First short notes and referral links

San Diego County Fair Ground, Del Mar, California
 Two-mile temporary road course (parking lot)

Thumbnail: aerial view of Del Mar track, with overlaid course diagram
CLICK this image to see a larger version
and a Del Mar page

This aerial is from 4-27-63

Crop of 4-27-63 aerial

                                               Click the aerials to see BIG versions at 108,699 bytes and 96,642 bytes

Tam McPartland's Old Race Cars Site is an essential bit of artillery in the armory of anyone interested in Early 60s California road racing. Several of his driver entries show racing at Del Mar. Cursor down his opening list to Don Hulette's second page, to Frank Monise, and to Scooter Patrick, among several others, to see what Del Mar looked like in the older days.

Feel free to browse the eBay-find 1964-event slides

There are probably some more-recent IMSA Pro Racing photos taken after the advent of the concrete tube raceway, but I'm not interested in them, yet.

Mansfield Airport, Mansfield, Louisiana
      Two-mile or less temporary road course

This is the site of my first real flagman jobs. "Three Hours du Mansfield" is the memorable one, March or April, 1960, I think. I have the program around here somewhere.

Jim Brown and I stood at the last corner before the S/F straight, inside the curved part of the course. It was raining and cold north wind-ing, and the green flag we had to hold out was a square of green cloth stapled to a dowel. The wind had the cloth flying parallel to the ground
and to the drivers' line of sight, so if they actually looked for a signal, they saw the equivalent of a vibrating green stick. I clamped my handy-dandy GI-issue pocket knife to the hem of the flag, thereby increasing the visible portion to about 30 percent of the actual area.

There were no spins after our position, but several in the curve before us. On the grass infield cars slid a long way toward us without seeming to slow much. Cold, wet, excited. Joy.

The "Three-hour" weekend was my third at Mansfield. I was a course control worker a few months earlier, and a flagman at the intervening event. On the morning of the race, there was a workers' meeting. Jesse Coleman, known for his role as Starter at prestigious events including Sebring, asked who had worked as flagman before. I raised my hand. I looked around. It was the only raised hand. Coleman rolled his eyes and lectured on the flags and how to use them.

Later that year I had been separated from the Air Force and was attending the University of California at Riverside. I had flagged at several SCCA races in Southern California. I read that Coleman was in town. I went up to the gate at Riverside International Raceway, where practice for the US Grand Prix Formula One race was about to begin. When they asked what I wanted, I said I had worked with Jesse Coleman, and would like to assist, again. In just a few minutes I was passenger in D.D. Michelmore's Porsche Spyder, white-knuckling my way to Turn Seven, where I was installed as Flagman, Turn Marshal, Emergency Crew, and Observer-Communicator, all by myself. Under the name of an assigned flagman who failed to show up. Phil Something. Tough luck.

One of my favorite weeks of all time.

Gregg County Airport, Kilgore-Longview, Texas
     Two-mile or less temporary road course

I will not swear that this is the actual venue of some SCCA races I went to see while stationed at Barksdale Air Force Base, Bossier City, Louisiana, 1958-1960. When I first remembered the event, I went without hesitation to "Kilgore Airport," but there was something "Longview" tugging at my memory. Looking at the USGS 1998 photography of the area, it turns out the airport serves the two communities. I'm pretty sure it's correct. I'm also sure that long, long runway wasn't there in 1958, and I have no idea what shape the course had. Sorry.

Like most such racing places, it was difficult to get a good view, long or short, of much more than one side of the track. Airport folks don't mind closing down a runway or two and some access roads and taxiways, but they don't like the spectators wandering in and out of areas where they could get in trouble. So there you are, stuck behind fences and on a piece of ground flat by definition. I'm not even sure who went with me in the MG TD, but I think it was James Brown, one of my roommates.

There is no doubt that one of the racers was Harry Washburn, Chevy dealer and Regional Executive of the Red River Region, SCCA. I remember describing the turd-like shape and posture of the Porsche Carrera Speedster he (like many of the the faster racers) was using to administer a whoopin' to the Brit cars. I'm pretty sure Steve Robinson was there with his one-size-fits-many-classes Alfa Romeo Veloce Spyder.

I am informed by a post (by Jerry Entin on behalf of Willem Oosthoek) in the "Old American race tracks" thread of The Nostagia Forum that the single race at Longview was on May 1, 1960.


    at Home Page | at Home 1999 Page | at Speed Page 
at Work Résumé Page | at WorkDocuments & Pictures Page
GIF: at Play HOME PAGE button"Home" Page  |  LAST Page

  RACING GIF: Click for SITE MAP Site Map                        WHOLE GIF: Click for SITE MAP Site Map                 PERSONAL GIF: Click for SITE MAP Site Map  

You can find California 50s racing photos at KTUD

Don't hesitate to email me with comments or corrections

of Page