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FlatBlack84

Arena Park Raceway and Its Memorabilia

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FlatBlack84    0

Back in the 70s my daddy used to take me to the races every Friday night at Arena Park Raceway just south of Lubbock. The track still exists and is called Lady Luck Speedway. Anyway, I'd sure like to get my hands on some racing programs from Arena Park ca. 1971-1979. Any help would be more than appreciated.

 

First post, BTW. Fascinating website.

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QuickVic    0

I raced a supermodified at Arena Park during the time that it was paved. I have quite a few programs , pictures, and newspaper clippings. I'd be interested in what they are racing there now. Is the track asphalt or dirt?

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FlatBlack84    0

QV, Been a while since I've been out there, but last time I was there they were racing street stocks, modifieds, super modifieds and sprint cars.

 

If you're willing to part with those programs etc., I'm willing to buy them.

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Spooky #21x    0

Unfortunately, Arena Park Raceway ( aka Lady Luck Speedway ) closed down for good after the 2012 racing season after 47 seasons or so. I hear there are mud drags being run there now as of last year and this year. The last year (2012) they were running Pure Stocks, Street Stocks, IMCA Stock cars, IMCA Sportsmods, IMCA Modifieds, and every other week (305) Sprint Cars. it is hard to believe it now has been almost 4 years already since Lady Luck Speedway shut down. I spent almost my entire life around the track watching my dad race there in the late 1960's - early 1970's all the way to the very end of the final season back in 2012 !! A lot of memories for myself from there !!

 

 

 

Bobby

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Spooky #21x    0

If i remember correctly, the track converted back to dirt ( i think ) for the start of the 1978 racing season and stayed dirt the rest of the way till Lady Luck Speedway closed for good after the 2012 racing season.

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FlatBlack84    0

Spooky, I'm guessing your dad is one of the Norvells!

 

Have you got any pictures or programs from those early days? Seeing as how I was a kid hanging out at Arena Park throughout the seventies, pulling for my cousin Wolfman Yeager, we probably bumped into one another a time or two.

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Spooky #21x    0

FlatBlack84, i am not related to the Norvells ( Although Bobby Norvell is currently involed in helping getting the old Lady Luck Speedway up and running again in 2017 which is now known as West Texas Raceway. ) and my dad ( David Cagle ) raced at Arena Park Raceway ( Junkers class then later on briefly in the Sportsman class when the Junker class was dropped. ) from 1967 to 1973 on a regular basis and then on rare cases till 1978 when he retired for good. We have met before as i gave you some spare programs i had from those early days. I am excited that the track is opening back up this year after being closed for 4 too long seasons !! LOL

 

 

 

Bobby

Edited by Spooky #21x

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GJT    0

My Daddy, Stacy Starrett, ran at Arena Park Raceway in the late 60's thru the '70 season, #37 in the stock car class. He was killed in a vehicle accident hauling the car back to our hometown Hereford, Tx after a Saturday night racing in June 1970. Our Mom moved us to Houston later that summer so couldn't keep up with the goings on there. Ahh the memories, Hershal Cook bought his car BTW and ran it the rest of that season.

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Spooky #21x    0

First off, sorry to here what happened to your dad. My mom kept a scrapbook of my dads racing years and she did mention about what happen to your dad as 1970 was a very rough year here locally with Johnny Huskey being killed on the racetrack on opening day back in 1970 also. But there was plenty of good times there too !! During the Arena Park Raceway days, i can remember some of my dads racing ( the figure - 8 races mostly ), the pits still being on the west side of the racetrack, the Joey Chitwood Sr. show ( i still can remember a lot of that night !! LOL ), the $th of July fireworks shows, etc. !! Even after the racetrack changed promoters/owners, and briefly was a paved racetrack for a few seasons, we would still go out there every once in a while to watch the races. Who can forget Hershel Cook as ( until the very last time i remember him racing here was back in 2010. ) i think he was already into his 58th year of racing back in 2010. This is going back even before Arena Park Raceway first opened up back in 1966. With the exception of a few years ( 1979 to 1982 ) i have still been going back there regularly ( majority of the time as a spectator and a few times to help pit for my cousins on their race cars ) !!

 

 

Bobby

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GJT    0

Thanks Bobby, that is awesome your mom remembers my dad. He ended up being a bit of a contender in the later years, he did things kind of unconventional like having a center mounted huge steering wheel from a bus, his seat straddled the trans hump with the throttle pedal on the right side! His thoughts being the big steering wheel it was less work than the other guys constantly working the smaller wheels and sitting in the center, his view was unobstructed by the roof pillar. Hey it worked for him! Hershal removed the center mount wheel much to the aggravation to my then 11 yr old self!

