50th anniversary planned for Meadowdale International Raceway

Updated 9/18/2008 8:07 AM

There is an event coming up right here in Carpentersville that started revving up in October, or 50 years ago, depending on how you look at it.

Putting the wheels into motion is, without a doubt, the biggest and most diverse group of people who have ever worked together for an event in Carpentersville. We're talking gear heads, Girl Scouts, environmentalists and civic groups. Add in educators, racing enthusiasts, business owners, and village officials. And don't forget residents, politicians, teenage musicians, and township and county staff.


On Sept. 13 and 14, those groups and thousands more are expected to converge on Raceway Woods for the 50th anniversary celebration and reunion of the Meadowdale International Raceway.

Raceway Woods is presently an open space used for hiking, biking, picnicking, and even horseback riding and is owned by the Kane County Forest Preserve District, the Dundee Township Park District and Dundee Township. But from 1958 to 1969 it was a 3.27 mile race course that hosted national championship sports car racing, stock cars, motorcycles and go-karts.

Donna Redmer, who along with her husband Jack, is a volunteer steward of Raceway Woods, said the idea for the event came about last October when Ross Fosbender brought it to their attention that the 50th anniversary of the first race was Sept. 13.

Fosbender is the webmaster of www.meadowdaleraceway.homestead.com and is a former Meadowdale racer, race worker, and race organizer.

Perhaps the most anticipated event of the celebration weekend will be honoring former racers and others involved with the racetrack, some of whom will be on site. They will be stationed at the race tent at 2 p.m. each day to talk about the history of the track.

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There will also be a show of sports cars, from 1969 and earlier, obviously, that raced, or could have raced at Meadowdale. To complement that, a Spectator Car display area will showcase street sports cars, hot rods, customs, and bikes from the '50s and '60s.

Redmer said she is overwhelmed by the involvement of the community, who have joined forces to help in the planning, logistics, and entertainment for the celebration. People and organizations have been donating their time and resources to make sure the woods are in top condition, the events planned are organized and running smoothly, and that there are plenty of parking options.

There will be food vendors, booths hosted by historical groups, service clubs and auto clubs and live music from popular local teen bands daily from noon to 6 p.m. A shuttle will be running three times a day from Spring Hill Mall to Raceway Woods and Heritage Fest, which will be held the same weekend in West Dundee. Hayrack rides around the grounds will show just how much work has been done to preserve Raceway Woods in its natural state, with hints of its previous use found in remaining pavement and a restored silo.

And speaking of the Pure Oil Silo, a new sign will be presented at the event in gratitude to those who have helped in its restoration over the last couple of years.


Redmer invites anyone interested in helping out to participate in the final "workday" before the event from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday. Volunteers will meet in the parking lot on Huntley Road to widen and groom trails in preparation for the event.

"We are hoping to encourage people to use the woods. With this event we are honoring the history of it and hoping to promote future use," Redmer said.

For details, visit www.meadowdaleraceway.homestead.com.

If you have any news about your club, school, church, business, neighbor, or even yourself, contact Kirstin Finneran by cell at (312) 518-4993 or e-mail at kirstinfinneran@comcast.net.


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