|Los Angeles Tigers Vs San Fernando Valley Red Devils|
In Pacoima there was a private airport called Whiteman Air Park, it was primarily for light private planes. The owner had built a 1/4 mile oval initially for midgets, but wound up racing anything that would fit on the track.
The track was located on the North side of the airfield. The airport had 1/4 mile asphalt track that they promoted all kinds of races, I even rode a road a road race here on my Tohatsu 50. The Speedway track was inside of the 1/4 mile track because the Speedway track was only 1/8 mile. I believe it was the same thing at Saugus, the speedway track was on the infield. They put the track in the center of the black top track and they were off and running.
The drawback here was that the spectators were too far from the action and the thrill of having dirt clods hit you in the face was missing. It was here that Dude Criswell started the resurgence of Speedway racing in America. It had been very big before the War and just never came back after the war. There were a few attempts by Wes Cooley to bring it back by having 500cc Class A races intermingled with his regular short track races at the small Orange County Speedway in El Toro (now long gone), but because they couldn't afford to pay a purse, it never got off the ground. I think they were paid $10.00 show money, but that didn't cover the cost of fuel. It did stir some memories in the old timers and a few JAP's were taken of the mantels and brought out hoping for a revival, but it didn't work out.
In 1968, Dude Criswell, who was one of the early Speedway riders decided to try his hand at promoting and got with Cooley's ACA to promote speedway at Whitman. This is where it all started, but it really didn't take off until they started running at the track at the Orange County Fairgrounds where you were sitting right on top of the action, somewhat like watching the Christians being thrown to the lions.
Saugus didn't last long, it didn't draw many fans. From what I remember, it was a dirt oval, but that was 35 years ago, hell, I have a hard time remembering yesterday.
Mike Capalite, September 2002