Oct 14 2013

Mystery Foto #37 Solved: Islip Speedway in the 1960s

Long Island driving icon and automotive historian Marty Himes provided this aerial of a Long Island race track.

Mystery Foto questions:

-Identify the race track

Islip Speedway, Islip, New York


-What is the earliest possible year of the aerial? Why?

After 1961. The figure eight in the aerial was constructed in 1962.

Congrats to Greg Oreiro, Art K., Steve Lucas and Arthur Emerson for correctly identifying the track and the earliest possible year of the aerial as 1962. Kudos to Ted, Pat Masterson, Jerry Giarratana and Paul Emmert for identifying Islip Speedway.


If you wish to submit a Mystery Foto, submit a jpeg to [email protected] .



Howard Kroplick

Islip Airport (1928-1947)

Before becoming the Islip Speedway, this 25-acre field was Long Island's first municipal airport.

The field was founded by Charles Lawrence who designed Charles Lindbergh's "Whirlwind" engine for the Spirit of St. Louis and built a candidate for the 1906 Vanderbilt Cup Race..

The Islip Speedway being built for its 1947 opening.

The figure eight of the speedway.

Marty Himes rides to victory at Islip in the 1970s.

On Thursday, you can hear Marty  in person tell the history of this sign. See below.

Former Location of Islip Speedway

Discovery Channel Film "Islip Speedway's Demolition Derby" Featuring Marty Himes

Please join the Long Island Motor Parkway Preservation Society this Thursday at 7:30 PM  at the Old Bethpage Village Restoration  for a special presentation: An Evening with Marty Himes . Admission is free.


Oct 10 2013 Greg Oreiro 11:30 PM

Islip Speedway.

The earliest year this could have been would have been 1962 when the figure 8 track was added…

Looking forward to the meeting next Thurs. and listening to him speak!

Oct 11 2013 Ted 1:05 AM

I know this is Islip Speedway,because of the figure 8 course,but can’t say what year it is.I’ll take a guess at it again. It was open from 1947 untill 1984,don’t see many homes and I started going to the races there about the late 70’s,homes where there then,so I’ll say the early 60’s,how’s that?  Thanks for this easy one Marty. See you at the presentation

Oct 11 2013 Art K. 9:36 PM

Islip Speedway
Earliest year possible is 1962 when a Figure 8 track was added and which is shown in the photo.

Oct 12 2013 Steve Lucas 9:41 PM

Hello Howard,
That looks like the old Islip Speedway. The photo can’t be any earlier than 1962 since that’s the year they added the figure-8 races.

Oct 13 2013 Pat Masterson 8:01 AM

It looks like the Islip Speedway. This track was opened in 1947, and closed in 1984. It became famous in the 1960s when ABC Wide World of Sports televised the figure 8 races and demolition derbys there.

Oct 13 2013 Jerry Giarratana 8:16 AM

Islip speedway. Figure 8 track and drag strip. I believe demo derby originated here.the reason for aerial photo was to promote the place and the new figure 8 track

Oct 13 2013 Arthur Emerson 9:23 AM

1) It is Islip Speedway.

2) The picture was taken in 1962 or later, because that was when the figure-8 was added to the track.

Oct 13 2013 Paul Emmert 8:38 PM

    Is Foto Nr 37 Islip Speedway, that is My guess. Is that the 1/8th mile drag strip on the right side of the track?  I remember being there to see Richard Petty with 43Jr, a Hemi Cuda drag car. I think that was the first figure eight race in the country. I am sure Marty Himes remembers, the first time at Freeport that they ran the girls against the guys. Hopefully a Macho event. The ladies blew the guys away!  Freeport was Long Island History.  It was a different kind of first date for a lot of us!
    Stay Well, Thanks!  Paul Emmert.

Oct 19 2013 R Troy 11:39 PM

I didn’t understand the figure 8 until I read about the demolition derbies - then it made perfect sense!

Mar 22 2016 Wade Alger 7:05 PM

In 1964 my brother Greg Alger entered N Stock at the drag races in a 1953 Ford 2 door hardtop six cylinder and an automatic transmission that he got from the wrecking yard he worked at we tuned it up really good took it to The track and went home with the N stock trophy that was quite a day we lived about a mile North of the track at the time

Apr 02 2016 Traci fagan 6:37 PM

Wade, do you remember the name of the wrecking yard he worked at? My dad (John Lawrence) owned the one on grant ave and he also did the towing for islip speedway.

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