Arena Park Stock Car Races

Arena Park is about 1.2 miles from our house. When the wind is right, we used to be able to hear the stock car races at the park. This was back in the days before central air conditioning, so our windows were open with a big attic fan providing what little cooling breeze was out there.

Dad and I weren’t what you would call car people, but there was a period when we’d go out to catch the races. I don’t know if it was because he knew some of the racers or if it was just something to do to kill time in the evening.

Tom worked at The Missourian

(At least, I THINK his name was Tom.) I recognize at least one of the drivers as a guy who worked in the composing room at The Missourian.

Lester Harris when not climbing poles

When I did a story on a telephone company repairman, Lester Harris, a number of people mentioned that he raced cars. He shows up in several photos.

Hard to shoot at night

I knew I had a few stock¬† car photos kicking around, but I didn’t know that I had this many. Some of them are of marginal quality because they were shot at night with flash at long distances, but I’m including them to round out a portrait of the event.

These photos were taken in 1966. I shot a scuffle at the track that ran earlier this year.

Stock car photo gallery

Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the left or right side of the image to move through the gallery.

69 Replies to “Arena Park Stock Car Races”

  1. Thanks for the stock car pictures. Brings back alot of great memories for me.I spent alot of time out there as a kid and as sooon as I was old enough and could scrape up a little money, I went racing.

  2. Ken,
    You are correct, although as youngsters we called him, “Tommy” Mize! He was a friend of my oldest sister & brother, actually the entire family & lived in our Red Star Neighborhood. We moved away from Cape when I was 7 & returned on my 14th birthday. I believe he was also an auxilliary policeman in the about that time! Super nice guy with a big infectious smile…the joy in the sport is evident! I also have a brother-in-law, Kenny Foeste that would have been racing at the Arena during the the 60’s.

    Image 31, Larry “Butch” Campbell,abt CHS Class of ’64 or ’65 & my dear classmate & friend Denny Palmer, killed in tragic accident just before graduation our senior year,’67! Thanks for sharing…good to see those big, youthful smiles again enjoying the “times of their lives”!

  3. Tom Mize was my uncle. We all called him Tommy. I went to as many stock car races as I could. This brings back alot of memories as all of your articles do. Thanks

  4. Dennis,
    “Was” in your comment tells me your Uncle Tommy is deceased & I think I remember reading obit years back…loved seeing his handsome, smiling face in these photos, brought my early years back into memory! Which one of the Mize boys is your Dad & is he still living, I hope? Any family from their generation so I could put my older siblings back in touch? Was I correct about Tommy being an auxilliary policeman?…I’m the baby girl, 7th child of 8 of the Harold & Lucille Parker family & # 1 child & Sister Donna was probably about Tommy’s age? Good days & fond memories.

  5. Boy does this bring back memories. I used to never miss a race. Some of the drivers I recognize are #55 Bill Bost from Marion IL who’s care was called the Red Baron. Car #16 was Bill Corzine fron Anna IL. His car was done in blue, orange and white, the colors of Gulf Oil. Car #15 was Durel Fowler from Portageville. His left front wheel always came off the ground when he gunned it coming out of a turn.Also, he was blind in one eye. Car #K3 was Jimmy Knox from Farmington. Man, it broke my heart when they did away with racing at Arena Park. I can probably recall another dozen or so drivers who aren’t on the pictures. Thanks a million.

  6. Here’s an obit that ran in the June 21, 2010, Missourian. I don’t know if it’s the same Tommy Mize.

    It’s interesting that his connection to the paper wasn’t mentioned, but that’s probably because aren’t any oldtimers around who would remember him.

    “Tommy D. Mize, 73, of Watkinsville, Ga., died Saturday, June 19, 2010, at the home of his daughter in Jackson.

    He was born Sept. 27, 1936, in Morley, Mo., son of the late Ernest and Lena Murphy Mize. He and Cathy Thomas were married April 26, 1986. She survives in Watkinsville.

