Anybody who has visited the City of Angels knows its obsession with all the automobile. There isn’t another place in the states (or the world, for that matter) where this invention is the basis for all commerce within its borders. Yet few people would guess that racing was at the heart than it all.
It’s been claimed that as soon as the second car came to be, racing came to be. So, it ought to come as no surprise that since 1903 Southern California has seen a lot more than 100 racetracks in its history.
Yes, you’re reading that correctly: over 100 racetracks that accommodated everything from Grand Prix and Indycar to hillclimb, board track and drag racing, to name just a couple of.
Pasadena’s rise to fame was thanks to a hillclimb. A single race in 1906 drew around 30,000 spectators, with assorted national and local dealers attempting to smash the record of 2min up the 1.4-mile course.
The car that did it was car # 55, an Apperson Jackrabbit, completing the ascent in 1: 24. at a breakneck speed of 53mph. Pasadena Police turn off the race after the following year, sadly because of foolish spectators lining the root.
Another arena that helped put a city about the map was the LA Motodrome in Playa Del Rey, CA. This was a near-perfect one-mile circle course. In some parts the board track racecourse off Jefferson Avenue and Culver Boulevard was banked at 45? .
The track was the most advanced during its lifetime (1909-1913), but also one of the more dangerous. It played host not only to the most popular board track motorcycles, but automobiles too – like Barney Oldfeild’s famous 210hp Blitzen Benz and Ralph De Palma’s 200hp Mephistopheles Fiat.
In 1913 the track was badly damaged by nomads, who will sleep and smoke underneath the track at nighttime. Sadly, no evidence of this track remains, with Mother Nature soon reclaiming the land.
Aside from being one of the busiest ports in North America, Long Beach gained recognition as a tourist destination thanks to its long history as the Monaco of America . Every year since 1975, the Long Beach Grand Prix has attracted the best drivers to test their skills around the tight and technical street course.
Racetracks still happens to Southern California, including Willow Springs, Buttonwillow, California Speedway and Irwindale. There’s even a yearly race in the streets of Pomona to relive the glory days. But increased pressure on expensive land, and the incursion of neighborhoods into previously unoccupied land has created many problems.
Currently, LA has no full-time dragstrip, and also other facilities are facing closure. The oval course and eighth-mile dragstrip at Irwindale Speedway nearly had to close its doors for good. enthusiasts, However and businesses throughout the state and nation mobilized to spread the phrase about its impending closure. The track has since re-opened and is starting a series of new activities as a result of new management.
Without the automobile, California would be a dismal place to live. Admittedly, the car creates its own problems but it’s also stimulated the economy and helped maintain it.
Think about what Southern California can be without racing. Sure, so does Cuba, although we have beautiful beaches and great weather.
Where They Raced
The significance of motor racing in a city as energetic as La inspired a guide entitled Where They Raced: Lap 2 Auto Racing Venues in Southern California 1900-2000. Written by Harold L Osmer, it’s along with a new Vimeo web series — Where They Raced.
The Episodes cover the introduction of racing to Los Angeles and examines several vehicles that have been are and restored now raced along the routes and courses of your bygone era. It also includes plenty of interviews of living legends who share historical moments as they really happened.