October 3, 2012

Saugus Speedway - NASCAR

The Saugus Speedway

22500 Soledad Canyon Road ~ Santa Clarita, CA 91350

Opened 1939
Closed July 19, 1995

Ruins: Race track, misc buildings, scoreboard and grandstands.
Current Site: Saugus Swap Meet


History of the Saugus Speedway

The town of Saugus was founded by Henry Mayo Newhall who named the community after his Massachusetts hometown of Saugus. Newhall and Saugus were old western towns, with many of the residents having migrated from Texas and Oklahoma to work in the nearby oil fields. Several early western movies were filmed in the area and it became popular with stars who established homes or ranches away from the hubbub of the big city.

In 1924, cowboy movie star Hoot Gibson built a ranch and rodeo grounds along the railroad tracks and Soledad Canyon Road. Over the years, he hosted many shows, and the spectators came from the city to witness the events. Gibson attracted the Hollywood crowd and used his ranch as a movie set. He also leased it to other companies making films, but rodeos continued to be the main event.

William Bonelli purchased Hoot Gibson’s ranch in 1937 and built a quarter mile dirt track. Bonelli Ranch Stadium hosted a myriad of events, showcasing midgets and hot rods (roadsters). Later, the track was expanded to one-third mile and in 1954, the surface was paved and the named changed to Saugus Speedway. Saugus Speedway grew and gained in popularity, much as the rodeo grounds did before it. The paved track enabled the transition to stockcars, which was the primary race event through 1995, when after 56 years, the races went silent.

NASCAR and the Saugus Speedway

The first stock car racing event on the track happened in 1957. It was promoted by Tony Coldeway, who later formed the Pacific Racing Association. 23 cars and 523 spectators came to the event. The track became mainly used for stock car events after that event. It featured USAC stock cars, NASCAR Winston West Series, and the NASCAR Southwest Tour. It also hosted the third race in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series history during the series' first year on April 15, 1995.

Today the property, now owned by William Bonelli’s grandchildren, hosts a Swap Meet that started in 1963.

All but one set of the grandstands were removed in 2011.  See the October 2011 article in The Signal.

From http://www.saugusspeedway.com and Wikipedia

Race Day 1940's
http://www.saugusspeedway.com

Race Day 1982
http://www.saugusspeedway.com

1950's
http://www.scvhistory.com/scvhistory/ap1428.htm

 Google Earth Images


 1994

2002

2006

2009

Photos

http://movielocationsandmore.blogspot.com/2011/11/drive-2011.html

http://movielocationsandmore.blogspot.com/2011/11/drive-2011.html

http://movielocationsandmore.blogspot.com/2011/11/drive-2011.html

http://movielocationsandmore.blogspot.com/2011/11/drive-2011.html

http://movielocationsandmore.blogspot.com/2011/11/drive-2011.html

http://movielocationsandmore.blogspot.com/2011/11/drive-2011.html


http://www.the-signal.com/archives/61690/

Video

Saugus Speedway present and past

Links


Office website for the Saugus Swap Meet (Saugust Speedway Site)

Saugus Speedway Chronology




Small portion of speedway stands removed. The Signal. October 3, 2011

The movie "Drive" was filmed at the Saugus Speedway.  See photos and information at this site.




3 comments:

  1. Nice to know about the race tracks,actually i love these race tracks because its all for the cars but so sad to know that,these tracks are ruins as you know its a crowdy place so this type of ruin situation is very merciful for the car lovers.However nice work done on the blog.

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  2. Thanks Robe!! They recently took the bleachers down, but the track is still there!

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  3. rumors run amok, the speedway has been sold for development, pending cleanup of Whitaker-Bermite. Can you confirm this is true, will they place houses where the speedway now stands next to metro(what), or will the housing go up in the hills behind the track

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