1997-2007

Happy Anniversary RaceStar -- Good Bye Old Friend

October 21, 2007 - I have made many attempts to write a story celebrating RaceStar's 10th Anniversary. Nothing inspired me more than a recent walk around the grounds of what was the start of my interest in the sport of auto racing. I drive by Crown Point Speedway a few times a month, and the recent transitions that have taken place there really astound (and sadden) me. I have only been around this track (and racing for that matter) for 20 years. For some, it's been a lifetime, and others had just started racing and making new allies at the 60+ year old facility before it's demise in 2006.

HISTORY OF RaceStar

I can honestly say that Crown Point Speedway gave me my start with RaceStar. Back in 1987, my husband, Rich began his dirt track racing career at (then) Southlake Speedway. Like many, he started in the Street Stock division and enjoyed seeing his name in print with the articles about the weekend's racing events and suggested that I write and submit stories to the Midwest Racing News. My only writing experience was serving one year as Editor-in-Chief for my high school year book. I hesitantly obliged and began my weekly entries.

In 1990 I approached track promoters Guy Pleasant and Terry Hayes about a souvenir program for Southlake Speedway. With my brief and amateurish year book capabilities, I was granted permission to take on this task which ended up producing 6 subsequent year's souvenir programs. During that time, I was still writing stories and I even found myself scoring the weekly Saturday night races for a total of over 10 years. It was in 1996 when new track promoters decided that the weekly story was no longer needed, and my job there was done. I knew that fans and drivers were enjoying the weekly update and decided that I could produce it on my own, not only for CPS, but for all the local tracks!

I bought my very first computer in early 1997, called my business RaceStar Publications and on May 30, 1997 the first printed installment of RaceStar Publications made its debut. The paper included weekly point standings for 3-5 local tracks, weekly stories, schedule of events and even classifieds. The paper went from a flyer-type weekly paper (left) to a full-fledged newspaper. However, instead of reading "last week's news, this week" we decided to put RaceStar strictly online for a more up-to-the-minute stories and photos. July 31, 1999 was the final issue for the printed RaceStar Publications newspaper (right)

In 1998, Rich & I paid a visit to Shadyhill Speedway. It was on that night we took on our newest endeavor as track photographers. We took pictures there from 1998-2003. Over the course of a couple years, we spread ourselves out to other tracks as their official photographers. We operated at Crown Point Speedway, Shadyhill Speedway, US 41 Dragstrip, Plymouth Speedway and South Bend Motor Speedway. We ventured out to some of the various tracks that we covered online and even made a few NASCAR events, gaining access to the restricted areas for full coverage of the events. Rich even made a few trips to Florida for Speedweeks and updated us with photos and stories of our locals down there.

Photography through the years...


Shadyhill Speedway 1998-2003 

South Bend Motor Speedway 2000-2003

Plymouth Speedway

Our mobile photo booth at US 41 Dragstrip
 
Portable photo stand for awesome "aerial" shots.

In 2001, Rich put together our very first Official Pace Car. It was a 1989 Acura Integra (left) he painted and designed the lettering scheme for our visits to the featured tracks. He retired that car after 2 paint schemes and decided to build, from the ground up, a street legal, 2-seater UMP Modified pace car (right). Project Modified began with a Buzzard chassis in February 2005 and its progress was viewed by thousands on RaceStar. This progress can still be viewed today. The street legal machine is still seen on the roads abroad.

We have not been active in official track photography for a couple years; however, the business is still going strong keeping the fans updated with local racing coverage and offering race novelties and apparel as well as providing banquet awards to a few tracks. As of this writing, RaceStar features over 40 different racing facilities with regular updates for over 2 dozen tracks and specialty divisions. We constantly contact tracks inviting them to join our weekly updates, you will suddenly see updates from new tracks all the time. We have 18 regular writers and 8 photographers for RaceStar. It is the dedication of these fine people that have helped us earn our 10 years of existence in the racing industry. RaceStar continues to grow.

RacestarPublications.com has grown incredibly to receiving over 2 million hits a year! Not only does RaceStar offer news, updates and photos for your favorite local track, but it also hosts driver websites, archived news, vintage photographs, custom novelties, driver's stories and FREE classifieds that boasts sales of over $750,000 in racing parts in only 2 years.

We would like to thank everyone for tuning in to RaceStar and we look forward to another decade of service to the racing community.

Here's to the good ol' times...
Diva Rish

 

MEMORIES OF A Legend

I guess you can call CPS my "alma mater". Returning to visit the ruins of Crown Point Speedway brought back a lot of memories for me, much like a high school class reunion. I couldn't help but play back through my mind the memories of the past. I could almost hear that music on the tin speakers that greeted us as it played throughout the pits and grandstands when we began our Saturday afternoon descent on the facility that was going to play host to our enjoyment for the evening. I could hear Mary calling drivers up for qualifying and that infamous voice of Southlake Speedway, Don Holt announcing "Theeeeee fastest clay oval in the midwest!" I could smell the racing fuel in the air as the drivers nervously started their engines hoping they'd have a good night and be able to 'drive' their car back on the trailer at the end of the night.

I remember Rich earning his 1992 Hobby Stock track championship. I remember the driver protest in August 1994 that closed the track for the rest of the season. I have great memories of the celebratory banquets. Most notably and without great details, Guy Pleasant and a lighter and another involving Smokin' Bill and a donkey! Good times...great memories.

Crown Point Speedway

By: Stan Kalwasinski

Years of operation: 1957 – 2005

Location:
10300 S. Madison St., Crown Point, Ind., on U.S. 53 (Broadway) about three miles south of U.S. 30.

Notes: opened in 1957 as a clay/dirt oval just under a ¼ mile in length…about 1950, Ralph Conner and his son, Don, started preliminary work to build the speedway which was known as the Broadway Speedway when it finally opened…open competition midget racing (on Friday nights) and open competition modified stock cars (on Saturday nights) was the schedule during the first year…stock car feature winners in 1957 included Bob Perrine, Harry Klisiak, Harley Bisselburg and Sonny Hendricks…for years, main concession building sign said, “Broadway Speedway - Fastest Track on Earth”…for a number of years track featured flathead engine coupes as its premier division…ARCA stock cars competed there on June 20, 1969 with Ramo Stott besting Benny Parsons in the 100-lap race…track has had a number of promoter changes over the years…track was renamed the Southlake Speedway in 1981 and was again changed to Crown Point Speedway in 2001. During it final years of operation, track was owned and operated by longtime Chicago area dirt track star Jim O’Connor and his family. Final race held at speedway on October 15, 2005 with Eric Kwasigroh of East Peoria, Ill. winning the last late model feature held.

Comments to this story can be made HERE

 


Front gate remodel taken before new promoter, Henry Opperman.
(date unknown)

Main driveway to the main gate. This view is looking at the north pits, the front gate would have been to the right in this picture. (October '07)

Grandstands (date unknown)

This photo was taken from the track entrance.
Beyond this wall stood the grandstands. (October '07)

Turn 3 & 4 (date unknown)

Turn 3 & 4 (October '07)

Track entrance (date unknown)

Track entrance (October '07)

North end of the pits. A 20'+ pit has been dug out.
(October '07)

This photo was taken from the proximity of the old RaceStar photo booth. It is looking south down the midway to the grandstands.
(October '07)

The wall behind turn 3 & 4 (October '07)

The pits just north of the turn 3-4 wall (October '07)

Taken from the parking lot looking toward the concession stand/office. (October '07)

The parking lot (October '07)

Front stretch of the track taken from the old track entrance.
(October '07)

Blocks that have been gathered from around the old track.
(October '07)