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History The Old Sanjose Speedway

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by SpeedyPAt, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. SpeedyPAt
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    SpeedyPAt Member

    Does any body remember the Old Sanjose speedway?
    My father use to take me out there when I was a kid
    and I was just on the Internet and came across a few pics
    of some of the super modifieds of the 70's I still remember
    how overwhelming I thought it was and still think about it to
    this day.That was the best memories I have.My dad was in the
    steel industry at a place called PSP Peninsula Steel Products,and
    Several of the guys he worked with would bring there race cars in
    to fix things to be ready for friday or Saturday He still to this day,
    talks about how cool it was, so I was wondering if anybody else here
    on the HAMB has memories of the speedway.
  2. RustyBolts
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    RustyBolts Member

    Yeah, I remember it well. That place was cool! I wish I had gone there more often before they shut it down. I always had a blast whenever I went there, no matter what sort of cars they were racing that day.
  3. RichFox
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    RichFox
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    Do you mean the paved track at Reid Hillview or the fairgrounds track? If your really old you would remember "Little Bonneville" a short lived (and short run off) drag strip near Reid Hillview. First drag strip I ever went to.
  4. turdytoo
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    turdytoo Member

    The Super Modified circut in the central Cal area was Kearney Bowl, Friday night. Saturday nights was San Jose and back to Clovis for Sunday nights. The battles had warriors like Al Pombo, Marshall Sargent, George Snider, Bill Vukovich jr and lots more. I don't remember who the promoter at San Jose was but I can still see Black Geghian, the promoter at Clovis, driving the water truck. The racers ran 3 different length tracks, dirt and asphalt, in 3 days, with the same cars.
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  5. Rootie Kazoootie
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    Rootie Kazoootie Member

    Back in the mid 70s I wrenched on a Late Model that we took out to Nor. Cal. (Roseville IIRC ?) for a open comp show and also on the card were the supers from that area. I was quite surprised to see that most were still using upright chassis with buggy springs on both ends as, by then, most supers around here were offset roadsters with T-bars and such. But even with the antique suspension they sure could hike em around the track. Of course those big ol 17" steam roller tires they ran didn't hurt any. :) Anyway, if you're not already aware, here's a site with a lot of pic's and such. http://public.fotki.com/nitram22/
  6. Retrorod
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    Retrorod
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    I remember Clovis, San Jose and Kearney Bowl. I was stationed at Alameda Naval Air Station for almost three years and went to alot of events at those tracks and I raced my drag bike at Fremont. Ah yes......those were the days.
  7. SpeedyPAt
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    SpeedyPAt Member

    That is so Bitchen me and my dad still talk about it all the time, and by the way
    I am referring to the asphault track, but I was pretty young and some of the,
    memeories intertwine together with the fairgrounds. My dad worked with Ernie
    Rose brother to Pat rose who might still be running sprints today I don't know
    I don't live in Cali anymore but some of the guys I remember are Art McCarthy,
    Nick Ringo Mike and Mark Sargent Nick Rescino, Johnny Brazil, and Rod Fertado,
    Chuck Miller and a few more,but anyway those times were so great I wish racing
    here in Spokane was as Memorable as those times, By the way what do you mean
    by Buggie Suspension versus T bar and such.
  8. Rootie Kazoootie
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    Rootie Kazoootie Member

    Buggy spring is just another term for the old ford cross leaf springs that many hot rods use today. Nothing wrong with them, but there not very tune-able for racing and pretty heavy. T-bars is torsion bars, very adjustable and light weight, standard equipment on about all sprint cars today.
  9. Retrorod
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    Retrorod
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    Transverse leaf spring versus a torsion bar (or even a coil-over) set-up. The early modifieds ran transverse leafs for many years until the sprint car & midget suspension technology caught up with them.
  10. hotrod327
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    hotrod327 Member

    My uncle took me to the SJ Speedway (and to Fremont for the drags) just about every weekend during the late 60's and early 70's. What I remember most about the Speedway was seeing the fistfights in the pits, insane crashes and my uncle's beer always had a peppering of tire rubber in it....
  11. Rootie Kazoootie
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    Rootie Kazoootie Member

    Went to the fights and a race broke out! :D
  12. 36Brua
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    36Brua Member

    ...Clyde Palmer, Howard Keading, Bret Keading, Art Dijoni (spl) 'the carrot king' Donnie Eperson, and of course the perennial trophy sponsor Blossom Hill Florist, and before mike/mark sargent there was marshall. also robert yates,, think nascar . many sat nights on east tully road. actually the push trucks were always very entertaining as well . cars push started out of pits for qualifying etc. More than one weekend would be Sat. qualifying at Fremont drag strip, quick cleanup, and then down to SJ Speedway to watch qualifying and show then back to Fremont on Sunday morning.
    As you said very memorable !
  13. hotrod327
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    hotrod327 Member


    That was my weekend life with my uncle Mike Ireton. He and his buddies raced Fremont and Half Moon Bay on a regular basis. Uncle Mike ran a C/G Chevy coupe...
  14. 36Brua
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    36Brua Member

    not to hijack thread, I'm currently approx 1 mi south of old hmb dragstip and its foggy. friend had C/G '57 chev. ran fremont.68-70 +- hmb was closed by then but San jose was great backstraight outside at exit of turn 2 or entrance to turn 3 for hi speed stuff
  15. turdytoo
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    turdytoo Member

