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Old Race Tracks

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I'm an avid racing fan and amateur historian. Massachusetts has had many tracks in the history of the sport. I'm trying to keep the information regarding the status of each track's site.

Example:

Dracut Speedway

operated through 1955

It was located on (Rt. 113) Broadway St. and Loon Hill Road.

It is a field with a few buildings on it. The site was recently sold to become a strip mall.

Here are the tracks in Mass.

MASSACHUSETTS

8. Alumni Field

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I haven't been down Route 9 in Westboro in quite some time. I know there's a commercial area on the site of the old speedway, I can't remember if it's a strip mall or a car dealership however.

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Strip Mall, called, appropriately Speedway Plaza. Many think it is more in reference to Rt 9 than the track. Used to go there for races occasionally, but they had a lot of problems there. And the noise was so disruptive to other businesses around it that it just didn't work, so not too many tears were shed when it closed up. Still, I miss it. A bit.

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At least there's still some tracks around. There's Thompson about 20 miles south of Worcester. If you want to go a little further, Seekonk, Stafford Springs, and Waterford too. Those just happened to survive best out of the rest.

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It's not uncommon to use a reference to the property's former use. ie: Speedway Plaza in Westboro. Danbury Fair Mall in Danbury is another example as the fairgrounds and its old 1/3 mile track were demolished for commercial property.

While Westboro was a "rundown" track with its infamous and treacherous wooden barriers, and the unpaved pits, I believe you are mistaken on not many tears being shed. Fans of the racing there, or even actual attendees familiar with the sport, may beg to differ. Some of the best drivers of their time competed at Westboro - Freddie Borden (the track's all-time winningest driver), Greg Sacks, Maynard Troyer, Ron Bouchard, the Fuller brothers, Bobby Santos, Bugsy Stevens, Richie Evans, Pete Fiandaca and so many more. My grandfather beat Long Island great Charlie Jarzombek and all the regulars in the 100-lap "Busch Classic" there in 1979.

Two reunions for Westboro have taken place (2001 and 2005). I was in attendance at both and there was a very good crowd; a healthy mix of the old-time drivers and fans going back to the tracks establishment in 1947 to those representing drivers and fans that were there for the track's demise. It was good to see some younger people around my age in attendance who weren't around for the track also there. Plenty of scrapbooks and tall tales were shared.

Noted racing journalist Pete Zanardi says that Westboro was the best Midget race track. The 1/4 mile length and the high banks allowed for thrilling side-by-side action and some scary wrecks.

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"Those just happened to survive best out of the rest."

This isn't always the case. I'm pretty sure Westboro had the Falconi's leasing the track for several years before the owner sold the track, pulling the rug from under their feet and ending a 38-year tradition.

Tracks have closed for various reasons. Lonsdale Sports Arena in Rhode Island closed after it suffered damage from the hurricane of '54 and it compromised the grandstands. Without the massive seating capacity to help recoup the lost money, the owner looked towards other interests. A track that played a key role in NASCAR's birth is now a Stop & Shop plaza on SR 122 in Cumberland.

Some tracks operated well like Norwood Arena on Rt. 1 or Riverside Park in Agawam. The trouble was that the land values and/or greedy ownership gave in to the almighty dollar in favor of keeping them as a race track.

Seekonk itself came very close to being sold around 1997 and has had recurring rumors of its sale since before the founder's passing in 1990.

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Well, it's not always the case, as you pointed out.

However, there seemed to be tons of racetracks back in the day. Now with only a handful left in New England, those that remain are more likely to survive as long as the owners care about them (i.e.: not pull a Riverside).

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Aerial Photos:

Alumni Field - Rebuilt in 1996 and seats 4,000 fans.

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Baylies Stadium

Located on Coggeshall St. (#2) "in an area now partially taken up by Interstate 195 near Washburn Street (#1)."

As a midget and motorcycle track, it operated under 2 names: Baylies Stadium (1940-41) and John Cawley Memorial Stadium (1948-49) [The Standard Times 05/23/04 by Todd Baptista]

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Beverly Airport

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Boston Garden

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Brockton Fair

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Dracut Speedway

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Eastern States Coliseum

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Eastern States Expo

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Evergreen Speedway (Now New Bedford Airport)

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Fall River Speedway

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Golden Cove Race Track

A dirt half-mile northeast of Chelmsford, Mass. Only racing was in 1935. The track faced northwest to southeast. The highway in the photo goes through the middle of where the track rested. The north turns were against the railroad tracks.

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Great Barrington

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Horace Mann Speedway

Named for the native son and education reformer.

A dirt half-mile and an asphalt fifth-mile were at this Franklin, Mass. location. Track closed in 1942. The upper turns of the track would have been about midway through the mall and the lower turns in the housing development.

1492687794_0f70ec97b6.jpg

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