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The Tracks and Strips


Budman

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Be sure you have the pic you want posted filed in your pc. Then, after you click the add reply button, and the new screen comes up for you to make your reply, click the "browse" button at the bottom. Then click the pic you want to post. It will be added as an attachement. Then click the "add reply" button.

 

Clear as mud?

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SAS opened around August, 1977, They ran two classes, late models, and 2 barrell sportsman. The late models were basically that era's version of the current SLMs. The late model champion was Terry Labonte in his family owned #44, and I believed he won one feature that year. They also ran twin features for the late models. In the sportsman ranks, Steve Klestinec was the dominant car, winning most of the nights, and the championship in his #81 Camaro running out of Lee Machen's Special Automotive shop.

The classes over the yearsare basically the same as now with various rule changes. Notable changes are the late models are now on 8 inch rubber, two barrel carburators, and no dry sumps.

Another class that has run this track is the Texas Super Sprint cars, an organization based around Houston.

A more unusual group of cars to run San Antonio was about 6 Supermodifieds that came over from the Houston area to put on a demonstrationin the early 80's. May have been the last ones in that area, and while they were neat to watch, and plenty fast, there weren't enough to make a good show. Most of the guys that still had them went to either Ohio, or New England to race them. The only one I have seen anything on recently is Ricky Otts, who raced on the west coast. If he is still racing, it is very little.

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Here's a great one. A lot of great racing took place here. It's Pan American Speedway, just north of San Antonio, west of north I-35 on Toepperwein Road. Txtom, or anybody else who knows, would love for you to come on here and tell us about it. What years it operated, type of track, types of cars and who were the greats that raced here.

post-30-1131380100_thumb.jpg

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From the historical side of things, it was built in 1965 to replace the original Pan American on Austin Highway. It was a quarter mile, fairly well banked asphalt track with paved parking, paved pits, and even had islands with water and air for the racers. Classes were the Late Models, Hobby Stock, and Mini stocks. Most of the years I was involved, all classes had full fields, and cars went home after not qualifying. This started to change in '77, when Ricci Ware mandated stock heads and 2 barrell carbs. Another factor was the rest of the state was allowing quick change rearends, and Ware would not go to them. Not a knock, just rules that some of the late model guys didn't like. Some went to Houston or Corpus, Others simply parked their rides. There was still great racing in '77 and '78, with Ricci Jr, Lucian Wallace, Gary Mahoney, Leroy Brooks, Paul Horelka and Tex Horn, among others. But the writing was on the wall, so to speak.

Late 1977 brought Don Bierschwale and Hwy 16 Raceway, and more racers defected to the new track. 1978 was more of the same; fair counts in the lower classes, but a shortage of late models. Some nights, 4 or 5 made the field. Amazingly enough, the stands were still fairly full.

The final nail in the coffin came after the death of a mini stock racer, Joe Schweiss. He was driving a karmann ghia mini that had a roll cage built with muffler pipe tubing. He cut a tire off turn two, and slid into the fence. Coming off it, he was t-boned in the door by another car. The cage collapsed on him, and he passed later that night. He lived down the street from my parents.

Two things here--

(1) If the cage had been properly constructed, he would have walked away. The other car involved had slowed sufficiently that they both would have had a little bent sheetmetal and nothing more.

(2) The car had been constructed years earlier by the guy who was the tech official that year. Yes, you read that correctly. Tech man built it, and was allowing it to run. And yes, Schweiss knew it was built that way, so he was at fault, also.

Needless to say, K&K Insurance had a field day, as well as U.S. Army investigators, as Schweiss was an active duty sergeant.

Pan American finished the '78 season, and closed for good.

 

 

A sad ending to a great facility. What remains is shown in a previous posting of mine:

Pan American 2005

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Buddy,

No, I have no clue who owns it, but when I visited the site in September of this year, It was being slowly filled in with all manner of debris. This included old roofing materials, concrete truck dumps, dirt, who knows what else. There is a disposal site located adjacent to the property on the pit side or turn 3-4 side, and I imagine they are the ones dumping the stuff back there.

