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Playland Park/Meyer Speedway


track brat

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Welcome to Texas Speedzone Track brat. If you look through the various threads in this History Section, actually there is quite a bit of stuff from Meyer and Playland. Those were some great days of racing at those tracks. Myself, being from the Austin area, I didn't get down there much, but there are several guys on here from time to time who are very familiar with the Meyer and Playland tracks.

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track brat: I knew your dad, Ed Hamblen for a number of years when he was the promoter of Meyer Speedway on South Main in Houston.

 

I worked with him for several years when he was on the staff at Texas World Speedway .

 

I haven't heard much about Ed for several years. Perhaps you could post about how he is and what is he doing now-a-days.

 

 

Neil Upchurch

Former Race Director

Texas World Speedway

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Track Brat,

 

I do have a question for you, if maybe you have any information on the subject to share with us. In 1961, Ebb Rose of Houston drove a car in the Indianapolis 500 called the "Meyer Speedway Special". I know little else about it. Do you have any info on this? We'd love to hear from you. Here's a photo of the car.

 

 

(See this and other pics of cars and drivers of that era at "Thevintageracer.com")

post-1274-1188657652_thumb.jpg

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track brat: I knew your dad, Ed Hamblen for a number of years when he was the promoter of Meyer Speedway on South Main in Houston.

 

I worked with him for several years when he was on the staff at Texas World Speedway .

 

I haven't heard much about Ed for several years. Perhaps you could post about how he is and what is he doing now-a-days.

 

 

Neil Upchurch

Former Race Director

Texas World Speedway

Hello NeilTPS - As I was looking through some of dad's pictures and things, I came across a couple of programs from TWS listing you as publicity director there - Great to hear from you and to see you are still involved in racing. I have kept in contact with friends from Meyer Speedway and get bits and pieces of information every now and then. Dad passed away in 1992, but never really left racing. In fact, he was watching "his boy Terry" (Terry Labonte) race on a Sunday afternoon on TV in the hospital when he passed away - so I guess he was racing til the very end. I've always wanted to share that story with Terry Labonte, but was really never sure how to contact him or even get a message to him. Terry mentioned my dad in some interviews he had done about his early racing days when he would come in from Corpus to Meyer Speedway. I would love for him to know my dad followed his career literally until the day he died. Would love any suggestions you might have as far as getting a message to Terry - got any connections? Thanks for responding --- Track Brat

 

Track Brat,

 

I do have a question for you, if maybe you have any information on the subject to share with us. In 1961, Ebb Rose of Houston drove a car in the Indianapolis 500 called the "Meyer Speedway Special". I know little else about it. Do you have any info on this? We'd love to hear from you. Here's a photo of the car.

 

 

(See this and other pics of cars and drivers of that era at "Thevintageracer.com")

Hello Budman - I looked through Dad's pictures and found other pictures of Ebb Rose, but not this particular car. I will keep looking to see if I can find any of the Meyer Speedway Special. As soon as I learn to attach photos, I will get those posted. Most of the pictures were taken at Meyer Speedway, but Dad did have a lot from other tracks. I will continue to look through them.

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When I talked with Terry in Maine at the Oxford Plains 250, he told me that he would be checking TXSZ out. I haven't seen him register yet, but 95% of the people who come here do not register. They just read what's going on and don't post anything.

 

Nick

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Track Brat: I was not aware that Ed had passed. I extend my sympathies to you and all the Hamblen family. Even though I am 15 years late, it was depressing to read your post tonight.

 

My e-mail address is .....

 

neilupchurch@sbc.global.net

 

Send an e-mail to me. I will send you information and suggestions on how to get in touch with Terry Labonte. I am sure that he wouldn't want me to post that information on this site.

 

 

Best regards - Neil Upchurch

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Track Brat,

 

Check out Nick's instructions for posting photos. It's the first thread at the top of this History Section. Of course you need to have them scanned into your computer first, or have someone scan them onto a disk or one of those little plug in gagets you can get at the drug store now. We LOVE old photos on here! :)

 

Got any old modified or super-modified photos? I kill for those! :D

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Track Brat,

 

Check out Nick's instructions for posting photos. It's the first thread at the top of this History Section. Of course you need to have them scanned into your computer first, or have someone scan them onto a disk or one of those little plug in gagets you can get at the drug store now. We LOVE old photos on here! :)

 

Got any old modified or super-modified photos? I kill for those! :D

Budman - I've got tons of pictures - from Playland and from Meyer. Anyone in particular you would like to see ? I have action shots, car and driver, just driver - you name it - I will get some scanned onto a disc to share, but if you have any particular requests, let me know-

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Well, Billy Wade to start with ............... in that white #2 Super-modified Danny Burke built (about 1961).

