The Track

Track Specs: High-banked, 1/4 mile clay oval.

Seating Capacity: Approximately 7,000 Grandstand Seating.

Years of Operation: 1962 to Present.

Silver Dollar Speedway, as it exists today, is the fourth auto racing track to be built in the Chico area. The first was a one-half mile track, approximately where the present track is located. From 1948 to 1950 Big Sprint Car Races were held at this location, with Lennie Low being the dominant driver.

Chico Auto Racing Association was formed in 1950 and Jalopy races were contested at the Fairgrounds in 1950 and ’51.

In 1952 races were held off Hwy 32 at a track built around Hahn Baseball Field.

Racing moved to Chico Speedway at the end of East 8th Street in 1953, where racing flourished until 1962.

Finally, in 1962 Valley Auto Racing association was formed and the present track was constructed, with help from Third District Agriculture Association Fair Manager Ed Warrner and VARA President Bill Ferhman.

From it’s inception, Silver Dollar Speedway has been the only track in Northern California to operate on a primarily Friday night weekly schedule.

Races were promoted by VARA until 1972, running open competition run-what-you-brung Super Modified/Sprint cars, flat-head modified Hardtops and $99 Claimers.

The first Northern Auto Racing Club all sprint car race was held in 1968 under VARA promotion and was won by Billy Anderson, using neither wings or roll cages. (July 27, 1968)

The touring Bay Cities Racing Association midgets have raced at Silver Dollar once or twice a year since 1964 when the first BCRA race was won by Dee Hilleman.

In 1973, local businessman Jack Tindle took over a promoter of the race track, continuing to run open competition/open wheel cars and a variety of stock car classes. 1974 saw the 320 CID carburetor modifieds take over and run as the main class of open wheel cars until 1982.

West Capital Speedway Promoter John Padjen gained control of the speedway in 1978 and continued to offer a complete scope of racing events. Padjen gradually moved to sprint cars as the headline class starting in 1983.

The place to be in Chico on a Friday night is Silver Dollar Speedway. The track host a weekly Friday night show starting in early April and continues until the end of August. The main attraction of the weekly show includes the 410 sprint cars, dirt modifieds and pure stocks. Other big events throughout the year includes three days of racing during the Silver Dollar Fair always held on the Memorial Day Weekend and the annual July 4th race with fireworks at night.

The Golden State Challenge King of California sprint car series is now the main attraction of traveling groups that race at Silver Dollar Speedway on a regular basis. The series travels up and down Northern and Central California. This 410 sprint car group starts their year off at Silver Dollar Speedway with the annual running of the Mini Gold Cup and visits the track a total of six times throughout the year.

The biggest race of the year for the group takes place at Silver Dollar Speedway. The Dave Bradway Jr. Memorial race is the highest paying one day race on the circuit. The race pays tribute to the late Dave Bradway Jr. who was becoming a star in Northern California sprint car racing in the late eighties. Unfortunately his life was ended way too early after a sprint car crash in Washington at Skagit Speedway in 1987. Since our loss, Silver Dollar Speedway has played host to the annual Memorial race that traditionally attracts the most cars for a one day show all year during the Golden State season.

The Gold Cup Race of Champions was moved to Silver Dollar from West Capital Speedway in 1980 and is now considered one of the premiere events in the sprint car racing.

Steve Kinser won the first World of Outlaw race held in 1979 at Silver Dollar Speedway. (6-19-79). Ironically, Steve Kinser has won the last two Gold Cups held at the race track. He now has won 11 Gold Cup Race of Champions main events, the most of any other driver. His wins in 2002 and 2003 proved once again that he is still the King of the Outlaws.
The final race of the year involves the Pacific Sprint 360 Fall Nationals. The race attracts drivers from all over the Western United States and Canada. This three day event finalizes the racing season at Silver Dollar Speedway and traditionally boasts close to 100 drivers for the three nights of racing. In 2003, former World of Outlaw rookie of the year Brad Furr captured the 40 lap main event.