 

I couldn't remember his name but I very much remember Johnny Huskey's crash on opening day that year. I remember seeing his head fall down between turns 3 and 4 and his car headed straight into the wall. It was horrible, took them forever to get him pulled out of there.

 

I don't remember too many names, I heard Sleepy Nelson passed a few years ago, he was always one of my faves. Jim Culpepper was my dad's best friend and ran there. We still keep in touch, he still lives in Hereford. His son lives in Dallas and has always raced something or another. Great memories.

 

Tim

Edited by GJT

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FlatBlack84    0

FlatBlack84, i am not related to the Norvells ( Although Bobby Norvell is currently involed in helping getting the old Lady Luck Speedway up and running again in 2017 which is now known as West Texas Raceway. ) and my dad ( David Cagle ) raced at Arena Park Raceway ( Junkers class then later on briefly in the Sportsman class when the Junker class was dropped. ) from 1967 to 1973 on a regular basis and then on rare cases till 1978 when he retired for good. We have met before as i gave you some spare programs i had from those early days. I am excited that the track is opening back up this year after being closed for 4 too long seasons !! LOL

 

 

 

Bobby

Howdy, Bobby! And you're right, you did give me those programs several years ago, and I still take them out and look at them occasionally. Thank you again for that generous gift. Those programs are important to me. And I certainly remember your dad. Was his nickname Spooky? I could have sworn Spooky was one of the Norvells and that he drove a white No. 26. Man, that was a long time ago, and my memory ain't what it used to be.

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Spooky #21x    0

Thanks Bobby, that is awesome your mom remembers my dad. He ended up being a bit of a contender in the later years, he did things kind of unconventional like having a center mounted huge steering wheel from a bus, his seat straddled the trans hump with the throttle pedal on the right side! His thoughts being the big steering wheel it was less work than the other guys constantly working the smaller wheels and sitting in the center, his view was unobstructed by the roof pillar. Hey it worked for him! Hershal removed the center mount wheel much to the aggravation to my then 11 yr old self!

 

I couldn't remember his name but I very much remember Johnny Huskey's crash on opening day that year. I remember seeing his head fall down between turns 3 and 4 and his car headed straight into the wall. It was horrible, took them forever to get him pulled out of there.

 

I don't remember too many names, I heard Sleepy Nelson passed a few years ago, he was always one of my faves. Jim Culpepper was my dad's best friend and ran there. We still keep in touch, he still lives in Hereford. His son lives in Dallas and has always raced something or another. Great memories.

 

Tim

Those were some wild and crazy times back then as much as i can remember being so young at that time !! My dad drove either a 51 or 52 Ford with a modified Chrysler carburetor on it and ran on jet fuel. During the figure-8 races he ran a railroad tie as a front bumper till track officials made him take it off as every time he would come into contact in the intersection it would total the other car. From 1967 to 1972 he only ran with a single belt in his car. Thank god he put in a 4-point harness for 1973 as on opening day something on the right front of his car ( the ball joint is what i was told ) broke coming out of turn # 2 and went end-over-end on the back straightaway almost all the way to turn # 3 !! Fortunately, he was not injured but i bet my moms nerves were shot !! LOL Even though i was there i do not remember it as i was not quite 8 years old yet.

 

Back around 2006 or 2007 waiting to get into the races at Lady Luck Speedway ( now known as West Texas Raceway ) , i was talking to a guy ( whose name i do not remember right now ) who also witnessed Johnny Huskeys wreck and told me that Johnny Huskey suffered a fatal heart attack before hitting the wall coming out of turn # 4. He also told me about Johnny Huskey slumping over in his car before hitting the wall. He also told me about the graphic details of the wreck. My mom and myself were in the east spectator grandstands when it happened ( my dad was in the pits getting ready to race.) and i was not quite 5 years old at the time when it happened and do not remember any of it is more than likely a good thing as it gave my mom nightmares just thinking about it every time the Super Modifieds would race. Years after my dad stopped racing i tried to get my mom to come back out to the races to at least see our cousins race and almost had her convinced till they started running Sprint Cars again back in 1991 and i did not have any luck after that as she would pass away just a few years later.

