Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures

Saugus Speedway Racing Program.

Saugus Speedway Racing Program.

Saturday, May 29, 1982.

Orange spot color cover, else black, 28 pages.

Cover: Tru Cheek.

Driver profile: none.

Feature: Astone's Victory Puts Him Atop Sportsman Point Standings at Saugus.

Photos, in order of appearance: Tru Cheek, John Lux, Chris Campanella, Ben Thomas and Bob Pollard (Page from the Past), Ray Hooper Jr., Ronald Main, Tom Fuller, Ken Davis, Bill McKnight, Fred Wolgamott, Jeff Phillips.

Previous week's attendance: 3,193 (paid)

Astone's Victory Puts Him Atop Sportsman Point Standings at Saugus

Super Track Scene (Previous Week's Results) by Lyn Pherigo

San Fernando's Joe Astone won his first-ever Sportsman main event Saturday night at Saugus Speedway when apparent victor Bill Sedgwick of Van Nuys was disqualified for an illegal weight advantage. Astone, fourth fastest qualifier, also won the preliminary 4-lap trophy dash.

The illegality not only cost Sedgwick a feature win but also the divisional point lead. Astone's victory plus preliminary event points vaulted him to the top of the points race scramble.

Astone's 550 points is tops followed by Ken Sapper, 540, Larry Warholic and Jim Kent tied with 535, then Dave Phipps, 490, Ray Hooper Jr., 490, Steve Colbert, 410, and Joe Ruggles Jr., 400.

Ray Hooper Jr., Valencia, who set a new qualifying record of 17:92 for the Sportsman class, finished second; Joe Ruggles Jr., also of Valencia, was third; Gabby Garrison, Long Beach, was fourth; and Dave Phipps, Reseda, came in fifth. Garrison and Phipps were victorious in the heat races.

Current stocker champ Ken Bosse, Santa Barbara, had a big night winning both the stocker 25-lap oval main and the 15-lap figure-eight finale. The twin wins moved Bosse back atop the Street Stock point race. The Figure-8 victory was the third in succession for Bosse and five out of seven for the season.

Greg Scates, Newhall, last week's point leader, finished second to Bosse in the oval event and fifth in the figure-eight and is five points behind Bosse in the point standings. Sixteen drivers finished on the lead lap in the oval event with L.A. Woodside of Saugus, third, Ventura's Scott Klassen, fourth and Reseda's David Brandon in fifth.

John Redmond, Saugus, had fast stocker time and Woodside won the trophy dash. Jim Gardella of Valencia and Sam LaFata, North Hollywood, triumphed in the heat races.

Former stocker champ Bill McKnight of Northridge finished second in the figure-eight main with Dave Harrison, Sylmar, third, Richard Kelly, Long Beach, fourth and Scates fifth. Ventura's Kevin McCurdy took the criss-cross dash and McKnight won the heat race.

Results from May 29, 1982

About Saugus Speedway

About Saugus Speedway.

The future Saugus Speedway was built originally as a rodeo arena in 1927 by Roy Baker, brother of shoe magnate C.H. Baker.

Roy Baker purchased the 40-acre property east of Bouquet Junction in 1923 for the purpose of breeding and selling show and pleasure horses. To that end he imported saddle brood mares from Kentucky and studded them with a pedigreed, chestnut-colored saddlebred stallion named Peavine McDonald (b. 1910), which sired five pedigreed mares and four pedigreed colts between 1920 and 1936. Baker advertised that he had 2,500 acres of grazing land and also offered training and boarding services for outside horses.

Probably to attract horse buyers to his ranch in faraway Saugus, Baker staged rodeos. Some references suggest he built a 12,000-seat arena in 1924, but this is dubious. We do know he held a rodeo on the property on April 11, 1926. That December, Baker and partner Bob Anderson started construction on a new stadium, complete with partially covered grandstand seating and a quarter-mile oval track. When it opened May 1, 1927, it seated 18,000 fans, and thousands more had to be turned away for lack of room.

Over the next decade, ownership of the arena would change hands three more times.

As with a majority of the American populace, Baker was hit hard financially by the Great Depression of 1929 and was forced to sell the stadium to cowboy actor Hoot Gibson in 1930. Gibson continued to hold rodeos at the stadium and drew a Hollywood crowd including famous actors such as William S. Hart, Harry Carey, Tom Mix, and John Wayne. He also used the stadium as a movie set or leased it to other companies for film making.

But Gibson felt the effects of the Depression, as well. In September 1933 he appeared in a Los Angeles courtroom and pleaded poverty, saying he had no assets with which to repay a $2,500 loan. He testified that he owned a one-third interest in Hoot Gibson Inc., which owned the Saugus rodeo, and that it was in arrears.

In 1934, Gibson sold the stadium to Paul Hill, owner of the Western Livestock Stockyards, who continued to call it the Hoot Gibson Rodeo. As with his predecessors, however, the stadium brought Hill financial hardship when it was hit by the Great Flood of March 2, 1938. Heavy rains that year caused a river of water to flow down Soledad Canyon and filled the ranch home and arena with mud and debris. As reported in the Los Angeles Times, the "old buildings ... collapsed during the March floods" and the arena was built anew.

Nonetheless, Hill lost the ranch sometime after the April 1938 rodeo. According to Reynolds, the property was repossessed by the bank. In 1939, ownership passed to William Bonelli, and it was renamed Bonelli Stadium.

Bonelli, a professor of economics at Occidental College, continued the annual rodeo tradition for a number of years but introduced auto racing in 1939 on a more frequent schedule; ultimately auto racing became the primary draw and Bonelli renamed the arena Saugus Speedway. Occasional rodeos and circuses continued until at least the late 1960s, auto racing until 1995. The facility was sometimes used for concerts before the grandstands were removed in 2012 (the originals had been replaced in 1955). The venue continues to host an outdoor swap meet.

Download individual pages here.

• Bonelli Stadium
• Saugus Speedway Drivers
• Fireball 500


Saugus Speedway Scrapbook 1979/1995



Kurtis Midget 1950, Art 2006




Ron Hornaday Sr.


Trophy Girl Amedee Chabot, Miss USA 1962


Aerial View 1971


Video: Rolling Man (ABC 1972)


Photo Album


Charlie's Angels 1976


Aerials 1979


Jason Priestly, Charlie Sheen, Charity Benefit 1991


Assessor's Map 2008

• Old Barn Burns


Video: Driver Reunion 8-21-2017


Legacy: Sad Sam Stanley

RETURN TO TOP ]   RETURN TO MAIN INDEX ]   PHOTO CREDITS ]   BIBLIOGRAPHY ]   BOOKS FOR SALE ] is another service of SCVTV, a 501c3 Nonprofit • Site contents ©SCVTV • Additional copyrights apply
comments powered by Disqus