Lost Track: Greenwood Roadway

Pebble Beach. Torrey Pines. Bridgehampton. Indianola, Iowa?

In a lot of ways, it’s the loss of the tracks of the middle of the country that is all the more tragic than the biggies on the coasts. The lack of artifacts make the memory more distant, the tracks somehow more forgotten. It’s almost as if they didn’t exist at all. Certainly history will remember Bridgehampton, and Riverside, and Palm Springs. The races at the big coastal tracks drew a lot of racefans; they drew a lot of cameras; they were well documented. The bigger racing communities have long reams of newspaper articles and magazines documenting the people and the races of California and the mid-Atlantic.

Greenwood Roadway, however, wasn’t quite as lucky. Thankfully a few corners of the Internet have collected a fair bit of documentation on the track. A track that their program says was so challenging that the national SCCA recommended dropping their drivers’ school because the track was, “too demanding for the novice.” Now whether that’s true or not I can’t say, but the track map looks like a fun one; full of weaving esses and a nice high-speed straight–90°–straight complex.

Photos from the era show that the track hosted a wide variety of events, with representation from many classes of competition. I see a lot of formula vees, but there’s also plenty of larger machines as well in the form of Cobras (and King Cobras) and Jags and 904s.

The racing surface at Greenwood—like our last look at Paramount Ranch—managed to survived somewhat in tact in the years since it stopped hosting events in 1966. Cobra fan Chuck Brandt has some photos of a group of cars touring the track in 2005. Apparently the fact that the track is somewhat isolated and difficult to access has helped keep developers from destroying what remains. I have to say, it looks neglected, but not beyond hope. I know that vintage racers have bigger fish to fry, but I’m all for preserving whatever remnants of vintage facilities we can. What do you say, Iowans, couldn’t you use another track?

Be sure to head over to Chuck’s site for more photos (including the tour in 2005). As well as some posts here, here, and here by HAMB member 3AMideaz, who has posted some photos of Greenwood that his father took. GreenwoodRoadway.com gathers more information, as well as a recent arial photo of the track.

2 responses to “Lost Track: Greenwood Roadway”

  1. Paul Hickey says:

    Here is link to a video i shot of a driving tour that featured the Greenwood Raceway in conjunction with the Des Moines Salisbury House Concours d’Elegance in Des Moines. The video requires a Flash enabled computer or phone.


    Great site!
    Paul Hickey

  2. Those are the legends of all time.

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