Sunday, January 11, 1970

International Slot Car Raceway at the Armed Services YMCA - Downtown San Diego

Probably the most well known and longest standing Slot Car Raceway in the history of San Diego was the big and super-fast 220 Engleman track located in Downtown San Diego at the Armed Services YMCA.   It opened around 1966 and continued to operate into the 1980's.  It was originally known as the "International Raceway Center", but the name was changed around 1971 to "San Diego Model Raceway" when it was taken over by the late Rene' Romero. Rene' was a wonderful and friendly guy who was the ultimate hobbist (slot racing, RC cars, photography and more) and was also a great track owner who kept this raceway going for quite a long time.  Some of the So Cal slot racers who "back in the day" called this track home include: Art Tarver, Dennis "Foamy" Hill, Leroy Vega, Bob Johannes, Tim Bunch, G Morgan, Jaime, and many many others.

Vintage Engleman Track at the San Diego YMCA

Saturday, January 10, 1970

Slot Car History : San Diego - 1964 & 1965


Slot racing in San Diego started to take hold in or around 1963 or so.  This copy of the Pacific Telephone Yellow pages is from 1964, but the ads would have designed been ordered the year before. 
Below in the Hobby section we can see that Lee's Hobbycrafts at 54th and El Cajon Boulevard offered a 90 foot track and featured "SLOT CAR RACING" on Friday nights.  I hear that there was also a big Figure 8 track at ToyCo in downtown San Diego on 12th Ave, but there is no ad for that here. 

1.  Lee's Hobbycrafts

1964 Pacific Bell Yellow Pages
(click pic for close up)
In the following year (1965) you can see that there were several more places offering Slot Car Tracks and parts as the hobby began to establish itself. 

So now we have:
1.  Al's Speedway on Adam's Avenue in Normal Heights; 
2.  Arch's Hobbies in Hillicrest 
3.  Arch's Hobbies on 54th St and El Cajon Blvd. (they took over Lee's Hobbycraft)
4.  Hal's Bike and Hobby Shop in the Clairemont Quad. 
5.  North Park Hobby Shop on 30th street.
6.  San Diego Model Raceways in La Mesa

1965 Pacific Bell Yellow Pages
(click pics for close up)

Friday, January 9, 1970

Slot Car History : San Diego - 1966

The year is 1966... 
Slot Car Racing is taking hold all across America - and San Diego is no exception.

Since just last year (1965) an additional 10 Slot car tracks have popped up across the city.
In the telephone books HOBBY SECTION we now also have:

 7.  Hobby Stop Uptown with Slot Racing Supplies

 8.  South Clairemont Model Raceway

 9.  Sunset Cliffs Model Raceway

But there is also now a separate section in the telephone book called
SLOT CAR RACE COURSES, and here we see...

10. Allied Model Car Raceways on Waring Rd.

11. El Cajon Road Runner on East Main

12. Hobbies Unlimited on Euclid

13. Home Model Racing Center Opens with 2 huge tracks

14. International Raceway Center at the Armed Services YMCA

15. Le Mans Miniature has a track at 54th and University

16. Sunset Cliffs Model Raceway in the OB / Pt Loma area.

1966 Pacific Bell Yellow Pages