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What & where were the SoCal raceways?


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#1 Keith Tanaka

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 11:38 PM

Since the Valley tracks have been posted, what about the other tracks in SoCal?
I had read somewhere that there were 400 slotcar raceways in SoCal at the peak of our hobby (mid-'60s).

I'll start by mentioning two tracks I'll call my home tracks back in the '60s.

First track I learned about slot car racing was Checkered Flag Raceway in Torrance (next to Gable House Bowl). It had a checkered flag reverse king type track. Bumps in the straightaway and a sweeping left turn into the donut with a slight S-turn exiting the donut into the 180 lead on turn. This track was the site for one of the Rod and Custom races.
I'll always remember Checkered Flag since it was there that I saw Team Russkit for the first time. This was probably late '65 or early '66.
I had read about this team in the magazines back then and always admired them. On that day, Mike Morrissey, Ron Quintana, and Rick Durkee were present to take many hot laps. Since this was before I had done any actual racing, I couldn't believe how fast their cars were.
Team Russkit definitely started the "Golden Years" of slot car racing by touring the country and displaying their scratchbuilt cars.

The second track was Rolling Hills Raceway in Torrance (near the Torrance airport). The main track was an Imperial track. A fast track in those days. No bumps in the straightaway, but a killer bank which destroyed your car if you launched in the bank due to the top rail barrier.
Lee Hines remembers the "gremlin" on the black? lane which mysteriously appears once in awhile to launch your car into the bank!
The final Car Model race to decide the 1967 champion was held on this track. The final race was memorable. It was for F1s. Mike Steube had his car stolen before the race! Doug Henline won the race. Terry Schmid won the '67 championship.

The front track was an orange layout. Simple track with a donut as I recall. I only remember one night I was on the front track by myself and in walks a stranger. It was Parnelli Jones! Since Vels/Parnelli Jones dealership was down the road, I guess he decided to see what these slot cars were all about. He actually sat down next to me while I took some laps. Too bad I was so shy in those days. I didn't say a word to him. He did seem to be very interested in how my car handled. Maybe he picked up an idea or two by watching slot cars!

Keith :rolleyes:
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Team Rolling Hills circa '66-'68




#2 68Caddy

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 12:07 AM

Man,

It's funny how these old stories catch our childhood memories and, Keith, you where there to enjoy this things.

I forgot all about slot car for thirty-five years and I found my way back to my childhood enjoyment.

Thanks, Keith, for sharing this story. :friends:
- Gabriel
Nesta Szabo

In this bright future you can't forget your past.
BMW (Bob Marley and the Wailers)

United we stand and divided we fall, the Legends are complete.
I'm racing the best here at BP but Father time is much better then all of us united.
Not a snob in this hobby, after all it will be gone, if we keep on going like we do, and I have nothing to prove so I keep on posting because I have nothing to gain.
It's our duty to remember the past so we can have a future.

Pistol Pete you will always be in my memory.

#3 Mark Wampler

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 12:21 AM

Being from Arizona originally, while at a military school in Long Beach, I remember Hobby City on Beach Blvd. 1965. It was a coin-operated hillclimb... I think.

Then I remember a track in Pico Rivera, but I can't remember what it was called.
You can quote me.

-Mark

#4 idare2bdul

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 03:02 AM

Hobby City was unique. Nets on the ceiling to catch your car were not a good omen. The guide slot was so narrow in places your guide had to be so thin you could almost read through it. On the plus side they often had Neat Things RTR's in the counter and they took plastic when most tracks didn't. The real track in that neighborhood was Monaco.

I never raced at Ron Granlee's Speed and Sport; wasn't it in that general area?
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Mike Boemker

#5 John Gorski

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 06:00 AM

Don's Raceway Downey, CA.
Speed & Sport Lynwood, CA.
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#6 Roger U

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 12:45 PM

Thinking about it now, there sure were a lot of tracks in the '60s. The tracks I ran at most in the mid to late '60s were, as Keith mentioned, Checkered Flag and Rolling Hills Raceways both in Torrance.

When I first started in '63-64 I remember Western Model Raceway, on Western Ave and 132nd St. in Gardena. Bob Braverman used to run there on the dragstrip. Then there was G&F Raceway on the corner of Crenshaw Blvd and Lomita Blvd, in Torrance, and Lomita Model Raceway which was about a half mile away on Lomita Blvd. Lomita was the first track where I actually entered a race.

Lee Hines, a couple of other friends, and I went to a few races at Checkered Flag in San Pedro, on Pacific Ave. This is where I first saw spoilers (they called them diaplanes) on the front of slot cars, to try to keep the front ends down over the bumps of the King track. Those cars were driven by Team Russkit - Mike Morrissey, Rick Durkee, and Ron Quintana. Jim Russell was at this race.

There was an "unusual" track in a shopping center on Silver Spur Road near Hawthorne Blvd in Palos Verdes; it was made of cement. It was slick and after two or three laps you had to stop and clean the cement dust off your tires, very strange. Not sure how long it lasted as I went there only one time.

These tracks, and probably a few more, were all in the South Bay area of Los Angeles and within a very few miles of each other. :)
Roger Uusitalo

#7 Keith Tanaka

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 03:30 PM

Another track Roger, Lee Hines, and I raced at was Don Peter's American Raceway in Hawthorne. The weekly races would attract some of the fastest racers in those days (John Cukras, Mike Steube, Terry Schmid, Bryan Warmack, Dave Grant, etc.). I believe Tore (John then) Anderson also raced occasionally at American Raceways.

Of course Revell in Inglewood was another big raceway. Hopefully, someone out there will tell us about Revell since I wasn't a regular racer there.

I did happen to race a few times at Checkered Flag raceway (also in Inglewood?). We used to call it Arbor Vitae (since it was located on this street). One of the most difficult tracks to race on. It was a flat track with nine turns.
If Jim Fowler can respond on this track we would appreciate it. I understand that Jim worked the counter at this track and was very familiar with its history.

J&J's in Long Beach and Checkpoint raceway in Paramount are two of the most famous raceways in SoCal, but I did not race at these two tracks much. I think I was too intimidated with the "star" racers who raced regularly at these two great tracks. Hopefully, Cukras, Warmack, Steube, Hines, etc., can comment on these famous tracks.

