Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
williamg77

Corpus Christi Speedway History

Recommended Posts

If the readers of Lone Star Speedzone will allow, I will write about my earliest remembrances of Corpus Christi Speedway. My qualification? Well, I am 77 years of age, and I spent 16 out of the first 18 years in Flour Bluff and Corpus Christi,

 

There have been several articles dealing with Corpus Christi race tracks. Most of these talk about cars of the 70s to the present; however, I can go back in time even farther, and. I would welcome the opportunity to collaborate with some one on a complete history of this historic track.

 

My dad, for many years had a sideline business as a sign painter. He had a shop on Scotland Drive in Flour Bluff. I recall that he lettered numbers on the side of a race car belonging to a driver named Len Holderby ( I am not sure of the spelling). The car was yellow with red trim. It was probably a prewar (WW 2) sedan which resembled the dwarf cars of today only much larger. In my eyes (about 7 or eight at the time) this car was huge. 

 

In the early 50s my dad started taking my younger brother and me to the races every Saturday night.  At that time, the cars were still mostly prewar coupe and sedans. The track hero at that time was George Carole. I have a 1954 annual from NAS Corpus Christi, and his picture is in that annual as a civil service employee.

 

I remember one spectacular accident in which the car became airborne probably 10 to 15 feet in the air. The driver either jumped out of fell out, and the car landed on one side, bounced over the driver and never touched him. Another memory I have is of two sedans 39 to maybe 48 Ford or Mercury, hitting the first turn wall in parallel and a 3rd card driving on top of these two with two tires on one and two on another.

 

In 1955, I started developing a keen interest in racing. I was 14, starting to drive, and starting to notice the various makes of cars. Shorty Rollins was driving a 1955 Ford which was red and white and sponsored by Lewis Bogus Ford of Corpus Christi. His brother John drove a 1955 Chevrolet with L. S. Garner Sponsorship. Another Chevrolet driver was Monte Nichols who was sponsored by May Chevrolet Company of Kingsville. Other drivers I remember were  Al Disney in a 1955 Buick, and later in 1956, Jim Van Blarcum in a 1956 Chevrolet. There were several drivers who were running 1954 Dodges. Two in particular I remember were Freddy Barnec and Fred Brown. I also remember Al Yoeman, although I cannot remember what car he drove. Some of the lesser known drivers, I recall were Harold Gentry, Al Gator, Dave Ingram and others.

 

During the years 1955 to 1957, most races were won by Shorty Rollins; However, about once a month Billy Wade would come over from Houston and give Shorty some serious competition.

Billy drove a 1956 Chevrolet. Johnny Rollins and Monte Nichols also were seriously competitive, but Shorty was still hard to beat.

 

I don’t remember the exact years, but at one time the speedway ran Jalopies (1948 and older) on Tuesday, and late models 1949 and up on Saturdays. This is where I remember Frank Hoch in his 1948 Mercury. Also at one time KVDO Channel 22 televised the racees.

 

I believe in 1957 or 1958, a driver name Lloyd Smith (Smitty) started a quarter mile dirt track that he named Texas speedway. This track was located was located roughly where the landfill (Chapman Ranch Road and Saratoga) is today. As I recall, this track didn’t last very long.

 

 In 1958, Shorty started racing NASCAR, being NASCAR’s first rookie of the year. The track changed the rules to late model six cylinders against flathead V-8s. This was the first time that I remember Dub Rollins running a blue 1951 Ford. I do not remember John Rollins running after 1957.

