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Good Seats Still Available

257 EpisodesProduced by Tim HanlonWebsite

“Good Seats Still Available” is a curious little podcast devoted to the exploration of what used-to-be in professional sports. Each week, host Tim Hanlon interviews former players, owners, broadcasters, beat reporters, and surprisingly famous "super fans" of teams and leagues that have come and gon… read more


173: Ontario Speedway, The International Race of Champions & More – With Dave Lockton

Longtime sports/information technology entrepreneur/executive Dave Lockton joins this week to discuss his managerial adventures in the geographically fragmented and provincially fractious auto racing scene of the late 1960s/early 1970s – including the founding of the groundbreaking Ontario Motor Speedway, and its role in the ideation of the ultimate “all-star” professional driving competition – the International Race of Champions (IROC).

Sports fans of a certain age will surely remember the old IROC series – which ran for 30 seasons starting in 1973 – where the best drivers from the world’s top auto racing disciplines raced one another in equally prepared and equitably crewed cars to determine motorsports’ “ultimate” annual champion.  Multi-circuit veteran Tony Stewart (who won the final IROC XXX in 2006) certainly does – he and fellow NASCAR Hall of Famer Ray Evernham are teaming to reinvent the format next summer with a nationally televised six-race, short-track series to air in prime time on CBS called the Superstar Racing Experience (SRX).

The basis for the IROC concept dates back to Lockton’s time as President/CEO and chief visionary of Ontario’s “Indianapolis of the West” – a stalled mid-1960s pipe dream that Lockton helped resuscitate, leveraging his budding professional driver representation firm and his Indianapolis Speedway/USAC governing body relationships into a state-of-the-art, all-purpose West Coast racing mecca just east of Los Angeles.

Among the innovations Lockton and team pioneered at Ontario (which included a private stadium club with annual memberships, corporate suites, crash-absorbent retaining walls & safety fences, and computerized real-time timing/scoring/positioning data) was a first-of-its-kind pro-am celebrity race – featuring a co-mingling of Hollywood luminaries and professional drivers competing in similarly prepared vehicles – the foundational element of what would soon become the signature IROC series.

PLUS: Hugh Downs keeps it together; Evel Knievel makes his case; and the short-lived sports commissioner career of Gerald Ford!

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