Ascot Park opened in 1957 as the Los Angeles Speedway on the site of a former city dump. The outer oval of the dirt track was .5 mi while the inner oval was .2 mi. The dirt racetrack hosted the United States Auto Club (USAC) championship series, the AMA Grand National Championship motorcycle series and was used in movies like the original Gone in 60 Seconds, A Very Brady Christmas, and CHiPs. Ascot was also the site of the annual USAC Turkey Night Grand Prix midget race on Thanksgiving. The track was closed in 1990.
Backstory and Context
Ascot Park ranks behind only the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Daytona International Speedway as the best-known racing facility in the country at that time. Parnelli Jones, A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Bobby and Al Unser and Johnny Rutherford won at Ascot before they made it to Indy. Other winners were Jim Hurtubise, Roger McCluskey, Gary Bettenhausen and George Snider.2
Al Unser Jr. drove a sprint car there when he was 18. Records show that 62 Indy 500 drivers, among them winners Troy Ruttman, Rodger Ward and Johnnie Parsons, who came back after winning to display their talents, raced at Ascot. Evel Knievel, who is known for jumping cars and motorcycles started his career at Ascot as well.3
Winston Cup champions Bobby Allison, Dale Earnhardt and Darrell Waltrip have driven at Ascot in stock car races. Earnhardt, although he didn't win, helped Marcus Mallett become the first black track champion in NASCAR history a few years later.4
Three NASCAR Grand National events were held at the track. The 1957 event was held on the 0.5-mile track. It won by Eddie Pagan. The second NASCAR event was a 500 lap event on the 0.4-mile track, and it was won by Parnelli Jones. The final event was held in 1961 on the 0.5-mile track. Eddie Gray lapped the field for the win.5
The track closed in 1990 and is now an industrial park.