Trenton Speedway

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Trenton Speedway
Trentonlogo.JPG
Location Hamilton Township, Mercer County, near Trenton, New Jersey
Owner New Jersey State Fairgrounds
Opened 1900
Closed 1980
Former names Trenton International Speedway
Major events AAA/USAC/CART Championship Car Trenton 100/150/200/300 (1949, 1957–79)
NASCAR Grand National/Winston Cup Northern 300 (1958–59, 1967–72)
Half-mile oval (1900–1941)
Surface Dirt
Length 0.5 mi (.81 km)
Mile oval (1946–1969)
Surface Dirt (1946–57)
Asphalt (1957–69)
Length 1 mi (1.6 km)
Dog-leg oval "Kidney Bean" (1969–1980)
Surface Asphalt
Length 1.5 mi (2.41 km)
Banking Turns 1 & 2: 10°
Dogleg: 4°
Turns 3 & 4: 15°

Trenton Speedway was a racing facility located near Trenton, New Jersey at the New Jersey State Fairgrounds. Races for the United States' premier open-wheel and full-bodied racing series of the times were held at Trenton Speedway.

Racing history[edit]

The "kidney bean" shape

The first race at the Fairgrounds was held on September 24, 1900, but there was no further racing there until 1907. Regular racing began in 1912 and continued until 1941. A new 1 mile dirt oval was opened in 1946. In 1957 the track was paved. It operated in that configuration until 1968 when the track was expanded to 1.5 miles (2.41 km) and a "kidney bean" shape with a 20° right-hand dogleg on the back stretch and a wider turn 3 & 4 complex than turns 1 & 2. The track closed in 1980 and the Fairgrounds itself closed 3 years later. The former site of the speedway is now occupied by the Grounds for Sculpture, a UPS shipping facility, and the housing development known as "Hamilton Lakes".[1]

Champ Car at Trenton Speedway[edit]

Trenton was a long-time stop for the AAA and USAC Championship Car series. Its first recognized Champ Car race was held in 1949 on the dirt mile. The series didn't return until 1957 when the track was paved, but when it did, at least one Champ Car race was held every year until 1979. The final Champ Car races held in 1979 at the track were sanctioned by CART. During his career A. J. Foyt won twelve Indy Car races at Trenton Speedway.

NASCAR at Trenton Speedway[edit]

Trenton hosted the NASCAR Grand National and Winston Cup series 8 times: once each May in 1958 and 1959, and once each July from 1967 to 1972, a race known as the Northern 300. Richard Petty led all drivers with three Trenton Grand National victories.[2] In July 1973 the Northern 300 ran time trials but rain washed out the race and it was never rescheduled. The Northern 300 was placed on NASCAR's 1974 Winston Cup Grand National schedule (Stock Car Racing magazine listed it on the schedule in its early 1974 season issues) but was dropped early in the year and replaced by Pocono Raceway's Purolator 500.

The May 1976 race was Janet Guthrie's first IndyCar appearance.

Major races for NASCAR Modifieds[edit]

Race of Champions[edit]

From 1972 to 1976, Trenton Speedway hosted the Race of Champions modified race. Five different drivers won the five RoC events at Trenton. In 1977, the Race of Champions was moved to Pocono Raceway.

Other National Championship races for NASCAR Modifieds[edit]

From 1958 to 1971, a NASCAR National Championship race for Sportsman-Modified Stock Cars was held annually at Trenton Speedway, promoted by Sam Nunis. Through 1962, these were hundred-lap races. In 1963, the race was expanded to 200 laps, making it one of the longest and highest-paying races for Modified and Sportsman racers in the country. Ray Hendrick from Virginia was the leading winner of these races, driving the Jack Tant-owned number 11.[3]

State Fair "Triple Headers"[edit]

During the mid-1960s, at the time of the State Fair in September, the speedway hosted a special "Triple Header" event. A 50 lap modified-sportsman race and two 25 lap races, one for URC Sprint Cars and one for ARDC Midgets was staged. These were some of the most exciting races for local drivers to compete on the 1 mile asphalt track. The likes of the colorful drivers of the era were named "Jiggs" Peters, "Gig" Stephens, "Wiggles" Johnson and "Pee Wee" Griffin.

