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California

CALIFORNIA

The Golden state

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From the travels and adventures of the “World’s #1 Trackchaser”

 

 

Highlights

 

All-Time Favorite California Track:

 

 

Ascot Park

 

 

 

Current lifetime trackchasing state rank:  1

 

 

 

 

Best Memories:

 

 

 

We have lived in California for well over 40 years. I’ve seen racing at more tracks in California than any other state. Nevertheless, I don’t think of California as a state with the best racing. Of course, we do have the best weather. I’ve gotten rained out of a lot fewer races in the Golden state, on a per visit basis, than just about any other location.

 

 

After having seen racing at more than 170 racetracks I have a lot of fond memories from my California racechasing and trackchasing. I first went to Riverside International Raceway in 1972. I was living in San Diego and took a weekend leave from the United States Marine Corps (above – that’s me front left, the guy to my left lost his entire music collection to me on this night in the barracks) to see my first ever race in California.

 

 

California track #2 was Ascot Park. We lived in California from 1975-1979 and again from 1983 to 1990 when Ascot closed. Ascot Park is one of my top 5 all-time tracks from the nearly 2,600 I’ve seen. This is where my affection for non-winged sprint cars came from. Seeing the likes of Buster Venard, Jimmi Oskie, Rick Goudy and Dean Thompson among many others was the best. It was a sad day in 1990 when Ascot closed.

 

 

With California’s expanding population many tracks were lost to developement including Ontario Motor Speedway, Speedway 605, Corona Raceway, West Capital Speedway, El Toro Speedway, Cajon Speedway, Mesa Marin Speedway, Saugus Speedway, Speedway 117, Baylands Raceway Park and more. Blame it on the sunshine!

 

 

Thanks to Bob Bogan photo collection.

I saw outstanding racing at all of these tracks. I particularly liked the El Toro Speedway (above). It was the closest track to anywhere we ever lived in California. They race TQ midgets. I still remember the night in 1977 when after the races at El Toro on the drive back to my house I learned Elvis Presley had died. I remember the NASCAR Cup races at Ontario, Freddy Fryar coming from Texas to Speedway 605 and meeting racechaser Gary Jacob on that day. Lots of late Sunday night drives back home from the Mesa Marin Speedway, a spectator being killed crossing the track at Baylands, Sammy Swindell flipping out of Speedway 117.

 

 

 

There are still more tracks that I saw race in the 70s and 80s. Places like the California Mid-Winter Fairgrounds, Orange Show Speedway, Silver Dollar Speedway, Santa Maria Speedway (above), Placerville Speedway, Kings Speedway, Ventura Raceway, Bakersfield Speedway and Twin Cities Speedway. Many years of camping with the kids at Santa Maria. The time our son flew us in his plane to El Centro for racing and having the ocean view at our backs at Ventura.

 

 

In the lates-90s with so many tracks closing a couple new racing plants opened. This included Perris Auto Speedway and Irwindale Speedway. These two tracks were arguably the best or nearly the best short track facilities in the country. Nevertheless, in the past 20+ years I’ve only been to Irwindale about five times and Perris about a dozen. It is true I don’t like short tracks that charge for parking! However, in reality by the late 90s I had begun turning to trackchasing. On most weekends I was traveling the world to see my racing and when I came home from that, the last thing I wanted to do with my free time was spend it watching more racing.

 

 

Since the year 2000 I’ve seen racing at more than 100 California tracks. Sadly, somewhat, most of those 100 tracks have been what I would call novelty shows or off-road events. For the past twenty years I haven’t seen much of the traditional oval short track racing that I grew up with and is still my favorite today.

 

 

Our visit to the Long Beach Grand Prix in 1987 was special. We were the guests of American Airlines. We ended up winning a special contest, for coming closest to picking the average winning speed. The contest prize? Airfare for two and a week’s hotel in….wait for it….Zurich, Switzerland! I’ve seen racing at such famous sporting venues as the Rose Bowl, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (home to the ’32 and ’84 Olympics), Angels Stadium (home to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and former home of the Los Angeles Rams) and Qualcomm Stadium (former home to the San Diego Padres and San Diego Chargers).