 

Yeah, Sleepy Nelson passed away a few years ago i forgot when though. Speaking of Jim Culpepper i saw his son Jason race His modified here in Lubbock on a regular basis ( i remember this as he had that dog food sponser on his car which i can not remember at this time. If i remember correctly the last time Jason Culpepper raced here in Lubbock he ended up getting turned over out of turn # 2 over at the former Lubbock Motor Speedway ( as it was known back then ). Definitely plenty of exciting times back then that is for sure !!

 

Bobby

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Spooky #21x    0

 

FlatBlack84, i am not related to the Norvells ( Although Bobby Norvell is currently involed in helping getting the old Lady Luck Speedway up and running again in 2017 which is now known as West Texas Raceway. ) and my dad ( David Cagle ) raced at Arena Park Raceway ( Junkers class then later on briefly in the Sportsman class when the Junker class was dropped. ) from 1967 to 1973 on a regular basis and then on rare cases till 1978 when he retired for good. We have met before as i gave you some spare programs i had from those early days. I am excited that the track is opening back up this year after being closed for 4 too long seasons !! LOL

 

 

 

Bobby

Howdy, Bobby! And you're right, you did give me those programs several years ago, and I still take them out and look at them occasionally. Thank you again for that generous gift. Those programs are important to me. And I certainly remember your dad. Was his nickname Spooky? I could have sworn Spooky was one of the Norvells and that he drove a white No. 26. Man, that was a long time ago, and my memory ain't what it used to be !!

Thanks, no problem !! Here is the story on how my dad and "Spooky" came about. Back in 1966 my dad was working for Jackie Flemons at Southwest Wheels here in Lubbock and had already started racing at Arena Park Raceway that year. During that year he took my dad ( David) to the races and my dad was immediately hooked !! So, in 1967 my dad started racing too. His boss, Jackie Flemins was racing a white-colored dodge ( car # 20 ) with a Casper the friendly ghost cartoon on it. So, my dad got a 51 or 52 white-colored Ford and used the number 21x and decided to put a Spooky cartoon on it ( because of the comic books LOL !! ) and every thing was going good till my dad started beating his own boos on the racetrack a little too much !! LOL They would end up being friends again !! Not related to the Norvells but it would not be hard to get confused back in those days as a lot of those cars were painted white and real similar ( perfect example would of been my dads car and his boss's car as they only way you could tell them apart was the cartoon characters on their cars !! ) especially in the Junker class !! LOL

 

Bobby

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NickHolt    0

Great stuff.... that's why the Texas Racing History section is here... sooner or later someone Googles a name from the past and we get some more stories when they find the site.

 

Nick

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Spooky #21x    0

Thank you Nick for this forum and keeping it clean and moderated as i follow other racing forums that are not moderated and they have been going downhill due to personal attacks, agendas, etc..

 

 

Bobby

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FlatBlack84    0

Thanks Bobby, that is awesome your mom remembers my dad. He ended up being a bit of a contender in the later years, he did things kind of unconventional like having a center mounted huge steering wheel from a bus, his seat straddled the trans hump with the throttle pedal on the right side! His thoughts being the big steering wheel it was less work than the other guys constantly working the smaller wheels and sitting in the center, his view was unobstructed by the roof pillar. Hey it worked for him! Hershal removed the center mount wheel much to the aggravation to my then 11 yr old self!

 

I couldn't remember his name but I very much remember Johnny Huskey's crash on opening day that year. I remember seeing his head fall down between turns 3 and 4 and his car headed straight into the wall. It was horrible, took them forever to get him pulled out of there.

 

I don't remember too many names, I heard Sleepy Nelson passed a few years ago, he was always one of my faves. Jim Culpepper was my dad's best friend and ran there. We still keep in touch, he still lives in Hereford. His son lives in Dallas and has always raced something or another. Great memories.

 

Tim

Tim, I remember reading about your dad's accident while surfing the Internet. What a tragedy. But that and the Huskey accident were before my time; I didn't begin attending races at Arena Park until 1971 when I was four years old. Later on I heard that Huskey probably had a massive heart attack behind the wheel and that's what allowed the crash to happen. Amazing that after all these years, Huskey is still the only racing fatality at the track, although there have been some other severe accidents. A guy named Tim Irvin (or Irwin) drove a No. 12 B-modified and had a terrible crash where he went airborne and smacked the wall back first coming out of turn three. He survived, but I heard he was never the same after that wreck.

