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COBWEB CORNERS: An auto race track at the Golden Cycle Mill

By Mel McFarland

April 11, 2018
       There was once an automobile race track on the Westside. In 1946, it seems some young men set up a spot where they could have some fun racing "jalopies." This is a term for a cut-down old car.
       Most were old roadsters or coupes with souped-up motors, such as Model T or A Fords, probably without fenders or bumpers.
       The boys found a spot up on the south edge of the Golden Cycle Mill on south 21st Street where there was enough room for a circle track.
       A crowd of about 200 gathered on the hillside around the oval track for the first race. Eight cars were entered. A time trial run of two laps was run first. A couple of the cars failed to get past these trials.
       A few weeks later, 1,000 people watched the second race! The number of cars increased too!
       In these two first races, a couple of cars managed to wreck, but there were no serious injuries. There were concerns about spectator safety, as one car actually left the track and wound up in the spectator parking area.
       A new location was found east of town, at present-day Powers Boulevard and US 24. It may have been the Golden Cycle Mill itself that made them move.
       This new track lasted many years, and the site is well remembered by many of the racers. Some from the 21st Street track were already veterans of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. Others found their way onto the mountain later.
       Starting in the early 1950s, Colorado Springs had a drag strip. That's where two cars race in a straight line for a quarter mile. The track was on land at the Colorado Springs airport. It ran along a long narrow strip on the west side of the runways, with room for spectators and a lot where the racers could work and watch. There was even a loud speaker system to announce who was racing who.
       The fun part was that this track, like the Westside oval, was sand. To help it out, the racers saved their waste oil and poured it on the track. It did give the track a bit of a better road surface. After all, that is how many of our paved streets started.
       In the late '50s, the city was talking about building a new terminal, and the best spot included this track.

(Opinion: Cobweb Corners)

       Editor's note: Local historian Mel McFarland has been writing his Cobweb Corners column in the Westside Pioneer since 2004. To see past columns, go to the Pioneer's Archives. Either look for desired articles under the Cobweb Corners category for any year, or search by keywords in the Find box.

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