 

 

I’ve seen some very unique racing locations, some of which were on active military bases including Tustin Thunder Road Course, Naval Air Station North Island and the Del Mar Arena. I’ve never seen an ice race in California. I haven’t seen very many once a year California county fairs. I have seen a lot on one-off race locations out in the desert. My California “racechasing” hasn’t been much since about the year 2000.

 

 

California was the home to the very best “racechaser” I’ve ever known. Gary Jacob lived in Turlock, California. He saw more races, many of them at rural tracks, when he was going strong than anybody I had ever seen or heard about. Gary passed away several years ago. For the longest time he held the #1 trackchasing position in California even though he never gave that title much thought. He was a racechaser! He went to the races to see the racing and then to write about it in local racing papers. He only wanted to give the local racer some much deserved recognition. R.I.P. Gary. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRACK CITY STATE COUNTRY DATE TRACK TYPE
1 Riverside International Raceway Riverside California United States Pre-1980 PRC
2 Ascot Park  Gardena California United States Pre-1980 OUTER-DO
3 Ascot Park  Gardena California United States Pre-1980 INNER-DO
4 Ontario Motor Speedway Ontario California United States Pre-1980 PO
5 Speedway 605 Irwindale California United States Pre-1980 PO
6 Corona Raceway Corona California United States Pre-1980 DO
7 West Capital Raceway West Sacramento California United States Pre-1980 DO
8 Dixon Fairgrounds Speedway Dixon California United States Pre-1980 DO
9 El Toro Speedway El Toro California United States Pre-1980 DO
10 All American Raceway Roseville California United States Pre-1980 PO
11 Cajon Speedway El Cajon California United States Pre-1980 PO
12 California Mid-Winter Fairgrounds Imperial California United States Pre-1980 DO
13 Mesa Marin Raceway Bakersfield California United States Pre-1980 PO
14 Orange Show Speedway  San Bernardino California United States Pre-1980 PO
15 San Jose Fairgrounds Speedway San Jose California United States Pre-1980 DO
16 Saugus Speedway Saugus California United States Pre-1980 PO
17 Speedway 117 Chula Vista California United States Pre-1980 DO
18 Silver Dollar Speedway Chico California United States June 6, 1980 DO
19 Baylands Raceway Park Fremont California United States June 23, 1984 DO
20 Watsonville Fairgrounds Speedway  Watsonville California United States June 29, 1984 DO
21 Santa Maria Speedway  Santa Maria California United States September 14, 1984 OUTER-DO
22 Placerville Speedway Placerville California United States September 4, 1985 DO
23 Kings Speedway Hanford California United States September 25, 1985 DO
24 Ventura Raceway  Ventura California United States November 21, 1986 DO
25 Long Beach Grand Prix Long Beach California United States April 5, 1987 STREET-RC
26 Bakersfield Speedway Oildale California United States October 8, 1988 DO
27 Colorado River County Fairgrounds Blythe California United States November 13, 1988 PO
28 Madera Speedway Madera California United States June 24, 1989 PO
29 Rose Bowl Pasadena California United States March 13, 1991 DO
30 Delta Speedway Stockton California United States May 17, 1991 DO
31 Petaluma Speedway Petaluma California United States June 8, 1991 DO
32 Plaza Park Raceway Visalia California United States June 14, 1991 DO
33 Calistoga Speedway Calistoga California United States July 6, 1991 DO
34 Lake Perris Speedway Perris California United States October 11, 1991 DO
35 Willow Springs Raceway Rosamond California United States October 27, 1991 PRC
36 Carlsbad Raceway Carlsbad California United States July 30, 1992 DO
37 Victorville Grandstand Arena Victorville California United States July 31, 1992 DO
38 Thunderbowl Speedway Tulare California United States October 17, 1992 DO
39 Antioch Speedway Antioch California United States April 30, 1993 DO
40 Stockton 99 Speedway Stockton California United States May 1, 1993 PO
