Riverside Park Speedway was a 1/4 mile oval race track, located inside of Riverside Amusement Park in Agawam, Massachusetts, one mile north of the Massachusetts/Connecticut state line.
To capitalize on the nation's new attraction to auto racing following World War II, park owner Edward J. Carroll demolished a dance hall in 1948. In its place rose a flat 1/5 mile oval track, pit area and grandstand alongside the Connecticut River. The first full season of "modified" stock car racing was 1949. International sports car racing star Phil Walters, who raced modifieds and midgets under the name "Ted Tappett", won the season championship. The United Stock Car Racing Club events drew 6,000-8,000 fans every Saturday night.
Each summer's signature event was the "Riverside 500", a 500 lap "tag-team" race with 16 two-car teams. One car would pull into the infield pit area for service, and "tag" his teammate's bumper to go out and replace him on the track.
The track was reconfigured twice over the years, ending up as a progressively banked 1/4 mile oval under NASCAR sanction. The track was used several times for rock concerts, notably Radio 104.1 WMRQ's "Radio 104 Fest" and "The Big Day Off."
The track closed at the end of the 1999 season. In 2000 when the park re-opened as Six Flags New England the race track was gone, with the new DC Comics-themed amusement park in its place.
Riverside Park Speedway fans that own the Papyrus Nascar Racing 2003 Season PC game can relive the Short Track brawling feel after J.R. Franklin released a detailed recreation of the track for the game. The track can be downloaded free from here.
Famous quotes containing the words riverside, park and/or speedway:
“Upset at the young wifes
first loss of virtue
in a riverside thicket,
a flock of birds
mourning the loss
with their wings.”
—Hla Stavhana (c. 50 A.D.)
“Borrow a child and get on welfare.
Borrow a child and stay in the house all day with the child,
or go to the public park with the child, and take the child
to the welfare office and cry and say your man left you and
be humble and wear your dress and your smile, and dont talk
—Susan Griffin (b. 1943)
“The improved American highway system ... isolated the American-in-transit. On his speedway ... he had no contact with the towns which he by-passed. If he stopped for food or gas, he was served no local fare or local fuel, but had one of Howard Johnsons nationally branded ice cream flavors, and so many gallons of Exxon. This vast ocean of superhighways was nearly as free of culture as the sea traversed by the Mayflower Pilgrims.”
—Daniel J. Boorstin (b. 1914)