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In 1926 an 1/2 mile dirt track came to life in Parke County, Indiana Eight people who raced at Jungle Park later won the Indianapolis 500, including Wilbur Shaw, who drank the milk in 1937, 1939 and 1940. In 2003 they hosted a reunion of Jungle Park racers and race fans. © 2020 www.indystar.com. The half-mile Jungle Park Speedway in Parke County, Indiana, was "one of the premier speedways in the Midwest" when it opened in 1926, IndyStar reporter Will Higgins wrote in a 2016 story. The man behind it's inception was National Sprint Car Hall of Famer Earl Padgett. All rights reserved. Jungle Park Speedway, Bloomingdale, Indiana. The last reunion was in October 2016. Jungle Park Speedway was once known as one of the most famous racetracks in the United States. Racing ended here in the early 1960's. or. This weekend, at an overgrown racetrack on the banks of Sugar Creek near Turkey Run State Park, car enthusiasts will bring their classic red, white, orange and black racers, chrome detailing gleaming in the afternoon sunlight, looking more like go-karts than speed demons. 5. But this ridge is too perfect, the bend too uniform. It seems to follow a ridge, a bowl-shaped ridge. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. 8449 N US Highway 41 (523.26 mi) Bloomingdale, IN 47832 . "I turned over between Turns 3 and 4 during qualifying," Shanklin said. New: 2006-02-11 Jungle Park Raceway was built along the banks of The Sugar Creek in Parke County, Indiana about 87 years ago. He borrowed a helmet from Bobby Hunter, a stock car driver from Indianapolis. Jungle Park Speedway Sycamore trees stand 40 feet tall in the middle of the first turn. Earl purchased the property near Turkey Run State Park. They had another reunion in 2004 and another one in 2009. A roughly circular 1/2 mile track with crushed stone (later paved) straightaways and dirt turns was built in 1925-26. About See All. The track closed in 1960 after a wayward car struck, dragged and killed a 37-year-old Terre Haute woman during a midget race, Higgins reported. This thing was man-made. As the drivers prepared for the final race, the "feature" race, the promoter advised that the promised $700 purse would instead be $400. Cars were in their infancy. Jungle Park Speedway. Others gathered in the wooded hills outside the grounds and caught glimpses for free. Email IndyStar reporter Sarah Bahr at sbahr@gannett.com. It was a '39 Ford stock car in 1950. Race Track in Bloomingdale, Indiana. One car went off the track on the back stretch and flipped and caught on fire, and back then they didn't have much safety equipment, and people ran to put out the fire with their beer. Jungle Park Speedway was an oddly shaped 1/2 mile oval with a mixed surface of dirt corners and paved straightaways. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. Jungle Park is in Indiana near Turkey Run State Park, which itself is worth a hike-through. Jungle Park Speedway. Shanklin was 20 and racing under the name Bill Ewbanks because his parents would have stopped him had they known. Once idled, the track was allowed to fade back in the woods. Purchase the book by Tom W. Williams, The Ghosts of Jungle Parke, 2nd edition, signed copy. They "tore down part of the fence," IndyStar reported, "destroyed a part of the bleachers and dismantled and wrecked the lighting system, which had been installed to accommodate night racing.". It was built in 1947. In places, if you stab at the grass with the heel of your boot, you quickly reach the racing surface: in the early days dirt, and later a rough hewn combination of gravel and oil. Not Now. The man behind it's inception was National Sprint Car Hall of Famer Earl Padgett. Jungle Park Speedway is on the front and the Rumble in the Jungle is on the back. Robson won the 1946 Indy 500 then was killed three months later in Atlanta. By icefogger. Marshall, IN 47859. Annabelle Sigafoose, 37, Terre Haute, was sitting on a blanket, watching the race. "I hate to think that's the case, but there's something to that.". A 1/4 mile dirt oval track was added in the 1940's. Jungle Park opened July 5th, 1926, and operated Jungle Park Speedway was a half mile high banked dirt oval with a 1/4 mile oval on its infield. I roadtripped out east with Tom & Larry to camp out at some state parks and take in a couple of sprint car races. It was a proving ground for some of the top American race drivers. Jungle Park Speedway. Get Directions (765) 435-2070. Jungle Park's crowds on a good day hovered around 5,000. The grandstand looks out onto ... nothing. The car struck her, dragged her, killed her. It was fitting. They operated a canoe livery there for decades. People brought more than a dozen old race cars. current news items. Log In. The following July a spectator was killed. US 41 surface of dirt corners and paved straightaways. The track was located north of Rockville, Indiana She saw the car coming toward her and started to move away but did not move fast enough. Three more drivers would die at Jungle Park over the next two years, including Edward Leeper, whose