41 Twin Cities Speedway Marysville California United States July 1, 1993 DO
42 Orange County Fairgrounds Costa Mesa California United States July 10, 1993 DO
43 I.M.I. Raceway Pearsonville California United States November 27, 1994 DO
44 Sunrise Valley Raceway Adelanto California United States April 22, 1995 DO
45 Sacramento Raceway Park Sacramento California United States June 16, 1995 DO
46 Ernie Purssell Memorial Speedway Grass Valley California United States June 17, 1995 DO
47 Barona Speedway Ramona California United States July 1, 1995 DO
48 Rocky Hill Speedway Porterville California United States July 8, 1995 DO
49 Glen Helen Speedway  San Bernardino California United States July 15, 1995 DO
50 Cal Expo Sacramento California United States October 7, 1995 DO
51 Kern County Raceway Rosamond California United States November 26, 1995 PO
52 Altamont Raceway Park  Tracy California United States May 19, 1996 OUTER-PO
53 Perris Auto Speedway  Perris California United States July 4, 1996 OUTER-DO
54 Lemoore Midget Raceway Lemoore California United States August 17, 1996 DO
55 Ukiah Speedway Ukiah California United States May 1, 1997 PO
56 Orland Fairgrounds Raceway Orland California United States May 31, 1997 DO
57 Cycleland Speedway Nelson California United States June 1, 1997 DO
58 Shasta Motorsports Complex Anderson California United States June 18, 1997 PO
59 California Speedway  Fontana California United States June 22, 1997 PO
60 Redwood Acres Raceway Eureka California United States June 26, 1997 PO
61 Merced Fairgrounds Speedway Merced California United States July 15, 1997 DO
62 Tustin Thunder Road Course Tustin California United States August 3, 1997 TEMPORARY-PRC
63 Lakeport Speedway Lakeport California United States June 27, 1998 DO
64 Sears Point Raceway – Short Sonoma California United States June 28, 1998 PRC
65 Edison International Field Anaheim California United States January 30, 1999 TEMPORARY-DRC
66 Irwindale Speedway  Irwindale California United States May 15, 1999 OUTER-PO
67 Temecula Speedway Temecula California United States June 5, 1999 DO
68 Stoddard Valley OHVA Barstow California United States July 17, 1999 TEMPORARY-DRC
69 Irwindale Speedway  Irwindale California United States August 6, 1999 INNER-PO
70 California Speedway  Fontana California United States February 13, 2000 PRC
71 Chowchilla Speedway Chowchilla California United States February 25, 2000 DO
72 LA Street Race Los Angeles California United States July 16, 2000 STREET-RC
73 Pauline Davis Pavilion Red Bluff California United States February 17, 2001 INDOOR-DO
74 The Pavilion at the Fairgrounds Chico California United States February 18, 2001 INDOOR-PO
75 Buttonwillow Raceway Park Buttonwillow California United States May 6, 2001 PRC
76 Anderson Dry Lake Lucerne Valley California United States June 23, 2001 TEMPORARY-DRC
77 Perris Auto Speedway  Perris California United States June 23, 2001 DF8
78 Ventura Raceway  Ventura California United States August 1, 2001 DF8
79 Orange Show Speedway San Bernadino California United States Retroactive – 2001 PF8
80 Watsonville Fairgrounds Speedway Watsonville California United States Retroactive – 2001 DF8
81 Ascot Park Gardena California United States Retroactive – 2001 DF8
82 Irwindale Speedway  Irwindale California United States May 25, 2002 PF8
83 Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds Yuba City California United States August 2, 2002 DO
84 Thunderhill Raceway Park Willows California United States August 4, 2002 PRC
85 Butte County Fairgrounds Gridley California United States August 23, 2002 DO
86 Altamont Raceway Park  Tracy California United States August 24, 2002 INNER-PO
87 Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca Monterey California United States August 25, 2002 PRC
88 Floyd Baldwin Pavilion Lakeport California United States December 21, 2002 DO
89 Lassen Speedway Susanville California United States August 16, 2003 DO
90 American Valley Speedway Quincy California United States August 17, 2003 DO
91 Antelope Valley Fairgrounds  Lancaster California United States August 29, 2003 DF8
