M&N Raceway, 1965

M&N Raceway was opened in 1963 by Harley Miles and Art Nelson, thus the name M&N. Later, under various other managements it became Wichita International Raceway Park, then Wichita International Raceway.

In 1964, a friend of mine, Danny Scott, borrowed my camera to take to the races. (At least I think it was 1964. It might have been 1965. If anyone can really prove one way or another, I'd like to hear from you.) I processed Danny's negatives and made prints for him, but apparently he never collected the negatives. That was pretty common among friends who borrowed my camera; after they had the prints, they never considered the negatives to be important. About 30 years later, I found them at my parents' house stuffed loose and unprotected in a shoebox. Danny had passed away in the interim.

If you are familiar with today's Wichita International Raceway, you can see from these pictures that the dragstrip has changed over the years. Originally the tower was on the east side of the strip and the only bleachers were benches on berms on the west side. They were behind the return road and the road used for staging the "hot cars" which needed push starts. Today those same roads are both return roads and the berms have been flattened out for the Pro and Super Pro pits. A concession stand stood at the south end of the bleachers, the foundation of which can still be seen today where tech inspections are done. When these photos were made, the starter was a flagman. When I started racing a year or two later, the the flagman had been replaced by a Christmas Tree.

Danny Scott was the kind of guy who never received much credit in life, so I wanted to be sure he got the credit for these photos. I removed some of the scratches and fixer stains to improve your enjoyment and cropped out some of the extra sky and asphalt, but otherwise they are pretty much the way he took them. I have included every picture on the roll despite some repetition, because the backgrounds have things in them that some local enthusiasts may find interesting. All of these photos were made from just behind the old tower near the starting line on the east side of the track.

The tire smoke seen in many of the photos is not from burnouts. The water box had not yet been invented. In those days, tire smoke was a part of the run.