History of San Jose Auto Racing 1903-2007

History of Watsonville and Salinas Auto Racing


Since 1960
Featuring a collection of over 100,000  negatives and photos
spanning 100 years of San Jose area racing

On Sale Now
Limited 2nd Edition

8.5 x11.25 Coffee Table Book Cover 

288 pages
725 photos and illustrations (280 in color)
Foreword by Joe Leonard

Click on Order Form at top of page
Save shipping cost–Pick up in person if in San Jose Area
Email: dmattish@sbcglobal.net  or call: (408) 316-8595


8.5 x11.25 Coffee Table  Book Cover
384 pages
1400 photos and illustrations–725 in Color
Foreword by Ernie Irvan

Click on Order Form at top of page
Save shipping cost–Pick up in person if in San Jose Area
Email: dmattish@sbcglobal.net  or call: (408) 316-8595


Made on 20 x 30  high quality material
$25.00 each plus S+H
Click on Order Form at top of page
then Scroll down

San Jose Speedway 1976
(This poster is an original)

Santa Clara County Fairgrounds  1986
(This poster is an original)

San Jose Speedway 1930
(This poster is a reproduction)

San Jose Speedway 1969
(This poster is a reproduction)

San Jose Speedway 1971
(This poster is a reproduction)

San Jose Speedway 1974
(This poster is a reproduction)

Santa Clara County Fairgrounds  1980s
(This poster is a reproduction)

San Jose Mile 1992
Randi Turner artwork
(This poster is a reproduction)

Watsonville Speedway 1980s
(This poster is a reproduction)

This poster designed by Dennis Mattish Photos


Book Reviews

 Open wheel Racers.com

Dennis Mattish has done it again, I just got my copy of His latest book, History of Watsonville and Salinas Auto Racing with a Gilroy Track Thrown in. 

I think this book is just as good as His last one about the San Jose, Santa Clara Valley area race tracks which was an astonishing book to me as I read about tracks in that area I had never even knew existed.

By the way if you didn’t get a copy of that book stay tuned it is being upgraded and will be released again soon.
Go to Dennis's web site for more information on that.

Now his latest book has a few new twists in it I didn’t know, How about a half-mile track in the Gilroy area? I never knew that track existed until I read about it in His latest book. Just like the other book it will sell fast so If you need Christmas presents for the Neatest one in  your life or even a Dad or Brother Call Dennis and buy one soon. Check out the order form enclosed and see the discounts if you buy more than one. You will make someone a very happy person with one of these.

National Speed Sport News

From The Grandstand

by Ron Rodda

Lincoln, CA. Long time racing photographer, Dennis Mattish from San Jose, has compiled an amazing book chronicling the history of racing in Santa Clara County. His five-year effort is now available and is a beautifully done book. There are chapters on San Jose area tracks I did not know ever existed with amazing photos and details on each tracks history. For more information and to obtain a copy, visit "http://www.historysanjoseautoracing.com/" where a schedule of where Dennis will be traveling is also included.

Weltch Media
Weltch Media has edited a superb new book telling the rich and fascinating history of motor racing in the Californian city of San Jose.

The book, History of San Jose Auto Racing 1903-2007, by renowned motorsport photographer Dennis Mattish, is a 280-page large-format, cofee-table hardback, including more than 700 photos and illustrations - 280 in colour.

The foreword is by US motorsport legend, Joe Leonard - the only man to win both the USAC National Indianapolis Car Championship and the AMA National Motorcycle Championship.

Classes featured include Stock Cars, Indy Cars, Dragsters, Midgets, Sprint Cars, Supermodifieds and many more; and the book covers all 14 tracks which hosted racing in San Jose.

In the wild pioneer days, racing deaths were almost commonplace, and San Jose's dirt oval was dubbed the "suicide bowl", prompting the local newspaper in 1925 to demand "it is time to put an end to the gruesome tragedies which have occurred at nearly every local racing event, and it is time for San Jose to bar any sport which takes so heavy a toll of human life".