 

You're right, Sleepy is gone, but Charlie Bolton, among others, is still around. I've seen him a few times at that antique place called the Train Station on Avenue Q. in Lubbock. As nice a guy as you'd ever want to meet.

 

Now Jim Culpepper is a name I hadn't heard in many years. Wasn't his car No. 70?

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FlatBlack84    0

 

 

FlatBlack84, i am not related to the Norvells ( Although Bobby Norvell is currently involed in helping getting the old Lady Luck Speedway up and running again in 2017 which is now known as West Texas Raceway. ) and my dad ( David Cagle ) raced at Arena Park Raceway ( Junkers class then later on briefly in the Sportsman class when the Junker class was dropped. ) from 1967 to 1973 on a regular basis and then on rare cases till 1978 when he retired for good. We have met before as i gave you some spare programs i had from those early days. I am excited that the track is opening back up this year after being closed for 4 too long seasons !! LOL

 

 

 

Bobby

Howdy, Bobby! And you're right, you did give me those programs several years ago, and I still take them out and look at them occasionally. Thank you again for that generous gift. Those programs are important to me. And I certainly remember your dad. Was his nickname Spooky? I could have sworn Spooky was one of the Norvells and that he drove a white No. 26. Man, that was a long time ago, and my memory ain't what it used to be !!

Thanks, no problem !! Here is the story on how my dad and "Spooky" came about. Back in 1966 my dad was working for Jackie Flemons at Southwest Wheels here in Lubbock and had already started racing at Arena Park Raceway that year. During that year he took my dad ( David) to the races and my dad was immediately hooked !! So, in 1967 my dad started racing too. His boss, Jackie Flemins was racing a white-colored dodge ( car # 20 ) with a Casper the friendly ghost cartoon on it. So, my dad got a 51 or 52 white-colored Ford and used the number 21x and decided to put a Spooky cartoon on it ( because of the comic books LOL !! ) and every thing was going good till my dad started beating his own boos on the racetrack a little too much !! LOL They would end up being friends again !! Not related to the Norvells but it would not be hard to get confused back in those days as a lot of those cars were painted white and real similar ( perfect example would of been my dads car and his boss's car as they only way you could tell them apart was the cartoon characters on their cars !! ) especially in the Junker class !! LOL

 

Bobby

 

Thanks, Bobby. Lots of fascinating stuff there. Is your pappy still into racing?

 

Also, do you remember who drove a white, No. 16 B-modified back in the early- and mid-seventies? Outside of Wolfman, that may have been my favorite car out there.

 

And do you recall those great duels between Marvin Fillip, Don Burke, Johnnie Foster and J.D. Hughes? When those guys got together it was a friggin show! I doubt there's ever been more entertaining racing anywhere.

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FlatBlack84    0

Great stuff.... that's why the Texas Racing History section is here... sooner or later someone Googles a name from the past and we get some more stories when they find the site.

 

Nick

Thanks so much for running this site and providing a forum for us oldsters to yammer on about the good ol' days. And they were good!

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Spooky #21x    0

 

 

 

FlatBlack84, i am not related to the Norvells ( Although Bobby Norvell is currently involed in helping getting the old Lady Luck Speedway up and running again in 2017 which is now known as West Texas Raceway. ) and my dad ( David Cagle ) raced at Arena Park Raceway ( Junkers class then later on briefly in the Sportsman class when the Junker class was dropped. ) from 1967 to 1973 on a regular basis and then on rare cases till 1978 when he retired for good. We have met before as i gave you some spare programs i had from those early days. I am excited that the track is opening back up this year after being closed for 4 too long seasons !! LOL

 

 

 

Bobby

Howdy, Bobby! And you're right, you did give me those programs several years ago, and I still take them out and look at them occasionally. Thank you again for that generous gift. Those programs are important to me. And I certainly remember your dad. Was his nickname Spooky? I could have sworn Spooky was one of the Norvells and that he drove a white No. 26. Man, that was a long time ago, and my memory ain't what it used to be !!

Thanks, no problem !! Here is the story on how my dad and "Spooky" came about. Back in 1966 my dad was working for Jackie Flemons at Southwest Wheels here in Lubbock and had already started racing at Arena Park Raceway that year. During that year he took my dad ( David) to the races and my dad was immediately hooked !! So, in 1967 my dad started racing too. His boss, Jackie Flemins was racing a white-colored dodge ( car # 20 ) with a Casper the friendly ghost cartoon on it. So, my dad got a 51 or 52 white-colored Ford and used the number 21x and decided to put a Spooky cartoon on it ( because of the comic books LOL !! ) and every thing was going good till my dad started beating his own boos on the racetrack a little too much !! LOL They would end up being friends again !! Not related to the Norvells but it would not be hard to get confused back in those days as a lot of those cars were painted white and real similar ( perfect example would of been my dads car and his boss's car as they only way you could tell them apart was the cartoon characters on their cars !! ) especially in the Junker class !! LOL

 

Bobby

 

Thanks, Bobby. Lots of fascinating stuff there. Is your pappy still into racing?

