6865 W Hickory Rd
Hickory Corners, MI 49060
The Gilmore Car Museum’s annual Winter Lecture Series is highly anticipated every year! Every Sunday afternoon at 3pm January through April visitors can enjoy a different guest presenter speaking on a variety of intriguing topics. Admission to each lecture is just $5/person or FREE with general admission or museum membership card.
The History of Speedway Design and Construction
Van Walling, P.E., Motorsports Historian
Van Walling is a registered professional engineer. Over the course of his career, he has managed the planning and design phases for major highway and airport improvement projects, led several engineering offices, developed and delivered project management training, championed corporate social responsibility efforts, and directed a STEM-focused non-profit organization.
Building on the senior design project he undertook at Lafayette College in 1977, Walling has dedicated much of his personal time to researching, studying, and documenting the history of speedway design and construction. His compilation of rare blueprints, aerial photos, topographic mapping, etc. – as well as hundreds of newspaper, magazine, and journal articles – represents an unmatched collection of data on historically and technically significant speedways. Combining his interests in engineering, history, geography, and motorsports, Van Walling has worked for more than 40 years to document and preserve the physical history of speedways.
Central to this effort has been the development of geometric design summaries that define the footprint, profile, and cross sections of a speedway, its orientation on the property, the longitude, latitude, and elevation of the site, and its years as an active auto racing facility. In other words, it is the documentation of a track in four dimensions… x, y, z and time. Some call it race track archaeology.
The obvious technical components of Walling’s work are balanced by fascinating human-interest stories about the men and women responsible for the planning, design, construction, and operation of America’s auto racing infrastructure. Tying it all together is a collection of amazing photos and illustrations featuring speedways large and small, famed and obscure, past and present with a special emphasis on “paper raceways” – those planned but never built.
This presentation will parallel with Walling’s soon-to-be published book, “Oval Track Almanac.”