San Fernando

They Left Their Hearts In San Fernando

By Phil Burgess

Four days each week, in the modest California city of San Fernando, deep in the San Fernando Valley northwest across the Santa Monica Mountains from Hollywood, wedged in a triangular sliver of land bordered by Glenoaks Boulevard to the west, Arroyo Street to the south, and Foothill Boulevard to the north, hundreds of small operations unload their prized inventory and set up shop to do business at one of the area’s largest open-air swap meets.

But more than 50 years ago, beginning in 1955 through 1969 on this same patch of land, it was dragsters and door cars that were unloaded and shown off to eager customers at a friendly little place known as San Fernando Raceway.

In the long and proud lore that surrounds early Southern California dragstrips, a lot of attention has been paid to legendary facilities such as Santa Ana, Lions Drag Strip, Orange County Int’l Raceway, Irwindale Raceway, and Pomona Raceway. There were plenty of others, of course...

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