This year’s Series kicks off Saturday, May 19th with J.J. O’Malley’s talk on the Daytona International Speedway, followed by Sports Car Digest contributor William Edgar’s conversation about Riverside International Raceway on Saturday, June 23, Donald Davidson’s Indianapolis Motor Speedway presentation on Saturday, August 25 and the Road America series on Saturday, October 13 conducted by Tom Schultz.
The “America’s Great Tracks” series continues the mission of the International Motor Racing Research Center to preserve the history of motorsports in all series, at all tracks. All sessions are free and open to the public. The Racing Research Center is located at 610 South Decatur Street in Watkins Glen, New York.
America’s Great Tracks Speaker Series 2012 – Schedule
Saturday, May 19 at 1 p.m., Daytona International Speedway
J.J. O’Malley, senior editor of publications for the International Speedway Corporation, is an appropriate speaker about a race track he knows well. Among his eight books on racing is “Daytona 24 Hours: the Definitive History of America’s Great Endurance Race.” The race celebrated its 50th anniversary in February this year. Since opening in 1959, the track has been the home of the Daytona 500 NASCAR race. The track features multiple layouts including the primary 2.5-mile, high-speed tri-oval; a 3.56-mile sports car course; a 2.95-mile motorcycle course; and a .25-mile karting and motorcycle flat-track.
Saturday, June 23 at 1 p.m., Riverside International Raceway
William Edgar, a prominent historian and contributor of articles and photography for automotive magazines, will speak about early postwar racing in southern California and the Riverside, CA, race track that his father, postwar sports car racing team pioneer John Edgar, helped develop. Riverside operated from 1957 through 1989. The road course hosted NASCAR, IMSA, SCCA, USAC, CART, Formula One, NHRA and AMA.
Saturday, August 25 at 1 p.m., Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Donald Davidson will speak about the famed track for which he has been historian since 1998. He attended his first race there in 1964. The next year, he was hired by the United States Auto Club as statistician, a position he held for 31 years. Indianapolis hosts the renowned Indy 500 race, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2011. The 2.5-mile oval track opened in 1909.
Saturday, October 13 at 1 p.m., Road America
Tom Schultz has been track historian at Road America, in since 2000 and knows all of the classic track’s great stories. He has authored two books about the track in Elkhart Lake, WI: “Road America, Five Decades of Racing at Elkhart Lake” and “Road America, Celebrating Fifty Years of Road Racing.” Road America hosted its first SCCA national race weekend in 1955. Millions of dollars in improvements have been made over the years, but the original 4.048-mile, 14-turn configuration has never been altered.
For more information about the Center and its work, visit www.racingarchives.org.
[Source: IMRRC; photo credit: Louis Galanos]