Photo tour Elkhart Lake road race circuit 1950-1952. - Subaru WRX Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 10-13-2007, 08:56 AM Thread Starter
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Photo tour Elkhart Lake road race circuit 1950-1952.

In 2006, The Wisconsin State Historical Society deemed that County Roads J, A, and P in and around the village of Elkhart Lake be listed on the National historical register, forever preserving them. This means thay can be maintained as they are from 2006, but never radically altered.

If you are in this area (between Milwaukee and Green Bay) and a race car fan, be sure to retrace the route, and see what a wild and dangerous time this was in the history of American motorsports. From Wikipedia:

In the late 1940s, road racing was gaining popularity, owing to the post World War II economy, and the influx of sporting automobiles. The Sports Car Club of America was the main organizer of these races, and in 1950, the Chicago Region SCCA and the Village of Elkhart Lake organized the first road race at Elkhart Lake.

The 1950 circuit start-finish line was on County Road P. Competitors went north to County Road J, then South into the Village of Elkhart Lake, and West on what is now County JP (then called County Highway X), and reconnected with County Road P for a total distance of 3.3 miles (5.3 km).

For the next two races, in 1951 and 1952, a different course was used. It was 6.5 miles (10.5 km) long, on County Roads J, A, and P. To date, one may still drive most of the original courses.

The original course was registered on the National Register of Historic Places on February 17, 2006. Signs have been installed marking key locations on the course.
I will now let the pictures do the talking.

This was out in a very flat area, with a farmhouse across from the sign. A farmer yelled over to me that he watched this 1950 race from that farmhouse, when he was seven years old. Neat!

Sign says it all. A very sharp turn that leads up a hill (blind at the top, mind you) and through some undulating medium and high speed corners, like a rollercoaster ride.

Another 90 degree turn to the right, that would go up a short steep hill to...

I tried to go full out on this road, and it was absolutely terrifying, see the next picture.

It is not the curves, but the dips! Imagine a race car doing this, this may be why the next corner was named...

Uh, yeah. :blink:

The curve described in the last picture. The picture does no justice to how fast this road drops, climbs up another steep hill, and then a straight with more dips.

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post #2 of 6 Old 10-13-2007, 08:57 AM Thread Starter
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After going balls out for a half mile, you slam on the brakes for a fast, short downhill to this turn. In a sense, this is a lot like turn 5 at Road America, but reversed. After this is a long straight to the 1950 start finish line, and so concludes the 1950 course. Onto the 1951-52 course.

This is next to the village's feed mill. The '51-'52 course included the Marsh Turn and the 1950 start/finish. From this point, the drivers turn slight right onto Lake Street, towards the lakes resorts.

This is right next to Siebkens resort, and from here, they drove close to the lake, past the Campers Inn (now the....sigh...Osthoff Resort*) and on to...

*The Osthoff Resort eliminated about a half mile of the original race circuit, but since it was done in 1995, nothing could be done about it. It forever changed the character of the village, and to this day is a source of anger and frustration for many people.

Wackers Wend. In a sense, Freddy junior changed road racing forever. In 1952, a person received a broken leg and several others were injured when a race car plowed into spectators at the Elkhart Lake Circuit. In September 1952 at Watkins Glen, New York, Fred Wacker accidentally drove into a crowd of spectators, killing a seven year old boy. Should he be vilified for this? No. It was an accident, a mix of too much speed and a poor location for spectators.

Being that the only barriers were hay bales, snow fences and flags, this was bound to happen sooner or later. But with a tragedy, comes a blessing, and Road America was opened in 1955, closely emulating the original road circuit, being that it also has hard 90 degree corners and rolling hills.

Fun turn to drive on, it curves and goes down a steep hill, daring you to go faster.

Another straight.

A sharp turn back onto P.

A very gentle right hand turn leads up this marker. After this it is a fast left, right left going uphill towards the 1950 start finish, past the Marsh turn, and into town tothe start finish.

Take the time to read this, it is very interesting. I do hope you enjoyed the tour. Make sure to make the pilgrimage, it is well worth it!

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post #3 of 6 Old 10-13-2007, 08:57 AM Thread Starter
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After tearing around the original road course, no tour is complete without a stop at the Stop Inn, aka the infamous Siebkens Bar. They are open everyday at around 5 pm.

Not too many people refer to it as Siebkens Stop Inn, maybe because it is just a bit hokey.

The infamous front door, who knows how many famous race drivers and celebrities pass through it.

Looking toward the back of the bar when you step into the area. Note all the decals and flags left by individuals, race teams or race drivers.

Looking towards the front bar. The front door is near the right side ceiling fan.

Inside view of the front door.

The side door, where I suppose hotel guests can enter, or as with all bars, a good way to escape! If you exit and take a left, I stayed in the Elm Park Hotel, the same one where Paul Newman stays in, room 38 and 38A. Sadly, they are tearing down the Lakeview Hotel and the Elm Park Hotel to make way for condos...but the bar and main building will remain. I was glad to experience a bit of motorsports history, as the room I was in housed many a famous driver.

There is also a print you can buy depicting famous drivers at the bar from Racing Pilot.

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post #4 of 6 Old 10-13-2007, 12:03 PM
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thats awesome! great pics!!!!
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post #5 of 6 Old 10-13-2007, 02:39 PM
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Thats really cool. Nice pictures and good narrative of the course(s).
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post #6 of 6 Old 10-14-2007, 08:31 AM
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Very cool stuff, I'd like to go for a ride in my car on that road for some spirited driving.

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