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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Playland Park Raceway

(UPDATE) I got a note recently from Jon Pitts (DHS '61) who is a racing fan and saw many races at Playland Park and Arrowhead Speedway. Here's what he said, "
As one who attended races at Playland Park and Arrowhead Speedway before that, the two men standing by their cars I think are the Tallata brothers. In the last picture, the sheet metal fence in the background is the reason the track was closed. On the other side of the fence is the entrance to the track, a car left the track, went thru that fence and landed on top of the track owner, his wife and their daughter, who had just come thru the entrance. They were all killed, the track closed and Meyer Speedway was built a few years later. I remember AJ Foyt racing at Playland, he was a very dirty driver and the biggest cheat at the track. There were several better drivers than he, but none with better connections than AJ's dad, who just happened to be the Pit Stewart for the track. AJ's dad did not mind using his position to aid his son's career."

I have found some information on the wreck/accident Jon has mentioned. I'll post it in the future. (The Houston Chronicle covered the story and has their articles available in their archives.) I've also found video of races at Playland Park and Meyer Speedway. Pretty good stuff.

I never made it to Playland Park, much less saw any races there. I can't recall where these pictures came from, but they show several things. The first one shows some midget race cars at the starting line before a race. A. J. Foyt began as a midget race car driver out at Playland. The next photo shows stock car racers with their cars. The last three photos show some fender benders. You'll notice in the 4th picture that a car jumped the fence.


  1. Is the Playland Park Speedway in South Bend Indiana?

  2. No, this amusement park was located in Houston off South Main Street not far from the present location of the Astrodome. It closed down back in the 1960s, and all traces of it removed.

  3. there was playland park in South Bend In. my fagther raced there in the late 40 and early 50's it was dirt track

  4. I was Very young, maybe first and second grades. My Dad would take me as my mom refused to go I hear! I remember sitting in the stands loving every minute of it. I was there seeing cars go up & over the wall. Dad said I saw AJ race there. I can't remember and my Dad passed away last July. Going to those and other races near Texas City got racing in my blood. I love NASCAR, INDY, F1 you name it. Dad also took me on that dollar coaster and was terrified of coasters until I finally rode one again at 18 years old! Something I will never forget. I about flew out of my seat. Did they even have us strapped in!? Good memories with my Dad. I am so happy found this site and links to the old videos! Thanks!