From Baseball Park to Stock Car Track

Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,124 posts

The Richmond Times-Dispatch (Va.) recently ran a 1946 photo from its archives showing Mooers Field baseball park in Richmond looking past the outfield to the ACCA rail yards.

The park and its team, the Richmond Colts, were owned by Richmond entrepreneur and automobile dealer, Eddie Mooers. Mooers and his brother owned a Packard dealership and later sold the first Volvos in Virginia. The Piedmont League Colts played in the park until 1952 when Class AAA International League ball came to Richmond when Baltimore's minor league franchise relocated to Richmond's Parker Field and became the Richmond Virginians.

Above - Owner Eddie Mooers at Richmond's Mooers Field in 1946 - Richmond Times-Dispatch photo

When Mooers lost his baseball spot in Richmond, he converted the facility at Norfolk Street and Roseneath Road beside the huge ACCA rail yard into a stock car racing track for several years, running on Saturday night. The track attracted the top Richmond weekly drivers, who were also racing at the new Royall Speedway (now Southside Speedway) in Chesterfield County and at Richmond Speedway north of the city on U.S. 301 in addition to special events at the Atlantic Rural Exposition at Strawberry Hill - opened the same year - 1946 -as the photo above. Mooers Field also got drivers like NASCAR National Modified Champion, Johnny Roberts from Maryland.

Here's an Adolph Rice Studio photo from the Virginia Historical Society of Mooers Field in 1953 after being transformed from a baseball park to a stock car track. Eddie Mooers sold the land located just past the old Curles Neck Dairy in the mid-50s and the track was torn down. I can remember as a 4 year old boy in summer 1953 watching what my dad called the "jalopies" being towed up Roseneath Road past the Curles Neck dairy bar where we'd gone for Saturday night milkshakes. Looks like they were drawing a pretty good crowd.

I later went to the big Clyde Beatty and Cole Brothers Circus Combined Shows in the big tents erected on the vacant lot that once was Mooers Field.


The Early Career Of NASCAR National Champion Johnny Roberts Year By Year

1951
Westport Stadium, Baltimore, MD - NASCAR Sportsman Champion
Nationally- 24th place NASCAR National Sportsman Standings

1952
Westport Stadium - NASCAR Sportsman Champion
Maryland State - NASCAR Sportsman Champion
Nationally - 22nd place NASCAR National Sportsman Standings

1953
Lanham Speedway, Lanham, MD - NASCAR Sportsman Champion
Mason-Dixon Speedway, Sylmar, Pa - NASCAR Sportsman Champion
Richmond Speedway, Richmond, VA - NASCAR Sportsman Champion
Westport Stadium - NASCAR Sportsman Champion
Wilmington Speedway, Wilmington, DE - NASCAR Sportsman Champion
Delaware State - NASCAR Sportsman Champion
Maryland State - NASCAR Sportsman Champion
Virginia State - 4th place NASCAR Sportsman Division
Nationally - NASCAR National Sportsman Champion

1954
Georgetown Speedway - 10th place NASCAR Sportsman Standings
Delmar Speedway, Delmar, DE - 5th place NASCAR Sportsman Standings
Harrington Fairgrounds - 7th place NASCAR Sportsman Standings
Wilmington Speedway - 4th place NASCAR Sportsman Standings
Westport Stadium - NASCAR Sportsman Champion
Dorsey Speedway, Dorsey, MD - NASCAR Sportsman Champion
Lanham Speedway - 3rd place NASCAR Sportsman Standings
Mooers Field, Richmond, VA - 3rd place NASCAR Sportsman Standings
Richmond Speedway - 2nd place NASCAR Sportsman Standings
Joe Weatherly Speedway, Princess Anne, VA - 12th place NASCAR Sportsman Standings
Delaware State - 3rd place NASCAR State Sportsman Standings
MarylandState - NASCAR State Sportsman Champion
Virginia State - 12th place NASCAR Sportsman Standings
Nationally - 2nd place NASCAR National Sportsman Standings




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"

updated by @dave-fulton: 02/23/18 02:00:29PM
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,124 posts

In August 1942, the headline sports story in the Daytona newspaper had nothing to do with auto racing. Rather, it carried a Richmond dateline detailing a meeting between Eddie Mooers and Connie Mack conferring on the impending demise of minor league baseball due to World War II:




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,124 posts

And, in 1943 they were staging boxing matches under the lights at Mooers Field.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
4 years ago
3,982 posts

About three decades later, Toronto did the opposite. Rather than convert a ballpark into a race track, they did their best ...er worst? ... to convert the Canadian National Exposition track into the first ballpark for the Toronto Bluejays.

(From my 2013 blog post.)

Before

After




--
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,124 posts

Map location of Mooers Field Speedway ghost track in Richmond, Virginia:




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,124 posts

Growing up in Richmond in the 50s-60s, our AAA baseball team played the Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League. Maple Leaf Stadium was just a stones throw from the Canadian National Exposition.

Maple Leaf Stadium - Home of the AAA Toronto Maple Leafs




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Tim Leeming
@tim-leeming
4 years ago
3,119 posts

What a great history lesson! I especially enjoyed seeing a baseball stadium become a race track. But you would have to understand my extreme dislike of baseball, fostered as an 11 year old kid, to know what joy I received in seeing those photos. Thank you!

Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,124 posts

Richmond stock car driver Mel Bradley had his priorities right back in 1956.... get married then head to Mooers Field Speedbowl for the honeymoon!




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dennis  Garrett
@dennis-garrett
4 years ago
559 posts

MOOERS FIELD RACE TRACK RICHMOND,VA
1/5 PAVED OVAL RACED 1954-1958

IN 1954, JUNIE DONLAVEY WON HIS FIRST RACE AS RACE CAR OWNER AND CAR DRIVER IN #90 HUDSON HORNET.

Junie Donlavey June, 1954, winner 25 lap feature MOOERS FIELD RACE TRACK.

IN 1958, BILL DENNIS WON HIS FIRST RACE.

RAY HENDRICK WON RACES AT MOOERS FIELD RACE TRACK.

Photo #01. RAY HENDRICK ARTICLE

Photo #02. RAY HENDRICK ARTICLE

Photo #03 RAY HENDRICK CHECKING OUT HIS TROPHIES INCLUDING THE MOOERS FEILD RACE TRACK TROPHIES.

PHOTO #1. HAND COLORIZED PHOTO OF AUGUST 1954 SPEED AGE MAGAZINE FRONT MAGAZINE COVER WITH MOOERS FIELD RACE TRACK BACK STRAIGHTAWAY ADVERTISEMENT OF "30 YEARS OF PACKARD SALES SERVICE MOOERS MOTOR CAR COMPANY 1114 N. BOULEVARD" IN RICHMOND,VA.

NOTE : THERE ISN'T ANY PHOTOS, ARTICLES, STORIES OR INFORMATION ABOUT THE "MOOERS FIELD RACE TRACK" INSIDE THE AUGUST 1954 SPEED AGE MAGAZINE !!

PHOTO #2. ENLARGED HAND COLORIZED PHOTO OF AUGUST 1954 SPEED AGE MAGAZINE FRONT MAGAZINE COVER.

PHOTO #3. ENLARGED HAND COLORIZED PHOTO OF MOOERS FIELD RACE TRACK BACK STRAIGHTAWAY ADVERTISEMENT OF "30 YEARS OF PACKARD SALES SERVICE MOOERS MOTOR CAR COMPANY 1114 N. BOULEVARD" IN RICHMOND,VA.

PHOTO #4. ENLARGED COLORIZED PHOTO OF RACE CARS #38 , #66 AT MOOERS FIELD RACE TRACK

ENLARGED PHOTO #5 MOOERS FIELD RACE TRACK RICHMOND,VA. HAS A WHITE PACE CAR AND FIVE COUPE RACE CARS ON 1/5 PAVED RACE TRACK.

Thanks for any information or photos posted.
Dennis Garrett
Richmond,Va.USA

Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
4 years ago
9,124 posts

Dennis, I am so glad you found the 1980 Richmond News Leader Ray Hendrick article by Randy Hallman. I might repost that on the Ray Hendrick Remembrance page if you don't mind. Love that colorized photo from Mooers Field on the cover of the 1954 Speed Age. Great stuff.




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
JAck Redd
@jack-redd
4 years ago
111 posts

A very interesting article guys. By the way Westport Stadium in Baltimore, MD., was also a Baseball Stadium. Ha, too far for me to go. Why? Because I had Dorsey, Hyba Valley (Va.), Marlboro, Pomonkey & West Lanham Speedways within 30 mins from home and later Beltsville Speedway Oh, for the "Good Ole Dazes"!

Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
8 months ago
9,124 posts

Amen, Jack... .Oh, for the "Good Ole Dazes"!




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dennis  Garrett
@dennis-garrett
6 months ago
559 posts

April 22, 1954
The Progress-Index from Petersburg, Va. Page 11
Publication: The Progress- Index
Location: Petersburg, Virginia
Issue Date: Thursday, April 22, 1954
Page 11

STOCK CAR RACERS WILL LAUNCH NIGHT SEASON IN RICHMOND
Stock cars will race under the lights for the first time this season when regular night racing h inaugurated tomorrow at the Mooers Field Speedbowl. Time trials will begin at 8 o'clock will the heats scheduled for 8:30. By shifting to Friday promoters Nelson Royall and Bill Rose anticipate a larger field of cars. On Sunday many out of town track have been operating, c u r t a i l i n g the entries in the local field. Another double feature program is in the offering again this week. The regular 10-lap f e a t u r e Sonny Hutchins, last week's winner and Ray Hendricks, both of whom have two victories to their credit headline an attractive field. Manuel Zervakis and Runt Harris on the basis of their performances the last two weeks rate as the chief contenders. Slated to return to action after a week's lay off because of car trouble is Tommy Byrne. The powder puff race which go off to a flying start last Sunday when Babara Dale topped a field of eight also is expected to draw a larger field tomorrow. Among those entered are Joyce Cummings, Dot Hall, Shirley Williams, Lee Oftrander and Virginia Tyler.

Dennis  Garrett
@dennis-garrett
6 months ago
559 posts

April 7, 1954
The Progress-Index from Petersburg, Va. Page 14
Publication: The Progress- Index
Location: Petersburg, Virginia
Issue Date: Wednesday, April 7, 1954
Page 14

NELSON ROYALL TO STAGE 50-LAP RACE SUNDAY ON ENLARGED TRACK
A new enlarged Mooers Field will be the scene of Sunday's stock car races with a 50-lapper highlighting the NASCAR sanctioned program.
During the past two weeks a major operation has been taking place at the field so that the track now takes in practically the entire playing area, with those portions of the track paralleling the fences banked three times higher than the banked area of the old track.
Along with the new look a new name has been given to the field. It now will be known as the "Mooers Field Speed Bowl."
With last Sunday's races having to be canceled because of the weather, the main event again will be billed as the Spring Trophy Championship. Another outstanding field of drivers is expected with Sonny Hutchins, Sam Di Russo, Johnny Roberts and Ray Hendricks, previous winners this year, drawing favored roles.
All told, fans will see 102 laps of racing with three 12 lap heats and 16 lap consolation preceding the main 50 lap feature. The first gets underway at 2:30 P. M.
Time trials beginning at 1:00 P.M. will see the drivers vie for another $25 award.

Dennis Garrett

Richmond, VA. USA

Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
6 months ago
9,124 posts

Good stuff, Dennis!




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dennis  Garrett
@dennis-garrett
6 months ago
559 posts

Dave,  Wished someone would check out their Grand Pa's house attic and find the old race photos / race track programs of " Mooers Field  / Mooers Field Speed Bowl". And let us race fans see them.

Dennis Garrett

Richmond, Va.  USA


updated by @dennis-garrett: 04/26/18 02:05:17AM
Dennis Schalm
@dennis-schalm
6 months ago
14 posts

I wonder how many more there were like this? If I remember correctly, the 16th Street Speedway in Indy was a baseball field turned race track. The old CNE Park in Toronto, Ontario . . .

The Mich. State Fairgrounds went from a race track to a multi-field softball complex.

Dave Fulton
@dave-fulton
5 months ago
9,124 posts

That would be good Dennis. 




--
"Any Day is Good for Stock Car Racing"
Dennis Schalm
@dennis-schalm
5 months ago
14 posts

I took care of the wedding to race track problem, easily. My wife and I were married on the race track, during intermission before the feature events.

TMC Chase
@tmc-chase
5 months ago
3,982 posts

Three more that come to mind.

Asheville:

In the late 1950s, McCormick Field was converted from a minor league ballpark into a race track. McCormick even hosted a GN race in 1958.

http://bench-racing.blogspot.com/2015/07/july-12-1958-paschal-pockets-cash-in.html

Nashville:

When the Nashville Vols minor league team folded, Sulphur Dell Field was converted into Sulphur Dell Speedway for a couple of brief seasons in mid 1960s. Today, Nashville's new ballpark - First Tennessee Park - sits on the site for the Nashville Sounds.

SulphurDell.JPG
SulphurDellSpeedway.JPG
SulphurDellSpeedwayArial.JPG

New York City:

When the New York Giants MLB team headed to northern California, its former stadium stood empty. Promoter and NASCAR exec Ed Otto hosted a NASCAR Short Track Division race at the Polo Grounds.

http://racersreunion.com/community/forum/stock-car-racing-history/36389/racing-history-minute-april-26-1959




--
Schaefer: It's not just for racing anymore.