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Thunderbird Raceway- Henderson, Nevada circa 1960

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Jive-Bomber, May 19, 2011.

  1. Jive-Bomber
    Joined: Aug 21, 2001
    Posts: 2,587

    Jive-Bomber
    MODERATOR
    from Moraga, Ca

  2. 21tat
    Joined: Jun 8, 2006
    Posts: 830

    21tat
    Member

    That's pretty cool! I wasn't aware of this. Thanks for posting.
     
  3. Rich Wright
    Joined: Jan 9, 2008
    Posts: 2,292

    Rich Wright
    Member
    from Nevada

    I saw Art Arfons Allison powered Green monster run there.
     
  4. I wonder if the the track itself is still there or if its now a bunch of houses and malls ?
     
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  5. Dreamweaver
    Joined: Feb 26, 2003
    Posts: 857

    Dreamweaver
    Member

    Been there, done that:) I saw Art also, where were you, guess we didnt have our HAMB shirts on:)

    No malls or houses yet, you can still walk up on the berm and sorta see where the track was.

    I work almost across the street from it.
     
  6. jchav62
    Joined: Jan 30, 2007
    Posts: 961

    jchav62
    Member

    I originally from Henderson and I never knew that. Too cool!! And the date on the flyer in my b-day.. :)
     
  7. autobilly
    Joined: May 23, 2007
    Posts: 2,923

    autobilly
    Member

    Thanks Jay, great footage (although partly blown-out).
     
  8. bowtiemyk
    Joined: Feb 3, 2005
    Posts: 174

    bowtiemyk
    Member

    I never knew about this strip, but the new "glitzy Stardust raceway" has a great track with a nice uphill shutdown so you don't have to be on the brakes as hard.
     
  9. LANCE-SPEED
    Joined: Aug 10, 2006
    Posts: 2,259

    LANCE-SPEED
    Member

    Anyone have a google map of the location? Im curious?
     
  10. concealledweapon
    Joined: Apr 9, 2011
    Posts: 9

    concealledweapon
    Member

    $1000 bond was a LOT of money back then.
     
  11. Dreamweaver
    Joined: Feb 26, 2003
    Posts: 857

    Dreamweaver
    Member

    LOL, you are about 40 years off in your "glitzy Stardust" track.

    The current dragstrip with the uphill shut down is called The Strip at Las Vegas I believe.

    Stardust Raceway was built in the mid 60's wayyyyyyyyy out in the desert west of the Strip. Nowadays that location is called Spring Valley and is prolly in the center of town.


    For a Google map view go to Henderson, Nevada, zoom in till you can see the Hyundai dealership on Boulder Hwy. Right to the N of their building you can barely see the the curved, banked, staging lanes, the strip then runs perpendicular from Boulder Hwy, the Hyundai dealership is prolly on top of the start line.
     
  12. 296ardun
    Joined: Feb 11, 2009
    Posts: 2,698

    296ardun
    Member
    from alabama

    Unbelievable!!! I was at the meet that is recorded in the first few minutes!! Ted Cyr, Tony Waters, etc..It was held right after the Smokers meet in '59...all the top cars from Calif/Ariz/Nev were there...didn't know about it, but saw the black street roadster on a trailer, then a guy with a "Drag News" shirt in the restaurant the next day...so my brother and I talked my father into taking us and dropping us off...meet was outstanding. Tony Waters beat Ted Cyr for the final...Gary Cagle was there, Emory Cook, Goosic Brothers, Todd Raleigh....and lots more.

    Henderson was a great track, only problem was that the sand blew onto it and made traction a challenge...really too bad when it closed...
     
  13. LANCE-SPEED
    Joined: Aug 10, 2006
    Posts: 2,259

    LANCE-SPEED
    Member

    WOW, THATS COOL! I have a friend that lives in Henderson and I never knew there was ever a track there, I'm gonna have to check it out on my next visit.
     
  14. flamingokid
    Joined: Jan 5, 2005
    Posts: 1,510

    flamingokid
    Member

    If my memory serves me correctly,wasn't there also circle track with a 1/4 mile track next to it just north of Vegas?
     
  15. scootermcrad
    Joined: Sep 20, 2005
    Posts: 12,998

    scootermcrad
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    Very cool! Never knew about that!

