Turkey Night Grand Prix is Cancelled This Year But You Can Watch This Historical Video Instead11/27/2020
There are many Thanksgiving traditions in America, maybe you have one or two yourself. But for racing fans in Southern California, Thanksgiving always meant the Turkey Night Grand Prix.
Held at various SoCal race venues since 1934 – with a break from 1942-’44 for WWII – the spectacle saw some of the greatest names in racing compete and win. Consider these luminaries who have won past Turkeys Night: AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen, Tony Bettenhausen, Bill Vukovich and even Tony Stewart. Those are just some of the famous names that won it, among those who entered but didn’t win were: Sam Hanks and Lou Snyder, Rodger Ward, Jeff Gordon and some guy named Mario Andretti.
Cars that ran in it were mostly Sprint Cars and Midgets. The race was held at Gilmore Stadium from 1934 to 1950 when that storied venue was bulldozed to make way for CBS Television City. After that it went to Gardena, then for 30 years it found a home at Ascot, before circulating through every other track in the southern half of the state since then.
But apart from WWII and a gap after Gilmore was torn down, this is the first time it’s been cancelled in 66 years. That’s the power of the pandemic. For many of those later years, motorsports historian and author Harold Osmer published the program for the race and he and his two daughters sold it at whichever venue the race ran. This year, with no program, Osmer instead put together this YouTube video history of the race, which you can watch in between football games or whatever it is you are doing to give thanks. Click here to see it. And Happy Thanksgiving!
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