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Saugus Speedway grandstands fall

Posted: November 9, 2012 6:19 p.m.
Updated: November 9, 2012 6:19 p.m.

Workers took chainsaws to the historic Saugus Speedway grandstands Friday, punctuating the end of the Santa Clarita Valley’s stock-car-racing era that actually screeched to a halt in 1995.

That’s when the track’s owners abruptly closed it down, saying the grandstands that lingered at least in part for nearly 20 years were unsafe.

The city of Santa Clarita issued a permit allowing removal of all wooden grandstands on the Soledad Canyon Road property on May 4, according to a record on file with the city’s ePermit system.

The speedway traces its history to the late 1930s, when William Bonelli built a quarter-mile dirt track on the property.
Before that, the site hosted rodeos sometimes attended by the silent movie glitterati, including William S. Hart.

The track was expanded to a third of a mile and paved in 1954, at which point it was renamed from Bonelli Ranch Stadium to Saugus Speedway.

After the track was paved, it became a prime destination for stock car racing. The speedway hosted regular races until 1995.

It is now home to a swap meet. As earlier in its history, it sometimes provides the backdrop for TV or movie filming.

A 20-foot-by-15-foot portion of the grandstands was removed in October 2011 to provide more room for bands and performers during swap meets. At the time, the operations manager said the entire structure would not be removed.
Although racing halted in 1995, many fans of the stock car era remain nostalgic about the aging grandstands.

Doug Bonelli, the managing director of the swap meet, could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon. It was unclear what future plans for the property are.




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