Keith
Team Rolling Hills circa '66-'68

#8 Mark Wampler

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 03:38 PM

I'm curious about the American Raceways franchises in SoCal. Here in Pismo Beach, we had a full on American setup with four of their tracks. Originally opened in '64 and finally closed in '88.
You can quote me.

-Mark

#9 Roger U

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 06:13 PM

Keith, yes, I do remember racing at American Raceway in Hawthorne, as well as Revell and Arbor Vitae in Inglewood, fairly often. It seems like the owner of Arbor Vitae was Ray Crawford (?) and he had owned another track before which had a 1:1 sprint car on display in the raceway... or maybe not :unsure: . We also raced some at J&J's, Checkpoint, and Bellflower Hobbies.

There was a track on the Redondo Beach pier, can't recall what it was called or the brand of track. We raced there a few times, once in a 24-hour enduro.

I can't recall any more right now. My memory is tired, as it hasn't been used this much for quite some time, just ask my wife. :laugh2:
Roger Uusitalo

#10 threegz

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 02:52 AM

Hi Keith,

I got my very short start in the late '60s at a track in Temple City. Now it's a parking lot. Can't remember the name of the track. Barry Obler, Greg Gilbert, and others would know more about it than I remember. I went there a few times then did my time in the Army. A few years later when I returned to Temple City the track was gone.
Ray Gonzales

#11 Foamy

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 05:53 PM

No love for the O.C.? Well here goes. . .

Santa Ana Raceways in Santa Ana was the bad boy in the O.C.
John Hale was the owner, had several tracks over the years.

Knapper's Coins in Orange had a homebuilt hillclimb. Ran Enduro's all the time.

The Bicycle Shop at the Orange Traffic Circle.
Another homebuilt track in the basement, tracktime a penny a minute.

Miniture Freeways in Huntington Beach, near the Orange County Fairgrounds. Owned by a retired music teacher, had homebuilt tracks in two different locations. Freeway construction killed the first one, his weird rules killed the second.

Miniature Grand Prix in Tustin, Westminster, etc. You all know what they had for tracks.

The Big A in Anaheim had the biggest I have ever seen. Giant banks and long straights. The big track had driver hookups on both ends of the track. On the same lane. So your "friends" could cream your car for you...

Bud's Hobby in Tustin had a banked figure-8 with noooo brakes. You just needed a microswitch for a controller. My father and I would run these rewound ball-bearing Kemtron jobs. When the power went off, you could coast a half lap. The others were not amused.

Dennis Hill
 
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preferably one with a really awesome musical number for no apparent reason."

 


#12 The Bugman

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 08:26 PM

Well, seeing as we're jumpin' in with our oldie slot stories, here goes for me, too.

I grew up in Hawthorne and I actually started in 1961 at Western Speedway, with a Strombecker and a doorbell button for a controller.

I personally knew Bob Braverman and his son Davey. Bob was the B.M.O.C. there in drag racing. His kid and I played on the road course together. Bob used to build all my mag chassis for our Pittmans...

I also raced at Hawthorne American Raceway (early '60s) and most of the local Inglewood places, too... Wheww, so long ago, tough to make the brain go back that far. :shok:

I raced Pittman 196s, 65Xs, and 85As at Western Speedway's dragstrip long before the Russkit came along.

I remember the Torrance tracks... and my dad used to take us kids to race at Redondo Pier. It was downstairs by the local 1/2-3/4 day fishing boats. This was in the early to mid-'60s.

I raced til the late '60s, all fairly local in the South Bay areas. I rode my bike everywhere in those days... so I stayed within an easy pedal (5-10 miles).

Mike Morrisey and Team Russkit showed "us kids" how to solder and make our own chassis from 1/16" brass tubing, for the Russkit motors. Wow, those were fun days.
That's why D3 is so much fun... just like the old days (almost!!).

OK, nuff ramblin', I could go for hours telling old slot stories, too...

Just hadda throw my 2 cents in, too. :yahoo:
Oscar Morales
8/16/49-9/18/13
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#13 Keith Tanaka

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 11:11 PM

Thanks for the memories, Roger, Foamy, and Oscar.

Oscar, by all means let us know more stories of what it was like in the '60s racing here in SoCal. Most of us oldtimers have forgotten a lot since those days, but when someone posts their memories it helps all of us to remember some more!

Foamy, what year did you race at Knappers? Although I never visited Knappers, Bryan Warmack did race there early in his slot racing days.

Keith :rolleyes:
Team Rolling Hills circa '66-'68

#14 S.O. Watt

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 06:41 PM

OC is a good place...

No love for the O.C.? Well here goes. . .

... to be from.

Santa Ana Raceways in Santa Ana was the bad boy in the O.C.
John Hale was the owner, had several tracks over the years.

I only raced a couple of times there (John didn't like me winning every race I ran there - NCC20s :laugh2: ) but hung out there a few times. The best remembered event by some old pharts - the 28 hour enduro where Pete Z. stepped through the track... :shok:

Knapper's Coins in Orange had a homebuilt hillclimb. Ran enduros all the time.

The track I really learned to race on. The Riverside track is still a favorite of mine. Six lanes, varying esses, downhill sweeper that tightened up then went the other way off-camber. And Doug Henline working there, he talked me into entering my first race ever.
Posted ImagePosted ImagePosted Image

The Bicycle Shop at the Orange Traffic Circle.
Another homebuilt track in the basement, tracktime a penny a minute.

The Bike Shop, still owned by the same family. It was the very first slot track I ever drove on (other than my HO set). The car? A Masser Strombecker with a Red Hot in it and some Vecos (?), car given to me by my future bro-in-law.
Posted ImagePosted Image

Miniture Freeways in Huntington Beach, near the Orange County Fairgrounds. Owned by a retired music teacher, had homebuilt tracks in two different locations. Freeway construction killed the first one, his weird rules killed the second.

First met Boola Gil there during a 24-hourr enduro. A bunch of us sat in the infield and played a card game called "Liar". Quick track if I remember right.
Posted Image

Miniture Grand Prix in Tustin, Westminster, et. You all know what they had for tracks.


