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The Official Ascot Park Gardena Thread: 1957-1969

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by toml24, Mar 2, 2011.

  1. toml24
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    toml24 Member

    I think it's time for a thread devoted to the early days of Ascot Park Gardena. The years will be from 1957 through 1969. Anything is cool. Sprints, Figure-8s, midgets, Stocks, jalopies, motorcycles. We all have our favorate type of racing from Ascot so lets see 'em all!!
    For starters I include the earliest photo of Ascot Park Gardena I've ever come across. From 1957 just as the track has finish its first stage of construction. Note in the beginning there was not very many grandstands. Enjoy!!

    Attached Files:

  2. sanfordsotherson
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    sanfordsotherson Member

    That's a cool pic, Tom.

    When my brother and I were little, about 30+ years ago, we used to watch the stock car races at ASCOT in Gardena (California) on TV, on Saturday mornings. This was around '72-'74? If I remember right, they raced on more of a road course, instead of an oval. And I think it was dirt. It was also during the day, 'cause I don't remember any night racing. I think it ran on KTLA channel 5 in So. Cal.

    Where's all the old film footage?! I'd love to see it again! It was in color too.
  3. lanny haas
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    lanny haas Member

    I remember those days. Dick Lane, around 1965, KTLA channel 5 I think. Sunday afternoon, jalopy races....
  4. lanny haas
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    lanny haas Member

    Heres a model I built, from remembering those days
    [​IMG]
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  5. BrerHair
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    BrerHair
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    I posted this in the History of L.A. thread, but here you go:
    (Can't remember where I plucked this from, with caption. Probably LA Public Library files)

    [​IMG]
    A.J. Foyt, steering his midget car at Gardena's Ascot Park. The half-mile oval opened in 1957 on a 37-acre dump site, but it soon became the busiest dirt track in the nation (and a training ground for many Indianapol<WBR>is 500 drivers). Every type of motorized vehicle--f<WBR>rom motorcycle<WBR>s to ATV three-whee<WBR>lers to destructio<WBR>n derbies--r<WBR>aced at Ascot before it closed in 1990. Photo dated: December 4, 1961.
  6. BrerHair
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    BrerHair
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    [​IMG]


    But wait . . . there is ample confusion regarding some of these tracks. Mazooma1 straightened it all out in the History of L.A. thread.
    The poster above is not the track Tom is referring to. The poster refers to the track known as "Gardena" or "Western" Speedway, located at 139th & Western Ave., near Rowley Park.

    Tom's track, Ascot Park, was located at 18400 South Vermont, in Gardena, near Gardena H.S.
  7. Rootie Kazoootie
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    Rootie Kazoootie Member

    When it first opened in 57 it was called L.A. Speedway and the first winner of a sprint car race on June 1st was Rip Erikson in a GMC powered rig.

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  8. PVTA Jay
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    PVTA Jay Member

    Yeah I remember the Jalopy races on KTLA channel 5 and "Whoa Nellie" Dick Lane. Must've been back in mid '50s, guys even ran in the rain
  9. waldo53
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    waldo53 Member

    Aaaahhhh yes, Good ol' Ascot. Friday night flattrack watching #7, Sammy Tanner (the flying flea) take the high groove around the track, and then the Sat. night TT races, and the Jalopies on Sunday.

    We used to get a carload and drive down from Barstow to see the races. Usually on Fri. night. This picture is from 1967, #22 Gene Romero looking like he's going to land on Dick Hammer, #16.

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  10. Indy87
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    Indy87 Member

    What a cool web site. My Father raced at ASCOT in the 60's. What a blast going to ASCOT every Sunday. boy I miss it.:( Thats my dad car number 68 Les Dixon. My uncle Robert drove car 67, and started a stock car track in Lake Elsinore cal. I think there were only a few races there. Since it was my uncles track my dad was able to give me a ride on the track, damn that was cool.:)

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  11. BERNIES WELDING
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    BERNIES WELDING Member

    WELL I LIVED IN GARDENA FOR SEVEN PLUS YRS FROM THE MID 70'S. I LIVED A COUPLE OF BLOCKS NORTH OF REOSCRANS AVE OFF OF FIGUEROA NEAR NEAR ROSECRANS PARK. ASCOT PARK RACEWAY WAS AT 190th STREET AND FIGUEROA. IT WAS AWSOME TO BE IN MY BACKYARD AND HEAR THE SPRINT CARS RACING AND I USED TO GO THERE TO THE MOTOCROSS RACES AS A PHOTOGRAPHER AND TO THE STOCKERS RACES WITH FRIENDS AND BE PART OF THE PIT CREW. ALSO DID RIDE ALONG WITH FRIENDS IN THE PUSCH TRUCKS FOR THE MIDGETS AND SPRINTERS. WOW THE MEMORIES.
    NOT TO BE DEPRESSING BUT THE LAND WAS SOLD OFF AND A DEVELOPER BUILT A MULTI FLOOR OFFICE BUILDING ON THE SITE.