    Here's a link to a map to get ya' started... Googled the Hundai dealership.

    http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&b...ocal_result&ct=image&resnum=2&ved=0CFQQnwIwAQ

    Is it right where Pabco Rd. makes the bend, just southeast? Not sure what I'm looking for.

    Can someone do a screen capture showing the area and maybe mark it up?
     
  16. LANCE-SPEED
    Joined: Aug 10, 2006
    Posts: 2,259

    LANCE-SPEED
    Member

    If you look to the left of the dealer you can see a big curve that was a turn?
     
  17. scootermcrad
    Joined: Sep 20, 2005
    Posts: 12,998

    scootermcrad
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    OH! Okay! I see that... Not what I was thinking. Looked like there was something a little more evident about 3/4 mile straight north, running almost parallel to Boulder Highway.
     
  18. jguff
    Joined: Jan 14, 2009
    Posts: 124

    jguff
    Member

    I was there going to the races from about 1958 to 1962. The course did run at about 90 degrees to Boulder Highway from west to east. I don't see any evidence of the track on google but it was in the general location of that Hyundai dealership on google. Some great meets with Tony Waters, Gary Cagle, Cyr & Hopper, Jazzy Nelson, Chrisman & Cannon, Reath Automotive and lots of others from Southern California. Plenty of good local cars too. From some old snapshots I have with many of the same cars the meet in the video was held in April 1959.

    Jerome
     
  19. sololobo
    Joined: Aug 23, 2006
    Posts: 6,826

    sololobo
    Member

    Wonderful footage, what a great chance to see this early racing, thanx so much. ~sololobo~
     
  20. Jarzenhotrods
    Joined: Feb 20, 2007
    Posts: 821

    Jarzenhotrods
    Member
    from .......

    I know a guy that raced there in his youth!
     
  21. t-rod
    Joined: Feb 7, 2009
    Posts: 224

    t-rod
    Member

    Maybe you're thinking of Craig Road Speedway? I don't remember much about it other than Dad took us to the roundy races there, musta been mid 1970's. I think it was a little west of where the big racetrack is now. Anyone with more accurate info please correct me.
     
  22. Thats my dads avatar car at the top of this page.The third car to make a pass in the video is the Cagle & Herbert Dragster.
    My dad race at Stardust a few times,& I actually got to go once for a match race.Most of the time I had to stay at grama & grampas when he raced Vegas,,it was an 'adult' deal at the time,but I was cool with it.
    We either raced Butters & Gerrard or a guy named Ray Standoff who both had Modified Fuel Roadsters.
    I vaguely remember the 2 cars roped off outside the Stardust casino promoting an event.
    Wayne Newton was playing there & he came out to the track one of the days to see what was up.
    Thanks for jogging my memory Ryan.
     
  23. Six-Shooter
    Joined: Jul 12, 2010
    Posts: 333

    Six-Shooter
    Member
    from Ohio

    Great historical footage of drag racing at a time when after several weeks of building a car in your garage with help from a couple of buddies at night after work you headed for the strip. I can hear the radio ad calling the weekend road warriors now: SUNDAY!....BE THERE! Just like the HAMB drags of today. Sweet.
     
  24. snaptwo
    Joined: Apr 25, 2011
    Posts: 692

    snaptwo
    Member

    Being that I have grown older than the So. Nevada dirt,I witnessed many a great race at "hooterville".A little story for the masses. To add flair to the operation ,it was not only a dragstrip but it also had a roadcoarse incorporated into it's design. The Berm served as banked approach to the strip and also did double duty as the staging lanes for the digs. One weekend the track manager Dalby Shirley booked in a couple jet cars, Palamides and perhaps one of Arfons monsters,time dims the memorybut one thing does stick. During their staging and run-up (no burner pops in those days) The asphalt on the banked berm section began to break down from the heat and huge chunks were blown thru the air as far as Boulder Highway several hundred feet south. No injuries as I recall. Great memories and I'll try to dredge up a few more from my rusty old memory banks. Later---Spence
     
  25. flamingokid
    Joined: Jan 5, 2005
    Posts: 1,510

    flamingokid
    Member

    Yeah,they used to move our BMX races out there during the summer,to the infield of the track.And I am pretty sure there was a drag track at the same complex.
     
