Old race tracks of the past...have a "Special Life" about them, whether road race tracks, dry lakes, ovals or drag strips, they were there for one purpose...to go as fast as you could and beat whomever you could. Simple as that.
This one was called "San Diego Raceway" at Ramona, California. It began life in about 1963 after what was termed the "San Diego Rodders Riot." The location was just north-west outside the small town.
There was not much there except for a pit area, a few grandstands, a timing tower and a strip to race on. One good thing, it was a safe place for kids to race....but it not only drew the kids, it also drew the pros.
Back when I had just turned sixteen, I headed off to go racing. For a kid in that day really the only racing one could do was "drag racing." Ramona was the place. This is a photo of the first trophy I ever won, it reads "San Diego Dragway At Ramona"...still have the trophy...always will.
Here, the flagmen lets them go. This photo was taken before the use of the "Christmas Tree" lights.
Two front engined dragsters lite them up. Dragsters were still trying to hit the 200mph mark back then.
A Willys in the near lane sponsored by "Jacks Muffler Service...San Diego" gets the jump going against the Mercury Comet of "Dyno" Don Nicholson. Don was a very well known national drag racer back in the day, first driving Chevys then mostly Ford powered cars. Images via.
A few days ago I was reminiscing about Ramona with a friend of mine, blog follower Keith Nelson. He had also raced there back then. He was telling me about the time a car called "The Green Monster," a jet powered exhibition racer built by Art Arfons blew down the fence behind the staging area on some cars as it fired up for a run down the drag strip.
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Related posts: Ramona Drags, As Talked About, The Accident