    MAY ASCOT REST IN PEACE.
  12. Indy87
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    Indy87 Member

    I think this is ascot in 1963.:) That might be Larry Kennedy in the top right of the photo.

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  13. 296ardun
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    296ardun Member

    Very cool site.,..I think that there were actually several Ascot Park tracks in SoCal, maybe dating back to the late 30s? My old boss Don Blair raced his sprint car there in the early 60s, let me take a few laps and both of realized that I was not cut out to be sprint car driver.......sad that it closed when it did.
  14. Mazooma1
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    Mazooma1
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    right you are...Ascot was not Western/Gardena Speedway...the jalopy races of our youth on TV was not at Ascot
  15. Indy87
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    Indy87 Member

    I definitely remember Dick Lane and KTLA channel 5 at Ascot Park in gardena around 1963.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2011
  16. K-88 ghost
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    K-88 ghost Member

    In the 50s the televised jalopy races with Dick Lane was broadcast from the Culver race way on Washington Blvd, in Culver City. Ascot was located on Vermont Ave. just north and across from the Vermont Drive in theater :cool:
  17. d2_willys
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    d2_willys Member

    Ascot figure 8 races were broadcast on KTLA channel 5 in the mid 60's. My family and I would go to the figure 8 races on Sunday, then watch ourselves on TV later on that night. I still have one of the programs they handed out. Watching those old 50s cars running around the figure 8 was great. Remember a 56 Buick getting hung up on the power poles they used to form the Vees of the figure 8. I can remember one driver who did well, a guy by the name of Dorsey Steele. He and his wife raced there.
  18. Indy87
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    Indy87 Member

    This is car 50 and 52, Bob Hobbs and Ben Steele. At Ascot Park. You can see me behind the fence.:)

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  19. Tuff Tin
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    Tuff Tin Member

    Spent many weekends there in the early '60's and at one time watched George Duraid of San Diego go end over end down the back stretch in his Ford powered 32 Ford Sedan.

    Mike
  20. toml24
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    toml24 Member

    In July of 1963 the weekly live television on KTLA with Dick Lane on Sunday afternoons shifted from Western Speedway to Ascot Park because the California Jalopy Association moved their operation to Ascot. The live broadcast from Ascot Park continued until April, 1965 when they suddenly stopped and other programming was shown instead of racing, which did continue in the afternoons.
  21. oldtom69
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    oldtom69 Member

    Does anyone remember the 60's afternoon tv show"where the action is"?It was a rock music show and about once an episode it would have a band playing on the infield and the jalopys roaring around the track at the same time.How about a list of the tv shows and movies Ascot appeared in?Had to be the most filmed race track ever!
  22. Indy87
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    Indy87 Member

    They filmed the races for TV at both Ascot and western speedway.:) My Dad is #68 Les Dixon, My Uncles #67 Bob Dixon, #65 Fred Dixon and my #30 Uncle Jim Wahnon all so raced there.

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  23. jamesgr81
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    jamesgr81 Member

    My buddies were big time Mike Bast fans. We all used to go down to Ascot Raceway and watch him tear up the Speedway. Always used to hear on the radio JC Agajanian presents.....

    Destruction derby and figure eights were best down at Western Speedway with fender slappin' Dick Lane on channel 5.

    "My wife won't let me sell these cars so cheap I'm giving them away."

    Rather have Ascot then that damn Home Depot that's there now.
  24. toml24
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    toml24 Member

    The Western Speedway figure-8s was on television in 1963 as a Saturday taped 30 minute program. The racing association was the RDA headed by Rich Munz. If Munz or his family could be found today and they saved those broadcast it would be one of the greatest finds of So-Cal racing ever.

  25. Indy87
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    Indy87 Member

    Dorsey Steele one of the top drivers. On the bottom it mentions the lady leadfoots. My Mother LaVergne Dixon raced at western speedway. :)

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  26. Indy87
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    Indy87 Member

    Ascot park.The driver on the bottom right is my dad #68 Les Dixon. the driver on the far right is #67 my uncle Bob Dixon and the little girl is his daughter and my cousin Debbie Dixon. Can you name any one else?

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  27. toml24
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    toml24 Member

    I copied the photo and sent it to Jim Penney, a Ascot Park Figure-8 driver from the 1960s and he did not recognize the drivers. I must say I've seen plenty of photos like this one but I too do not recognize anybody.

  28. Indy87
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    Indy87 Member

    I think this is the drivers meeting at Ascot, circa 63. Thats my dad on the far right.:) I think thats Dewey Wagers number 43. #67 Bob Dixon center.

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  29. plymouth1952
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    plymouth1952 Member

    He was also the voice of wrestling and roller derby. my pops took one time a month as a treat then Lions on sunday. 59-65.
  30. Dave Mc
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    Dave Mc Member

    This is a Shot of the First Corner Main Event on a Saturday Night in 1965, That is me on #130z, Loved that track, Decomposed Granite was fast,seemed they changed the jump every week.memories,I can smell the race gas and castor oil .

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