Today, many people dive through once was what a famed race track in the Tacoma, Washington era. However, the track is lost to history except for the old track layout that winds through part of Lakewood.

The historic Tacoma Speedway held races between 1912 and 1922. Many said the track matched the best tracks in the area because it offered the largest prizes designed to attract top racers. 

Cars at the Tacoma Speedway (Tacoma Library)
Cars at the Tacoma Speedway (Tacoma Library)

Origins of Racing

The Lakeview area of Tacoma, Washington, witnessed the first road races in 1912 and 1913, both held on a temporary dirt surface. In 1914, organizers wanted a fresh approach, selecting a new course in the northeastern corner of the area. Initially, it was a perfect oval with a dirt surface.

Transformation to Board Track

By 1915, the course underwent a significant update, as it changed into a "D" shaped track. This change hoped  to enhance the racing experience for participants and fans alike.

Tacoma Speedway (Photo: Tacoma Daily Ledger)
Tacoma Speedway
(Photo: Tacoma Daily Ledger)

Tragic Events on the Re-named Pacific Coast Speedway

The debut event on the renamed Pacific Coast Speedway in 1915 was overshadowed by tragedy with the deaths of Billy Carlson and his riding mechanic Paul Franzer.  These death  tarnished Tacoma's racing reputation and the track was labeled as “dangerous.”

Decline and Closure

The facility faced further tragedy when the grandstands were destroyed by fire in 1920. Large financial debts eventually led to the closure of the Pacific Coast Speedway just two years later, marking the end of an era in Tacoma's racing history.

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Gallery Credit: tsm/Timmy!

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