Track introduced kids to thrills of r...

Track introduced kids to thrills of racing

There are 33 comments on the Chicago Tribune story from May 28, 2009, titled Track introduced kids to thrills of racing. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

Vikki Ortiz What ever happened to... May 29, 2009 When Rick Allen was growing up in Chicago, his family would eat pizza together on Fridays before the girls and the guys split up for the evening.

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David Cihlar

Minneapolis, MN

#1 May 29, 2009
don't forget about the wednesday night motorcycle races and AMA grand national motorcycle races held at santa fe or "fe" as we called it. some great times were had and many future world champions raced at that race track. the likes of kenny roberts, eddie lawson,and wayne rainey to name a few.
Anthony C

Chicago, IL

#2 May 29, 2009
Yeah, the late great Santa Fe Speedway. Miss it.

Less than a year ago, the faded and leaning billboard advertising Santa Fe was finally removed from its spot alongside southbound I-55 right before the ramp to northbound I-294. There is an unusual and isolated house/property down there that somehow was spared when the expressways were laid out decades ago. The billboard seemed to be part of that property.
Waxing Vintage

Chicago, IL

#3 May 29, 2009
"Only one speed-way has a track of clay,
You ain't seen nothin' til you've been to Santa Fe!"
michael

Milwaukee, WI

#4 May 29, 2009
what happened to santa fe is a typical example of the "me generation" in that they build a house next door to a junk yard and then complain about the junk yard. the same thing happened to the us30 drag strip in indiana.
The Informed

Schiller Park, IL

#5 May 29, 2009
Great times there with my Dad. Like everything else Urban Sprawl took it away
Todd

Chicago, IL

#6 May 29, 2009
michael wrote:
what happened to santa fe is a typical example of the "me generation" in that they build a house next door to a junk yard and then complain about the junk yard. the same thing happened to the us30 drag strip in indiana.
So true. My gun club was way out in Sugar Grove. We had to move after a farm field right next door was turned into homes and they forced our closure. Why they chose that particular field right next to us is a mystery to me. People want to live in the country without the country aspects it seems.
Speedy Mo

Chicago, IL

#7 May 29, 2009
I live approx. 5 miles north of the former track...
when it was open, I could hear the sound of
the engines in the distance...like a giant bee
in a cheap Japanese monster movie.
I concur...if noise was an issue, why did you
purchase a home so close...this same convulted logic
exists with residents around O'Hare airport.
Frank

Cheswick, PA

#8 May 29, 2009
I've been to the track once when I was younger and it is something my dad and I still talk about. It was a great time and it is very sad to hear that it is now gone.

When did we as a society become such pains in the rear and become offended by everything?
beverlyp

Hammond, IN

#9 May 29, 2009
I remember going on Sunday nights in the late summer. My Dad would take all four of us kids and meet my Aunts, Uncles and cousins there. I was afraid of and also got a rush from the noise of the cars. Those were some of the best memories of my childhood, and I'm not really a car buff. I remember when we were old enough to be able to walk to the concessions by ourselves and felt like we owned the place. Thanks for bringing back those memories with this article!
A Current Resident

Lisle, IL

#10 May 29, 2009
I live in one of the Townhomes that is on the site of the old racetrack. While it was a great place for a track, it has turned into a really beautiful residential property, surrounded by the forest preserves and the Des Plaines river.
I too wonder what happened to that old sign just off of I-55, I was tempted to see if I could but it and hang it in my garage!
As for the "track of clay", I can attest that there is still plenty of clay there. Dig down more than 4 inches in the garden, and it's still solid clay!
Tut-tut

Chicago, IL

#11 May 29, 2009
Sure hope there was some serious environmental remediation done at the site before residences were built there. Can't imagine the amount of gasoline and oil spilled in and around the track over the decades.
Memories

Brooklyn, NY

#12 May 29, 2009
Speedy Mo.....just to let you know....O'Hare wasn't there before the people lived there....that land was the best corn growing fields in Illinois....greed is what has made O'Hare what it is today. And what's sad about it is -- no one is thinking about the people... this has nothing to do with Santa Fe.

I loved going to Santa Fe and the family that gave us that pleasure did it for us....And for the people who built by the track knew very well what was there....They are the people who destroy and then move away to cause more havic...
GIC

Social Circle, GA

#13 May 29, 2009
Minor correction: Santa Fe Speedway (named for the Santa Fe RR tracks that ran next to the track - I remember the sound of a passing train was the only thing that could drown out the cars) closed after the 1995 season, not 1993. I have programs and such to prove it.

The Demo Derby format run at Santa Fe was amazing, and totally unlike anything else in the country as I sadly came to discover. Santa Fe used a "team demo" format with 8 teams of 4 cars running bracket-elimination rounds towards a season championship. The first team to get a single car to complete five laps won the round. It called for a lot of strategy and the rounds were almost as much pure racing as wild demo-derby. This format was rekindled at Route 66 in Joliet but the programs are much shorter, and today's cars not as stout.

How I miss that track. It closed just as I was able to consider beginning my own hobby-career there.
Goose

Chandler, AZ

#14 May 29, 2009
I also used to go to SFS with my dad. Those were the best times ever. The demolition races were my favorite; never missed those. The ones at Joliet arent the same as the ones in the old days; and they dont do the sportsmans races; or the powder puff races or figure 8 races anymore at Joliet. Id like to see those come back. I moved to AZ a few years ago; but fly out there once or twice during the summer to see the demo races in Joliet.
SFS was there long before the houses were; so they should have never complained about the noise. Dirt track racing is real racing. Not all the sponsered egotisical drivers like you see today. It was go out; have fun and race for bragging rites.
Cicero Unga

United States

#15 May 29, 2009
Nice fluff piece. The area would be an interesting one to go over with a metal detector.
GreatWhiteNorth

Toronto, Canada

#16 May 29, 2009
My friend's dad used to race in the demo derbies. That was pretty cool. Thanks to Goose for explaining how the format worked. Never knew that. Just thought the crashes were cool! Also went to the motorcycle races once. Where I live now there is a speedway similar to SFS, but not a clay track.
Ball Four

United States

#17 May 29, 2009
I was there in the mid to late 70's. I wanted to enter my 64' Corvair in the demolition derby but found out there was a lot hurdles to go through.

Loved watching it though as a late teen. What do kids do now a days for entertainment?
Simon

New York, NY

#18 May 29, 2009
My brother and I used to go every friday OR saturday...we were about 11 and 13 years old between 1992-1995. Those were some of the best times ever - ever after it shut down we would have our mother drive us past the old track just to check it out - I don't think it was destroyed for a few more years. Our favorite event were the midget races...we loved the noise and the flips. Overall, there was never a bad time there...it is definitely missed.

We used to live in Burr Ridge about 1.5 miles from the track - when we could hear the roar, we knew it was time to leave for the track.

People are greedy for wanting to take away a national treasure.
Ronnie

Chicago, IL

#19 May 29, 2009
Santa Fe Speedway, "The Home of the Action Clay Track."
There's a street named Santa Fe on the site now.
Not sure if it's named for the track or the railroad.
fishheadkev

Wasco, IL

#20 May 29, 2009
michael wrote:
what happened to santa fe is a typical example of the "me generation" in that they build a house next door to a junk yard and then complain about the junk yard. the same thing happened to the us30 drag strip in indiana.
Remember the old US 30 radio ads "SUNDAY, SUNDAY, SUNDAY @ U.S. 30 Dragstrip" part of my youth :-)

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