    Other survivors include two daughters, Cathy (Bob) Dietl of Jackson and Teresa (Burny) Burnside of Ludowici, Ga; four sons, David (Maxine) Mize and Paul (Connie) Mize, both of Jackson, Tom Mize of Salem, Ala., and Rick (Stacy) Mize of Lake St. Louis; a sister, Lois (Jerry) Rose of Jackson; a brother, Charlie (Lee) Mize of Panama City Beach, Fla.; a sister-in-law, Ethel Mize of Jackson; a brother-in-law, Donny Vaughn of Houston; 14 grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

    He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Billy Mize; and a sister, JoAnn Vaughn.

    He was a member of Freeman Baptist Church in Farmington, Ga.”

  7. As others have said ! What a childhood memory ! My Mom and Dad’s lodge worked the concession stand for the races, best hamburgers in the world! Sitting outside on a summer evening, didn’t even mind the fumes, it was a great time! Thanks Ken !

  8. The area stock car races were a high light of my youth…my grandfather loved the races and I remember attending many…in the later 60’s the classes were changed to larger model V-8’s. The early classes were Flathead V-8 Fords vs. Chevy stove bolt straight 6 motors.
    This made for cheap racing and fun.
    My personal favorite was “Fat” Slinkard’s little 32 coupe with Flathead Ford in it…very fast and won a lot of races…
    Simpler times, but maybe, just maybe, more fun!

  9. Mike Masterson hit it right on with those racers. I used to race with those guys and we had some of the best races around.There in good ol Cape.I had a 33 ford coupe with a 53 buick motor and no money. Man,was I right at home. Seems like just awhile ago. Sadly, alot are gone now.It is good to see the pics of Lester Harris. Ken, Thanks for the pics.

  10. Don is an amateur car guy; we had many high school era dates at the Arena races. Since our psychologist daughter married a car expert Robert (who was technical editor of both Turbo Magazine and D-Sport, and is currently auto freelancing), Don has been in hog heaven. Brooke drives a bright yellow Lotus something. Brooke and Robert usually have a fleet of about 10 cars, including an English Mini and some Porsches. Cars are an unknown world to me.

  11. Don, i would like to thank you for placing these pictures of the cars and drivers i also have very special memories as a young kid,i also remember Tommy Mize and going to the track with my oldest brother Charlie,and cherring Tommy on!!
    I also got to talk to a very special friend today John Perry,back from my school days!,whom also attented the races.
    sincerely,
    Terry PARKER

  12. Hi Ken, yes that is my dad, Lester Harris. He own several stock cars. Tommy Mize was a dear friend of my dad and our family. The young man in one of the photos wearing a checked/plaid shirt is Denny Lingle. He was from Lick Creek, IL, I haven’t had a chance to show these pics to dad. He will be just as excited over these as he was over the cable pics. Thanks again!!! Keep up the good work!!! We love all your pics.

  13. Barbara and I loved the races, as did I when we kids were too young to date. Her cousin Harold Stone was a driver. He used to live across West Rodney Drive from me and was always tinkering with his car into the wee hours of the morning.

  14. Brother-in-law Russ remembers Cousin Harold’s car. it was #43 as I recall. We also had another cousin, Chuck Wolters from Jackson. He raced car #113. He was killed in an auto accident on a bridge in Jefferson County, years ago.
    The races were the thing in those days, you could hear them all over that part of town. It was an additional treat to visit the pit after the races. I enjoyed when a car would go off the track thru the curtains and merge back on the track after going back thru the curtains again. I guess those were mud curtains, safety curtains or sound baffles, maybe Jerry Lincoln could tell us?
    Ken, another great memory from a simpler era. It was great family fun.

  15. I lived close to the Rubels. Cars number 73 and 37. I remember working on those cars all week to race on the weekend. We loved it!!

