Joliet Memorial Stadium
By milwhcky @ 2009-09-08 19:36:52
Built in 1951, this stadium was dedicated to Joliet veterans from WWI, WWII, and the Korean War. It was built for college and high school football games and track and field events. In recent years, it was used by the University of St. Francis, the Joliet Junior College, the Joliet Catholic Academy, the semi-pro Joliet Buccaneers, and local youth football teams.
In 2009, the 10,000 seat stadium is set to undergo renovations, which include installing artificial turf, a new scoreboard, and an Olympic-style running track.
From 1952-1986, the 1/4 mile running track surrounding the football field held 427 midget auto racing events on Saturday nights. Originally, the track surface was cinder, which was popular for track and field back in those days. It didn't work well for auto racing, as racers used open-faced helmets and were pelted by the pieces of cinder.
In 1953, a clay surface was put over the cinders. The track was paved in 1964 and resurfaced in 1979. The United Auto Racing Association (UARA) operated here from 1952-1980. The World of Outlaw Midgets raced here from 1981 until they ceased operations in August 1986. Karts and mini-stock cars raced here from 1990-1999.
On September 11-12, 2009, the track held a farewell race weekend featuring UMARA midgets, dwarf cars, and karts. Dalton Armstrong won the final race held here before the track was removed in favor of an Olympic-style running track.