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Don Jensen, a DSL reader who first started drag racing in California in 1950, interviewed Jack Hagemann (1916-2009) in 2007 about the early years of drag racing.Jack told him about drag racing that happened in Alameda from 1931-33.Howard Stamp was killed when his throttle stuck while trying to slow down from a 157 MPH run.He tried to do a broadside skid, but his car overturned. Cheatham had been a frequent winner at Northern California drag strips over the course of several years.There was parking for 15,000, but the quality of paving was poor from the very start.The race track closed when the racing surface deteriorated to the point of being unusable.In 1955, they held the two-day event again, seen by 6,000 spectators, calling it the California Championship.Over the years, five drivers have died in accidents at Bakersfield, the first occurring on December 1, 1957.

Contemporary newspapers reported it was three miles east of the Nut Tree Restaurant off Highway 40 near Vacaville.The Bakersfield Smokers Timing Association conducted the first 1/4-mile drag race on September 9, 1951.In the first season, drag races were held 25 miles south of Bakersfield on Highway 99 to Mettler Station, then seven miles west on the Maricopa Cutoff.On January 4, 1959, Art Chrisman set a new track record in the Chrisman-Cannon dragster with a run of 174.41 MPH and 8.77 ET.DSL reader Don Jensen, who first drag raced in California in 1950 , recalled: "Scott's valley (Santa Cruz) [ran] at least twice [in] 1949." Scott's Valley was between San Jose and Santa Cruz, but closer to the latter.Another early casualty was Sunnyvale's Jay Cheatham, who was killed in a fatal accident during the first U. Bill Crossley, driving Ernie Hashim's dragster, ripped off a strip-record 170.45 MPH run on August 3, 1958, becoming the "first man in the history of western drag strip racing to reach the 170 mph mark." (Bakersfield Californian, Aug.4, 1958) Of course, Don Garlits had set a national record in June 1958 at Kissimmee with a clocking of 171.42 MPH, but West Coast racers were dubious.Among the growing number of drag strips in Southern California, it was reportedly the "widest and cleanest." Early entry fees were 60 cents for spectators and

Contemporary newspapers reported it was three miles east of the Nut Tree Restaurant off Highway 40 near Vacaville.

The Bakersfield Smokers Timing Association conducted the first 1/4-mile drag race on September 9, 1951.

In the first season, drag races were held 25 miles south of Bakersfield on Highway 99 to Mettler Station, then seven miles west on the Maricopa Cutoff.

On January 4, 1959, Art Chrisman set a new track record in the Chrisman-Cannon dragster with a run of 174.41 MPH and 8.77 ET.

DSL reader Don Jensen, who first drag raced in California in 1950 , recalled: "Scott's valley (Santa Cruz) [ran] at least twice [in] 1949." Scott's Valley was between San Jose and Santa Cruz, but closer to the latter.

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Contemporary newspapers reported it was three miles east of the Nut Tree Restaurant off Highway 40 near Vacaville.The Bakersfield Smokers Timing Association conducted the first 1/4-mile drag race on September 9, 1951.In the first season, drag races were held 25 miles south of Bakersfield on Highway 99 to Mettler Station, then seven miles west on the Maricopa Cutoff.On January 4, 1959, Art Chrisman set a new track record in the Chrisman-Cannon dragster with a run of 174.41 MPH and 8.77 ET.DSL reader Don Jensen, who first drag raced in California in 1950 , recalled: "Scott's valley (Santa Cruz) [ran] at least twice [in] 1949." Scott's Valley was between San Jose and Santa Cruz, but closer to the latter.Another early casualty was Sunnyvale's Jay Cheatham, who was killed in a fatal accident during the first U. Bill Crossley, driving Ernie Hashim's dragster, ripped off a strip-record 170.45 MPH run on August 3, 1958, becoming the "first man in the history of western drag strip racing to reach the 170 mph mark." (Bakersfield Californian, Aug.4, 1958) Of course, Don Garlits had set a national record in June 1958 at Kissimmee with a clocking of 171.42 MPH, but West Coast racers were dubious.Among the growing number of drag strips in Southern California, it was reportedly the "widest and cleanest." Early entry fees were 60 cents for spectators and $1-$2 for race vehicles.Race events during the first year of operation regularly attracted 100 racers and over 2,000 spectators. Ernie Hashim was a frequent winner in the early years.Jensen wrote DSL: "A paved road ran west from Webster St. The Oakland auto club ran drags there, no timing or classes.They were not bothered by cops as it was private property!

- for race vehicles.Race events during the first year of operation regularly attracted 100 racers and over 2,000 spectators. Ernie Hashim was a frequent winner in the early years.Jensen wrote DSL: "A paved road ran west from Webster St. The Oakland auto club ran drags there, no timing or classes.They were not bothered by cops as it was private property!

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