Carpentersville, IL's Meadowdale International Raceway
Meadowdale International Raceway was a race track in Carpentersville, IL, active between 1958-1968. The race track was the brainchild of developer Besinger, who was erecting a housing subdivision along the river, just east of where the track was located, and decided to install a road race track across the highway from the subdivision as an attraction.
|Meadowdale Raceway 1965 Flyer. Via Speedway Sightings
The track was a 3.27 mile long circuit, featuring very steep turns (including a 180 degree turn) that was more akin to European raceways. This was far more challenging than what a lot of American amateur drivers in America were accustomed to, and it had no wide run-off in case that could be used to escape crashes.
|Your Guide to Meadowdale Raceways
Sadly, just three races in and a fatal crash occurred its opening weekend, and as a result, the racetrack never shed its reputation as a highly dangerous course. Despite not holding a race in over fifty years, the pavement still exists, and the track is easily visible on satellite imagery.
|Now a forest preserve after many decades of abandonment. Google Maps.
A home movie shows some footage of a race at Meadowdale:
After the crash, the Sports Car Club of America attempted to force some changes in track design, which had substandard geometry and was missing numerous safety features that could help improve safety, but the events of the next couple years were cancelled.
While races would resume, the track was facing an issue of profitability, as each race it hosted did not provide a return on its investment, outside of private rentals.
The course was abandoned in 1969, after the previous years two major races: the SCCA Trans-Am Series race, held July 7 and July 8, 1968 as a last-ditch effort to save the track by making it a major professional racecourse. The land sat dormant for 25 years, before it became part of the Kane County Forest Preserve, who converted it into the Raceway Woods Forest Preserve in 1994. You can now mountain bike along the abandoned course, which is now mostly overtaken by nature.
Meadowdale International Raceway at Carpentersville, IL post-closure. Unknown photographer. Image via Pinterest.
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