I raced hard plastic stockers there and got my first ever win. The car? - a Lotus 25b on a 196 with a 6v Kemtron, Daytona tyres (local Anaheim track, Warmacks home track ?), car was loaned to me by a builder that couldn't drive.
Posted ImagePosted Image

The Big A in Anaheim had the biggest I have ever seen. Giant banks and long straights. The big track had driver hookups on both ends of the track. On the same lane. So your "friends" could cream your car for you. . . .

We raced USRA stockers there in '69. First time I ever saw a "blow over".
:blink:

Bud's Hobby in tustin had a banked Figure 8 with noooo brakes. You just needed a microswitch for a controller. My Father and I would run these rewound ball-bearing Kemtron jobs. When the power went off, you could coast a half lap. The others were not amused.

Can't place the track but have vague memories of being there like once.

Tom Hansen
Our Gang Racing Team
Cukras Enterprises

Team Camen

Chassis By Hansen

I race and shop at Pacific Slot Car Raceway


#15 S.O. Watt

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 06:48 PM

I remember racing in an enduro against Warmack, Anderson, and Grant (with leg cast!) there, the amateurs against the pros. We had them them first half, the second they out-motored us.

Foamy, what year did you race at Knappers? Although I never visited Knappers, Bryan Warmack did race there early in his slot racing days.

Keith, I think I met you at a little custom three-lane scale track in a garage in Orange just off Tustin Ave. I believe Doug had you come over and check it out, maybe '66, '67? I was a young high schooler then.

Tom Hansen
Our Gang Racing Team
Cukras Enterprises

Team Camen

Chassis By Hansen

I race and shop at Pacific Slot Car Raceway


#16 Keith Tanaka

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 11:07 PM

Tom, I can't remember ever going to a track in Orange in those days, but my memory is quite fuzzy these days!

I sure wish Doug Henline would come see us race at BPR. I think he would get a kick out of the D3 F1 races. Doug was the "King" of F1 racing in those days.

Keith :rolleyes:
Team Rolling Hills circa '66-'68

#17 TSR

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 11:19 PM

The good news is that there could be a new raceway not too far in the future in Santa Ana or Tustin... I am told. :)

#18 Mark Wampler

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Posted 28 February 2008 - 11:27 PM

I'm skipping through these posts, but has anyone mentioned Circle T? That was a mom and pop shop that I'm told was one of the few tracks that survived the '60s and was opened longer than any other. I'm thinking it was in North HO. I was there only one time.
You can quote me.

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#19 Keith Tanaka

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Posted 29 February 2008 - 10:44 PM

The good news is that there could be a new raceway not too far in the future in Santa Ana of Tustin... I am told. :)

Philippe, how far in the future? Anyone we know?

Keith :rolleyes:
Team Rolling Hills circa '66-'68

#20 TSR

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Posted 01 March 2008 - 09:41 AM

A new afficionado who would run it for fun rather than profit. He owns a big photo lab.

#21 CruzinBob

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 04:32 PM

The good news is that there could be a new raceway not too far in the future in Santa Ana or Tustin... I am told. :)

I hate to continue off topic but I beg to differ. :blush:

Good news would have been one opening in the San Fernando Valley, Riverside, or San Diego, not some 10 miles from Buena Park... surely the additional exposure will have a drifting effect BUT another "come 'n go operation" via the excitement of one who can afford such expenses can only lead to disdain in the long run.
Bob Scott
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#22 Mr Dynamic

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 06:01 PM

Zombies need more Brains!

Who of you reckless ramblers remembers the famous "Bellflower Raceway", home of the mighty "Aristocrat" track?

Where are walking undead from the Redondo Beach Pier track?

What was the US Hobby and Raceway Center, in Alhambra, CA?

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#23 Larry LS

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 09:16 PM

Well whatever, Southern CA. :laugh2:

lt was not the only place in CA that had tracks for years.

I started racing at a small shopping center in Santa Maria, CA, in 1963 just shortly after President Kennedy was shot. It was a small mall shop with a store for parts, etc., on one side and across the mall isle they had a small four-lane 1/24 scale routed track that was fun to race on.

The next year they opened two new tracks, one in Arroyo Grande, CA, and one in San Luis Obispo, CA, 15 miles apart. These ran til about the end of 1968. During that time, a track in Lompoc, CA, also opened by Earl Olsen. He ran a nice track and we had hardbody NASCAR races between them, Arroyo Grande, and San Luis Obispo tracks every month on a rotation basis. We usually had 60+ racers each weekend. Saturday was practice and qualifying races. Then the two A and B main races ran on Sunday.

The Lompoc track, besides local racing, also sponsored and ran two big enduro races in 1964 and 1965. The 1964 24-hour race my team won with a Pittman 705 motor setup. In the 1965 52-hour enduro we ran Pittman 706 motors that I had rewound to about 6 volts. We finished second by 206 laps after 52 hours of racing. We changed motors every 6 hours, and changed the brushes and tires, etc. We had three motors to use. We could change motors and rear tires out in one minute. We were beat by a team with stock 6 volt Pittman DC65x motors because they were a bit lighter and faster per lap than us.

The Lompoc track had the Russkit drivers in for a weekend challenge race and I managed to finish third behind two of them and the rest of the pack. Don't remember which drivers were there but there were four Russkit drivers that showed up. We had about twenty local drivers running against them.

A year or so later there was Champion challenge race at the Pismo Beach American Raceway track and I ran against some of the SF team Champion drivers in that one. I believe we had to use the Champion stock chassis and NCC 20 motors in that one. On the American orange track I got a second in that race I believe. Been too long ago.

We then had a another track open in Santa Maria and another one in Paso Robles that did not last long. Another two tracks also came in to San Luis Obispo. And another one in Grover Beach run by a highway patrolman and family. So between 1963 and now there has only been one year, 1970, I did not race, as the Pismo track did not have races set up to run then.

The next year they did and I was back in racing again. So in 45 years I have only missed one year of not racing slot cars in this area. There have been about 14 tracks in this Central Coast area over the 45 years with Foster's Raceway being the one remaining.