92 CORA Speedway Dixon California United States April 16, 2005 DO
93 Chula Vista International Off-Road Raceway I Chula Vista California United States October 2, 2005 DRC
94 Naval Air Station North Island Coronado California United States October 9, 2005 TEMPORARY-PRC
95 Wheel 2 Wheel Raceway Victorville California United States November 19, 2005 DO
96 Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport Thermal California United States November 20, 2005 PRC
97 Qualcomm Stadium Mission Valley California United States January 21, 2006 DO
98 Rialto Airport Speedway Rialto California United States June 17, 2006 PO
99 Angel Stadium of Anaheim  Anaheim California United States January 13, 2007 INNER-DO
100 Angel Stadium of Anaheim  Anaheim California United States January 13, 2007 OUTER-DO
101 Antelope Valley Fairgrounds  Lancaster California United States April 22, 2007 DRC
102 Fairplex at the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds Pomona California United States May 20, 2007 TEMPORARY-DRC
103 Victorville Auto Raceway  Victorville California United States September 29, 2007 DF8
104 Chula Vista International Raceway II Chula Vista California United States September 30, 2007 DRC
105 Perris Auto Speedway  Perris California United States March 14, 2009 TEMPORARY-DRC
106 Siskiyou Motor Speedway Yreka California United States May 16, 2009 DO
107 Delberts Memorial Raceway Lakeport California United States May 17, 2009 DO
108 Prairie City Short Course Rancho Cordova California United States November 1, 2009 DRC
109 Lake Elsinore Motorsports Complex – Main Track Lake Elsinore California United States December 19, 2009 DRC
110 Glen Helen Raceway Speedway-4.5M  San Bernardino California United States January 9, 2010 DRC
111 Chowchilla-Madera County Fairgrounds – Large barn Chowchilla California United States March 6, 2010 DO
112 Glen Helen Speedway-1M  San Bernardino California United States March 13, 2010 DRC
113 Perris Auto Speedway  Perris California United States March 13, 2010 INNER-DO
114 Santa Maria Speedway  Santa Maria California United States May 23, 2010 INNER-DO
115 Chuckwalla Valley Raceway Desert Center California United States November 20, 2011 PRC
116 Antelope Valley Fairgrounds Lancaster California United States August 23, 2012 DF8
117 Stockton 99 Dirt Track Stockton California United States March 22, 2013 DO
118 Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Los Angeles California United States April 27, 2013 MIXED-RC
119 Qualcomm Stadium San Diego California United States May 4, 2013 MIXED-RC
120 Qualcomm Stadium San Diego California United States May 4, 2013 DRC
121 Kern County Raceway Park Bakersfield California United States May 25, 2013 MIDDLE-PO
122 Kern County Raceway Park Bakersfield California United States May 25, 2013 OUTER-PO
123 Hayfork Speedway Hayfork California United States May 26, 2013 OUTER-DO
124 Milestone MX – Main Track Riverside California United States October 6, 2013 DRC
125 Bakersfield Speedway Kart Track Oildale California United States January 5, 2014 INNER-DO
126 Honolulu Hills Raceway – 7M Taft California United States January 18, 2014 DRC
127 Milestone MX – Vet Track Riverside California United States March 23, 2014 DRC
128 Desert Empire Fairgrounds Ridgecrest California United States May 10, 2014 TEMPORARY-DRC
129 Tulare County Kart Club Tulare California United States May 10, 2014 DO
130 Del Mar Arena Del Mar California United States June 29, 2014 TEMPORARY-DRC
131 Orange County Fair & Event Center (large) Costa Mesa California United States September 19, 2014 TEMPORARY-MRC
132 Orange County Fair & Event Center (small) Costa Mesa California United States September 19, 2014 TEMPORARY-MRC
133 Port of Los Angeles San Pedro California United States September 19, 2014 TEMPORARY-MRC
134 Thunderhill Raceway Park – 5 mile Willows California United States November 15, 2014 PRC
135 AV Motoplex Motocross Park Lancaster California United States March 15, 2015 DRC
136 Finger Lake Raceway – Outback track Red Bluff California United States March 21, 2015 DRC
