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1970 California 500

Sunday, September 6, 1970
Pole position:
United States
1970 season:

From the Motor Sport Archive

The most interesting event on the American scene in the past month has been the opening of Ontario Motor Speedway, about 50 miles east of Los Angeles, and the running of its first race, the California 500 for USAC Championship cars. The speedway itself is an entirely new concept in racing circuits and reflects the builders' belief that in order for motor racing to compete effectively with all the myriad other forms of entertainment available, the spectator must be given the very best of everything. Built at a cost of $25 million, the Speedway certainly achieves its objective. It actually contains two courses : a 2-1/2-mile oval track (or more correctly a rectangle with rounded corners) that is patterned very closely after that at Indianapolis, and an infield road circuit which utilises the same start/finish straight and pits as the oval track. The back stretch of the oval is approximately 30 feet higher than the front stretch and as a result every one of the 140,000 spectator seats has an unobstructed view of the entire track (or road circuit, as the case may be). Two further steps have been taken to please spectators. The public address system has a power of 28,000 watts – 8,000 watts more than the Cape Kennedy space complex in Florida and double that at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In addition, $5 million is being spent on a completely computerised scoring system that will provide almost instantaneous information on virtually any aspect of the race (lap rundowns, corner and straightaway speeds, length of pit stops, the speed at which one car is catching another, etc.) and all this information will be visible to spectators on huge, lighted scoreboards.