The Ghosts of Ascot

On a Saturday night near twilight
we took a nostalgic ride,
to where the 91 freeway
and the 110 and 405 collide.

We parked our car in the deserted lot
and stared at the forlorn scene,
of what was once a premier racetrack
now a pile of shattered dreams.

Gone were the steps where we once stood
every Saturday in cold and heat,
where we would talk with fellow fans
until it was time to run for our seat.

Gone was the blue and white Ascot sign
Sandra's Stuff, the "19 second club" board,
the peeling benches and the announcer's booth
struck down by the progress sword.

With trepidation we walked up the hill
and knelt at the spot where we used to sit,
and gazed out at the weeds and grass
obscuring what once was the track and pit.

We sat in the reverent silence of dusk
on that piece of sacred ground,
so caught up in our memories
we were startled by a familiar sound.

As the loudspeaker crackled to life
and bright lights lit up the evening sky,
we grabbed each others' hands
and gave each other a curious eye!

How it happened, we'll never know
our heads were only turned for a second,
but when we turned back around
a glimpse of vintage Ascot beckoned!

Before us was a track of clay
and the pits were suddenly filled with cars,
with push trucks ready to push 'em off
low and behold, there were yesterday's stars!

In the Gas Chem car was good 'Ol Bub,
Oskie and Buster, Tony Simon, too,
Deano was in Bromme's number one
Oh look! There's Lealand and the Shoe!

Qualifying, a trophy dash, all too soon the B
we watched them soar, we heard them roar,
and the growing crowd around us
screamed and hollered for more.

Along with the rich and vibrant sounds
aromas wafted on the ocean breeze,
as the scent of Little Orbit donuts
became a tantalizing, poignant tease.

Then the cars were on the frontstretch
in a four wide tribute to the fans,
and when we stood and waved 'em off
there wasn't a dry eye in the stands.

The starter signaled one more lap
engines strained as they reined up tight,
and as he waved them out of four
it was a familiar, awesome sight!

Over the mighty roar of the motors
the past and present met,
when Ted Otto's voice screamed out
"Are we having fun, yet?"

Round and round they went
on that tacky half-mile track,
as they backed 'em in the corners
flying over the berm and back!

Lap after lap they sliced, they diced
and as the checkers flew in the breeze,
Deano pulled a slide job on Bub
and won with skilled and practiced ease!

Suddenly, the lights went out,
and the night became eerily still,
we found ourselves all alone in the dark
so we hurried back down the hill.

A shiver crept up and down my spine
I felt chilled though it was hot,
as if the ghosts of Ascot lurked
in that dark and shadowy parking lot

. Then someone was shaking my shoulder
and a warm hand touched my back,
"Honey, wake up! We're at Ventura!
You slept all the way to the track!"

Terry (Mrs. Wags) Wagner