World of Speed Honors Portland Speedway’s Drive-In Theater
Did you know that the framing of the large projector screen at World of Speed is designed to replicate the drive-in movie theater that was a quintessential part of Portland Speedway?
Check out photos of Portland Speedway alongside images from the museum as well as range of items from the World of Speed Archive’s collection highlighting the Speedway’s 75 years of racing before closing in 2001.
The drive-in theater at Portland Speedway opened on August 30, 1946 and using the fields within the track, could handle roughly 600 cars!
Portland Speedway Artifacts & Images in the World of Speed Archive
From portlandspeedway.com, as it was published and left up after the closing of the track in 2001:
For over seventy-five years, Portland Speedway has been a vibrant automobile racing facility in the heart of a city known for its love of motorsports.
Originally constructed as a clay oval track, Portland Speedway has a rich and storied history dating back to the mid 1920’s when its creators carved the original 5/8-mile surface out of a north Portland field. In Portland Speedway’s early years, it was a popular destination for aficionados of the rapidly-growing sport of automobile racing, and played host to Big Car, Midget, and Stock Car races through the start of World War II. In 1946, the track’s operators paved and shortened Portland Speedway to a half-mile oval, riding the growth of sedan racing on asphalt in post-war America.
In 1984, Western Speedways, Inc. acquired the lease for Portland Speedway, and the track solidified a sanctioning agreement with NASCAR. In the fifteen years to follow, Portland Speedway experienced tremendous growth, in terms of competitor participation and spectator attendance. Similarly, the sponsors and advertisers affiliated with Portland Speedway experienced significant gains in the return on their promotional investments at the track.
Responding to the explosion of dirt stock car and open wheel racing in America, Western Speedways, Inc. successfully converted Portland Speedway back to its original clay surface in the year 2000—a triumphant accomplishment that quickly led to a coveted sanctioning agreement with the country’s fastest-growing short track touring series, the Pennzoil World of Outlaws.
As the Portland Speedway enters the new millennium, the enduring facility stands tall — empowered with the most popular motorsports entertainment, generations of loyal fans, and a seventy-five year success story.