Baltimore’s Auto Race History Goes Back More Than A Century

By Larry Jendras Jr. (PressBox, Issue 164, 8/2011)

A race car at Grimm's Garage on Reisterstown Road preparing for a race at Pikesville Speedway during the 1930s. (Grimm family photo from the Larry Jendras Jr. collection)

With the popularity of growing across the nation during recent years, newer fans may not realize the long history the sport has in Baltimore. The last speedway in the immediate Baltimore area was closed in 1985. The surge in popularity of major racing venues around the country came after that date.

Competition between two or more autos can be traced in Baltimore back to November 1900. The event took place at The Gentleman’s Driving Park located across from the famous Pimlico Race Course horse track.

Will Dilks (440), Rick Jones (98), Neal Hall (92) and John Mayola (88) at the first turn of Westport Stadium in 1961. (Bob Williams photo from the Larry Jendras Jr. collection)

Other early racing events for autos and motorcycles were held at Electric Park and Pimlico. A racing accident at Pimlico in May 1908 made national news when Italian driver Emmanuele Cedrino was killed practicing his Fiat Cyclone for the coming race.

Auto racing in the 1920s and ’30s often used the ready-made tracks at county fairs or horse-racing facilities. Baltimore was no different, as cars took to Prospect Park, which was located on Eastern Avenue between Baltimore and Essex.

Continue reading “Baltimore’s Auto Race History Goes Back More Than A Century” at Pressbox.

Prospect Park was located across from the Back River Sewage Treatment Plant in Essex/Dundalk. The "" came much later.

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2 Responses to Baltimore’s Auto Race History Goes Back More Than A Century

  1. My Uncle Kelly used to take me to the Dorsey Speedway when I was a kid. When we went, the track was a “Figure 8″. So fun and exciting!

  2. Drewdy says:

    Went to Westport in the 50′s + 60′s. Ace Canupp was the local hero. Mustache and a helmet. Dirt track, lot of flying mud, and some crashes involving what I would have to call jalopies. Even though it was early 60′s the “stock” car was a 1930′s body (seemed to me). Some little coupe. Saw a demolition derby there. Most successful cars rammed another while driving in reverse. Old school stands, lot of noise. Small track. seemed circular as opposed to oval.

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