Results 1 to 23 of 23

Thread: Hanford Speedway

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    2

    Hanford Speedway

    Hello. Please don't be misled by the fact this is my first post here. I've lurked for more than a year, and I'm as big an IRL fan as anyone here. I'm also one of those "USAC-type" guys.

    Having said that, I'm really curious about Hanford (California) Speedway. So curious, in fact, that I bought the 1967 California 200 program auctioned off at eBay last week. I'm trying to get a picture of what this track looked like. (long story, but short story is that I want to try and "make" this track for Papyrus' Indycar Racing 2 sim). I thought I'd ask here, since the discussions on Ontario, Trenton and TWS turned up alot of great info!

    Here's what I've gathered. From 1951 until 1968 the track hosted NASCAR Grand National racing and USAC champ cars (in the 60's). Various WWW sources indicate it's length as 1.3 and 1.33 miles. The program says it was "recently lengthened" to 1.5 miles for 1967. There are no photos or maps of the track, however, and this proved majorly disappointing. There is an arty cover that shows what appears to be a triangular-shaped "track", more or less equalateral. I can scan the program cover if anyone's interested. I saw some coverage of the '67 event on an old Car & Driver from Speedvision a few years ago and the track (or turn which was shown over and over) appeared to be severely banked, a la Daytona.

    OK, now you know what I know. What I'm curious about is what additional info, maps, photos or insights anyone can offer about the mysterious Hanford Speedway.

    Thanks in advance for any help on this one!

    Brent

  2. #2
    Race Fan aXe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Austin Tx USA
    Posts
    3,570
    Hanford speedway original called Marchbanks Speedway. Was built south west of Fresno ca. It included a half or five eights mi track also.
    I went to one race there on the big tri oval. My opinion tri ovals are not very good for spectating, when the cars are going away from you on the two legs that went out to the farthest point of the track you couldnt tell what they were doing because of the angle they were going and coming. The front straight was the only straight that the fans could tell what was really happening with the cars. The top of the triangle was farthest away from the fans so the cars going away were at an angle and the cars coming back were at the opposite angle.
    Thrill of a life time seating about ten thousand fans were the steel temporary grandstands. Anything happen and every one jumped up at once and the stands felt like they were coming down. You got that feeling evert time something happened.
    That indy car race was the race Red Stainton (Supermodified driver from Ca.)was run into by Mario Andretti and killed If I remember correctly that Japanese race car builder Grant King was hit also. The car Stainton and King were helping pit caught fire.They jumped back just as Mario was coming in He had no chance of missing them.
    aXe
    Born Again Race Fan seen at
    www.openwheelracers3.com

  3. #3
    H H A
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Indpls, Ind,
    Posts
    9,001
    The "Car and Track" series that runs on the SPEED channel has a highlight tape of an early 70's Handford USAC event.

    Foyt wins through attrition after Joe Leonard dominated with the turbine Lotus wedge IIRC.


    aXe, Grant King was Canadian with roots in China I believe. Came from the Pacific northwest to Indy with Volstead.
    "Living well is the best revenge"

    George Herbert

  4. #4
    Dennis is pretty much right on. The original track had a 1.3 mile triangle, a 5/8 egg shaped oval, and a 1/4 mile egg shaped oval. They all shared turn one which was banked over 30 degrees at the top (the banking increased in steepness as you got higher in the corner). In fact it was banked so high near the wall that top thirty or so feet of paving was actually oiled dirt because they couldn't get a paving machine up there. The front straight had about a five degree turn to the left where it came back to join the two short ovals. Turn one of the triangle was about 155 degrees of arc, turn two was banked about 8 degrees and was just under 90 degrees of arc, and turn three was was about 12 degrees banking and about 110 degrees of arc (remember there was another 5 degree kink in the front staight to complete the course. In the last two years of operation, it was operated by the people that owned Riverside at the time and they knocked down the first turn, straightend the front straight and built a new turn one that had about 25 degrees of banking and a greater radius. This lenthened the track to about 1.4 miles, but a lot of people called it a mile and a half. I saw sprint cars run the 5/8 once, I saw early modified coupes run the 1.3. I saw USAC stocks run both the 1.3 and the reconfigured 1.4, and I saw Indy Cars run the 1.4 a couple of times.

    [ October 25, 2002: Message edited by: Gerald Laurie ]
    A good race driver, given adequate seat time, can drive any well prepared racecar on any track surface or configuration at competitive speeds. Remember, I said a GOOD race driver!!!

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Three miles away from Jim Nabors
    Posts
    2,885
    Originally posted by aXe:
    <STRONG>If I remember correctly that Japanese race car builder Grant King was hit also.</STRONG>
    Grant was actually Chinese.

