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Thread: Irwindale Closing

  1. #1
    President Member Commander Eddie's Avatar
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    Irwindale Closing

    Hemmings this morning had an article about the Irwindale Event Center closing.
    We used to run our cars there a lot back in the '60s. Here is the link. . .

    https://www.hemmings.com/blog/2017/0...rs/?refer=news
    Ed Sallia
    Dundee, OR

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  2. #2
    Speedster Member voxnut's Avatar
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    Different Irwindale Raceway. That one was open from 1964-77, and the Miller Beer brewery is where the first Irwindale drag strip used to be. As it states in the article, this facility opened in 1999.

    This is the one you used to go to in the 60's.

    Last edited by voxnut; 08-11-2017 at 10:59 AM.
    Dean Seavers
    Sacramento, CA

  3. #3
    President Member Commander Eddie's Avatar
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    Dean,
    Thanks for the clarification. I just assumed that the drag strip had expanded in 1999. Do you know what became of the original Irwindale drag strip?
    Ed Sallia
    Dundee, OR

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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Commander Eddie View Post
    Dean,
    Thanks for the clarification. I just assumed that the drag strip had expanded in 1999. Do you know what became of the original Irwindale drag strip?
    As stated in post #2 it became the site of the Miller Brewery. Back in the 70's I rode my bike out to the Raceway once. It was a long ride on some not so safe roads. There was a rise behind the starting area and people would park there to watch until the cops came and ran them off. I was less suspect standing there with my bike. I could also hear the nitro cars that was always a disappointment I wasn't there. I was probably there at least 20+ times as a kid. Division 7 meets, Fueled Altereds, Funny cars etc. Lots of memories.

    I've never been to the "new" Irwindale. I also remember a small circle track in the general area and wondered if that was what was expanded to create the current site. So. Cal. may be thought of as the site of the origin of the hot rod but try and find a place to run anymore.
    '64 Lark Type, powered by '85 Corvette L-69 (carburetor), 700R4, - CASO to the Max.

  5. #5
    President Member Corvanti's Avatar
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    here's some info on old So-Cal tracks: http://www.hotrod.com/articles/hrdp-...ips-of-so-cal/

    i used to live about a mile from Pomona "Raceway". in the early to mid 60's it was really just part of a L.A. County Fair parking lot. i could see most of the race from the roof of our house.

    i went to a road race at Riverside before it shut down. it was so foggy, one could barely see Petty and Bobby Allison going for the lead. it turned into a large housing/retail area soon after.

    and the Ontario Motor Speedway - at 16, a friend and i put in applications to work (anything). they take took the apps and said we'll let you know. that's all we heard. i did go to California Jam in '73 there. don't recall much about it except the Eagles (with Jackson Browne filling in on Bass) and Emerson, Lake and Palmer were great! i drove by there the last time i was in the area in 2007. all a shopping center, but the Bacon/Guacamole omelet at Coco's was "eggcellent"!
    Kerry. SDC Member #A012596W. ENCSDC member.

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  6. #6
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    There were "two" race tracks in Irwindale back in the day...similar to today..!

    In the 60's/70's, there was Irwindale Raceway. A 1/4 mile drag strip. A few other type races (motorcycle off road, go kart, road racing) were held there in the early days, but proved too costly and were not kept up so all but the drag racing stopped.
    THEN...Miller Beer came along and closed the place. There were actually three or four "closings" until the final closing actually did the trick...

    Also about the same time frame, there was "Speedway 605" (paved oval). Closer to the 605 freeway, but basically a hard stones throw (just a coupla miles) away from the drag strip. It was a three track setup. A road (?!) course, a 1/3 mile oval within the main 1/2 mile oval. It lasted a few years longer than the drag strip. Was not on the same property as the drag strip. My brother raced there in the last few years it was open. He even let me drive one race (the second to the last weekend it was open)...as long as I didn't look at anyone so they'd see it wasn't him driving..!

    Today...there are...two tracks in Irwindale, but they are currently on the same property. The paved oval was built first and ran for a few years before they decided that a 1/8 mile drag strip could be run across the back of the parking lot. It took a few years to develop it into a decent place to race. They hold NHRA Sportsman races there now, along with weekly (Thursday night) racing, and the occasionally Saturday NHRA race. Several specialty races are held through the year, including a VERY big Moon Eyes, Christmas show, that turns people/cars away every Christmas because of it being full to capacity. Another one of those include a Stude show with an oval track lap thrown in.
    This property has been on the auction block a FEW times over the years. Closings have been announced several times...but it's doors are still open running both the oval and drag racing weekly.

    Mike

    P.S - This new "closing" is very unfortunate. There's always something going on, on the grounds. MAYBE...this one too will die-out and leave the door open a little longer.
    And again... That area (as can be seen in the aerial photo), is out in the middle of no-where. The housing that is close is lower class, the rest is gravel pits, for miles around...literally. If a mall is built, I predict it will be a failure. Unless they also build some high end housing within a coupla miles...in a...gravel pit..!
    Last edited by Mike Van Veghten; 08-12-2017 at 09:42 PM.

  7. #7
    Silver Hawk Member Chris Pile's Avatar
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    It's not the historic Irwindale, but it's sad that this one is closing.
    The only difference between death and taxes is that death does not grow worse every time Congress convenes. - Will Rogers

  8. #8
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    This whole mess reminds me of the debacle with Ascot.

    For those unfamiliar with LA tracks, there was a very famous 1/2 mile dirt oval in Gardena, about a half hour or so south west of Irwindale.

    The track was built in the mid 50's by J.C. Agajanian, over an old trash dump that he had operated and had filled up.

    The couny was willing to allow very limited construction of small structures on the site, just allowing for a snack bar, restrooms and grandstands that were flexible to allow for long term settlement of the soil, as well as venting for the methane from underground.

    Well, the track was very successful and allowed Aggie to pursue a big love, race promotion. He was also a prudent businessman. So, when developers in the 60's offered STUPID money for a site that couldn't be built on for at least 15 years, as well as a long lease at an insanely low rate, Aggie took the money. He figured (rightly) he'd be dead by then, why not?

    Well, when the lease was nearing the end, soils reports showed the land not yet fit to build on so Aggie's sons (who were now running the business) got a 5 year lease. It then was renewed with annual leases until the soil reports looked good. The Agajanians had to vacate, the developers then demolished the site and guess what? There was still a huge problem with methane, all that garbage was still rotting.

    Unfortunately, that is not likely for Irwindale, that site was construction and excavation debris. All concrete and dirt, well compacted. The likelyhood of a developer building there is limited by the surrounding neighborhood. It would make a great industrial site but who in their right mind would invest in heavy industry in California? Warehousing, likely.

  9. #9
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    I have participated in the 'Stude event' Mike refers to at the 'new' Irwindale. It was set up and organized by Steve Broock of the Beach Cities Orange and Inland Empire chapter of SDC. We had a great time (and if I remember correctly, sometimes as many as 20 Studebakers out on the track for the 'parade lap'). Great Studebaker publicity, Thanks Steve.
    Howard - Los Angeles chapter SDC
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