Back in the Day @ Illiana Motor Speedway …

Posted: December 31, 2019 in Uncategorized

By: Stan Kalwasinski

Located on U.S. Highway 30 and about two miles east of U.S. 41, the former Schererville Speedway had a new name—Illiana Motor Speedway—for the 1952 season.

The program cover from the June 1, 1952 race.

The track’s top stock car drivers included Bill Clemans, Bob Perrine, Don Oldenberg, Hal Ruyle, Marion Lowry, Nick Trgovich and “Happy Dan” Walters. Ruyle, who originally was from the St. Louis, Mo., area, wheeled his 1949 Mercury to victory in the 100-lap stock car season finale in October, besting Bob Williams, Eddy Anderson, Jiggs Schieve, Lowry and Kenny Boyer on the half-mile dirt oval.

Three of Illiana’s top drivers of the 1952 season included (left to right) Hal Ruyle, Nick Trgovich and Don Oldenberg.

Speedway owner Harry Molenaar crowned Ruyle Illiana track champion for the 1952 season. Earlier in the year on Sunday afternoon, June 1, Boyer, who raced out of Highland, Ind., drove his 1939 Ford No. 37 to victory in the 15-lap main defeating Whitey Johnson, Bill Carr and Joe Buckley. Some two-dozen entries were on hand for the competition with Griffith’s “Happy Dan” Walters grabbing fast time during qualifications in his ’39 Ford.

Kenny Boyer, pictured here at Chicago’s 87th Street Speedway, was also a top runner at Illiana, winning the track championship in 1951.

In addition to the stock car racing, motorcycle racing was also held at the speedway during the season. Some interesting notes from the program: Wayne Adams was listed as the track announcer and Leo Melcher as the speedway’s official starter.

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