Thankfully, our Facebook fanpage allows our social media friends to keep us on the front lines at all of the places we can’t be at. With a limited crew, there are only so many places we can be at any given moment. So we are grateful to our loyal fans that let us know when something big is happening.
The most recent case of social media “heads-up” came from Stan “The Man” Mayhew, a racer from Pennsylvania. Stan clued us in on a local track that was reopening this May. The Hidden Valley Speedway in Clearfield, Pennsylvania, has new life and is scheduled to open in May.
The 1/4-mile clay oval, located near the center of the state, has a pretty interesting history. Rodney and Randy Luzier, a pair of local racers that had 30 years of racing under their belts, decided to follow their dream of owning their own track. In the winter of 1991 they climbed into their heavy equipment and started to turn a old abandoned coal strippens into a racetrack. For those outside of coal country, a strippens is a surface mine (strip mine) where coal is removed from a deep pit.
In July of 1992, the Luzier brothers dream of operating their own racetrack was realized when the Hidden Valley Speedway opened for racing. The 1/4-mile bullring was very popular and attracted many of the top late model drivers from around the area. Of those calling the Hidden Valley Speedway their home track on Saturday nights were the likes of Dutch Davies, Rob Blair, the “Slow Ride” David Scott, Dave Satterlee, Ron Stanko, and Mike Blose.
There were many other high profile drivers in the other classes, which brought the track a lot of success for the next 10 years. Today, nobody remembers exactly why, but the track was closed after the 2002 season and was sold in March of 2003.
Reopening as Gamblers Raceway Park, the track struggled under the new name and stopped operating for the full season in 2005. A couple of attempts to keep racing alive were made, but the track officially shutdown after the 2007 season.
After sitting dormant for four years, another racer decided to take a shot on his own dream of owning a racetrack. In 2011, New Jersey driver Jeff Taylor heard about the abandoned track and made the five hour drive to check out the overgrown racetrack. Taylor recognized the potential that the track offered to the region’s racers, so he made a deal to buy the land. Taylor and his team spent the next two years rebuilding and repairing the facility. He renamed the track after his wife, and co-owner of the facility, America Taylor. In April of 2013, America’s Motorsports Park opened.
Sadly, the track failed to stay open long and sat idle for the next five years. All hope was lost until a name from the past decided to breathe familiar life into the track. One of the original operators of the track, Rodney Luzier, was tired of driving past the closed facility to race at other tracks.
Rodney, his nephew, and a couple of grandsons were still racing at local tracks and had not lost their love of racing. After years of driving past the entrance of the abandoned track to go racing around the area, Rodney decided the Luzier family would bring the track back to the success it once had with the Luzier brothers at the helm.
The Luzier family will attempt to bring the joy and happiness back to the local fans and drivers by opening the gates of the Hidden Valley Speedway once again. The track is being prepped and readied for the announced opening on May 4, 2019.
Rodney’s daughter Jennifer Luzier-Bailey, and her son Josh Henry (Rodney’s grandson) will be the track promoters. A few other family members will be taking on many of the official track roles like flagging, scoring, and track prep.
Thanks to Stan “The Man” Mayhew for providing the details and images for this story. Stan started his 10 year racing career at the Hidden Valley Speedway. Hopefully he will bolt together another race car and hit the familiar track again to close the loop on this chapter.
For more information on the track, visit their Facebook Fanpage.