137 Finger Lake Raceway – MX track Red Bluff California United States March 22, 2015 DRC
138 Speedway Willow Springs – North Oval Rosamond California United States June 13, 2015 INNER-PO 
139 Speedway Willow Springs – South Oval Rosamond California United States June 13, 2015 INNER-PO 
140 Speedway Willow Springs Rosamond California United States June 13, 2015 PRC
141 Alameda County Fairgrounds Pleasonton California United States July 3, 2015 DF8
142 Speedway Willow Springs  Rosamond California United States September 12, 2015 MF8
143 Ukiah Speedway Flat Track Ukiah California United States October 2, 2015 DO
144 California Mid-Winter Fairgrounds El Centro California United States November 21, 2015 INNER-DO 
145 Superstition Mountains OHV Open Area Edgar California United States December 12, 2015 TEMPORARY-DRC
146 The Dirt Track at Kern County Raceway Park Bakersfield California United States January 16, 2016 OUTER-DO 
147 Plaster City West Plaster City California United States January 30, 2016 TEMPORARY-DRC
148 Auto Club Speedway  Fontana California United States May 1, 2016 PRC – 2.8M
149 Streets of Willow Springs Rosamond California United States May 14, 2016 PRC
150 Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park – Vet Track Lake Elsinore California United States May 15, 2016 DRC
151 Chowchilla Fairgrounds and Event Center Chowchilla California United States May 20, 2016 DO
152 Cahuilla Creek MX Anza California United States July 17, 2016 DRC
153 Action Sports Arena Costa Mesa California United States August 10, 2016 DF8
154 Chowchilla-Madera County Fairgrounds – Small barn Chowchilla California United States November 25, 2016 DO
155 Buttonwillow Raceway Park #13CW Buttonwillow California United States January 29, 2017 PRC  
156 Pala Raceway – Amateur Course Pala California United States March 12, 2017 DRC
157 Barona Speedway Lakeside California United States April 22, 2017 DF8
158 Competition Edge – Hillside Track Hesperia California United States May 14, 2017 DRC
159 Siskiyou Golden Fairgrounds – Go Kart Track Yreka California United States June 16, 2017 DO
160 Sonoma Raceway – Long Sonoma California United States June 18, 2017 PRC – 2.52M
161 Ukiah Speedway    Ukiah California United States August 19, 2017 INNER-DO
162 The Dip Imperial California United States November 11, 2017 DRC
163 Lake Elsinore Grand Prix at Landmark Park Lake Elsinore California United States November 12, 2017 MRC
164 Lake Elsinore Diamond Stadium Lake Elsinore California United States December 15, 2017 DRC
165 Imperial Valley Expo Imperial California United States December 16, 2017 DRC
166 Shorty’s Sports Park Blythe California United States January 14, 2018 DRC
167 333 MX Park – Hybrid Course Victorville California United States April 15, 2018 DRC
168 Kern County Raceway Park Bakersfield California United States May 19, 2018 INNER-PO
169 Tulare County Kart Club Hanford California United States June 30, 2018 DO
170 LACR MX Palmdale California United States May 12, 2019 DRC
171 Kern County Raceway Park Bakersfield California United States June 7, 2019 INNER-DO

 

 

If you see a track link in the above list simply click on it to be transferred to my Trackchaser Report. Here you will be able to read about my adventure at this particular track. Not only will you learn about my time at the track but you’ll hear about all of the interesting people, places and things I encountered during the entire trip, coming and going, to that speedway. Most of my Trackchaser Reports will also include a photo album and YouTube video. Check it all out. Don’t be afraid to use the “search” box in the upper right corner of my website’s home page. Just type in the track name or whatever and you’ll be directed to the place you want to be.

 

 

 

 

Below is a key to surface types and track configurations so you can understand the above list just a little bit easier.

 

 

Surface types:  D-dirt; P-paved; M-mixed

 

Configuration types:  O-oval; RC-road course; F8-figure 8 track

 

 


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