Valvoline Raceway (formerly known as Parramatta Speedway, Parramatta City Raceway and Sydney Speedway) is a dirt track racing venue on the site of the Granville Showgrounds in Sydney.
|Location||21 Wentworth St, Granville, NSW|
|Former names||Parramatta Speedway|
Parramatta City Raceway
|Major events||World Series Sprintcars|
Australian Sprintcar Championship
Australian Speedcar Championship
Australian Super Sedan Championship
Australian Late Model Championship
National Super Sedan Series
World of Outlaws
NSW Sprintcar Championship
|Length||0.285 mi (0.460 km)|
|Race lap record||0:11.500 (Sammy Walsh, Rocket Industries, 2017, 410 Sprintcar)|
Speedway racing had taken place at the Granville Showgrounds during the 1930s with races using the existing ½-mile harness racing track. However, with speedway already established at the Sydney Showground Speedway and Sydney Sports Ground, as well as racing at the nearby Cumberland Oval, racing at Granville was short-lived.
The new 460-metre-long (500-yard) clay surfaced oval was the brainchild of former Sydney driver Sid Hopping, who wanted to give Sydney a track purpose-built for the new, faster breed of American-style sprintcars. Sydney's two other tracks at the time, the Showground and the Liverpool Speedway, did run sprintcars, though the Showground was deemed too narrow while Liverpool had changed from dirt to bitumen in 1974, which suited the sedans, but not so much the Super Modifieds (later to become sprintcars) and Speedcars.
The clay track at the Granville Showgrounds was laid out and first practices took place in January 1977 to test out the track. Hopping and his partner Bert Wilder ran meetings on Friday nights so as not to compete with the Showground or Liverpool, which raced on Saturday nights. From its opening, the new speedway became known as the premier sprintcar track in Australia, a title it still enjoys as of 2015[update]. With its wide open spaces (the track itself has no actual safety fence, with the old trotting track forming a barrier between the track and the outside safety fence) and short straights, Parramatta City Raceway was home to some of the country's best drivers, including multiple Australian Champions Garry Rush, George and Brooke Tatnell, Bob Tunks, and Skip Jackson, as well as other top drivers including Bob "The Streak" Blacklaw, former motocross star Stephen Gall. and John Walsh.
Since its opening, the speedway has hosted the Australian Sprintcar Championship on six occasions (1978, 1992, 1997, 2002, 2008, 2017), as well as the Australian Speedcar Championship (1988, 1994, 2006) and the Australian Super Sedan Championship (2003). It also hosted rounds of David Tapp's Australian Speedway Masters Series for Solos (in a rare visit to the track) and in 2004 became the first speedway outside of North or Central America to host the famed World of Outlaws sprintcar series, which featured some of America's best taking on the locals. The winner of the event was Outlaws 'King' and regular visitor to both Australia and Parramatta, Steve Kinser. Valvoline Raceway has also been the venue for the Australian Sprintcar Grand Prix since its inception in 1979 as well as hosting the Australian Speedcar Grand Prix in 1997, 1998, 2001 and 2011. In 2015, the track hosted the Speed Energy Formula Off-Road truck racing series, a support event for the Ultimate Sprintcar Championship; Sheldon Creed went on to win the first (and only) Formula Off-Road race held at Valvoline Raceway.
Parramatta City Raceway was used during filming for scenes of the 1983 Australian movie Midnite Spares about a young sprintcar driver, Steve Hall, who had returned to Sydney from Queensland to team up with his father on both the track and in his dad's towing business, only to find that his dad had gone missing (presumed and later confirmed murdered) and his business partner being pressured into becoming part of a 'midnite spares' network for stolen cars. A number of scenes were shot at the speedway with a number of drivers having cameo appearances (as themselves) including Garry Rush, George Tatnell, Terry Becker, and Bob Blacklaw. Local driver Rob Worthington stood in for lead actor James Laurie during the racing scenes.
During filming for the movie, focus puller David Brostoff was killed when he was hit by a sprintcar driven by Steve Brazier Jr. The movie was dedicated to the memory of Brostoff.
- 410 Sprintcars: 11.500 – Sammy Walsh, 1 April 2017
- Speedcars: 14.349 – Craig Brady, 26 January 2001
- Late model: 14.523 – Daryl Grimson, 26 March 2011
- Litre Sprints: 14.568 – Andrew Wright, 12 June 1999
- Super Sedans: 15.739 – John Pyne, 16 October 1999
- V8 Dirt Modifieds: 15.982 – Tim Fuller, 2 November 1996
- Wingless Sprints: 16.819 – Andy Hibbert, 27 January 2012
- AMCA Nationals: 18.127 – Luke Pyne, 6 February 1999
- "SUPER TRUCKS SYDNEY SHOW SWITCHES VENUE". Speedcafe. 16 October 2015. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
- "Sheldon Creed takes Sydney Super Trucks". Speedcafe. 1 November 2015. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
- Valvoline Raceway history
- Parramatta Speedway @ speedwayandroadracehistory
- Midnite Spares @ IMDB
- Valvoline Raceway track records