Team demo derby got its start in Chicagoland in 1950. The first tracks to run this format were 87th St. Speedway in Chicago, and Blue Island's Raceway Park off of Vermont St. and Ashland Ave.
At Raceway Park, team demo started i n 1950 and went though 1963. There were two teams of three cars each on every team demo night. These "team races", as they were known, ran as a feature on regular stock car nights. They were the last races of selected stock car and midget nights.
At its inception, each team consisted of all the same makes- all Hudson, all Buick, etc. The team make became the team name- The GM Team, The Ford Team, etc. All cars on the same team were usually repainted the same color. Most cars for these races were supplied by a junkman known as Bruno Ricci.
There were assigned positions to each driver. The lap runner was known as the "Sprinter". The driver who blocked for the sprinter was known simply as the "Blocker". The third driver was known as the "All-Arounder", which would take on either task as needed.
The races consisted of 6 laps in a counter clockwise (standard) direction. The sprinter needed to make 6 laps in this direction. The blocker and the all-arounder could go in any direction they needed to go. Sometimes, part of the race would require making backwards laps. The crashing consisted of little contact to all out head-on hits, as in todays's team demo.
Surprisingly, serious injuries were not very prevalent in these days before modern safety equipment.
Some famous names from this era were Vern Mullennix, H. Mullenix, Johnny Schipper and Louie Panico.
On a side note, here are the wins/losses of each team for 1952: Buick- 3/1, Chrysler- 8/13, Ford 6/3, GM- 16/10, Hudson- 0/1, Independents- 5/10. This year had a total of 38 team races completed.
Both tracks are now defunct, but their closings had nothing to do with team demo moving on to the next track.....
thanks to Wayne Adams Sr. for information used in this article!
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if anyone has additional information or pics from this era, please contact me here
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