Monroe Township, Ashtabula Co, Ohio

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Monroes First RaceTrack 1940

information from History of Ashtabula County, Ohio history book
as told to Martha Stump Benson by Harold Lockwood and Roland Stewart.
Photo contributed by John Watson (Watson Auto Tech)
it was given to him by Dick Johnson.
Jalopy Racing became popular during the depression years of the mid and late 1930's. At that time, a Model A Ford could be picked up for around $45.00.  Many tracks were in existence at that time, utilizing farm pastures and other suitable locations. One of Ashtabula County's tracks was started by Harold Lockwood and Joe Johnson at the former "Peters" sawmill site, northeast of Bushnell corner (where Bortnick Tractor is now located) and according to Sandy Georgia Ranney, Joe Johnson also had a mechanics garage at this location).  The track, which was described as "crooked but fast," ran near a creek and over a rise known locally at the time as "Moon Hill." On an extremely dry day, drivers would be covered with dust so thick that it was necessary to lead them to the creek for rinsing off.
The racecars were cut off at the windshield and most were equipped with a "hoop" in case the car rolled over.  A horse "belly-strap" was used as a seatbelt or the drivers simply wrapped their legs under the frame of the seat.  For 25 cent admission, spectators could watch the race and also enjoy the "Stuntman" Pete Strozek, as he drove through a "Flaming board-wall" made of thin slab wood. The races were fun but also dangerous.  Prize money ranged from six to ten dollars!  Of the many who raced at the Bushnell track, some of the regular participants were:  Roland Stewart, John Mickle, Pete Strozek, Wendell Evans, Howard Morton, Bob Hawk, Jack Johnson, and Helkie Anderson.
Leon (Sneezy) Nelson                                                                                    Pete Strozek