Soldier Field has, in addition to serving as home to the Chicago Bears, served as an auto racing venue at various times in its long history. The final auto racing track was torn out in 1970. The original stadium was gutted and rebuilt in 2002.
Soldier Field was built in 1924 as Grant Park Memorial Park (aka Grant Park Stadium). It was renamed to Soldier Field the following year. The first racing was on May 19th, 1935 on a 1/4 mile cinder oval. A 1/4 mile banked board oval was built for an 8 day long midget racing festival that ran June 17th, 1939 to June 25th, 1939. A 1/4 mile dirt oval operated from May 4th 1942 through May 31st, 1942. Post war, a 1/4 mile paved oval operated from June 16th, 1946 to September 1st, 1958, and again from May 14th, 1960 through 1966 (The 1/4 mile track had been removed in 1959 for the Pan-Am games.) A 1/2 mile paved oval operated from July 21st, 1956 through 1958, and from June 17th, 1961 through 1967. A NASCAR GN race ran on the 1/2 mile oval on July 21st, 1956. The final track was a 3/8 mile paved oval which ran in 1967 through June 1968. The track was torn out in 1970 in anticipation of the Chicago Bears moving to the stadium; removal of the track facilitated the construction of more seating.
|Alan E. Brown, The History of America's Speedways: Past & Present. Comstock Park, Michigan: Brown, 2003 , ISBN 0931105617 , pp. 268. Order from National Speedway Directory|
|Gordon Eliot White, Lost Race Tracks: Treasures of Automobile Racing. Hudson, Wisconsin: Iconographix, 2006 , ISBN 1583880844 , pp. 33. Order from Powell's Books|
1410 S Museum Campus Drive
Chicago, IL 60605
The terraserver image shows the old Soldier Field. While google and terraserver both have newer imagery, those images show the stadium renovation in progress, and of course noone has raced cars in the new stadium, rendering the new Soldier Field uninteresting for our purposes (Bear fans no doubt would feel differently.)
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