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The Ascot of the East

The Ascot of the East

Roy Richwine bought the assets that is now recognised as Williams Grove Speedway in 1937. It was formerly acknowledged as the Grangers Picnic Fairgrounds. The initially race was held on May well 21, 1939. Joey Chitwood Sr established the rapid time on that day by ending a lap in 26.03 seconds. Tommy Hinnershitz gained the forty lap function, successful $400. The Traveling Farmer won 19 sprint auto races at the observe, competing into the late 1950’s! He also received 7 Jap dash automobile championships and enjoyed a best 10 end at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The only NASCAR Cup race at the Grove took area on June 27, 1954. It was won by Herb Thomas, major 150 of the 200 laps, in a 1954 Hudson. Primary the other 50 laps and finishing in next was pole winner Dick Rathmann, Hershel McGriff was 3rd. Other notable motorists ended up Buck Baker, Lee Petty, Dizzy Dean, Ralph Ligouri and Hilly Rife.

July 29, 1951 grew to become known as “Black Sunday.” Two motorists, Cecil Environmentally friendly and Monthly bill Mackey, were being killed in back to back again qualifying operates at Winchester, Indiana. Also that day Walt Brown was killed at the Grove. He spun in the next convert when qualifying his auto #29. It rolled around and Brown died at the Carlisle Hospital later on that day. Eleven other drivers, in addition to 1 official and 1 spectator have misplaced their life at the keep track of.

The Grove has a connection to the Indianapolis 500. The most current relationship is that of driver PJ Chesson, who participated in the function. Indy winners with dash car wins at the observe incorporate George Robson (1946), Bill Holland (1949), Johnny Parsons Sr (1950), Troy Ruttman (1952), Pat Flaherty (1956), Jimmy Bryan (1958), AJ Foyt (1961, 64, 67, and 77), and Parnelli Jones (1962). Jan Opperman, Joey Chitwood Sr, Johnny Thomson, Duke Nalon, Duane Carter Sr, Eddie Sachs, Rodger McCluskey, and Elmer George (whose loved ones however owns IMS) have dash car or truck wins here. Ted Horn received 14 dash car or truck (then recognized as “huge car or truck”) races in this article in addition to 3 National Driving Championships (1946-48)! He was killed at DuQuoin, IL in 1948 but experienced enough points to win the title.

Jack Gunn was the keep track of announcer and then took about as the promoter. He additional Selinsgrove, Penn Nationwide, and Hagerstown to his list of marketing attempts. Gunn, whose last identify was in fact Gunnells, attended the Milton Hershey College for orphans along with brother Trim. Trim owned a garage enterprise in Lebanon, PA and was a car or truck owner at the track for lots of many years. Jack gained the Promoter of the Yr in 1979, and passed away in 1980. Gunn is dependable for bringing in the nations most effective drivers to race in central Pennsylvania. He is in the Countrywide Sprint Vehicle Hall of Fame.

Given that sprint car racing began on a weekly basis in 1967, Fred Rahmer has develop into the most thriving driver, profitable 83 races. Lance Dewease has 75 wins, Donnie Kreitz Jr has 54 victories, and Keith Kauffman enjoyed 51 wins. Kauffman has the most wins in a period with 13 in 1984!

The speedway has long straights and limited turns. It was supposedly modeled immediately after the Legion Ascot Speedway in California. It is also recognised for its spectator bridge which reaches more than the backstretch into the infield. There is a tunnel underneath the monitor at the initial turn which connects the frontstretch fans to the infield. Very long gone are the infield starter’s stand and the covered frontstretch grandstands. Did you know at 1 time there was a landing strip for airplanes outdoors of the backstretch of the observe?

Williams Grove Speedway is referenced in a Hollywood movie. The 1949 movie is referred to as “The Massive Wheel” starring Mickey Rooney as driver “Billy Coy.” Right after acquiring into issues on the west coastline tracks, he heads east. A newspaper headline is proven with him winning at the Grove. He later will make it to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.