Sunday, August 1, 2010

Hour Glass Field...Racing's Past

The real romance of the sports car was cemented after WWII when American service men took home memories of the British soft-tops. Real race tracks were far and few to be old airports and some street circuits were being used. Hour Glass Field was one of these venues to be put into action.

In 1956 the Navy made the airfield available to the San Diego Junior Chamber of Commerce and the San Diego Region Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) for automobile racing. In 1957 a 1.8 mile track was laid out and the California Sports Car Club and San Diego Region SCCA staged races there for three years until late 1959 as part of the regional road racing circuit. Steve McQueen driving his black Porsche Speedster was just one of the many famous race car drivers that saw action at the track. Ken Miles was another, driving a Porsche 550 Spyder.

The track ran parallel to and within a hundred yards of old Highway 395, now called Interstate 15.

Some of the British cars line up for a photo opp.

Jack McAfee driving a 550A won in the small bore 25 lap race in 1959.

Car number 217, a Berkeley, leads an MG through one of the corners.

The field was also used for motorcycle racing and unauthorized drag racing. In early August of 1960, after three bystanders were injured during a drag race, the Navy shut down the airfield to racing. This led to an organized mass protest and a riot the night of August 20 and 21 in San Diego that the San Diego Union dubbed the "Drag Strip Riot" and socialists call one of the first major youth riots of the 1960s. Remember, in a previous post, San Diego's first drag strip, Paradise Mesa had been shut down in 1959.

In 1967, the Miramar campus of the San Diego Community College was built on the site of the airfield. The Porsche Club of America, San Diego Region ran a few autocross events on what was left of the track in 1976 and 1977.

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  1. Don Lee wrote: Ran my first slalom at Miramar in '76...thanks or the memory!....

  2. Thanks for this post, I hope that I can visit your blog every day but unfortunately I can't do that. By the way, can you have a review about google +1 effect? I just want to know it better. Thanks again! :)