  16. To Sandy Harris Lyke, My email address is : LJWL44@aol.com Jerry Lincoln. I would sure to like to hear about your dad and make contact with him if possible. He helped me out alot as I was just a kid. I could send him pictures of my latest car. Also someone ask about the curtain that was put up. People lined the 1/2 mile track in cars to watch the races and the curtain was put up to stop that, but people just stood on the car tops and watched for free anyway.

  17. Benn thinking about these races on and off all day. Some more drivers i thought of were; Tubby Black #1 from Farmington, Paul Asbridge from Jackson #91, Bud Cord from Jackson, Bob Williamson from Jackson, Dick Poe from Anna IL, Jim Eaves from Buncombe IL and the biggest showman of them all was a guy named Charlie Amatti (not sure on spelling). If I’d have had this good a memory in high school, I may have been valedictorian. LOL

  18. Thanks for posting these photos. Brings back lots of memories too. Especially since our family photos from these days were lost. My Dad, Duane Owens, was racing then, along with Elmer Smith and Tommy Weiss. If remember correctly, during his time he raced a 36 Ford #62, 49 Ford Coupe #66, and a winged sprint car(#?). My Grandparents, Tom & Dinah McGuire worked at the track. Grandma worked the hamburger concession stand. Would love if anyone has more photos or stories to share.
    Ironically, the Arena was the 1st race track I went to at 9 days old in 1963. Today I still race stock cars at race tracks in Texas. Late Models and Sport-mods #25. Season starts next weekend, can’t wait!

  19. Loved the stock car races! As an only child and girl at that, my Dad took me there and I loved every minute of it. I could never have come up with those names but I do remember them as drivers. My Dad also took me to midget wrestling at the Arena which I also loved! And it has made a comeback in Cape. Sold out this past weekend but I am going when they return. Might be the oldest person in the place but don’t care! As usual, thanks Ken for the memories…..

  20. Thank you so much for posting these pix. I was there most every week. My mom, Nora Blumer, worked in the concession stand (Odd Fellows and Rebeccas). I would sell sodas in the stands. My father, Sonny Blumer, was one of the officials. Sometimes, president, sometimes, treasurer of the the Cape Stock Car Assn. My mom would drive each year during the Powder Puff Derby. I would have only been 12 in ’66, but I remember ALL those names so well. These guys were my superheros!

  21. To Teresa Owens Gural. Your dad drove our stock car for us for a few years while dating Connie. The car number was 88 a “flat head” ford and Duane managed quite a few wins with it. He always seemed to have a Pepsi in his hand. My mom won a few times in the powder puff races. Dad seemed to know how to make the car fast enough to win but had no intrest in driving. We were very fond of your dad who made the races and our “pitch” card games memorable. And hello to you too Stan!

    1. Dick, thanks so much for sharing this info about my Dad and helping him race. If you have any photos, I’d love to see them. He passed away in 1987 and all the racing photos we had were lost. Here’s my Email GuralRacing@msn.com. Thanks Again!!

  22. Tommy Mize was my dad. He passed away last June and I was glad he got to spend his last 6 months in Jackson with me and my brothers. We had a memorial service at the Cowboy Church in Oak Ridge and I was so thrilled to see Lester Harris after so many years. There were other of his “stock car” buddies that came to the memorial service and he would have been happy to know that folks remembered him after all these years. I remember going to many stock car races. My mom Gerri also raced in the Powder Puff races. That picture of dad in his stock car was one of my favorites. I always sent him the links to these stories knowing that it would bring back memories. He would have loved this one!!

  23. Tommy was my dad. He passed away last June and I was so thankful that he was able to spend his last 6 months with me and my brothers. He often spoke about his “stock car buddies” wondering if they were even still around. Lester Harris came to the memorial service we had up here and I was so glad to see him. It had been years. I used to send links to these stories to dad and he would have his own memories of the people or places in the stories. I would have loved to have surprised him with this one.