car, IndyStar reported, "left the track and threw Leeper against a tree, crushing his skull.". And the outside of the bend is raised. Buzzards are death symbols. Not Now. They have no long-term plans for the property, most of which is in a flood plain and therefore unavailable for development. Later on in life the track surface was replaced with a oil soaked gravel mixture that was compacted, this eliminated the dust problems. The half-mile Jungle Park Speedway in Parke County, Indiana, was "one of the premier speedways in the Midwest" when it opened in 1926, IndyStar reporter Will Higgins wrote in a 2016 story. And there also was a restaurant made to look like a windmill, which remains today but is empty. Jungle Park Speedway was an oddly shaped 1/2 mile oval with a mixed Time zone: EST/EDT (-0500/-0400), Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 License. Earl purchased the property near Turkey Run State Park. I remember one drunk bought my brother a case of snow cones. Spectator admission is $10 per person or $20 per car. They were supposed to be using a stopwatch for qualifications, and the guy had a silver dollar in his hand, acting like he had a stopwatch in his hand. "We never had any intention of renovating the race track," said Monte Chaplain, whose uncle, Charlie Sentman, raced there. This is not a ridge. But at a time when seat belts were nonexistent and emergency medical care rudimentary, that was racing. So we're standing at the fence watching the race, and there's a drunk sticking a firecracker in a guy's shoe. It wasn't at all organized. "It was rowdy and crowded," said Robert Dicks, 72, a lifelong racing enthusiast. The track is on US-41 a short distance north of the Log In. It's a high-banked turn. For information on how these aerial images work, A time-capsule track stands near Turkey Run State Park in Parke County. Aug. 24, 1930, was a particularly trying day. Coastal 181 sourced photo. Forgotten account? I remember the drinking was heavy. Just a basic, down to Earth, laid back type of guy here, who loves the outdoors, the indoors, jazz on the turntable, a fire in the woodstove, the northern lights blazing across the sky, and the company of good friends. Elevation: 525 feet Entering "8849 US-41, Bloomingdale, IN 47832" into your GPS will get you to the right place. Except that if you spend a moment looking at the grassy field, not closely but broadly, you begin to get the picture: It's not so much a field as a corridor, and the corridor bends. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @smbahr14. Previous reunions have attracted more than 1,000 people, according to the Jungle Park Speedway Facebook page. I roadtripped out east with Tom & Larry to camp out at some state parks and take in a couple of sprint car races. Honeysuckle grows thick in what once was the pits. The 1926 Jungle Park Speedway retains remnants of its grandstand, track, and a nearby hotel, gas station, and cabins—collectively identified as a potential historic district in 2009. "It's a historical type site," Monte Chaplain said, "and it's extremely beautiful, and I'm along the lines of just preserving it.". Your California Privacy Rights / Privacy Policy. 5 out of 5 stars. 2,087 people like this. Forgot account? See more of Jungle Park Speedway on Facebook. "The front end of the car bounced high into the air," IndyStar reported, "and came down through the fence and into the crowd.". Jungle Park Speedway, a half-mile oval with a quarter-mile oval in its infield, was one of the premier speedways in the Midwest in the early 20th century. In October 1960 the old track took one last breath. Community See all. Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. Nature has been reclaiming the grounds ever since. or. It ended horribly when driver Arlis Marcum, of Indianapolis, swerved to avoid another car and one of his wheels hit a hole in the track. Our first track was the remains of the Historic Jungle Park Speedway, which ran (off & on) from 1926 to 1960, with its peak being in the 1930’s & 40’s. "We just needed an access point for Sugar Creek.". A grandstand. Honeysuckle chokes the former pits. But the reclamation is not yet complete. The 1926 Jungle Park Speedway retains remnants of its grandstand, track, and a nearby hotel, gas station, and cabins—collectively identified as a potential historic district in 2009. I went over the bank. marked location on the map. ", Hunter was a spectator at Jungle Park a few times but never drove there. He can still see Ralph Scott losing control of his racer and crashing spectacularly, fatally. Jungle Park Speedway. "That was part of the spectacle of auto racing, to try and cheat death, and to a certain extent it still is," Jordan said. Create New Account. About See all. The open-cockpitted, seat belt-less wagons hearken back to an era when safety was an afterthought, and bust 'em up, grind 'em out racing was the main event. Though the track closed in the 1960s, auto devotees still occasionally stage reunions there to admire vintage cars and drive around the track.

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