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Location
    Mojave Desert
    Posts
    77
    Another one I'm familiar with, though I never made it to a race there.

    Hanford Motor Speedway was located between Visalia and Hanford. Without checking, I believe it was at 8th & Maine. Three USAC Indy Car races, a couple of USAC Stock Car races, a CRA sanctioned open competition Sprint/Modified race (on the big track), CRA Sprints on the 5/8 mile, a local Stock Car race on one of the road course configurations (the "Baler 200" or something like that) and some Sports Car races on various layouts. Also had a lake for Boat Drags. It was built in 1960, and had the distinction of being the first superspeedway oval West of the Mississippi (West of Atlanta!).

    After being built by Corliss Marchbanks, a fellow named Kal Simon (Kal Simon Enterprises) owned and operated the track, at least in the later years, but J.C. Agajanian leased the track and promoted the USAC races.

    The last race was the one mentioned Spring 1969, USAC Indy Cars won by Mario Andretti. Last activity I'm aware of was Firestone tire tests in early 1970 with Gary Bettenhausen, and IIRC, Art Pollard. HMS was placed back on the 1971 USAC schedule, but USAC deemed the facilities inadequate without upgrading...and that was pretty much it.

    The track sat around from 1970 through 1984, with sporadic reports of someone re-opening it. Most notable was Warren Fry's announcement of major plans in the mid-70's. Nothing happened. In 1984, it was torn down and reverted to being a cotton field (all the cost of tearing up the asphalt and grading, just for a cotton field?).

    I visited the site in the early 90's. A cotton field, no sign there had ever been a race tracck there.

    I don't know how to post photos, but I have a couple from publications showing HMS. The shots aren't that great, but it's most of what I've seen of HMS. The earlier HMS was oiled dirt, had steeper banking and had a much sharper turn 1 (as mentioned).

    A shame someone couldn't have developed the facility. A banked superspeedway, about mid-way between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    2
    Thank you, kind Sirs, for the great info. It certainly helps! Incidentally, the '67 California 200 program proclaims on its cover, "$20,000 Guaranteed Purse!" Agajanian was, in fact the organizer. 20,000 clams....times sure have changed.

    Brent

  8. #8
    3-wide
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    3,576
    Hey ‘Eag.’

    Don’t you usually greet all newcomers with a big bear hug and a “Welcome, friend!” when they arrive at this place? Well, even though I can’t do it with close to your aplomb, I’ll give it a try in your absence.

    “Welcome Argyle (Brent). It looks like you’re going to be a great addition to Eagle's nostalgia hangout.”

  9. #9
    Race Fan aXe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Austin Tx USA
    Posts
    3,570
    Originally posted by theunions:
    <STRONG>

    Grant was actually Chinese.</STRONG>
    Hey unions i am always stepping on my tongue, Asian, Orientals, Chinese, Japanese Vietnamese, Cambodian. Heck cant even get my own family members countries right. And I Have several of most of these in my own family.
    aXe


  10. #10
    one of many
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    DANville, IN USA
    Posts
    4,154
    Hey 3-wide - thanks for covering for my absence..I notice I've got some catching up to do all over this room!

    Welcome, Argyle. Glad you decided to join. Looks like you're getting some good info here...me, too!

  11. #11
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    California
    Posts
    448
    I saw it once, in about 1982, and all that was there was essentially the remnants of a race track.

    From the air, I saw it several times, however. Right up until it was plowed over. It was a distinct track. All I can compare it to is Pocono. It looked like a little Pocono to me.

    It's a shame the place never really made it big. That's a real racing area, the Central Valley. Stocks, Sprinters, Midgets, Supers, karts, sports cars...just about anything you can think of has a following. The fan base is certainly there.

    Hanford falls into that category of "What Might've Been" along with Ontario and Trenton. Who knows?

    It remains one of the most mysterious race tracks of all time. Little known. Little remembered.
    You are what you greet

  12. #12
    There's Hope for FL OWR Max Revs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Central Florida
    Posts
    3,873
    I remember watching a couple of Hanford IndyCar races - on the old ABC Wide World of Sports.

    To think that they ran on a track where the upper portion of the banked turns was dirt was truly bizarre. Never knew any of the details of Mario's fatal pit collsion, and I am glad that I learned more here. I had believed that Mario was partly to blame. The account related here means that he held no blame.

  13. #13
    Insider carl s's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Indio, CA USA
    Posts
    9,136
    A bit more to add from various sources:
    (Originally named Marchbanks Speedway in honor of the farmer who built it)

    "It was built in 1960 by Corliss Marchbanks and owned by a company called Kal Simon Enterprises. J.C. Agajanian was the promoter. It featured a 1.3 mile triangular oval, a 5/8 mile bullring, and a 1/4 mile bullring all using Turn One, which was banked 30 degrees but only the bottom grooves were paved since they didn't have paving machines for the top available.