  24. My dad, Sonny Blumer, was president of the Cape Stock Car Assoc. back in the mid 1960’s. I remember when the official’s stand (shown in some of the pictures) was moved from a go cart track, out by the airport, and reassembled at Arena Park. Many cars went over the bank turn on the north end of the track and took out the dugout at the youth Baseball field.

    Every Saturday night the cars would compete in several “heats” trying to qualify for the main event, a 25 lap match-up of the heat winners. “B” class were cars that had, at one time, been street legal. “A” class were cars built as race cars only and could have fuel injection.

    Remember these names? Charley Amati, Harley Ray Slinkard, Bill Boast, Ule Krauss, Skip Smith?

  25. Happen to have any photos from 1964? My dad–Tom Weiss–raced “Ragmop” number 22 that year. With friends Dwaine Owen, Elmer Smith and Bob Voges.

    1. Hey my dad built that car 22 rag mop it was a fast car when he drove it.. I have some pictures of the car, Did they ever tell you how they came up with that name for the car?

  26. TO Dick McClard:

    If you knew Duane, you probably knew my dad… Tom Weiss. Folks had a house fire about 20 years ago, so dad has limited pictures of the racing days too. Would love to see (and share) any Arena park racing photos too.

  27. Checked with dad. Tom (Tommy) Weiss raced a #22 with a wing in 1966, thus believe that is dad leaning on the #22 and probably Teresa’s dad Duane Owen facing the car.

    Racing must be in the blood, my brother builts and races sprint cars and Teresa races. And I still love the fresh night air, the heart pounding faster as the loud engines roar by and the flying dirt in my hair!!!

    1. hi jerry,my name is greg hall from charleston,mo.my father was jim hall.he raced at cape in the sixties,with a lot of the drivers mention in cape arena racing,would you have any pictures of jim hall.

  28. I REMEMBER ALL THE DRIVERS FROM ARENA PARK,,THEY WERE ALL GREAT GUYS,, I RACED THEM FOR SEVERAL YEARS I DROVE THE YELLOW #33 HERTZ RENT A CAR BCAR AFTER BASIL BARNES DID,, CO OWNED BY DAVID STEARNS FROM MAKANDA ILLINOIS,, LOTS OF GREAT MEMORIES FROM CAPE GIRARDEAU,, KEEP UP THE GREATT WORK!! BOBBY JOHNSON FROM ANNA, ILLINOIS,,, NOW LIVING IN WEST PALM BEACH FLORIDA.

  29. My dad started that track in cape back in the 50s Dave Rogers car number 22 Rag Mop i would like to post some of the pictures on here..I went to alot of the races in the 50s and early 60s it was fun

  30. To Dennis Rodgers. I would like to see the pictures you have. I remember Dave and I remember him getting things started. I was just a kid but hung around the track. I believe Don Mcneely was his son in law. I had his old car for years until it just rusted away.Then there was a Mark Rodgers that raced when I did , not sure if he was any kin? Jerry Lincoln

    1. Hi, Yeah Don was his brother inlaw,I think Don and his wife died in 1963 from a car wreck and mark was his nephew and he just past this year.we lost dad about 7 year ago he had cancer real bad..I will dig them pictures out and send some to you.You know dad got in to sand ragging big time he love it he had a 270 inch wheel base rail he would run that 300 feet in 2 sec.it was fast..well i can tall about this stuff all night but i got work in the morning thanks

  31. My dad was Harley Ray Slinkard i was born in 1960 so i was very young at the time he was racing at arena park i have heard stories but i’am interested in hearing more i also have pictures,pay stubs and points standings i would donate to the web site if you are interested.

  32. Scott Ray Slinkard, I raced with your dad for years. I hung around Ron alot At Wides station and when he had the other station. i have pictures etc. I would like to ,know what you have. would be interested in buying your items if for sale.I hung around your house when your dad was building that A car that had trouble with handling. My email is:ljwl44@aol.com and phone number is; 618-466 7395.I still have some parts Harley and Ron gave me foor my car. Jerry Lincoln

  33. No he’s not in any photos. I beleive we had moved away by 1966 and yes i will keep original photos and other memoribila,over the years i have had copies made.Thank you for the reply.

