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History Forgotten Dragstrip: Austin Raceway Park

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by TexasHardcore, Nov 25, 2009.

  1. jdj9410
    Joined: Sep 4, 2007
    Posts: 324

    jdj9410
    Member
    from Paris TX

    Green Valley. First place I ever seen a Top Fuel run. Some of those Alcohol Funny car races were pretty wild back in the eighties. Lot of good memories from there. Seen Connie Kalitta run there in an exhibition a year or so before the new houses shut it down.


     
  2. metalman1
    Joined: Dec 5, 2008
    Posts: 100

    metalman1
    Member
    from tatum

    Same has happened with the old Hallsville,Tx.NHRA drag strip.It was built back up in the sticks,but people moved closer to it to get out of town,they didn't like the noise,So now it is a nice new housing development for the yuppies.We quit racing,it is at least 100 miles in any direction now to any drag strip.Sad to see all of it go away,when it has been in my familys blood for 3-4 generations.My father ran a henry j & a jr fueler at austin in the 60's.
     
  3. texasz
    Joined: Dec 29, 2010
    Posts: 2

    texasz
    Member

    WOW!! I had no idea that this place existed until I saw the name on a Google map when getting directions to a near by warehouse. The name struck my curiosity so I Googled the name of the 'park' and immediately found this thread. :)

    Very interesting information here, thank you everyone for contributing. One thing I would like to add is that Aquafest in conjunction with Spokes continued the Autocross event in to the '90s...I know this because I raced in the '92 Austin Aquafest Autocross, took 3rd and still have the trophy to this day. In the '90s though the Aquafest Autocross was held in what was then the Palmer Auditorium parking lot.
     
  4. Tommy R
    Joined: May 18, 2004
    Posts: 717

    Tommy R
    Member

    Do you still race with Spokes? I was very active in the club from '95 through '05. Still on the mailing list, though. :)
     
  5. Now thats what i am talking about thats raceing.
     
  6. texasz
    Joined: Dec 29, 2010
    Posts: 2

    texasz
    Member

    No, after blowing two engines in the little car I raced back then I sold it, bought an SUV and a boat for a different kind of fun.

    I have since sold the boat and bought a weekend car to play with. I'm working on building up the car to race though that takes time and money. ;) I am hopeful to have it on the pavement in 2011 at which time I will start racing it...I'm looking at getting back in to Spokes as well as maybe running at The Driveway.
     
  7. spayne
    Joined: Jun 27, 2011
    Posts: 1

    spayne
    Member
    from spain

    I was looking at the photos of Austin Raceway Park, and they reminded me of a story. In high school we used to sneak-out of our parents' houses and go out there to drink, smoke, trip, and race. We never had any cops come out to chase us off, but then again, the sheriff deputies were probably watching from the bushes and laughing their asses off! I seem to remember being followed home by some sheriff cruisers, but we never got busted. One night seven of us acquired Mark's sister's VW and drove out to the park. There were a bunch of guys from McCallum who wanted to race/fight, but you couldn't "drag race" because they'd dug a trench across the strip when they closed the racetrack. Steve challenged the "knights" to race the "round-a-round" track, but they were in an old Nova, their daddy's Buick, and a Mustang and figured they couldn't match the cornering ability of the "bug." They tried to talk the guy in the Mustang into racing, but he was with his girlfriend and she didn't want to quit kissing him. We crammed all of us into the VW, with Steve driving, and took the "hairpin" turn (it wasn't- check the map) at 55 mph. Mark said he could do it at 60, so we all piled-in again and rolled the "bug" on the turn. It was all "assholes and elbows" rolling over a few times, but nobody got hurt. We landed upside-down and couldn't open the doors. None of the windows popped-out, so somebody told Steve to "roll-up" the window to get out before the car caught on-fire. It sounded funny to have to "roll-up" the window to escape. We scrambled out and ran away from the vehicle, but it didn't explode, so we punched-out the dents in the roof, doors, and fenders and limped home. Mark's sister was pissed forever, and we all still owe him for the repairs.
     
  8. fastbird12
    Joined: Nov 26, 2011
    Posts: 1

    fastbird12
    Member

    hot rod magazine oct 68 page 46
     
  9. ProNova
    Joined: Dec 29, 2011
    Posts: 9

    ProNova
    Member

    I went to the property today that was once the Austin Raceway Park. Some of the field is left intact, but they have scraped up all of the strip portion down to dirt. Construction, both commercial and housing, is happening all around. This place is officially gone with no remnants of the strip left to reminisce over!
     
  10. ProNova
    Joined: Dec 29, 2011
    Posts: 9

    ProNova
    Member


    Is there enough of an article on this to warrant buying it for $10 on ebay?

    If it is only one page, would you possibly scan and email it to me?
     
  11. Von Hartmann
    Joined: Nov 21, 2006
    Posts: 971

    Von Hartmann
    Member
    from Byron, IL

    Can somebody tell me where you CAN drag race in or around Austin?
     
  12. Tommy R
    Joined: May 18, 2004
    Posts: 717

    Tommy R
    Member

    Little River Dragway near Temple and San Antonio Raceway in Seguin are your best bets. Those are the two closest anyway. SAR is newer/nicer, but Little River has personality. ;)
     
  13. fiveohnick2932
    Joined: Mar 29, 2006
    Posts: 889

    fiveohnick2932
    Member
    from Napa, Ca.

    I love this kind of history! I wish I had the $$ to restore a bunch of the old strips around the country back to their 60s state.
     
  14. Jay Tyrrell
    Joined: Dec 9, 2007
    Posts: 1,631

    Jay Tyrrell
    Member

    That is reallycool. Thanks for sharing some history and memories!
     