Still is a fun place to race in. Been a fun 45 years of slot racing that hopefully will continue for a while longer.
Larry Shephard
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#24 The Bugman

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Posted 02 March 2008 - 09:54 PM

Who of you reckless ramblers remembers the famous " Bellflower Raceway" home of the mighty "Aristocrat" Track?

Ahhhhh, mighty Zombie leader, I was one of the Bellflower Raceway 36D hardbody racers, and I grew up racing/playing with my slots under the Redondo Pier, next to the seashell store, in front of the 1/2 and 3/4 day fishing boats, early '60s here...

Thank you, oh mighty Zombie leader! B) :ph34r: :wacko2: :victory:
Oscar Morales
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#25 Pablo

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Posted 18 March 2008 - 10:31 PM

LeMans Raceway in La Mesa.
YMCA in downtown San Diego.
There were raceways in El Cajon, Spring Valley, and Clairemont. I forget the names but I remember big fat Ben in Spring Valley.
In the late '80s Chula Vista had a track.
Gary Cleverly had a raceway in North County circa 1990.
Every single one of them vanished without a trace :dash2:
Paul Wolcott

#26 Grammy Winner

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Posted 19 March 2008 - 01:12 AM

We actually still have a club track in La Mesa; I believe it is the original track from Spring Valley.

Check out the Club forum/ San Diego track. Bunch of really nice guys and great Flexi racing on Hillclimb sans donut. We are trying to get some D3 racing going.

Posted Image
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#27 obnoxious001

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 02:23 PM

Hi Keith,

I got my very short start in the late '60s at a track in Temple City. Now it's a parking lot. Can't remember the name of the track. Barry Obler, Greg Gilbert, and others would know more about it than I remember. I went there a few times then did my time in the Army. A few years later when I returned to Temple City the track was gone.

I just found this thread today.

Ray, you didn't come in there while I was working at TC? Greg Gilbert and Brian Johnson both were local "kids" there when I had a job there around 1970. I recall helping both of them learn.

That's also where I met Gil Gunderson and Bob Stefan of Team Boola; they would come in for some of our weekly races, which consisted of Open or Group 20, with occasional "special" races with scratchbuilt stock cars, F1s, or 1/32s.

I have always had a strong memory of the first Dynamic McLaren coupe body that I bought and brush-painted flourescent yellow. It didn't take me long to figure out that I needed an airbrush, and actually used the track's airbrush and painted bodies right behind the sales counter.

I haven't seen mention of Rosecrans Raceway. I recall Pops would never let anyone apply any glue to his white surface track.

There were so many raceways, we used to drive to many of them to check them out. We used to race regularly at Circle T in North Hollywood, but also explored Speed and Sport, the track on Redondo Pier was cool (fresh shrimp or fish and chips were a bonus on the pier), there was a track in Chino with an "underpass" under the bridge that would launch your car quite neatly if you didn't have the correct brake and punch points. It's too bad that college and the real world took me away from all that until a friend got me to go to Uncle Kals Underground Raceway (RIP) in Monrovia a few years back.
Barry Obler

#28 flarimer

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 12:25 AM

A couple more that come to my mind (as hazy as that may be...)

Bob's Hobbies on 4th street in Long Beach - where I first met and raced with Mike Morrissey, Ron Quintana, and Len Vucci.

Another on Anaheim in Long Beach - forgive me for not remembering the name, I should as I grew up around the corner from it - where I came of age racing with Morrissey, Quintana, Vucci, and first put my hands on a Duer controller and later a Russkit controller. And where I first encountered John and Terry Schmidt.

Plus Paramount Raceways (which I believe later morphed into Checkpoint), first met Bill, Billy, and Mike Stuebe there.

Bellflower (I loved the long uphill straight and let us not forget the middle-of-the-race "oil slicks" that Quintana used to love suprising us with...). First met Rick Durkee there.

J&J's in North Long Beach. Where is Jim Gallager these days, anybody know? And where I met up with Pete Z, John C, Lee "Jet" Hines (let us not forget the famous MGB races post-event, anybody remember Pete Z and his Volvo? Anybody remember what happened to it? And let's not forget Pete's Fiat 600 that took us to the SF Valley, SLOWLY...)

Then there were a series of tracks in Orange county that we (Ron Q, Len V, Mike M, and me) used to travel to and race at.

Santa Ana Raceways and their 28-hour enduros. Dave Grant (and that Dodge with the broken motor mounts), Brian (worm) Womack, Doug Henline, and others whose names I've forgotten

Checkered Flag on Hawthorne in RDB, Western, Revell on La Cienega where I think one of the first R&C races was held.

Good grief, what a nostalgia trip.

Be seeing some of you this weekend. Been a long time coming.
Fred Larimer
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#29 Keith Tanaka

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 09:53 PM

J&J's in North Long Beach. Where is Jim Gallager these days, anybody know? And where I met up with Pete Z, John C, Lee "Jet" Hines (let us not forget the famous MGB races post event, anybody remember Pete Z and his Volvo? Anybody remember what happened to it? And let's not forget Pete's Fiat 600 that took us to the SF Valley, SLOWLY...)

Fred,

Cukras and Zimmerman were talking last weekend about how much fun they remember having "racing to the track and back home". Cukras and Steube talked about the same thing recently. Pete mentioned how insane Anderson was driving his Volvo back then. I remember riding with Lee Hines after he returned from Europe following the F1 races. I think he drove his MGB pretending he was an F1 racer!

I'll bet the racing to and from the track was more exciting than the slot car race!

Keith :rolleyes:
Team Rolling Hills circa '66-'68

#30 flarimer

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 01:15 AM

Keith - yea, it was pretty much fun back then. Things were a lot simpler when we were younger and braver (ahem, less grown-up maybe...)
Of course, that was before Lenny shoe-horned a small-block Chevy in his Bugeye. Kinda made the runs to the on-ramps and off-ramps a moot point...

