgerton Park, but that gets united with Batavia Fairgrounds - not Edgerton.
NEW to the list will be West Sheridan Speedway - previously unmentioned on any historical website that I know of, and the discovery comes by pure accident. While researching Batavia, I found a single ad in a newspaper bragging up West Sheridan for the year 1956. This track was a jalopy track that began life in 1956. I talked with "Captain History" Mark Southcott who says he believes the track lasted until 1958 or 1960. West Sheridan, NY is located between Dunkirk and Fredonia in Erie County. The ad I found in the newspaper gave pretty explicit directions to the track, and had they not been there, I would have never been able to find it. Because it didn't run very long, the "footprint" tracks leave behind isn't very deep. The track is now a plowed field, probably used for corn. I'll have images and updates to the thread above soon.
Posted 22 February 2011 - 07:11 AM
What is the definition of an auto race?
This is why I ask. While going through some of these old newspaper articles, the farther back you go, the more open that definition might be. For instance, if you go back to 1898 or 1900, the automobile was brand new and exhibitions at fairs where horses would compete against a car were fairly common. I think this would be classified as a "race" because it is a speed competition. But how about this?
1905 at Kenilworth Park in Buffalo - a popular horse racing facility of the time, had an exhibition between 2 cars that were meant to drum up business for the Vanderbilt Cup race on Long Island. Initially, the 2 cars were going to buzz the front stretch only, They were to drive side by side from one end to the other, turn around, and repeat the performance. From what I gather in this article, this was supposed to happen several times. I say this is not a race, but more of a show because even though they were showing the crowd speed, they weren't "racing" eachother.
But let's add a twist into it. The crowd was so amazed by these two cars, that an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 people left the stands and spilled out onto the track to get a better look. 40 special policemen brought in to control the crowd were left virtually helpless. Seeing what was going down, one of the drivers brainstormed an idea. He and the other car drove around the track side by side, picking up speed the entire time, forcing the crowd to back off the track. After several laps, the awestruck crowd moved off the track to watch the 2 cars take laps.
My question is, was this a race? If not, then Kenilworth needs to be stricken from the list because I'm not finding anything that says Kenilworth had any other kind of "race" there.
Posted 22 February 2011 - 02:31 PM
"What is the definition of an auto race?".........2 or more vehicles simultaneously going from point A to point B for the purpose of seeing which one can get there first.
"Was the "exhibition" at Kenilworth park a race?"........Well, I guess that depends on if the drivers were real racers or just drivers. Exhibition or not, any time 2 or more real racers are in different cars in close proximity to each other, rest assured a race will occur!
I once organized and participated in an "exhibition" indoor kart race at Middletown's Thunder Dome at intermission during the motorcycle races. It started out OK, but after a few laps when 2 of us realized we had our act together, so much for the "exhibition".
Does Kenilworth qualify as a former Speedway of New York, probably not. But the event has historical significance in early racing history, and deserves mention in my opinion. Maybe in a different category. I think for a track to qualify for the current title of "Former Speedways of New York", at least one organized event should have occurred in which the race was promoted, paying spectators attended, and the intent was to have races there on a regular basis. Some tracks had only one race and ceased operation for one reason or another, but they should be included if the plan was for more than one event.
Posted 23 February 2011 - 05:58 PM
What if a track only held one auto racing event and it gets rained out after time trials and a couple of laps of the first heat race? Or, as in the case of another possible new defunct track I came across recently: A tragedy occurred and the rest of the show gets cancelled and is never re-scheduled? (Bob: I sent you a PM with the info on this potential new track I found.)
I’d say from a historical perspective, if there were at least two automobiles on the track “racing one another”, whether the race was part of an actual organized event or, just an exhibition, completed or not, then I think the track should be included. JMO.
Posted 30 May 2011 - 01:20 PM
I'll try to add my photos to a flicker set but for now my public facebook album should suffice lol
I grew up on Inslee St. in Waterloo and spent many a summer nights at the fairgrounds. Unfortunately I was born in 1982 so I missed the racing. But, I was always fascinated by what once was just down the street from me. So it was nice to go and tour the track and get some great photos (granted with a crappy cell phone 3 megapixel camera). I swear I could still smell the gas when I was there
"The Wee One"
Posted 16 June 2011 - 11:59 AM
Posted 05 July 2011 - 08:48 AM
I found out there used to be a horse track in Lyons. Haven't found the location yet, but I bet it is the one you mention
Posted 05 July 2011 - 09:38 AM
The aerial photo I have from 1938 looks as if the Lyons track is already closed. My guess is that the track was built for horses back in the later 1800's, and may have hosted a a horse vs. car event sometime in the extremely early 1900's, just as Penn Yan did at their fairgrounds. I'll admit that I haven't dug very deep into the Lyons track myself, other than finding mentions of the track on other websites and trying to confirm/deny it existed.
And before I forget, I want to pick your brain in person about Waterloo.
Posted 09 December 2011 - 04:33 PM
The picture you have posted is actually the National Warplane Museum, located 14 miles north. Ironically, this is where 'Airport' or Big Flats speedway, which ran in 1952-53, was located. The Aerial photo I supplied you of 'Airport Speedway' (courtesy of the Big Flats Historical Society) would sit just about where the war plane museum is. Another race track was located 1/2 mile from 'Airport Speedway'. 'Tri-Cities' was a 1/2 mile dirt track located off "old" Colonial Drive (it ran through the airport). It ran 'Big Cars' in 1938 with Hank Bruning of Carbondale Pa. winning everything in sight. Bruning went on to win the S.T.R.A. championship that season, but was tragically killed the next year at Tunkhannock Fairgrounds in Pa. The track also ran at least one "Jalopy" race in 1940. The track was plowed under in an airport expansion.
Posted 14 December 2011 - 09:29 AM
I am aware of the discrepancy - and it will change shortly. Stueben County, NY is currently being updated on Historical Airviews, and we'll be able to get exact locations on several of the tracks there. As technology and involvement advances, I'm sure several of the tracks will change. The basic idea behind this whole thread is to get people talking and motivated to look for the correct answers. I think we've got a pretty good group here and over on RaceNY that are willing to put in research time. Let's hope it continues.
Posted 10 May 2012 - 08:54 AM
Posted 13 June 2012 - 10:44 PM
From above: Cuddebackville - Deerpark http://i108.photobuc...debackville.jpg
Posted 15 June 2012 - 09:53 PM
Champion Park Speedway
edit: 2 seasons, 1939-40.
Posted 16 June 2012 - 09:55 PM
Champion Park Speedway was a 1/5 mile dirt oval, located 2 to 3 miles south of the NYS Fairgrounds. It opened July 2, 1939. The last race I can find was held July 10, 1940. The track hosted midgets and motorcycles. The track was located in a residential area, and received many complaints from neighbors about noise and exhaust fumes (including being fined by the town), most likely leading to the closing of the track.
Posted 19 June 2012 - 03:17 PM
You're absolutley correct, the image above for Champion Park is wrong. I'll get the correct image up shortly.
But don't waste your time looking for the track because it's gone. Below is a topographical map showing both the reservoir and the track from about 1950.
This next image is the same area within the last 5 years.
And here is an actual photo of what was left of the track in 1951.
And this final image is the property where the track used to be.
Posted 19 June 2012 - 04:50 PM
I have some pictures of the track as it was being built, and a couple of action shot images from old herald journals, '39 and '40. I don't think those houses north of the track existed in '39.
BTW, where did you find the areal photo?
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