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CATEGORIES (articles) > American Motorsport > Race Circuits > Beverly Hills Speedway Race Circuit

Beverly Hills Speedway Race Circuit


Beverly Hills Speedway
Facility statistics
Location Beverly Hills, CA
Broke ground 1919
Opened 1920
Construction cost $500,000
Closed 1924
Nickname Los Angeles Speedway / The Glamor Track
Track
Track Type - style="vertical-align: top;" Track Length 1.25 miles
# Turns 4
Surface - style="vertical-align: top;" Banking 37°
Seating Capacity 70,000+

Beverly Hills Speedway was home to speeding Model Ts and airplanes which cut through the airspace of Beverly Hills, CA, United States, during the roaring 20s. Built in 1919 on what is currently Beverly Hills High School, the Regent Beverly Wilshire and countless shops and homes on the approx. 275 acres was then called Beverly Drive West. The track ran south of Wilshire Blvd, between Lasky Dr and Beverly Dr. and Santa Monica Blvd. At a cost of $500,000, it was completed and ready for inauguration on February 28th. The money for this project came from a group of actors and others in the industry. Together they were known as the Beverly Hills Speedway Syndicate and in 1919, they finally had enough money to go ahead with their project. The majority of this money would go towards buying the land. The lima-bean farmer who sold the Syndicate the land offered it to them for $1,000 per acre. Using 2-by-4s since the material was cheap, the 1mile speedway was built by Jack Prince -- famous at the time for his speed track constructions. Though not only cheap, the wood was better than the typical dirt race track since it didn't have the dust flying into driver's faces.

An aerial shot of the Beverly Hills Speedway with a look at the bend. Eucalyptus trees line the south side of Wilshire Blvd on the northern border of the track.

At the time, the wooden raceway was ranked second only to the Indianapolis Speedway. On its first race day, Jimmy Murphy, driving car #14, competed in the track's first 250-mile race and won. However the Sunday afternoons filled with the roars of the engines would not be sustained for too long. After only four years, the 70,000 seat stadium would be disassembled to make room for other improvements. The land was deemed more expensive than the track that lay atop it. The last race was held February 24, 1924 before a crowd of 85,000. On that day Harlan Fengler broke the world record for a 250mile race. By 1928, the Beverly Wilshire hotel would be built on the site of the track's north-east turn. The developers of the racetrack would later move it to Culver City, just south of MGM studios.

The speedway was built at a time when car races were popular. The Los Angeles Motordrome was another popular speedway just south in Playa del Rey. There were about six of the wooden tracks -- or "toothpick tracks" -- in California.

Races

Statistics for winners of each race.

Jimmy Murphy in the number 12 Duesenberg is leading Ralph DePalma in the number 4 ballot on April 10, 1921.
Poster for November 24, 1921 race.
Date Driver Distance Car Avg MPH
February 28, 1920 Jimmy Murphy 250 Duesenberg 103.2
March 28, 1920 Art Klein 50 Peugot 110.8
March 28, 1920 Jimmy Murphy 50 Duesenberg 110.3
March 28, 1920 Tommy Milton 50 Duesenberg 111.8
November 25, 19201 Roscoe Saries 250 Duesenberg 103.2
February 27, 1921 Ralph DePalma 25 Ballot 106.46
February 27, 1921 Roscoe Saries 25 Duesenberg 107.27
February 27, 1921 Jimmy Murphy 25 Duesenberg 103.75
February 27, 1921 Tommy Milton 25 Miller 104.30
February 27, 1921 Ralph DePalma 50 Ballot 107.39
April 10, 1921 Ralph DePalma 25 Ballot 106.3
April 10, 1921 Eddie Pullen 25 Duesenberg 107.9
April 10, 1921 Joe Thomas 25 Duesenberg 105.8
April 10, 1921 Jimmy Murphy 25 Duesenberg 107.3
April 10, 1921 Jimmy Murphy 50 Duesenberg 109.26
November 24, 1921 Eddie Hearn 250 Duesenberg 109.7
March 5, 1922 Tommy Milton 250 Durant-Miller 110.8
April 2, 1922 Pietro Bordino 25 Fiat 114.84
April 2, 1922 Tommy Milton 25 Durant-Miller 115.17
April 2, 1922 Jimmy Murphy 25 Duesenberg 114.22
April 2, 1922 Frank Elliott (driver) 25 Miller 114.52
April 2, 1922 Tommy Milton 50 Durant-Miller 115.24
December 3, 1922 Jimmy Murphy 250 Miller 114.6
February 25, 1923 Jimmy Murphy 250 Miller 115.65
November 29, 1923 Bennett Hill 250 Miller 112.42
February 24, 1924 Harlan Fengler 250 Miller 116.6

1: Gaston Chevrolet and Eddie O'Donnell collided and crashed into one another during the Thanksgiving Day Beverly Hills Speedway Classic race. Chevrolet was killed along with O'Donnell, and his mechanic Lyall Jolls, died the next day.


Resources

  • "BOARD TRACKS: Before Indianapolis, L.A.'s Toothpick Ovals Were King" SHAV GLICK. Los Angeles Times, October 14, 1987.
  • "Column: L.A. Scene / The City Then and Now". CECILIA RASMUSSEN. Los Angeles Times, October 19, 1992.



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