But the story did not end there, and motorsport of various kinds continued until the 2007 Indy Car Grand Prix - an event recounted with spectacular colour photos by the author.

"Putting the whole story together was a real labour of love," said Mattish. "I uncovered some fantastic stories of achievement, humour, and sorrow, and I hope I have captured the rich history of auto racing through this book.

"Weltch Media's work in improving the quality and readability has made a huge difference. Although based 6,000 miles away in Wales, I know Andy Weltch has a great knowledge and enthusiasm for auto racing, as well as editing expertise, so I was keen to involve them in this project to make sure we ended up with a real high-quality book."

Some of the fascinating content includes The Great Race - the 1908 New York-Paris which inspired the famous movie - and a 1957 event which may just have been the world's first 24-hour stock car race.

John Kelly – editor of MotoRacing – wrote this review

Open wheel Racers:

Myself, Having been born and raised in the Santa Clara valley, I thought I had heard about all the auto racing that took place in that Valley?

Well Dennis Mattish has gone to extreme lengths to collect as much information along with some very good pictures as there is out there. More than any one man could hope to find on the subject of Auto Racing in the city of San Jose and  its outlying areas of the Santa Clara Valley for sure!

I had heard several stories of tracks in San Jose and the surrounding area; but he has gone in depth to a few others I had never even heard about. He has included a two page inside cover map of those tracks locations written about in this book. This map includes no less than 14 venues used from 1903 to 2007.

Dennis a veteran photographer and writer in fine standing in the racing photographers and writing world has done a remarkable compilation of the Racing History that took place out there. If it had four or even two wheels Dennis dug out the information on them and has them covered in this great book.

From Barney Oldfield trying to set records at Agricultural Park in San Jose circa 1903. (He didn’t get the record he was after that year due to mechanical malfunctions that day). He did however return to the San Jose area as a race official in later years.

Mattish goes on to include some of the most famous drivers of their own eras. Some included in the book are, Ralph Depalma, Bill Cummings, AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones and in its last few years on the racing map, Kasey Kane, Sebastion Bourdais and many more.

However not to leave out those from the San Jose area itself, some of whom were Earl Cooper, Babe Stapp, Joe Leonard, AJ Almindinger Willy T Ribbs and Scott Speed. Those were just a few of the greats to race in the area mentioned in this book. There are way more mentioned in the book.

How about a dog racetrack turned into a Midget racing facility. From its pictures it was a very nice facility for the fans. They even had gambling there at one time, with lots of police raids that finally shuttered that place for good! It is mentioned in the book.

Yes there are pictures in there to go along with almost all the stories. Some in later years in glorious color. Statistics? You want statistics well if they aren’t listed as winners in there they probably didn’t win any races in the area. Lots of race dates along with who won them are in there. It covers almost every races winner over the years at the many tracks out there. There are listings of the hundreds of just midget race winners from 1934 to 1997 at various tracks scattered through out the San Jose, Santa Clara valley region.

Race cars from speed record cars to Indy Big Cars on down to the Mighty Midgets to the evolution of the Jalopies that ended up Being the modern day Sprint Cars in one vein and the ultra fast Supermodifieds that run only  on pavement tracks.

The modern day Indy Cars even had a short reign on the streets of down town San Jose from 2005 to 2007, they are also covered.

If you enjoy auto racing and like to read its history of the San Jose area this is a must have book. There will probably never be another book as in depth on this subject as this one is.

Hey now I have to get back to it, because it is going to take me some time to get through it all!




This is what Steve Lewis had to say (in a letter) to Brent Kaeding after touring Kaeding Performance and  picking up a copy of the book .


Thank you for the great book. I had a long wait at the airport on Saturday and so I was able to spend time enjoying reading through all the chapters. The old San Jose Speedway was a special place for sure and the author certainly captured the essence of the drama, action and fun that we all had there.



Steve Lewis


Also see guest book to see what others are saying!

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