 

In May of 1959, I graduated from high school, my dad left civil service when the Navy O&R closed. My family and I moved to San Antonio, and I lost track of events at CC Speedway Until 1974 when I returned to Kingsville.. Buy the way, there was a quarter mile oval in Kingsville about 1956. I remember this but I have not found anyone else who does.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suppose you know frank hoch went on to manage cc speedway for many years till he died . he jumped my bones when the antheum was playing I could not  hear it he said next time I would find myself on the ground . worked with him over many years painting fixing walls and any other things needed at the track  worked the pit gate for 5 bucks and a hamburger the year terry started racing with rapp dub and jarret rollins  slick monte Nichols jr and i worked with monte sr later in my years at howl refinery .he welded right along side of my dad ...Dalton McCain ...and helped me with my rearend my first year of racing ,so many of those names you mentioned I heard of or know em ...thanks for posting .. lewis bogus ford . wow haven't heard that in a very long time ..sure miss picks ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You know, Hi-Tech , we may be getting on in years but we  were young in the best of times. Times when kids were playing outside til dark without fear, homes and cars were usually unlocked , oh and the music! No computers , smart phones and three channels to choose from on tv! I think our young lives were fuller than youth of today. We were lucky to be born in the early 50's , be teenagers in the 60's and young adults in the 70's and 80's. Thanks williamg77 for pushing the nostalgia buttons. Now to youtube (the best thing on the internet} for music of the times.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

oh heck fresca drink hot toothpicks  real custer ice cream   I miss my 68 charger 66 gto .65 corvair  44 international pick her up  with my gun rack loaded with my springfield  bolt action 30.30 and my  12 gauge .my old Cushman my  750 triump . my mom ,dad , uncles  my grand parents . thunderbird picture show .hi way 9 bowling alley .with the city limits just a few blocks from there ..Christmas and shopping down town .sears on leopard  wanting so bad to own a allstate motor bike . crossing the pontoon bridge .riding up and down the lift bridge and fishing under it .shopping at woolco at park dale plaza . crying during old yeller and jumping out of my pants at the end of carrie .... licking green stamps yuck .brown paper bags , shell bakery  .buying model cars at winns . and mowing very large yards for 2 dollars using my bike to pull it along  working at the aster from 68 to 71 with my mom . pride in our moon landers . boy scouts selling bags of peanuts during the buc days  troop 172 ...north beach .and going to cc speedway though all those early 60s on . ..and one last one  .charlies motor cycle shop .building is still standing ....I say it to todays young .they will never live and enjoy a life like we had ..and I wished they could ..

Edited by HiTech

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great memories there. Go to You Tube search for FredFlix. He has a collection of commercial

ls and tv shows of the day. The best stuff is the " Day in the Life" series. Awesome stuff like what you mentioned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

William G,

In some of my research, I have found the location of the Lloyd Smith track called Texas Speedway. It was off Greenwood Road, and was basically in the same place at the Riverside track that came along later. the location of Riverside would be just due west of the Texas Speedway location, and you could throw a rock from the center of one to the center of where the other one was. There is some kind of industrial yard at the end of greenwood before it detours at OSO Creek; The equipment yard is directly over where Texas Speedway was, and Riverside is behind the equipment yard backed up to the creek.

 

Edited by txtom

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I suppose I could be wrong about the track location. In my mind, the location seemed to be at the present landfill, but maybe not. My dad took my grandpa (his father-in-law) my brother and me there one time, on a Sunday afternoon. I went to Riverside one time and saw Terry Labonte do a clean sweep of all of the races. This was in 1984 which was the year of his first cup championship. He was wearing his Piedmont Airlines driving suit. The location did not resembled the way I remember Texas Speedway. Of course this was 26 years earlier.. At Texas Speedway, safety was non-existent. There was no fence around the track. The track was blacktop and very dusty.

 

Buy the way, Smitty was  known at CC Speedway as Wrong Way Smith. When the flagman would start the field on the pace lap, many times Smitty would have his car in reverse and back up, often hitting the car behind him.. This is just  a little  trivia about past characters at the speedway 

Edited by williamg77

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/22/2018 at 10:29 PM, txtom said:

William G,

In some of my research, I have found the location of the Lloyd Smith track called Texas Speedway. It was off Greenwood Road, and was basically in the same place at the Riverside track that came along later. the location of Riverside would be just due west of the Texas Speedway location, and you could throw a rock from the center of one to the center of where the other one was. There is some kind of industrial yard at the end of greenwood before it detours at OSO Creek; The equipment yard is directly over where Texas Speedway was, and Riverside is behind the equipment yard backed up to the creek.

 

I think back then greenwood was name rabbit run drive .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×