 

Also, do you remember who drove a white, No. 16 B-modified back in the early- and mid-seventies? Outside of Wolfman, that may have been my favorite car out there.

 

And do you recall those great duels between Marvin Fillip, Don Burke, Johnnie Foster and J.D. Hughes? When those guys got together it was a friggin show! I doubt there's ever been more entertaining racing anywhere.

 

Unfortunately, my dad passed away from lung cancer back in 1984 ( had he not more than likely today i would been on the racetrack instead of sitting up in the spectator grandstands all these years ! LOL ).

Due to me being that young back in the early to mid-1970's i do not remember too much about other drivers or their car numbers back then unfortunately cause today i wish i did !! I would of loved to remember those drivers you mentioned raced ( Although i think i might of seen JD Hughes race there if he was still racing back in the 1984 to 1986 period in the semi-late class but not sure of it though ) the racetrack has produced tremendous racing over the years and i would of love to seen them and a lot of the other drivers back then race too !!

 

Bobby

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GJT    0

Yes Nick, thanks much for the site. I just ran across it a few weeks ago.

 

FlatBlack84, yes Jim Culpepper's car was #70. They were best friends, he built my dad's engines for him - 327 Chevys. I have some fantastic black and white photos from the track photographers of them running side by side. I never have gotten to see Jason race.

 

I can't believe I can't remember so many names, they were my childhood heroes - especially the modified and sprint car drivers. I do remember Charlie Bolton.

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FlatBlack84    0

Just on the off chance it'll jog some memories, I'll list all of the APR drivers from the 70s that I can remember.

 

#2 Sleepy Nelson (sprint)

#3 George Davidson (sprint)

#5 Jerry Winton (street stock)

#10 James Colson (sprint/B modified)

#12 Tim Irvin (sprint/B modified)

#13 David Yeager (sprint)

#14 Glen Polk (sprint)

#19 A B modified driver named Bentley, Benson or Benton

#19 Bobby Marshall (sprint)

#20 Mike Cox (street stock)

#22 Richard Sweat (sprint)

#23 Wayne McCullough (street stock)

#25 Tommy Holmes (street stock)

#26 David Cagle (street stock)

#27 Dick Woods (street stock)

#33 Jay Turner (sportsman)

#34 Hershel Cook (sprint)

#41 J.D. Hughes (sportsman)

#42 Roland Morton? (street stock)

#43 Pete Faz (street stock)

#44 Mickey Smith? (sportsman)

#45 James Means (street stock)

#47 John Bain (sportsman)

#54 Joe Putman (street stock)

#57 Pete Lovell (sprint/B modified)

#58 Charlie Wharton (street stock)

#61 Bobby Bilbrey (street stock)

#66 Alton Henderson (street stock)

#69 Earnest Thomas (street stock)

#70 Jim Culpepper (sportsman)

#77 Don Burk (sportsman)

#81 Danny Everett (street stock)

#84 Larry Johnson (street stock)

#85 Gary Holloway (sprint)

#88 Maurice Whitehead (street stock)

#90 Ted Howard (sprint)

#91 Marvin and Chet Fillip (sprint/B modified and supermodified)

#99 Johnny Foster (sportsman)

 

Other drivers whose numbers I can't remember:

 

Tommy and Bobby Norvell (street stock)

RC Griffin (street stock)

Don Suter (sportsman)

James Weaks (street stock)

Bobby Stepp (street stock)

Kenny Stidd (sprint/B-modified)

Ace Eustace (street stock)

A sprint car driver whose last name was Anderson

Edited by FlatBlack84

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NickHolt    0

That's a pretty impressive list with some names on there that belong in any racing hall of fame...

 

Nick

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Spooky #21x    0

Nice list Flatblack 84 !! It is amazing how many of those drivers on that list i can still remembering watching since i started going back out there regularly back in 1983.

Ted Howard's car number was # 90. I do not know the car numbers of the other drivers though.

 

 

Bobby

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