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vacavalley dragstrip

 
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2014 6:57 pm    Post subject: vacavalley dragstrip Reply with quote

vaca valley dragstrip has been closed for 43 years and nowadays its rare to find anybody (even locals) who have ever heard of it and even less people who know its location. it is actually one of the most famous tracks of yester year right up there with freemont and half moon bay. it was the first track i ever went down on my 305 honda and i remember it like it was yesterday. vacaville was the first multi complex in the nation and cars came from all over the world to race there. i saw more double engine dragsters go down that track with the tires smokin all the way than you can imagine. the track opened in 1956 and closed in72. it had a 1.25 mile high bank oval track and a 2.1 mile road race course and a 1/4 mile nhra dragstrip and you can still see its layout on google earth in the n/w n/west of lewis and webber vacaville calif. i lived a mile from there growing up and went all the time . they will never race like that again.
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Paul P
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah and it is just sitting there. That is messed up. Nothing being done with the land there either all this time.. What a shame. Sad

Pretty good posts here about it. It was $$ not noise that stopped it from being a track.

http://www.norcal1320.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21420

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Big Dave
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not necessarily on topic as to regards to a west coast drag strip, but Don Garlits wife died Sunday according to the obit in yesterday's paper. He used to live in Seffner, FL and used Tampa Drag way six miles down the road as his personal test track which is what I was thinking of when I read this last post.

The old Tampa Drag Strip can be thought of as still existing, it is just under the floor of the current Rooms-to-Go cheapo import furniture warehouse (most of the cargo containers list China as port of origin) that used to provide furniture to the thousands of new homes built around Tampa Bay every year prior to the crash. It has been having a hard time since the housing frenzy evaporated and all new home construction are built for mega millionaires now.

The track was a full quarter mile with another quarter mile shut down that Garlits once ran out of pavement; crossing SR 579 and landing up in a gas station parking lot across the road from the end of the track. All of the old track and more is now under one big single roof. I have often wondered if the company ever failed if we could have our indoor air conditioned drag strip back as the whole floor is concrete and perfectly level. A little asphalt on top and we could have a great track (but without grand stands, or timing tower).

If you want to see the satellite picture of the warehouse you can Google SR 579 and I-4 in Seffner. Garlits house was on the south side of Lake Chastain and his first car museum's building (big steel warehouse) is on his property as well as his old car shop next to his house. they can be spotted by looking at the intersection of Chastain Rd and SR 574 (aka Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard) also in Seffner (address is 976 Florida 574, Seffner, Florida). I used to live four miles south of Don's house, and knew his two daughters as we went to school together.

Looking at Don's old house I see were they have divided it up into three different lots now. The redish building to the west of Don's house is the horse barn and the old car shop and the museum is now a business that is fenced off from the main house. Don of course still lives in Ocala, FL and his car museums are contained if five or six huge steel warehouse buildings (with an old Navy A-7 Corsair out on the south side of the property)

I actually looked at the map myself and they did miss a little of the old strip as there used to be a wooden fence that separated the staging lanes from Black Dairy Road (the road that runs north off of US 92 on the south side of the old drag strip). Art Arfonds once blew that fence down while demonstrating his Green Monster jet powered drag car. That means that all but the staging lanes are now under roof, so we could have at least an eighth mile track otherwise.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thats pretty good stuff dave about that track. all the recreations of vaca valley ive found online are all wrong about the way the track worked . they all show the tower at the starting line but in fact that was the starting line and finish line for the oval and the road course! the drag strip started 1/4 mile farther back and the tower was at the finish line. however bleachers ran all the way back practically . the track was so wide they even ran a few four car drags till nhra put a stop to it mainly because the finish line had a barrier that bottlenecked the shut down and and besides it was just plain stupid! they didnt have a concrete barrier between the stands and the track on the dragstrip part but they did have some barb wire and mesh with weeds in it that caught on fire more than once. it was a grand ol place in its day. i was nine years old when i saw my first race there and saw my first double engine dragster called freight train(or something like that) and revell was selling models at the track.that thing burned the tires the whole length of the track . you had to cross the track to use the restroom but you didnt need to look both ways Shocked Twisted Evil
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af2
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 5:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Get a hold of Ken Gentry. When he cert the Willys 2 years ago he had a scrap book on all the closed tracks.
My Dad raced there in the 60,s also and at Half Moon Bay and Fremont... All I can remember was after Church on Sunday going to Fremont and seeing a sign on dad,s Corvette to meet him in the grand stands, blew engine..... We ate a lot of hot dogs back then..
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

af2 wrote:
Get a hold of Ken Gentry. When he cert the Willys 2 years ago he had a scrap book on all the closed tracks.
My Dad raced there in the 60,s also and at Half Moon Bay and Fremont... All I can remember was after Church on Sunday going to Fremont and seeing a sign on dad,s Corvette to meet him in the grand stands, blew engine..... We ate a lot of hot dogs back then..


thats because the only place on earth to get a corndog back then was at the dixon may fair.
man them where the days brother. the biggest pollywog i ever caught was in the irrigation ditch in front of the track. I left him in my window one day and he boiled but his memory lives on.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

af2 wrote:
Get a hold of Ken Gentry. When he cert the Willys 2 years ago he had a scrap book on all the closed tracks.
My Dad raced there in the 60,s also and at Half Moon Bay and Fremont... All I can remember was after Church on Sunday going to Fremont and seeing a sign on dad,s Corvette to meet him in the grand stands, blew engine..... We ate a lot of hot dogs back then..


thanks adam i sent ken a message.



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