I have lots of Billy. I will try and get the disc made today and start with those. I even have a few of me (I can't believe my mom dressed me like this) at age 6 or 7 presenting trophies to Billy at Playland -

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I would like to see if you have any pictures of Tony Bettenhausen Jr. driving the Gordon Van Lew Vita Fresh 57' Chevy. I do not know how many people know that he started his career off at Meyer Speedway, he was just a kid. Track Brat you probably opened up a whole new world for people here on TXSZ who really do not have a clue about Meyer Speedway. Any pictures of any of the drivers or racers would be awesome.

As nightmoves mentioned, the Liberty Bell 300's were unbeleivable and if I remember correctly you could not have put any more people in the grandstands,....the place was packed!!

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I would like to see if you have any pictures of Tony Bettenhausen Jr. driving the Gordon Van Lew Vita Fresh 57' Chevy.

 

A- I think I saw that car in a collection of pics that Larry Schultz has at his machine shop in Austin.

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Here is a picture, taken at Playland, of Ed Hamblen, on the left, with Billy Wade in the Archie Lacy Special that I posted elsewhere in this forum. This picture was sent to me by Archie's grandson. That's Archie on the far right. I think that's Joseph Meyer in the middle. I don't know who the other two are.

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Here is a picture, taken at Playland, of Ed Hamblen, on the left, with Billy Wade in the Archie Lacy Special that I posted elsewhere in this forum. This picture was sent to me by Archie's grandson. That's Archie on the far right. I think that's Joseph Meyer in the middle. I don't know who the other two are.

 

That looks like Mr. Meyer. I met him at the track on several occasions when he was having work done. He was a really nice old guy. I enjoyed our visits immensely.

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)track brat if you could post any from the liberty bell races or the permatex races that would be soooo... cool also if there is any way we buy a copy of the disc that you would make ,that would mean a lot to a lot of people from around here, thanks !!!!! B)

Working on getting pictures together - will let everyone know when it is ready - i do have lots of action pictures but not sure from what race - I'll try and match up cars & numbers from the programs so I can identify people -

 

Here is a picture, taken at Playland, of Ed Hamblen, on the left, with Billy Wade in the Archie Lacy Special that I posted elsewhere in this forum. This picture was sent to me by Archie's grandson. That's Archie on the far right. I think that's Joseph Meyer in the middle. I don't know who the other two are.

57Tbird - thanks for posting the picture of my dad with Billy Wade/Archie Lacy - that was one I didn't have! It's also nice to be able to show the picture of the coaster I grew up on to my 5 grandchildren - I started riding that thing when I was 5 (almost 6) and just barely tall enough. Sam Slusky(one of the owners with his brother Louis) used to give me and the other track brats rolls of tickets to use in the park after the races while they were doing the payoffs for the races. Needless to say, it made me "best friend" to a lot of track brat kids. I remember dad being friends for many years with the Lacy's and seeing him quite a bit in the press box at Meyer - Seems like I was in my late teens or early 20's the last time I saw him - anymore info you get from his grandson would be appreciated - thanks Track Brat

 

I would like to see if you have any pictures of Tony Bettenhausen Jr. driving the Gordon Van Lew Vita Fresh 57' Chevy.

 

A- I think I saw that car in a collection of pics that Larry Schultz has at his machine shop in Austin.

txtom -- i have some pictures of Tony B. Jr. from Meyer - will add them to the disc I'm getting together -

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57Tbird - thanks for posting the picture of my dad with Billy Wade/Archie Lacy - that was one I didn't have! It's also nice to be able to show the picture of the coaster I grew up on to my 5 grandchildren - I started riding that thing when I was 5 (almost 6) and just barely tall enough. Sam Slusky(one of the owners with his brother Louis) used to give me and the other track brats rolls of tickets to use in the park after the races while they were doing the payoffs for the races. Needless to say, it made me "best friend" to a lot of track brat kids. I remember dad being friends for many years with the Lacy's and seeing him quite a bit in the press box at Meyer - Seems like I was in my late teens or early 20's the last time I saw him - anymore info you get from his grandson would be appreciated - thanks Track Brat

I posted several photos of Billy and Archie back in April under the topics Houston Photos 50's-60's and Houston Photos 50's-60's (cont'd).

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post-4772-1189223532_thumb.jpg

I would like to see if you have any pictures of Tony Bettenhausen Jr. driving the Gordon Van Lew Vita Fresh 57' Chevy. I do not know how many people know that he started his career off at Meyer Speedway, he was just a kid. Track Brat you probably opened up a whole new world for people here on TXSZ who really do not have a clue about Meyer Speedway. Any pictures of any of the drivers or racers would be awesome.