And, I had forgotten about my first impression of Western. If any of you have ventured into the Fry's off the 91 freeway in Anaheim, it reminds me of there. I remember arriving in tow of MM and RQ and walking into the place. I was awestruck. It was SO big. I was so unprepared. Boy, did my eyes get opened. Jim Savage - another name from the past. His dad "Doc", was one of the owners of the track on Anaheim in LB.

Anybody remember Jim Kirby? How about B.G. Denithorne (sp?) *whew*. Somewhere I have the R&C magazines from the first year of their races. Gene Husting. Al Hall. Donnie Diekman (hope I got the spelling right - cousin of John Cukras if I got it right), Ron Bietzel. Russ (from Paramount speedways I think it was).

Guess we need to spend some time sitting around in a circle reminiscing with PdL (hey, would that mean we were in a caucus?) and filling in the blanks on names, places, and events. Probably would be good to do that as we are generally not all that good at keeping history alive for our followers...
Fred Larimer
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#31 Tim Neja

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 09:53 AM

Miniature Freeways in Huntington Beach, near the Orange County Fairgrounds. Owned by a retired music teacher, had homebuilt tracks in two different locations. Freeway construction killed the first one, his weird rules killed the second.

That was the track I raced at, Foamy. Actually it was in Costa Mesa - I rode my bike down to it from my house! Our only claim to fame was winning the 24-hour enduro race Ted held there against all the "factory" teams of the day. Riggen, Associated, Champion, etc!!

The track was owned by Ted Schultz, indeed, a retired musician. He did not like the "sponsored" racers of the day, and kept making weird rules to discourage them from racing there. I only raced there from 1963 to '65 - went to high school in '66 and found "girls" more interesting than slots and the freeway coming through the area killed Miniature Freeways!

Tim
She's real fine, my 409!!!

#32 Keith Tanaka

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 11:58 AM

I plan on taking some video during the convention. In particular I want to capture some of stories being told by the old pros. Their stories are growing more dramatic as time goes by. As with fishing stories, the size of the fish seems to grow larger with time!

Fortunately, some of the old pros can still remember (at least in their own mind!) some of these stories. Since I'm not a historian, I won't question the accuracy of their stories (tales?) :laugh2:

I'm looking forward to the convention. It will be fun to see the old pros/racers and meet some of those Slotbloggers for the first time!

Keith :rolleyes:
Team Rolling Hills circa '66-'68

#33 Roger U

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Posted 10 April 2008 - 12:28 PM

Fred,

I'm glad to see you mention "Doc" Savage's track on Anaheim, in Long Beach. I've asked a few people about it and they didn't seem to remember the place, and I was beginning to wonder if I was remembering correctly. :huh: :D

Western Raceway certainly was a big place for those days (early '60s). They had a figure 8, a drag strip and, I believe, three road courses.

That would be a very interesting session, getting a bunch of us "old" guys together to discuss, and debate, those early days.

Hope you can make it to the convention. :)
Roger Uusitalo

#34 Darkron9

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Posted 12 April 2008 - 12:07 AM

A bit late on this thread...

During the '60s,

Checkered Flag Raceway, Inglewood, CA, on Arbor Vitae near the San Diego Freeway. High Winders club where I met John Skeels.

Revell Raceway, Westchester. Saw John Skeels here, too. Also met Chris Chan and Glen Toma here. BTW, I remember meeting a "Doc" Savage working here.

Turnpike Raceway, Westchester.

Jem Raceway, Manchester Blvd, Inglewood, CA.

During the '70s,

Monaco Minis on Manchester Blvd, Buena Park. Met Chris Burlew, Foamy, and Frank Pretzman here.

Pop's Raceway in Compton. Met Pop as well as the rest of the USRA regulars. Mike Boemker, Neal McCurdy, Big Jim, and many others.

Circle T Raceway. Saw the biggest turnout of Womp Womp racers ever here.

During the '80s,

Westminster Raceway on Magnolia near the 405. Met Gil Gundersen, Boola Bob Steffin, and Johnny Johnson. Got recruited into Team Boola.

Monaco Raceway (with the homemade Englemann clone) Met Dale Yamashita, Frank Corea, Mel, Mickey, and many others here.

Charlies Raceway in Hawaiian Gardens on Lincoln.

Valley Raceway in Rosemead.

Redline (or was it Redland?) Raceway in Redlands.

There are other places that are just dim memories for me.
"What happened?"
"He was leaning to the left so I gave him a right..."

-Tim Thomerson from the movie "War Wolves"

Ron Kiyomura - Otoko wa tsurai yo

#35 lordairgtar

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 10:19 PM

Sylmar! God, I remember that place.

A couple of years after the big quake hit, I arrived from Milwaukee in my $25 dollar 1964 Buick Le Sabre (my slot car equipment cost more than the car did) and found this place still functioning in a quake-damaged strip mall. Building girders pointing to the sky and a stairway to nowhere.

Inside was a couple of tracks including the wildest road course I had ever seen. The ceiling being held up by post jacks and timbers. I remember it being kind of dark in there.
Gregory W. Kluck
I am the Mighty Lordairgtar, and I told you so

#36 Foamy

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Posted 17 April 2008 - 11:59 AM

That was the track I raced at, Foamy. Actually it was in Costa Mesa.

The HB location was at Magnolia and Adams.

Dennis Hill
 
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preferably one with a really awesome musical number for no apparent reason."

 


#37 Jerry Gustin

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Posted 22 May 2008 - 02:12 AM

Started with Pittman 705/706s on a figure-eight in late/early 1964 on Francisquito Blvd. in Baldwin Park, also a track on San Bernadino Rd. in Baldwing Park (homemade road course - Pittman 65s and 85s with mag frames and drop arms).

I managed Competition Raceways in Covina, CA, in 1964/65 where the 1965 Rod & Custom Magazine drag race was held. Racers from J&J and Western Model Raceway attended (some great magwinder builders just after the Hustings/Braverman era were there including Dave Bettger, a J&J regular, and Frank Varanelli, Chuck Blaney, and Manuel Maldonado). At the same time there was Fast Wheels on Arrow Hiway in Covina and John's Raceway on Hacienda Blvd in West Covina. American black and American orange, four-lane surveyed level 1/4 and 1/2 mile drag strips.