    In the mid-60s the first turn was flattened to 25 degrees and the frontstretch slightly altered that made the track 1/10th of a mile longer; reportedly ownership switched to the owners of Riverside Int'l Raceway (I'm not sure if Les Richter was involved with them at that time). USAC raced there for both Indycars and stockers, and NASCAR occassionally raced there - Glenn Roberts won there around 1961.

    The last race was a USAC Indycar event in 1969 won by Mario Andretti; the track was closed after some Firestone tire tests in 1970 when USAC ruled the facilities were inadequate."

    note: Fireball Roberts win in the MArch 12, 1961 250 mile NASCAR GN Race set a record (first wire to wire win on a superspeedway) that was not duplicated until Jeff Burton did so in 2000 (Atlanta?)
    link to sketch of the final tri-oval config:
    http://theracingline.net/racingcircu...nford1967.html

    and an account of Red Stainton's fatal accident on pit road during the 1969 USAC race:
    http://www.motorsportmemorial.org/fo...p?db=ct&n=4387

    Mario at Hanford:
    http://www.vintagemotorsportphotogra...TI-USAC/Detail
    Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati

  14. #14
    That track diagram is not correct. Even after the modifications, the front straightaway (turn three to turn one) was the longest straight. Turn one had the tightest radius and turn two the longest radius and was the closest to 90 degrees. The bottom straight (turn two to turn three) was the shortest. Pit road ran along the front straight from just off turn three to about 60 percent of the front straight. The 5/8 and quarter mile ovals shared turn one with the big track prior to the modification. The modification changed only turn one and its transition to the two straights.

  15. #15
    I went to stock car, Indy car, and sports car and motorcycle road races at Marchbanks. This was a BIG track for road racers, they came off the banked back corner for a sort of fast chicane, then to the last banked corner, then came down the front straight and turned left into the halfmile (5/8?) corner, went around to the quarter mile corner and turned right and rejoined the front straight. I think I also recollect them running it backwards (clockwise) at a Cal Club race with AFM bikes in about, say, 62-63. As a tri-oval, the problem was turn 1, because while the banking was huge and high, the actual line was down on the apron and slow, so for instance, with Indy cars they dropped a lot of speed and then labored to get back up to speed on the backstretch. But they sure hauled a** down the front getting to turn 1! This was an odd track out in the middle of cotton and corn fields, in the middle of nowhere, with very steep dirt banked grandstands. Funny the things you remember, and it was a long time ago, but I vividly remember pushing my dad's Kurtis 500 off with our truck, pulling the trailer and nearly nailing a car in the pits with the trailer as I went back to park. Not so cool for a guy too young to have a license...Also remember that there wasn't really macadam pavement, more like tar, that got soft and sticky on a hot day. Memory of the Indy car race I saw there was a 13 inch wheeled rear engined Buick (?) built by Mickey Thompson. Did not go well, the turbo offies ruled the day as I recollect, smoked the Fords.

  16. #16

    Marchbanks photos?

    I'm new to this forum, but wanted to see if someone might have some pictures of the Marchbanks Raceway in Hanford. As a UPS delivery driver in the late 70s', I would stop there and eat my lunch wondering what went on behind those large steep banked turns. Reading this forum has made me realize the broken down track that I was snooping around at held some very important racing history. I'm kicking myself for not taking any pictures then, but who'd a thunk that they'd tear it down to plant cotton?!! Any pictures or additional history anyone can share would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks.

  17. #17
    Turn Left to Win
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Austin (and San Francisco)
    Posts
    677
    I ran across this today, I hope this hasn't been posted before, I searched but didn't see it here: http://loganmolen.squarespace.com/ma...-speedway.html - there are some nice .pdf downloads and the like at the bottom of the page... (thanks to Max Revs for directing me to this thread, which I hadn't found before)

  18. #18
    There's Hope for FL OWR Max Revs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Central Florida
    Posts
    3,873
    No problemo, amigo.

    I always thought this thread was one of the better ones here, thanks for adding to it!


    Joe Leonard at Hanford Speedway in 1968, Lotus turbine.


  19. #19
    Pop-Off Valve Grizzlor's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    16,167
    http://www.loganmolen.com/marchbanks/

    This guy's blog has the most information on this track of anywhere, including this brochure which illustrates how oddly shaped it was.

    "If your car was a dog, then you had to figure it out and test your own limits. And we didn't go to a wind tunnel – we did it in the first turn at Indianapolis."

