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When I club raced my Alfetta GT in 1978, all of that year's SCCA races in Texas were held at Texas World Speedway or Greater Southwest Raceway. The long course at TWS remains one of my favorite tracks to drive on. Of the tracks I have raced on (I have never driven on any West Coast tracks), I rate it up there with Road America, old Road Atlanta, VIR, and the long course at Watkins Glen. TWS was the only track I raced on where my car could reach and hold its terminal velocity. The outfield section of the long course even had some decent elevation change to it.

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The straight sections in the upper part of the infield were added about 1990, and after that the outfield section was no longer used. In 1978 there was also a short course used; instead of going into the outfield section, one made 2 sharp left hand turns onto and off of the back straight (the 2 real corners next to that area were added in 1990). The short course was really boring and I hated it. The above Google view is from several years ago. After the 2 huge floods in Houston a couple years ago, Copart purchased TWS to use as a staging area to deal with the tens of thousands of flood damaged cars they got from insurance companies. After Copart was finished with their work there, they sadly sold the track to a residential developer. This was in the news in the last year or so. Below is the latest Google view showing the initial building of houses on the site.

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Greater Southwest Raceway was an airport circuit about 2 miles south of DFW airport. When DFW opened in the early 70's, obviously Greater Southwest Airport had to close. When I raced there in 1978, the terminal buildings were still there and there was even an old airplane or two still parked there. They had several course versions which used various runways and taxiways. The short course was boring, but versions of the long course were fast and fun. Except along the pit road, there was absolutely nothing to hit, so if you carried too much speed into a corner, you could go WAY off the concrete. The long course was kind of like pre-1985 Sebring, but since the runways had been in use until the early 70's, the concrete was much smoother than Sebring. Many years ago a highway and an industrial park were built on the site, but the northernmost turn of the old long course remains. You can see this section north of the highway in the latest Google view below.

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In 1978 Green Valley Raceway (not too far from GSW) still existed, but the SCCA didn't have any races there. I don't know why.
Sigh.
 

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Tom, I can understand your disappointment. Down here in Australia we have lost many wonderful tracks due to population growth and urban spread. I don't mind the progress, its that similar new tracks are not built to replace the ones lost that annoys me more.



 

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What annoys me is people that want the tree change and then complain of the noise when they relocate next to a race track. Go get f'ed, you moved there!
Pete
 
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In the US, economics does in more tracks than complaints from neighbors. Either the land becomes worth a lot more for some other use (Riverside) or the track simply isn't economically viable (Ontario) any longer or never was.

In terms of "coming to the nuisance," it is an unfortunate part of property law that it doesn't matter who got there first, for the most part. The highest use of property dictates that even if the neighbors show up later and complain, the increasing values and changing uses over time will typically win out. It can affect the remedy and what damages might be paid, but to say that anything that was there first trumps anything that came later means property can get economically strangled as uses and times change. I'm not advocating this approach, just mentioning it. A pig farm on the edge of town is going to have to move once the suburban houses sprout all around it.

Lots of folks around Laguna Seca complain about the noise. When it was built in the late 50s it was in a corner of an Army base in a canyon with hardly anyone living in it. So far they have worked out amicable agreements. I know they do this in the UK, come to terms with neighbors on use and sound limits.

My cousin and son are both sound engineers and have dealt with neighbor complaints from tracks (Altamont, Hollister). In many cases the track operators are their own worst enemies. In these cases, if the track had complied with the county noise ordinance there wouldn't have been a problem, or at least the complainants couldn't say the track wasn't in compliance. But many small tracks fail to enforce the noise limits, no mufflers at all on Sprint cars and Saturday night stock cars running Chevy V8s. Incredibly loud. Thus, when the neighbors complain to the county, the track is found not to comply and they shut 'em down. This was the end of Altamont, though economics eventually would probably have killed it too. If the track owners would just follow the rules they'd be better off.

I've been going to Willow Springs, near Rosamond CA in the Mojave Desert, since 1975. When built in the mid 50s you couldn't even see the nearest house and Chuck Yeager was breaking the sound barrier overhead. So no one cared. Now, it's a dotted suburban landscape. Will it get pressure? Probably not soon, but eventually I'd say so. Urban sprawl man...
Andrew
 

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Interesting this thread should pop back up. Only two days ago it was reported that Sandown is under ever increasing pressure to be sold off for residential development. Its going to happen sooner or later, just a question of when. Prime real estate in the middle of our south eastern suburbs.
 

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Ontario lost money from Day One and never made sense, which you can read in period magazines. Chevron eventually bought the land for like 10 cent on the dollar. It was a disaster.

Riverside was the saddest thing. Is now houses and shopping mall, but the mall is failing, like so many! So it feels like it was plowed under for nothing. LA's outward growth is inexorable; nothing you can do about it. I look at my pics from 1979 at Riverside and it's the boondocks. Now, houses and businesses as far as the eye can see. Sigh.

Conversely, Vaca Valley Raceway, between Dixon and Davis CA on the way to Sacramento, right next to I-80, was last used about 1969 and is still there and visible, though not developed. 10 years ago I got in and drove around it, tee hee. Was great.

Andrew
 

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Bridgehampton, another sad loss, now a golf course, as if the world needed another.

This pic, looking NW from the Riverside Turn 6 grandstand, April 1979. No open land anywhere in this view now.
Andrew
 

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Last one, my dad in our MGA Twin Cam, April 1975 at Willow Springs. That's the "paddock" we're in. And beyond, looks like the moon. Nothing out there, 10 miles west of Rosamond, CA which isn't much in itself.
Andrew
 

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Joe Elwell
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Here in the DC area, Marlboro was the local SCCA track in the 50's into the late 60's, but was being threatened by development. Bill Scott (I believe) headed up an effort to build the current Summit Point Raceway in the late 60's and Marlboro was shut down. My father raced at Marlboro in an FV and I (illegally) drove a Thursday test session there when Penske was also testing their TransAm Camaro. I was in awe and yes, I stayed the hell out of the way of that Camaro...

But I returned to the site of Marlboro about 10 years ago, and it's still there, undeveloped... Grandstands disintegrating, pavement laced with weeks and almost totally covered by trees. Here's what it looks like, with my recollection of the track layout in green.
 

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Yes, Marlboro is kind of like Vaca Valley, could be brought back if there was interest and approval. Sports car racing, not the thing it was 50-60 years ago. They used to get tens of thousands of spectators at Riverside for Trans Am races.
Andrew
 

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Just watched for the first time the original "Gone in 60 Seconds" last night, can't believe I've never seen it. Along with a bunch of period cars (73-74), it rambles through a million locations in LA and Orange Counties, now all shopping malls and houses, including late lamented Ascot Speedway. I drove by it a bunch of time ("where the 91, 405, 110 freeways slide") but alas never went to an event.
I did go a number of times to Carlsbad Raceway, since I lived in Carlsbad, for drag races and the MX USGP there, in the 70s. They ran some SCCA events there on the drag strip and return road but before my time. Alas, now an industrial park.
Andrew
 
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