A race back in time


by HEATHER KOVAR / KVUE News and photojournalist MICHAEL MOORE

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherK_KVUE


Posted on November 8, 2012 at 7:36 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 1 at 9:36 PM

AUSTIN -- Just four miles from the about to open Circuit of the Americas is the abandoned site of the old Longhorn Speedway.

Near the intersection of 183 and 812 a sign reads "for Sale or Lease."

If you look closer, you'll see the remains of stands.

Bobby New and his son used to race at the track. Bobby's dad, James "Papa Bear" New, used to build the cars they raced.

The Longhorn Speedway opened in 1960 as the Austin Speed-O-Rama. The name changed to Longhorn Speedway and eventually closed in 1997.

Over the years, Bobby and Papa Bear said they saw some famous drivers race the small quarter-mile asphalt track, including AJ Foyt.

Bobby said Foyt would fly in on a helicopter, land in the field by the track, race and fly back out to Houston.

Foyt was the 1961 Indianapolis 500 winner. Even in it's heyday, when four or five thousand people would gather for a race, it pales in comparison to the 3.4 mile Circuit of the Americas.

Bobby said he doubts many from his racing days will attend because it's so expensive.But he said he is excited about F-1 coming to Austin.

"People just don't realize what kind of an impact this is going to have on Austin. It's fantastic!"

Bobby said he will definitely attend but not this year.

"I'll go next year when they get all the bugs worked out," he said.

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