  26. MUNDSTER
    Joined: May 11, 2011
    Posts: 208

    MUNDSTER
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I just love old diggers. My friend, Fred is rebuilding his, which was on the cover of Hot Rod in 58 or 59. same Kinda thing seen in Henderson. It had a Caddy motor. Thanks for posting the footage!
     
  27. snaptwo
    Joined: Apr 25, 2011
    Posts: 692

    snaptwo
    Member

    The Thunderbird track was actually the first dedicated motor sports complex in So.Nevada. If a guy goes waaay back , most were loosly organized steet races on Vegas Drive or later just off Sahara Blvd. and Highland Dr..Joe Wells of Wells Cargo/and the Thunderbird Hotel was responsible for the dirt work and paving, The Charioteers ,(nicknamed the Cherrytears by the Roadrunners,AKA the Roadrunnys plus a friend of racers of the day Dalby Shirley from the Henderson rec. dept. got the thing going. Later the Stardust International Raceway was built for the Can-Am series and had a great dragstrip.SIR was replaced by homes and for a few seasons we raced the frontage road at Apex and then with blessing of Peter Simon of Pop's Oasis drag racing was alive again at Jean,NV. Circle tracks were the Silver Slipper oval behind the casino by the same name, later Craigroad speedway was built. After the demise of Craigroad, the forerunner to todays Bullring was built with a dragstrip on the west side from where todays Strip at Las Vegas lies. Back in the day the casino industry didn't want any outside attractions to distract the players. The would give away rooms,food ,booze,and broads to keep the money flowing thru the casinos. The corporate Vegas casinos now try to operate everything in the black. Bruton Smith's SMI changed racing forever.
     
  28. jguff
    Joined: Jan 14, 2009
    Posts: 124

    jguff
    Member

    I remember going to Highland Ave in about 1957 or 58. We walked there from my neighborhood ( maybe a mile to a mile and a half). It was my very first drag race. Highland avenue was actually a street running through an industrial area closed off for the Sunday drags. Saw my first dragster there. A rail job with a hot Hudson six. Basically just frame rails, an engine , a seat and a steering wheel. The motorcycles were as fast as the fastest cars and the 57 Buick Century's were among the fastest stockers. Loved drag racing ever since then. My buddies and I were regulars at the henderson Drags (never called it Thunderbird raceway) until it closed.

    Jerome
     
  29. snaptwo
    Joined: Apr 25, 2011
    Posts: 692

    snaptwo
    Member

    I also remember that Hudson powered car ! Waaayy ahead of it's time too ! It was built by Larry Cripe Sr. ,an electrcian by trade, most the 3 wheeled chassis was constructed from rigid conduit(heavy walled stuff). It used a 305 Hornet with a front mounted 471 and custom made STEEL cylinder head. No bull ,Larry used a head gasket as a pattern, hand cut a chunk of 1" plate and topped it with with piece of 3/8 to mount the spark plugs. larry Jr.recounted a story of welding and blending in the combustion chambers with an electric drill.No more head gasket problems with this 200 Lb. head ! Other regulars included "Double Trouble" twice motored Triumph MC, which usually took top eliminator, Gratz and Walker, The "Crapshooters" Chrysler powered Crosley ,"Duce" VanDusen's bike. "Ace" Hanley's '50 Olds. Hotdog Hamby's '57 bel air. Speedsport came to several meets as did Gary Cagle.
     
  30. OldCharioteer
    Joined: Aug 24, 2011
    Posts: 4

    OldCharioteer
    Member

    I remember the Thunderbird raceway in Henderson. My buddy Kenny Turner and I were members of the So Nev Charioteers car club and as a club we took turns selling tickets to the events on the weekend. Does anybody remember the beautiful white ATR power and speed dragster? Everybody called it the skate because I don't think it ever made a straight run! But it was the most beautiful dragster and won that title. Those were the good old days when anybody could run their car. Does anybody remember the 55 pontiac purple people eater?? I eventually bought it for my girlfriend Gail Horton and had it painted white. It was a factory stick so I added a tripower. Still have my original Charioteers club jacket. Still like new. However I can barely get into it, let alone try to zip it up! At 69 I am sure there are lots of us in that predicament! Glad to find this site to reminisce and rediscover old memories..
     

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