A 100 mile Super-Modified race was also held in 1968 and many racers from the Oswego Speedway competed. Steve Krisiloff, aged 21 (later to become an Indy Car driver) won the race to the surprise of many.

Race results[edit]

All winning drivers were American.

AAA/USAC/CART Championship Car[edit]

Season Date Winning Driver Chassis Engine Team
AAA Championship Car
1949 June 19 Myron Fohr Marchese Offy
1950–1956: Not held
USAC Championship Car
1957 September 29 Pat O'Connor Kuzma Offy
1958 March 30 Len Sutton Kuzma Offy
September 28 Rodger Ward Lesovsky Offy
1959 April 19 Tony Bettenhausen Kuzma Offy
September 27 Eddie Sachs Meskowski Offy
1960 April 10 Rodger Ward Watson Offy
September 25 Eddie Sachs Kuzma Offy
1961 April 9 Eddie Sachs Ewing Offy
September 24 Eddie Sachs Kuzma Offy
1962 April 8 A. J. Foyt Meskowski Offy
July 22 Rodger Ward Watson Offy
September 23 Don Branson Watson Offy
1963 April 21 A. J. Foyt Meskowski Offy
July 28 A. J. Foyt Trevis Offy
September 22 A. J. Foyt Trevis Offy
1964 April 19 A. J. Foyt Watson Offy
July 19 A. J. Foyt Watson Offy
September 27 Parnelli Jones Lotus Ford
1965 April 25 Jim McElreath Brabham Offy
July 18 A. J. Foyt Lotus Ford
September 26 A. J. Foyt Lotus Ford
1966 April 24 Rodger Ward Lola Offy
September 25 Mario Andretti Brawner Ford
1967 April 23 Mario Andretti Brawner Ford
September 24 A. J. Foyt Coyote Ford
1968 April 21 Bobby Unser Eagle Offy
September 22 Mario Andretti Brawner Offy
1969 July 19 Mario Andretti Brawner Ford
September 21 Mario Andretti Brawner Ford
1970 April 26 Lloyd Ruby Laycock Offy
October 3 Al Unser Colt Offy
1971 April 25 Mike Mosley Watson Ford
October 3 Bobby Unser Eagle Offy
1972 April 23 Gary Bettenhausen McLaren Offy
September 24 Bobby Unser Eagle Offy
1973 April 15 A. J. Foyt Coyote Foyt
Mario Andretti Parnelli Offy
September 23 Gordon Johncock Eagle Offy
1974 April 7 Bobby Unser Eagle Offy
September 22 A. J. Foyt Coyote Foyt
Bobby Unser Eagle Offy
1975 April 6 A. J. Foyt Coyote Foyt
September 21 Gordon Johncock Wildcat DGS
1976 May 2 Johnny Rutherford McLaren Offy
August 15 Gordon Johncock Wildcat DGS
1977 April 30 Wally Dallenbach, Sr. Wildcat DGS
1978 April 23 Gordon Johncock Wildcat DGS
September 23 Mario Andretti Penske Cosworth Penske Racing
CART Champ Car
1979 June 10 Bobby Unser Penske Cosworth Penske Racing
Bobby Unser Penske Cosworth Penske Racing
August 19 Rick Mears Penske Cosworth Penske Racing

NASCAR Grand National/Winston Cup[edit]

Season Date Winning Driver Manufacturer
1958 May 30 Fireball Roberts Chevrolet
1959 May 17 Tom Pistone Ford
1967 July 9 Richard Petty Plymouth
1968 July 14 Lee Roy Yarbrough Ford
1969 July 13 David Pearson Ford
1970 July 12 Richard Petty Plymouth
1971 July 18 Richard Petty Plymouth
1972 July 16 Bobby Allison Chevrolet

References[edit]

  1. ^ Galpin, Darren. "Trenton Track Info". Tracks Around the World. The GEL Motorsport Information Page. Retrieved 8 August 2010. 
  2. ^ "Race Results at Trenton Speedway". Racing-Reference.info. Retrieved 9 May 2007. 
  3. ^ Jendras, Jr., Larry. "Trenton Speedway Sportsman-Modified Results". The Vintage Racer. Retrieved 9 May 2007. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°14′21″N 74°43′16″W / 40.23917°N 74.72111°W / 40.23917; -74.72111