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History of Marchbanks Speedway/Hanford Motor Speedway

RELATED STORIES: Read more about Marchbanks Speedway and Hanford Motor Speedway in my Marchbanks section, including the regularly updated "History of Marchbanks Speedway, aka Hanford Motor Speedway."


Entries in Marchbanks Speedway (11)


Local news video of March 1968 Champ Car race

Here's a short local-news video previewing the California 200 race in March 1968. 

The video featuring longtime Fresno newscaster Gus Zernial is short on any real information, but there are two highlights for me:

1) The sound of the No. 15 Gerhardt Offy as Mel Kenyon pulls onto the track. 

2) A quick shot of a full grandstand. Throughout my reporting on Marchbanks' history, good shots of the stands have been hard to come by. 

I don't know whether the video was part of a local newscast (Zernial worked for Channel 30 in Fresno for years) or whether it was part of a network telecast. Can anyone share some insight into that question or anything else about TV coverage from the track in those days? 


John Isom photos from 1967-68 Champ Car races

Mario Andretti, Al Unser and Art Pollard in the infield at the 1968 Champ Car race at Hanford Motor Speedway. Note Unser’s heeled dress shoes. (Photo courtesy of John Isom). Drivers’ meeting at the Hanford Speedway Champ Car Race on March 17, 1968.  From left:  Billy Vukovich, Jr., Chuck Hulse, Mario Andretti, Art Pollard, Bobby Unser, &  Unidentified driver.  (Photo courtesy of John Isom). CLICK IMAGE TO VIEW LARGER SIZEPiecing together this history of Marchbanks Speedway and Hanford Motor Speedway has been rewarding thanks to the wonderfully detailed memories so many people have shared of the track and the wildly diverse forms of racing there. 

That includes John Isom, who photographed three races at Hanford: the 1967 and the spring and fall 1968 Champ Car races. What’s special about Isom’s photos is they were shot with a Rolleiflex twin-lens 2.8E2 professional camera, utilizing medium format (2-1/4-inch x 2-1/4-inch 120 film. For those who aren’t shutterbugs, the Rolleiflex is a tidy camera with a unique design

Click to read more ...


It would have been nice to get some credit ... 

Hanford Sentinel "Hanford History" article posted Dec. 14, 2013... for this short Hanford Sentinel story on the Marchbanks track posted Dec. 14. 

Two things bother me about this piece: 1)They cut and pasted my work without appropriate credit and 2) The Sentinel has all but ignored the track's history over the last few decades. 

Equally annoying is that even though there's only slight rewriting of my original work, they've slapped their own copyright notice on the story and are offering the Indycar photo reprint for sale. All of my work is published under a Creative Commons license that allows others to "copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format for any purpose, even commercially" as long as the work is attributed" ... "You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. ..."

This photo The Sentinel posted with the article is apparently of Darlington Raceway, reader Jim Thurman noted in the comments of this post.I published my stories under Creative Commons rather than traditional copyright because I pursued this as a collaborative endeavor and included a lot of other sources, particularly quotes from fan forums. That's why I have so many links to third-party sites to give credit where credit is due.

My frustration is magnified because at the beginning of this Marchbanks project I tried several times to talk to editors at The Sentinel, with no response. My original idea was to pitch a history project for them to pursue and publish, and offer my help if they wanted/needed it. Not that I'm anything special, but it'd be nice if the hometown paper were to invest a little bit in telling the story of this memorable track. The Marchbanks history retains high interest among many people -- I  know because I continue to get lots of traffic to my stories, years after they were first published. This isn't the first time my Marchbanks stuff has been republished verbatim elsewhere. But it's the first time an entity that should know better isn't following pretty basic rules for crediting creative work. 

OK, on the plus side, the Sentinel piece included a photo I have never seen that shows the track from the entry into Turn 1. The caption doesn't provide details, so I'll try to dig deeper. But the presence of what appears to be infield seating would indicate it likely was one of the NASCAR Grand National races. Any of my readers have any idea when this photo was taken?