    The "Hard-tops" as they were called had rule meetings every year and as I remember it, the car owners voted on the rules. NASCAR sanctioned the thing and I had to join NASCAR to even be on the pit crew list so I could buy a pit pass. The rules back in the 60's required production axles front and rear. That meant beam axles front and early Ford housings with adapters and Champ quick change rear. Stock type suspension meant buggy springs unless you had more than around 340 cubes. Coil spring independant front suspencion on big motors as staight axles were quicker back then. Remember these rules were set by the owners and it was carburetors only for years.
  16. turdytoo
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    turdytoo Member

    I think that the Madera Speedway was supposed to have been a copy of sorts of the old San Jose track. In the later years the only rule there was , was 'there are no rules"
  17. SpeedyPAt
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    SpeedyPAt Member

    Hey thanks guys for all the replies I was only like 5 or 6 years old and all the fights,
    and crashes as well are probably why it seemed so exciting to me. So I decided to
    Post a thread and see if anyone else had experianced it as well.
  18. SpeedyPAt
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    SpeedyPAt Member

    Hey by the way is all that suspension relativley close to traditional rods for
    instance I know most people would not build a rod around a modified suspension
    that came from an early supr mod but as crazy as it might seem I would love to find
    some of that stuff and incorporate it in to a speedster or something like that.
  19. hotrod327
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    hotrod327 Member





    Pretty good chance your friend and my uncle know each other........Mike's last race car was an orange '56 chev that he ran at Fremont during the early 80's; small block, B/M, spool, and wrinkle walls. I have a pic of that car pulling the fronts up, very cool stuff! I also have a few pics stored away somewhere of SJS .....
  20. SpadezTX13
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    SpadezTX13 Member

    What do you mean remember? Isn't it still there at the fair grounds? I haven't been there since 1992 but I thought that it still exists...

    I lived in San Jose for 18 years, my mother was married to a super modified racer by the name of Fred Brown.... He and some friends built one and ran it a few times... I remember the opening race they hit the track late (race already in progress) and for giggles someone thought....

    "We'll call the car the Purple people Eater, and we will duck tape some purple smoke grenades to the back of the car and make our entrance late with two laps remaining"....

    They got a heavy fine but it was funny as hell to see.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2008
  21. Pontiac Guy
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    Pontiac Guy Member

    I grew up in San Jose. I remember going to a couple different circle tracks . In the 70s- -early 80s. My Dads paint n body shop had one directly behind it. Umberger rd ? My Uncle (Jimmy Trillo) drag raced all up and down the west coast for years with his brothers. Racing and car shows... (waxing dads rides) good times.
  22. Rootie Kazoootie
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    Rootie Kazoootie Member

    Many early modifieds/supers were built with early Ford based suspensions. About the only modification was to incorperate weight jacker bolts in the spring perches and bend the axle for more right front camber. I got this pic off Marty K's. site mentioned in my earlier post and it shows that, for all intents and purposes', it is basicaly a T bucket on steriods. Rectangular tube frame, transverse leaf sprgs. drag link steering, and hairpin radius rods etc. and rolling on some serious meats.:)

    Attached Files:

  23. 61TBird
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    61TBird Member

  24. 61TBird
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    61TBird Member

    I dug out the worst photo I own. It's of Baylands(Fremont) after it was closed.
    I have to warn you,this is NOT for the "faint of heart"...



    [​IMG]
  25. sickboy713
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    sickboy713 Member

    when i was a kid in the '70's my grandpa used to take me to the pavement track in san jose to watch the super mods. in later years used to go to the dirt track for the dirt track nationals. i remeber the first time in the pits at the dirt track. looking around and still being able to see the mile.
  26. sickboy713
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    oildale

    sickboy713 Member

    here are pictures i had from '77

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  27. tommy v
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    tommy v Member

    yup , great times when i was a kid at the paved track, tires flying over the fences and bouncing off cars in the parking lot haha
  28. tommy v
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    tommy v Member

    yeah ,there was some cool push trucks too,i remeber a nice 60's dodge truck there every week
  29. alvisoroadsters
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    alvisoroadsters Member

    We used to go to the old track on saterday nites too.Clyde Palmers wife "Bunny" used to watch us when we were little,so there was always some cool
    shit to play on & in. Cliff yiskis,Donnie Epperson & Lester dearnellis also lived
    in monta vista within a couple of blocks.Bob Barkhimer was the promoter at
    san jose.He passed away about a year ago,but his grand daughter got all the old stories on paper & published a great book called TALES OF THE OVAL
    theres every thing from guys getting to the bar after the races & the car had fell of the trailer somewhere inbetween to Marshall sargent handcuffing a hiway patrol officer around a tree on the altamont pass.

    http://just1barky.home.att.net
    p.o.box 67324,scotts valley,ca 95067-7324
  30. Hemi325
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    Chicago

    Hemi325 Member

    Not only San Jose but Alviso and Belmont Speedway too. In the late fifties Pop would pile us in our 55 Ford Station wagon and off we'd go. Al Pombo was a favorite, but anyone remember George Rogge? Everyone must remember Mel Kenyon. They were the "hardtops" then, all flathead powered. A few times we went up to the Cow Palace to watch the midgets. The place was so full of exhaust smoke and carbon monoxide it's a wonder we didn't all croak on the spot. At these places demolition derbys were new and as kids we loved them. The 50 and 51 Buicks were my favorites. Indestructable.

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