  34. Jerry Lincoln i would like to talk to you sometime as i said i was very young and remember very little. As for what i have,the originals i want to keep but you would be welcome to any copies no charge maybe trade. i’am really interested in hearing stories. Iwill give you a call soon. I see you have a 618 area code i live in Marion,Ill.

  35. My Uncle is Bob Williamson and I remember going to the track every Sat. night. His car number was— flying 00.
    I sure do remember seeing all of these great races!!!
    There will never be another like it !!
    I know for a fact that Uncle Bobby was track champ for guite a few years. Him and Durall use to race neck and neck and they both loved it!! The fans ate it up!!
    I so wish we could go back to the way racing use to be!!!

  36. This has brought many memories back. I started racing at Arena Park at the age of 16. That summer I sold my chest of Drawers for $12.00 so I could get my car to the track. Bought fuel for the race car, pit pass my mom met me at the pit entrance she was not a happy camper. Dad, bought Tommy Mize car and Junior Strong drove for him. Dad started out with the old “Rag Mop”. I have several photographs of the Cape Races. I love the world of motorsports the guys at the Cape track I raced against were older then I was and I have always looked up to them. My favorites were Jim Eaves, Bill Bost, Richard Poe, Richard Rodgers, Jack Smith, Harley Ray Slinkard, Paul Asbridge, Lynn Whitner, Bill Corzine, Bobby Williamson, Bud Cord, J.D. Godsey, Gene Burch, Jimmy Knox, Gene “Tubby” Black, Clark Pruneau, Tommy Weiss, Junior Geile and Charlie Amati plus so many more they all were outstanding racing warriors.

  37. didnt buddy mcmillians dad get killed down there?
    went to high school with him,i live near arena you could hear the races clearly!

  38. Thanks Ken for the great pictures. At one time my Dad. Lester Harris had three cars. His Main driver was Tommy Mize. Then he had Roger Hartle, Jim Foster, Denny Lingle, and Donnie Russell. Dad would love to see these pictures. He will be excited that he made FB again!!!

  39. I loved going to the races with my parents when I was little. My dad, Norman Poe raced there. His car number was 55 and my mom should still have the picture of him driving with the checkered flag. He passed away many years ago-he would love to see all these old pictures! Thank you for sharing!

  40. Wow! This site is a great trip to some old memories. Our family spent almost all of our summer Saturday nights at the races in Arena park, in the 1960s. My father, Bill Bost, from Murphysboro, Il, and ran the #55 car, first as a B Class stock car and later as a super modified with the Red Baron name on the wing. I remember most of the drivers you folks have mentioned, along with Yewell Kraus (spelling) Dick Burch, and Harley Ray Slinkard. I think the young guy in the checkered shirt in one of the photos may be Clark Pruneau, who I think was from St. Genevieve. I also remember the Sonny Blumer who ran the show and Doug and Steve who are roughly the same age as my brother & I. I moved to Texas years ago, but still go to the local paved ovals and dirt tracks once in a while. I guess once it gets in your blood it never leaves.

  41. I am looking to get in contact with dennis rogers, from earlier comments.
    I lived across the street in cape, on independence street.
    I knew his family and his father dennis. I went to many of the races.
    please if any one can connect dennis and I.
    thank you rob47ert@gmail.com

  42. Loved to watch the races at arena park. I got to know Harley Ray Slinkard. And got to be friends with Topper Slinkard. Topper drove the #7 or it might have been the #7 1/2 for Carl Eakins. Topper talked Carl into letting me drive it one night and in the three races I drove in I finish second in one and third in one. Jim Hall and Bobby Williamson beat me in the race I finished third.

    1. Hi Jim, I am Carls daughter. Do you have any photos from the races with my Dads car? I wish I knew what happened to his Race Car …..

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