011 Jungle Park October 5 2013 015
Image by clamshack
Photos and text by Randall Cook-"Carl:
Tom and I took the Boyle Valve car to the Jungle Park Reunion on October 5th. Jungle Park was a legendary 1/2 high banked oiled dirt track that ran from the 1920s until around 1960. Today the track property is used in a canoe rental business as the old track bordered on both Sugar Creek and the Turkey Run State Park. The track itself is located a few miles north of Rockville, Indiana on US highway 41.
There have been times in the past when the reunion had over 50 vintage race cars show up with many of them being cars that actually would have raced at Jungle Park. This wasn’t one of those times as only seven cars came this year. Even so, it was stll fun to talk with people and go around and check out the one old grandstand that is still standing. At one time I believe there were up to five staggered stands on the "front straight" of what was really a pretty circular track.
Of those cars that were there the most interesting was a pre-WWII motorcycle engined midget built by Henry Meyer. The car has never been restored and is pretty much like it was when it was last raced around 1950. Some guy bought it in a farm sale in Illinois and hopes to bring it back to its original glory when it was racing on the winter indoor midget circuit on tracks in Long Island as well in the Chicago Ampitheater. I’ve attached a copy of a photo that was on display of driver Ben Emerick in the car in 1947.
Several cars took laps on what’s left of the old banking around the track including the Boyle car. One vintage SCCA car actually got on it pretty good a couple of times. In at least one of the photos you can see the US 41 guardrail in the background. In addition to the cars that found themselves going into Sugar Creek over the years there was at least one incident of a car going up the banking and ended up in the middle of the highway.
Jungle Park was always something of an "outlaw" track with the majority of its big car races being put on by the CSRA (Central States Racing Association). There only a handful of AAA races ever held there although Duke Nalon did manage to win one of those just before WWII broke out.
While the turnout was low the current owner of the property expressed interest in having the event again next year and promised to try some things to better advertise the reunion as well. He had several family members helping out with concessions at the reunion including one of his daughters who appears in one of the photos posing with your car.
At any rate everyone that did show up seemed to have a good time. It’s too bad that you didn’t leave California a couple of days earlier so that you could have made the trip as well. And it would have basically been on your way home anyway.