As nightmoves mentioned, the Liberty Bell 300's were unbeleivable and if I remember correctly you could not have put any more people in the grandstands,....the place was packed!!

This is the car tony drove for Gordon.

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  • 1 month later...
This forum was just brought to my attention recently, and I recognize a lot of names being mentioned in the discussions. My dad, Ed Hamblen, was the promoter at Playland Park Speedway and Meyer Speedway. I would enjoy hearing from anyone who knew or remembers my dad.

 

I remember the Meyer Speedway pace car dropping off a student at junior high school in the early 60s. Later, I knew Ed and he knew me. I last saw him in '91 at Battleground Speedway for the Old Timers Reunion and was able to say hello. I think he recognized me, although my hair was a different color with less on top but more on my face. My earliest memory is from about '57. I tagged along with my older brother and a couple of his friends to purchase advance tickets on a weekday for an upcoming 500 lap race with team cars. Mr Hamblen of course, was selling the tickets. My fondest memory, is on Saturday afternoons when it was pouring down rain and when calling the speedway, we could hear Ed's "Sun Shining Brightly" recorded message on the office answer machine.

From what I have seen in the last few years, Houston Auto Racing could use another Ed Hamblen. When I had a Bronco Stock Car, we didn't win/earn much money, but on those rare occasions when we did finish in the paying positions, we could at least cover pit passes, take the volunteer crew out to eat, and even sometimes pay for a tire or 2.

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Track Brat,

 

I do have a question for you, if maybe you have any information on the subject to share with us. In 1961, Ebb Rose of Houston drove a car in the Indianapolis 500 called the "Meyer Speedway Special". I know little else about it. Do you have any info on this? We'd love to hear from you. Here's a photo of the car.

 

 

(See this and other pics of cars and drivers of that era at "Thevintageracer.com")

Budman, hopefully Track Brat can locate/provide some additional information regarding the '61 Meyer Speedway Special Indianapolis Car Roadster. In the meantime, although I make no claim to be an expert, being a long time Houstonian and auto racing fan I will try and pass along what I recall, hoping my information is correct. Unfortunately, J E (Ebb) Rose passed away in August of this year ('07). Ebb Rose was a long time trucking company executive with J H Rose Truckline, a company founded by his father. During the '50s/60s, Ebb Rose was a major force in auto racing in this region, owning Stock Cars, Modified Stock Cars, and Midget Cars. He was possibly also involved in Sports Car Racing, but I don't have any information about that. Besides the Indianapolis 500s, I understand he raced occasionally as well, but I have no specifics. As for the #86 Car pictured, I'm not aware of ownership, but in '61, race fan and track owner Joseph F Meyer was still alive and may have provided some funding along with the race track itself. Also, I am not sure of the builder, but the name Herb Porter rings a bell. I don't believe Ebb finished the '61 race, due to a mechanical problem/part failure. Joseph F Meyer passed away in '62 as I recall. In the '62 Indy 500, Ebb Rose drove the J H Rose Truckline Special and, I believe finished on the lead lap, completing all 200 laps/500 miles. It appeared to me, that Ebb drove the same car in '61 and '62. Unless destroyed in a crash, many of the cars in that era competed/attempted multiple Indy 500s. For the most part, they used 4 cylinder Offenhauser engines mounted in various chassis. While most of the Indy Car Roadsters of the 50s/60s had the driver off center right, the #86 Car (pictured) has the driver off center left. With the driver sitting beside the driveline area, I am not sure how the engine was mounted to keep weight away from the right side on driver off center left/driveline off center right cars. I assume the engine may have been tilted top left. Although somewhat unique, I seem to recall similar/identical driver off center left Indy Cars competing about that time frame. In '63, I believe the record indicates that Ebb Rose again raced in the Indy 500, completing all 500 miles and finishing on the lead lap. However, it appears that he was in a different car, a conventional driver off center right Indy Car Roadster. I seem to recall that in a later year ('64?), Ebb clocked in 34th fastest with, of course, the race limited to a field of 33. Another little tidbit, in '61 while I was visiting a local race car shop, a long time freelance Rose racing associate, Bob Steigel, stopped by in his beautiful early 50s red five window Chevy pickup truck. In the bed of his truck, he had a recently constructed seat/steering wheel mechanism. Looked similar to a Go Kart without engine and rear section and no wheels. The steering linked to shock absorbers. As I recall, Bob said he had constructed it for Ebb Rose to exercise his arms to prepare for the 500 Mile Race. The late Bob Steigel appeared to be one smart man. As for the '61 Meyer Speedway Special, I would love to know what became of it.

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