1968 to 1978 I ran three different 1/1 scale dragsters - two Jr. Fuelers and to the end of all the good SoCal dragstrips and finally a Top Alcohol car. Helped John C and Pete Z get their Jr. Fuel car going - they were very competitive very quickly. John figured out the tuneup very quickly and Pete had no fear in the drivers seat.

Early '80s raced at Monaco in Hawaiian Gardens, USRA races whereever they raced in that period including a lot of NorCal USRA races (my all time favorite was the 220 Engleman in Clovis for the 1984 Nats.) I think Foamy raced on it in most if not all its locations. It later moved to San Jose (where is that track now?). I could drive the orange lane until I ran out of money for track time. I remember the East Coast guys introducing us to the perimeter frames at that race and they started appearing like magic the next week. I gave John Skeels twelve feet of .062" by 3-1/8 spring steel from McMaster-Carr and in three months and many Dremel disks later it was all chassis. That guy could cut steel.

1998 discovered Buena Park Raceway ten blocks from my house in Anaheim and started drag racing until move to CO in 2005 where I am now racing on a Hasse King and Tri-Oval.

Great thread, Keith.
1984/1985 SoCal USRA Pres

#38 JimF

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 09:05 PM

I just stumbled upon this thread.

Some history on Ray's Chequered Flag.......Inglewood off Arbor Vitae

The owner was Ray Wallace who was at one point or another a 1/1 racer mostly of scca production type cars. He had some connection with Mecom and also with Shelby but I'm unsure as to what the connections were. Ray had a Team Mecom sticker on his car which was a wicked Mini Cooper "S" Ken Miles was an occasional visitor as he and Ray had some history but I never met Miles at the track.

The track was the only "flat" track in So Cal at the time and some turns were even negative camber by a tiny bit. I've somewhat forgotten the layout but the driver's panels were divided into two 4 man stations because there was no straight section long enough for a normal driver's panel. there were a fair number of major races there including one that was called the "Western States Championships" I think that may have been the first time that title was used. (second time was a year later @ Speed and Sport on the Riverside track) Interestingly, I won concours and took second in the Amateur main and the Concours trophy was bigger than the second place trophy for the race.

Others:

International Hobbies in Gardena (maybe ?) I want to say it was on Artesia, had a Drag Strip, Big Banked fig. 8 and a small landscaped track of some sort. This track was diagonally across the street from one of the first Karate Studios I ever heard of. The studio was owned by some guy named Chuck. (yep that Chuck)

Republic Raceway in Hermosa Beach: Had two Big Englemans back to back. Drew a fair number of pretty good racers from time to time (John Skeels, Gage Enoch among others) Owner's name was John something. He made a run at some political office and went into debt and eventually lost both the election and the raceway.
Jim Fowler

#39 Darkron9

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Posted 13 June 2008 - 09:30 PM

I just stumbled upon this thread.

Some history on Ray's Chequered Flag.......Inglewood off Arbor Vitae

The owner was Ray Wallace who was at one point or another a 1/1 racer mostly of scca production type cars. He had some connection with Mecom and also with Shelby but I'm unsure as to what the connections were. Ray had a Team Mecom sticker on his car which was a wicked Mini Cooper "S" Ken Miles was an occasional visitor as he and Ray had some history but I never met Miles at the track.

The track was the only "flat" track in So Cal at the time and some turns were even negative camber by a tiny bit. I've somewhat forgotten the layout but the driver's panels were divided into two 4 man stations because there was no straight section long enough for a normal driver's panel. there were a fair number of major races there including one that was called the "Western States Championships" I think that may have been the first time that title was used. (second time was a year later @ Speed and Sport on the Riverside track) Interestingly, I won concours and took second in the Amateur main and the Concours trophy was bigger than the second place trophy for the race.

Others:

International Hobbies in Gardena (maybe ?) I want to say it was on Artesia, had a Drag Strip, Big Banked fig. 8 and a small landscaped track of some sort. This track was diagonally across the street from one of the first Karate Studios I ever heard of. The studio was owned by some guy named Chuck. (yep that Chuck)

Republic Raceway in Hermosa Beach: Had two Big Englemans back to back. Drew a fair number of pretty good racers from time to time (John Skeels, Gage Enoch among others) Owner's name was John something. He made a run at some political office and went into debt and eventually lost both the election and the raceway.


Hello Jim,

It was great meeting you this afternoon at BP. It is bad enough that you are faster than me on the flat track, but I also had the opportunity to watch you figure out how to go even faster!! :o

Thanks for more information on the flat track at Ray's Chequered Flag in Inglewood.

Later on, Revell Raceways Westchester and Jem Raceways on Manchester in downtown Inglewood also had flat tracks, but these were those very odd Revell tracks with the humps over the bridges and dips under the bridges. I remember those features adding a challenge to the turn marshals during the race.

Ron
"What happened?"
"He was leaning to the left so I gave him a right..."

-Tim Thomerson from the movie "War Wolves"

Ron Kiyomura - Otoko wa tsurai yo

#40 Jay Mendoza

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Posted 25 September 2008 - 10:57 PM

I was there at Rolling Hills for the Car Model last race in 1967 and remember Glenn Toma's Gurney Eagle, it was really nice. I also remember seeing Doug Henline win, years later I bought one of his racing Go Kart chassis. Today, I have a Tony Extreem Kart with Douglas rims, made by Henline, the legend lives on.

Gene Husting was there too, many years later I ran into him while managing the Tekin race team at R/C Hobbies in Costa Mesa, the indoor dirt track, how time flies! Keth Tanaka sticks in my mind too, he was the fast Japanese guy who always smiled and would take time to talk with us kids, we liked him as he was not so cagey as most. I think it was he who showed us how to sand down our tires, and other tuning tweeks he used.

Back to the race: Us kids had to stay clear, but we stood on chairs and got a decent view over and around all the adults, man were those cars fast! It was the first real pro event we had ever seen and it made a lasting impression, we wanted to do it too!

R/C car racing really owes almost everything to slot cars, as that is where all the guys who went big into it started. in 1978 I was working in Santa Ana, on Edinger and Grand, and in the alley out back the Associated guys would test drive their first electric cars. We all laughed, but within a few years it was no joke anymore, it became a huge industry which I ultimately decame employed in for over 15 years.

