Friday, October 12, 2007

The Finish Line; The Death of Ascot Park Raceway

by Bart Bull

(published in Details)

Ever since the hot rodders of the 1930s began raising dust on the dry lakes of the Mojave Desert, Southern California has been the place where motors and Manifest Destiny meet. Ever since Clark Gable commissioned a custom rod that could smoke Gary Cooper's damn Duesenberg, ever since Big Daddy Roth and George Barris and Darryl Starbird created blown-and-injected objets d'art, ever since Mickey Thompson invented the slingshot dragster, Southern California has been home to more rodding and racing than anywhere else. And through it all, Ascot Park, a half-mile oval near Long Beach, has been the hub of dirt-track racing for the entire Southwest.

In the last few years, insurance costs have killed off most of the drag strips and soaring land values have finished off the speedways. When the sprint-car season ends this fall, and when the last trophy dash winner flings the final mud clod through the chicken wire into the grandstand as he power-drifts through Turn Four, it won't be just the usual acrid smell of racing fuel that makes race fans wipe their eyes. Ascot Park is going condo. Gentlemen, stop your engines.


Anonymous said...

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