  15. Robert1555
    Joined: Jul 25, 2011
    Posts: 41

    Robert1555
    Member

    Went out to the site today and found the dragstrip portion of the track, or what's left of it. The first picture is looking east (away from 1325). The second picture is looking west (toward 1325). Where I'm standing would have been about the finish line I think. After reading about the guy who cut the lock off the gate and was testing his gasser when it rolled and killed him, I was probably standing near where that happened. Made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Check out how now what remains of the strip runs right into the back fence of new houses being built. In these pictures you can see that each strip of pavement that was layed is a slightly different color. There are six 10' wide strips that made up the track. 60' wide. I bet this was an absolutely premier track in its day. I also took some close-up shots of the asphalt. To not have been used in 40 years it is remarkable how good some of it still is. Look how there is a different distribution of the white material in the different strips that make up the track. I once heard Don Garlits refer to "popcorn" asphalt as being what he liked to race on more than any other type of asphalt. I wonder if this is what he was referring to? I bet this place was way out in the country 40 years ago. Now it is surrounded by houses and warehouses. Sure wish the old track was still in operation.

    View attachment 1916362

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  16. Robert1555
    Joined: Jul 25, 2011
    Posts: 41

    Robert1555
    Member

  17. Robert1555
    Joined: Jul 25, 2011
    Posts: 41

    Robert1555
    Member

  18. Robert1555
    Joined: Jul 25, 2011
    Posts: 41

    Robert1555
    Member

  19. Robert1555
    Joined: Jul 25, 2011
    Posts: 41

    Robert1555
    Member

    I had hell posting these pictures. Sorry for how I did it but that is the only way I could get them on here. Again, sorry.

    IMG_0693 (768x1024).jpg

    IMG_0694 (768x1024).jpg
     
  20. sierra rod shop
    Joined: Feb 16, 2011
    Posts: 382

    sierra rod shop
    Member

  21. Robert1555
    Joined: Jul 25, 2011
    Posts: 41

    Robert1555
    Member

    After making my previous post I sent the asphalt pictures to Don Garlits to see if this was the type of asphalt he referred to as "popcorn asphalt". To follow is his response:
    Robert,
    Yes I always liked that kind of pavement as when you “smoked” the tires, the car kept moving as the asphalt continued to grab the tires, not like the shiny, smooth surface of today that has to have the tires glued to the surface.
    Don Garlits
    CEO
    Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing Inc.
     
  22. Tommy R
    Joined: May 18, 2004
    Posts: 717

    Tommy R
    Member

    That's awesome....
     
  23. Robert1555
    Joined: Jul 25, 2011
    Posts: 41

    Robert1555
    Member

    Does anyone have a clear picture of the old tower where you can read what was on the sign. I'm trying to figure out what was above the A in Austin Raceway Park.
     
  24. one37tudor
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 146

    one37tudor
    Member

    They ran the races there with the finish line toward 1325 and even back in the day several cars made it either into the right of way or over 1325 completely. That was one of the reasons for its demise.
    It was a very nice facility for its time. But then it replaced the old Oak Hill drag strip and most anything would have been an improvement over that track!

    Scott...
     
  25. Babyearl
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 610

    Babyearl
    Member

    I just now stumbled on to this thread,, I was at the opening race at ARP in 1966. It was a NHRA sanctioned division 6 meet. I have lost track of all my pics of the meet,, but sure have some great memories. I'll search around for some pics and post them when I find them.
     
  26. Babyearl
    Joined: May 23, 2008
    Posts: 610

    Babyearl
    Member

    Here is my time card for the first car to leave the line under competition at ARP 1966. My car was a 32 Austin bantam roadster with an injected Nailhead (401) A/A. I don't have a picture of the car. I worked at Spray's Garage in Killeen at the time with James and Larry Spray. The nailhead in my car came out of the '34 Chev B/G car that James and I built earlier. In the picture of the Spray Bros. Angila, is James,, the engine was 377 ci. I might add that the head work on both engines was done by 'Hands' in Austin. Also is a picture of the Creitz and Greer dragster warming up in front of the tower.
     

    Attached Files:

  27. Tommy R
    Joined: May 18, 2004
    Posts: 717

    Tommy R
    Member

    Herdez,

    I see that the album is private. Would it be possible to get access to it? I would love to see more! I would also like to share them with friends, but would refrain from doing so if you would prefer.

    I went to the track today and took a few pics. I'll get them posted up later today.

    Thanks!
    Tommy
     
  28. Robert1555
    Joined: Jul 25, 2011
    Posts: 41

    Robert1555
    Member

    Babyearl...see if you have any pics of the sign on the tower. I'm trying to determine what is above the A of Austin Raceway Park, Inc.
     
  29. Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Joined: Apr 20, 2008
    Posts: 4,207

    Hot Rods Ta Hell
    Member

    Neat shots Babyearl. Both cars look like a handful. Thanks for sharing.
    Gotta ask why Snack Bar is spelled Snak Bar? Major leage typo or a Texas thing?
     
  30. CamaroSS
    Joined: Jan 20, 2014
    Posts: 1

    CamaroSS
    Member
    from Plano

    In 1968 I spent a great summer racing at ARP. I didn't have a dedicated race car, but I bracket raced my '67 SS. The pic is something I put together a long time ago just to remember. The car is long gone...one of the bigger mistakes I've made; the time slip was my best. I've got several newspaper clippings of days/nights I ran there, mostly be cause I actually did pretty well with the brackets. Anyway, had a great time.

    [​IMG]
     

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