  20. #20
    Insider BigWheelHawaii's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Maui, Hawaii,,,
    Posts
    7,134

    When Old Aj's in the SPOT, An't No Time to Pull Her In,,,

    Aloha All,,,

    One of the best Indy Car Shows I ever witnessed...
    My Main Man AJ, won in the fall of 1968 at Hanford...

    I know it's one of the greatest battles in a rear engine
    car I ever personally witnessed...

    Booby Unser running >?< first, Mario second, AJ a
    distant third... AJ starts reeling in Mario, then finally
    gets around him... Sets sail for Booby, finally picks him
    off... "And the Crowd Roars"...

    Five to go, AJ leading, but looses all the brakes..
    . Everything, but the left front...

    AJ just keeps lighting up the left front, lap after lap...
    Fire pouring off the left front... Booby and Mario close
    in on him, his left front just smoking, like a AA Fueler,
    on a burn out... Finally the "checker's for AJ...

    Fans pour out of the stands, AJ sitting on a stack of
    tires, singing autographs, blah, blah, blah...

    Couple of hours later I am helping the "Old Man" load
    the car on an open trailer... So, there I am pushing the
    car up on the trailer, with the "Old Man" on one wheel,
    me on the other... AJ is still entertaining the crowd, and
    he is about fifty feet away...

    So the "Old Man" says,,, something like,,,

    "Why aren't you over there blowing smoke, you always
    blow a lot of smoke around Junior..Here we are doing all
    the work, while he is playing big shot... All the sheep just
    kissing up"...

    So I finally ask, "Aren't you happy he won ? So he says
    something like,,, "It's OK, better then wrecking it"...

    A little later, maybe another hour or so, there is only eight
    to ten guys left... So I go over, AJ stick's out his hand, I shake it...
    And say, wow, that looked like you had to dirt track that thing
    around, the last couple of laps"...

    So he starts to explain the last few laps,,, to all of us still there,,,
    Something like this,,,

    "Well I guess you guys could see I was out of brakes, only smoking
    the left front... I was doing all I could do, to slow it down, and keep
    it straight.. Almost lost it, more than once... With two to go, I really
    got it sideways in turn one... So, I just closed my eye's and said,
    "Oh Lordy, Here We Go Again",,, when I opened my eyes, she's
    headed straight, so I jump on the gas...

    Some guy standing in back, and to the left side of AJ said,,,

    "Well AJ, if it was so dangerous, why didn't you just pull it in then" ?

    AJ, spun on him, like a coiled rattlesnake, on a rabbit... With fire
    in his eyes, a finger is this guys chest, and this was AJ's reply,,,

    "When Old AJ's in the SPOT, it an't no time to be pulling it in,,, got it"...

    I learned a lot that day about AJ, and just how his mind worked...

    If I conveyed this right, and have remembered the events correctly,
    it's like this...

    First:

    He never closed his eyes, you know that... He was fighting for his life
    each and every lap...

    Second:

    Winning was more important than crashing, or getting hurt, and maybe
    life, itself...

    Third"

    When, AJ Foyt was in the "spot",,, it's time to stand on the gas,,, winning
    is all that counts...

    I thought it was a great track, great viewing, but the temporary seating was scary...

    Big
    Yes,,, Yes,,, Tony,,,

    Your Grandfather was a friend of Roger Penske,,,

    Your Grandfather did business with Roger Penske,,, but

    Your Grandfather never trusted Roger Penske,,,

  21. #21
    all the images are gone, can someone please repost them. thank you.

  22. #22
    There were A.A.A. sanctioned events at the Kings County Fair Grounds in: 1913, No. 649, road course (11 October), promoted by the Kings County Automobile Club; No. 686, road course (23 May), promoted by Kings County Automobile Club; 1917, IMCA sanctioned road race (4 July); 1919, No. 1128, (4 July), Hanford Board of Trade as the promoter and No. 1143, (23-24, 26-27 September) promoted by Kings County Fair Association; and, 1920, No. 1167 (31 May), No. 1168 (5 July), both promoted by the Hanford Board of Trade, and No. 1206 (25 September) promoted by the Kings County Fair Association.
    And so we beat on, boats against the current, drawn back ceaselessly into the past ... F. Scott Fitzgerald
    Ever have the feeling that the rest of the world is a tuxedo and you're a pair of brown shoes? ... George Gobel

  23. #23
    Insider carl s's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Indio, CA USA
    Posts
    9,136
    Some more data from Logan Molen:
    (click on link to History Hanford Spdwy in red type)
    http://www.loganmolen.com/marchbanks...motor-speedway

    http://www.loganmolen.com/marchbanks...-speedway.html

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •