Thunder Alley : The late Ascot Receway + Sandy Reed

The late Ascot Receway + Sandy Reed

I'm sitting here watching this film on "This TV" for the first time in…I can't remember!

The vast majority of this film was not filmed at Daytona Speedway, but was clearly filmed at what was Ascot Raceway, in Gardena, California.!

Ascot Raceway (also known as Ascot Park) was a happening place, right up until it closed in 1990, when Chris Agajanian lost the lease to the land (he never owned the land!!!), and when this was filmed, people such as Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Parnelli Jones,and Carroll Shelby, were known to hang out - if not race there (Shelby's last offices in L.A. & his wheel manufacturing business were less than 3 miles from here!), if not for keeping current, then for fun. (I've heard several stories about them being seen playing poker inside a hangar at Compton Airport - less than 10 miles away!) The track was only a half mile, but the racing there was a blast to watch!

Ascot appeared in several other films & t.v. shows, including the original "Gone In 60 Seconds" (Agajanian's Rolls Royce was among the cars stolen in the film, with a personal license plate that said "Aggie"). In this film, you see the 110 Freeway in the background, and by the time the track closed, it was surrounded by the 110, the 405, and the 91 freeways, making access to the track as easy as can be. (the commercial heard on the radio for Ascot at the time, ended with the phrase "Where the 110, the 405, and the 91 freeways COLLIDE!")

Sandy Reed was the actual announcer at Ascot, and sadly, he passed away shortly before the track closed.

I was only 3 years old when this film was made, but I have many memories of going to Ascot, and watching the demo derbys, sprint cars, and motorcycles that raced there. L.A. was a place to be if you were into cars in the 1950's-1980's, with places like Ascot, Lyons Drag Strip, Orange County International Raceway (O.C.I.R.), Irwindale Raceway (the drag strip that was once there), Riverside Raceway, Newhall Speedway, the ill-fated Ontario Motor Speedway (a modernized exact copy of Indianapolis Motor Speedway - but without the bricks) Brotherhood Raceway, Willow Springs, and Pomona - the latter two being the only ones left. now. They slowly went away as property values skyrocketed.

As the review above mentions, this wasn't the greatest film made by A.I.P., but if you're into the car scene of the time, it's worth watching.

Re: The late Ascot Receway + Sandy Reed

It's on now…and I looked on here to see if I could figure out what track it was…Thanks. We live on the east coast, but my husband was lucky to have seen a race there before it closed.

Re: The late Ascot Receway + Sandy Reed

No problem.

I grew up in L.A., but at the wrong time: all of these places slowly vanished in the name of Progress.

I forgot to mention: Pomona is but a NHRA drag strip, and not an actual track, though Willow Springs is a road course, and I believe they do have a drag strip on the property. The owners there were smart - they bought up all the land surrounding their track, so that it will not vanish, as everything in the greater L.A. area has. So, they're NOT going anywhere!

There's also a few others, but they're a bit of a drive from L.A….Buttonwillow Raceway - another road course, is west of Bakersfield, and I don't believe that it's even turned 20 years old yet.

Then, there's Famoso Raceway - another drag strip, north of Bakersfield, near the towns of Famoso, and Oildale. I've been to both of these, and they're great!

Re: The late Ascot Receway + Sandy Reed

Thanks for the great info. I've been to AP once and I'm glad to have done that before they closed.
Been to Riverside a bunch of times.
OCIR once and Ontario a couple times.
Been to Long Beach 38 times.
I love to see these tracks on old tv shows and in movies.
Somewhere there's a thread on racing movies.