Riverside Park Speedway
To capitalize on the nation's new attraction to auto racing following World War II, park owner Edward J. Carroll demolished a dance hall in 1948. In its place rose a flat 1/5 mile oval track, pit area and grandstand alongside the Connecticut River. The first full season of "modified" stock car racing was 1949. International sports car racing star Phil Walters, who raced modifieds and midgets under the name "Ted Tappett", won the season championship. The United Stock Car Racing Club events drew 6,000-8,000 fans every Saturday night.
Each summer's signature event was the "Riverside 500", a 500 lap "tag-team" race with 16 two-car teams. One car would pull into the infield pit area for service, and "tag" his teammate's bumper to go out and replace him on the track.
The track was reconfigured twice over the years, ending up as a progressively banked 1/4 mile oval under NASCAR sanction. The track was used several times for rock concerts, notably Radio 104.1 WMRQ's "Radio 104 Fest" and "The Big Day Off."
Riverside Park Speedway fans that own the Papyrus NASCAR Racing 2003 Season PC game can relive the Short Track brawling feel after J.R. Franklin released a detailed recreation of the track for the game. The track can be downloaded free from here.
- Courchesne, Shawn (June 17, 1999) "Final Lap for Riverside Speedway" Hartford Courant, p.C2
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