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CCMS (Corpus Christi Motor Speedway) on my "Google Earth" aerial is just an out of focus oval green blob.  Hopefully, someone out there will post a good overhead shot of it. Would love to hear from some of ya'll about it.

Found this one on Terraserver

 

CCMS in 1995

 

Nick Holt

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I was by Longhorn Speedway last week. There was a big FOR SALE sign on the fence out by the road.

 

Longhorn opened as Austin Speed-O-Rama in 1960. It was built by A.B. Wusterhausen and his son, Louis. During those first years they ran two classes....... Modifieds and Hobby Stocks. Early in the racing season, in March to about mid April, they would run Sunday afternoons. Once the weather warmed up a little at night, they would run Friday nights. About 1962 I think, they began running super-modifieds. These became very popular, and attracted sizable crowds. But things never stay the same for long. In the mid-sixties A.B. passed away. Along about 1966 they switched over to running stock cars. In 1968 I believe, Louis died in an ARCA race at Texas World Speedway. Along about that same time, the area I believe was annexed into the City of Austin. The property passed to Louis' sister, Maxine Kissman. She had neither the inclination nor where-with-all to operate the track. It was leased to a long succession of ex-drivers to run it thereafter. The first of which was Ed Sigmund. Over the succeeding years the track operated under a number of different names. One of the big problems with running the track that was annually encountered that I heard of from those who leased the track and operated it was the enormous property tax bill. It would arrive each year after the race season and be presented to the leasee for payment under the terms of the lease. I've heard this often turned an otherwise profitable year into an economic disaster. During the 1970's car counts and crowds dwindled from what they had originally been in the 60's, and never really recovered. The track continued in operation however through 1998, a span of 39 years.

 

There are some great names of drivers who raced there through all those years. I will name a few, along with the disclaimer that for every one I do list, I'm sure there are two or three others I should. I will limit those I list generally to the decade of the sixties, because there are relatively few of us who post on here who are familiar with that era. I invite others of you to come on here and list your favorites from the 60's, 70's, 80's and 90's. I hope these names will bring back pleasant memories to all of you....................

 

In no particular order....... Announcers: Clyde Chesser, Arleigh Duff, Drivers: Bud Simpson, Cecil Langford, Joe Shafer, Waldo Harper, Ricci Ware, Buddy Jerkins, Don Fowler, Bill White, Buddy Yantis, Johnny Doyle, Allan Dillard, Jerry Smith, Irving Layborne, Paul Jet, Norman Butler, Wayne Niedecken, Robert Polk, Bubba Cowan, Marvin Phillip, Charles Johnson, Clyde Johnson, Buddy Rackley, Buddy Evins, Billy Wade, Ed Starr, Dale Breedlove, Ted Jones, George Cox, Larry Goldstein, Jimmy Finger, Jerry Stanley, Chief Swenford, Ed Sigmund, Jake Wallace, Jack Gilmore, Luther New, Jack Sanderfur ..................... (rodlea, help me out here)

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The original Pan American was located on the east side of what is now North I-35, in San Antonio, somewhere north of the Loop410 interchange I believe. Doubt you can find any trace of it now. It was originally a 1/4 mile dirt track, built in the late forties. It was paved in 1958. It closed in about 1964.

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Outside,

I did not move to San Antonio until awhile after the original track closed, but I know it was on Old Austin Highway, and that was roughly due west of the Austin Hwy/ Eisenhauer interchange, and on the North side of the road. I have been told, but don't know for sure, that it is in the vicinity of where the old HEB grocery was before they moved it across the street. Some of the other guys here, Maybe Papa or Budman, can pinpoint it.

By the way, it was originally built in 1946 as a 1/5 mile clay track, and was paved in 1956. The operating group, Pan American Speedway Organization, closed the first location in 1964, and started again at the new track on Toepperwein in 1965. A different group opened the original track in 1965 as Mercury Speedway, but it barely lasted a season.

 

The original track is thought to be in this area, based on what I have been told.

Pan American

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