Driving south down Ohio State Route 118, in a sea of corn sprouts, I never would have guessed that the small knot of color on the horizon was a mecca of speed and mechanical drama. Until that point, nothing gave Darke County’s secret away. No signs for the racetrack ahead—just wide tractors straddling the centerline of a two-lane, grain silos at every farm. This county is, after all, Ohio’s top producer of corn and soybeans. As the knot out my windshield grew into distinguishable shapes and buildings, the traffic on the road thickened, eventually halting in front of the main gate. I had arrived at Eldora Speedway, the fastest half-mile dirt track in the world ...
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Anderson Speedway was Sunvalley when I was a kid and kept score for laps at the little 500 the night before the Indy 500, some of the Indy drivers would be driving. Sunvalley was always known as the fastest 1/4 mile track in the world.
In 1963 I was 13 years old and my uncle started taking me to Eldora, New Bremen, and Winchester to watch the USAC Sprint Car races. I was hooked; nothing was more exciting than watching them slide through the corners.
After the race we always went down to the pits, and Uncle Lester knew all the drivers. My programs signed by Foyt, Unser, Hurtubise, Rutherford, McClusky, Branson, Jones, Shaw, Johncock, Knepper, Engel, Norris, Ward, and many more are some of my most prized possessions
One of these days I want to ask Tony if he would like to hang them up at Eldora.
This article and pictures were awesome, the way you described leaving work on a Friday gave me such a perfect picture in my head. The pictures are so awesome too, they go perfectly with the story. Awesome stuff!