#41 Tim Neja

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 12:18 AM

I raced for Gene and Roger at Associated from 1978 until 1994--fully sponsored in 1/12 scale and 1/10 scale on road racing--"those funny little electric cars"!! It was a great time to be in RC--N/C for anything and actually had expenses picked up by them. Travel/hotel/food etc. A lot of fun until the 90's "battery wars" wore me out!! I wish the 1/12 and 1/10 scale pan cars would make a comeback. They'd be relatively inexpensive to race--Lipos and brushless motors could make them ballistic, and good ole Green rubber tires were cheap!!
FWIW
Tim
She's real fine, my 409!!!

#42 Keith Tanaka

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Posted 26 September 2008 - 09:12 AM

I was there at Rolling Hills for the Car Model last race in 1967 and remember Glenn Toma's Gurney Eagle, it was really nice. I also remember seeing Doug Henline win, years later I bought one of his racing Go Kart chassis. Today, I have a Tony Extreem Kart with Douglas rims, made by Henline, the legend lives on.

Gene Husting was there too, many years later I ran into him while managing the Tekin race team at R/C Hobbies in Costa Mesa, the indoor dirt track, how time flies! Keth Tanaka sticks in my mind too, he was the fast Japanese guy who always smiled and would take time to talk with us kids, we liked him as he was not so cagey as most. I think it was he who showed us how to sand down our tires, and other tuning tweeks he used.

Back to the race: Us kids had to stay clear, but we stood on chairs and got a decent view over and around all the adults, man were those cars fast! It was the first real pro event we had ever seen and it made a lasting impression, we wanted to do it too!

R/C car racing really owes almost everything to slot cars, as that is where all the guys who went big into it started. in 1978 I was working in Santa Ana, on Edinger and Grand, and in the alley out back the Associated guys would test drive their first electric cars. We all laughed, but within a few years it was no joke anymore, it became a huge industry which I ultimately decame employed in for over 15 years.

Hi Jay, welcome to Slotblog!
Do you live in SoCal? If you haven't been by BPR, come see one of our D3 races. Our next F1/Can Am race is on Sat. Oct. 11th. Hope to see you and talk about old racing days.

Keith :rolleyes:
Team Rolling Hills circa '66-'68

#43 montegofreak1369

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 12:37 AM

My "back in the day" was a lot later than most everyone else (I didn't start until '83), so here goes:
From May to July '83:
Bellflower Raceway (on the Hillclimb)
Rosecrans (ran a couple of times, still have one of his business stickers)

My second stint, from the fall of '86 until sometime in '90:
Bellflower, albeit briefly
Charlie's Model Raceway, Hawaiian Gardens, on Carson near Norwalk
So Cal Raceway,(Chuck Vaughn), Lincoln & Moody, Cypress (helped move the track from Redline in San Bernardino)
So Cal's second location,(Richard Tarvin, Cliff Johnson), Lincoln & Brookhurst, Anaheim
Mark's Raceway, Lakewood south of Rosecrans, Bellflower
Phelan Raceway, Phelan
High Desert Hobbies, Victorville
There was a track in Chula Vista as well as one in Escondido, can't remember their names offhand
And of course
The Mighty Val (Rosemead) 1983-1991 R.I.P.
John Mortensen

#44 HarV Wallbanger III

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 02:11 AM

All of those and more John! I loved to race at Charlies and we would vote to run the charger on "KILL" (50 amp boost) and never burned a motor!
Downey Archery Lanes
Yucca Valley Raceway - Did a 4 hr. enduro there
Lances Raceway in Riverside - 1 night every week
Redline raceway- Met Big Jim there- 1 night a week
Go Faster Raceway in Lancaster - I Won my first USRA race there in I-15 (I beat the track owner of Redline raceway with a cut up Parma MonoRail)
Hemet raceway- 2nd in a Team 4 hr. enduro
Wild Willies in Montclair- Met Gil "Boola" Gunderson and Bob Steffen every week in the early 80's for I-15 and GP20's 2 nights a week!
And MY home track Lemans Raceway in Hesperia

Back in the 60's we had a local track in Victorville.. can't remember the name.
When ever we went back to San Diego I would take my cars and race at a place I walked to from our old house on LLoyd St. It was downhill and was a easy 1 mi. + walk but coming back dragging that box!
My Aunt lived in Gardena so when we visited her I would get dropped off at whatever track where close a get picked up later. Christmas 65? 66? we where there and I got my first slot track, a revell James Bond track and wore out the cars that weekend! I got to race at a slot track in Littlerock Arkansas when I went back to my Uncles there. I got my first Champion 507 there.

Barney Poynor
"BRONCO" BARNEY
Team CORT!

Hello my name is Barney and I was... I am addicted to glue, magnets, and wings... I have been clean and sober years now... NOW I'm hooked on 1/32 club track racing! Dang!
 

"Even if you're on the Right Track, you'll get run over if you just sit there!"

If you remember
screw-on braid, motors that look like padlocks, that dang fuse wire in Cox controllers, "hand" painted bodies, the very first can motors from Mabuchi, and the smell of wintergreen then you are OLD!... like me!

Enjoy life! Race Slot Cars and read SlotBlog!


#45 Patrick M.

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 06:46 PM

Hi Keith,

I got my very short start in the late '60s at a track in Temple City. Now it's a parking lot. Can't remember the name of the track. Barry Obler, Greg Gilbert, and others would know more about it than I remember. I went there a few times then did my time in the Army. A few years later when I returned to Temple City the track was gone.

