Race Back in Time to 1977 at Kalamazoo Speedway [Video]
Watch this groovy video of what racing was like at Kalamazoo Speedway the year Elvis died, Star Wars premiered and Jimmy Carter was in the White House.
It was a year after America's nationwide celebration of the country's Bicentennial on July 4, 1977, but there are plenty of fireworks in this July 4, 1977 video of short-track, door-to-door racing at Kalamazoo Speedway. Racing had already grown into a 27-year tradition at what would become the fastest 5/8 mile oval in the world since it first opened in 1950.
It was big year in Kalamazoo in '77, as the King of Rock & Roll performed at Wings Stadium on April 26, just months before his untimely death in August. Rockers will never forget Michigan Jam on July 2, 1977 as Wolfman Jack was the MC and Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band, Heart, Nazareth, Little River Band and Spirit all played Martin Speedway on US 131.
Meanwhile at Kalamazoo Speedway, this is what typical racing looked like on a any given Friday or Saturday night. Yes, the cars look very different, but the first thing long-time race fans will notice is the stark lack of safety provisions we take for granted today. There are no walls. The outer fence that keeps the errant cars on the track had not been built yet, nor have the barriers that keep crews safe in the infield. The flagstand is there, and it is used later in the video, but it's unbelievable to see the flagman on the track during time-trials at the beginning of the video.
It was a different world in 1977. A world where fans lined up around the block at the local movie theater (with a single screen) to see a fantastic tale from a galaxy far, far away. Television only had three channels and Little House on the Prairie, All in the Family and Charlie's Angels were the biggest shows. The first Apple II computers went on sale, but it was the Atari 2600 that everyone wanted. So, start your engines and click play on the time machine known as YouTube and race back in time to 1977 at Kalamazoo Speedway.