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September 30, 2007

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I just came across a 10th Anniversary Belmont Speedway Program in my mother's storage. Does this have any value and would anyone be interested in it? I wasn't born till 1968, so I have no reason to hang on to it.
Christine Green
Oakdale, California

My Dad took me to motorcycle races at Belmont in the early Fifties. Remember the sparks flying from under their left boot as they hit the corners. Some of the racers rode their bikes to the racetrack. Rode motorcycles for 60 years myself. Was a Joe Leonard fan when he raced at San Jose Speedway in cars also. Thanks for the memory.

I lived in a house on East Hillsdale with a south-facing bedroom from 1948 into 1954, when I was a little squirt, and frequently went to sleep to the music of the racing engines at Belmont Speedway. Dad took me to watch the jalopy races occasionally, and I, too, remember the smell of the fuel. Perhaps that’s why I’ve been a gearhead and motor sports fan for the past 70 years.

My Dad (Frank Herman) was a maintenance person and we lived on the grounds about 1948-1949. Great time. My Mom was the trophy “queen” at some of the midget races. So memorable.

We lived in the Homeview area of Belmont from 1948 to 1958. Our "gang" would walk to the speedway frequently and sneak in. But I would go with my father for the "big events." Midget racing and destruction derbies were a favorite. I remember most the smell of the methyl alcohol fuel.

My parents took my entire family to the motorcycle races every week during racing season. I became the Joe Leonard of my neighborhood, with the addition of baseball cards and clothespins. My entire family followed Joe through his biking, then his auto racing, and finally through his Indy racing.

My Dad took me to a 4th of July destruction derby at Belmont speedway sometime in the 1950s. There were more than a hundred cars and they paraded in front of the stands with sparklers and cones spewing out the windows. Some garages had teams of four cars, all painted the same, that would gang up on their victim. They had heats of about 20 cars and then a long break to try and get previously smashed cars going again for the main. One car rolled over, and another car's trunk flew open, revealing a bunch of tires stuffed in. Everybody thought that might be cheating. For a young boy, it sure was more exciting than any two- team stick-and-ball sport I'd ever seen.

In 1975 I married Oscar Brash, who was partners with Ted Smyth, and they owned the Belmont Speedway in the early 1950s. The story goes that Oscar was the one who came up with the idea of the Destruction Derby, but one of their racecar drivers moved away and introduced it somewhere else, so he got the credit for inventing it. Oscar died in 2001, and my son would like to know if anything was ever documented about his Dad, the Speedway and the Derby, but I can't find anything except that Ted Smyth was the owner. I would sure appreciate it if someone could find anything. It would mean the world to my son. He says he doesn't like to talk about it because there's no proof. Also, he would love to have a Belmont Speedway T-shirt, but I doubt that they had those back then. I do have a pencil from the speedway.

1959 for me. Much fun. Jalopy races too!

As a kid, I used to go to the Belmont Speedway to watch 'destruction derbies". They had some of the biggest, longest lasting demo derbies that I have ever seen. It was a hoot. Some memories can never be repeated, this was one.

Ed Burggraf
Redwood City, CA 1945-1960

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