The only Temple City track that I recall in the late sixties was on Temple City Blvd. just south of Las Tunas.... the tracks were relocated from Arcadia Grand Prix (owners Hank and Charlie) about 4-5 miles east on Live Oak Ave..... not sure what the name of the new TC location was, but it was owned by Bill ?, one of the regulars from AGP. Other regulars from AGP included Bruce Peters and Gary Van Bogard, both later members of the MESAC club in Inglewood. I recall racing at Don Thompsons Hobby Raceways on Las Tunas in TC, AGP, Valley Raceways and taking the occassional trek to J&J or Checkpoint, not to mention the Boys Club in Pasadena in the later '70's.....
Patrick McDonald

#46 montegofreak1369

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 11:44 PM

All of those and more John! I loved to race at Charlies and we would vote to run the charger on "KILL" (50 amp boost) and never burned a motor!
Downey Archery Lanes
Yucca Valley Raceway - Did a 4 hr. enduro there
Lances Raceway in Riverside - 1 night every week
Redline raceway- Met Big Jim there- 1 night a week
Go Faster Raceway in Lancaster - I Won my first USRA race there in I-15 (I beat the track owner of Redline raceway with a cut up Parma MonoRail)
Hemet raceway- 2nd in a Team 4 hr. enduro
Wild Willies in Montclair- Met Gil "Boola" Gunderson and Bob Steffen every week in the early 80's for I-15 and GP20's 2 nights a week!
And MY home track Lemans Raceway in Hesperia

Back in the 60's we had a local track in Victorville.. can't remember the name.
When ever we went back to San Diego I would take my cars and race at a place I walked to from our old house on LLoyd St. It was downhill and was a easy 1 mi. + walk but coming back dragging that box!
My Aunt lived in Gardena so when we visited her I would get dropped off at whatever track where close a get picked up later. Christmas we where there and I got my first slot track, a revell James Bond track and wore out the cars that weekend! I got to race at a slot track in Littlerock Arkansas when I went back to my Uncles there. I got my first Champion 507 there.



I only recognize two of those places, Redline and Downey. I used to ride my bike from Whittier to Earle's Hobbies in the late 70's/early 80's so I'd stop at Downey Archery Lanes to check things out there, never did buy anything though (d'oh!). By the time I did start racing
in May of '83, Downey had closed, the bowling equipment had been removed, and the place had been converted into medical office space
(like we need more of that). Also, Bellflower had converted from their 'stubby finger' King to the hillclimb.

The only connection I had with Redline was when Chuck Vaughn, Dave Sowers and I moved his Hasse King to Chuck's place in Cypress.

My first USRA race was at Charlie's, my results were not as good as yours. I traded Charlie Margiota some N scale stuff for a boxstock,
I think I had all of five minutes practice on it when I raced (I actually had a 15 in '83, was even invited to race at Pop's last USRA race
but I wisely declined). Charlie moved up here a while back, haven't seen him in about ten years or so. .

Also, when Bob Fernandez took over Bellflower from Les in'83-'84 I helped resurface the hillclimb (may explain the demise of the place).

I also helped marshal at The Val at times between '84 and '86, so I was never completely out of it.

I also remember there being a figure 8 track at an arcade on Grand Ave. in Covina, for some reason I keep thinking it was Bob Fernandez
running the place.
John Mortensen

#47 Mini-Mtrs

Mini-Mtrs

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Posted 27 May 2009 - 07:34 PM

Please, lets not forget little International Mini-Motors Raceways, on Paramount Blvd, at Rosevelt St. in South Gate( Hollydale), about half way between Check Point and Dons ? It was started by two engineers, Jerry something, and Bill someone, in early 64. They built a 1/32 track, about 80', with six lanes, and a small figure eight. The little building wasn'nt big enough for much more. Little did they know, 1/32 was'nt going to be very popular. In spite of the little tracks drawbacks, it being within the stomping grounds of some of the top racers of the day, many of them raced there in its early days. I'll always remember the night Team Russkit showed up for the weekly open race. They completly dominated. And then they showed us thier cars and and answered all our questions. They really opened our eyes as to how to build light, quick "race cars".
The little track changed owners twice , myself being the last one, before the doors closed for the last time in early 68.
I would like to hear from some of the , then kids, that made Mini-Motors one of thier hang-outs during my ownership, between 66 and 68. At 70 years old my memory has failed me as to most of thier names, except George who worked for me after school, and his friend Bob Moore. Two of the older guys was Phil, the chemist, from Texas, and Les my friend at the time, whom I regretfully have lost contact with after I relocated to Wisconsin. If anyone out there knows any of these guys, or any others that might remember me I would appreciate your assistance to help us to conect.
JOHNNY VANEK
Johnny Vanek

#48 MrWeiler

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Posted 11 June 2009 - 03:32 AM

Just remembered there was a place just down the road from Magic Mountain called Hurricane Hobbies. Lasted about 2 years as I recall...
"TANSTAAFL" (There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.)
Robert Anson Heinlein

"Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude."
Alexis de Tocqueville

"In practice, socialism didn't work. But socialism could never have worked because it is based on false premises about human psychology and society, and gross ignorance of human economy."
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Mike Brannian

#49 HarV Wallbanger III

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Posted 11 June 2009 - 11:21 AM

Maybe one of you San Diego guys remember the name of the raceway down off Morena Blvd. behind the old Jack in the Box next to to old Safeway just off Clairemont Dr. in the mid 60's. Those were the days when we would come back down to SD from the High Desert to visit friends and I would walk down Lloyd St. to it and back up the hill with my huge slot car box when done about 1965/66?.

Barney Poynor
"BRONCO" BARNEY
Team CORT!

Hello my name is Barney and I was... I am addicted to glue, magnets, and wings... I have been clean and sober years now... NOW I'm hooked on 1/32 club track racing! Dang!
 

"Even if you're on the Right Track, you'll get run over if you just sit there!"

If you remember
screw-on braid, motors that look like padlocks, that dang fuse wire in Cox controllers, "hand" painted bodies, the very first can motors from Mabuchi, and the smell of wintergreen then you are OLD!... like me!

Enjoy life! Race Slot Cars and read SlotBlog!


#50 Patrick M.

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Posted 20 June 2009 - 01:24 PM

Speaking of SD, there was a raceway near Lemon Grove, a large shop with 3 American tracks. It was in a large strip mall, but I don't recall the name of the shop or the street. Spent a few afternoons there in '65 or so, on frequent visits to relatives. Always took my slot car box along.... nothing like a day of playing toy cars, followed by my aunts real deal messican cookin'.... ;)
Patrick McDonald





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