Book Review: The Midwest Motorsport Legend – Meadowdale Raceways

Philip Aleo was not a race fan and was by far, not an expert on the race track which had closed over 30 years prior. A native of the suburbs of Chicago, it was Mr. Aleo’s passion for history and photography and a chance meeting several years ago which brought him to Meadowdale Raceway.  An author of three historical photographic books up to that point, Aleo decided to document the remarkable Meadowdale track.

First printed in 2011, The Midwest Motorsport Legend – Meadowdale Raceways is 208-pages of memories of the “track to rival the best in Europe” according to one newspaper account of its inaugural event in 1958. At the time Meadowdale had the longest straightaway in the world and the steepest turn which was termed “The Monza wall” after a similar turn at the famous Italian track.

Meadowdale Raceway BookMr. Aleo’s books is filled with many extraordinary black & white and dazzling color photographs which bring the reader back to the heyday of sports car racing in the United States.  The large format hardcover book (9″ x 11″) covers the history of the track (1958-1970), track construction, many of the famous cars that raced at the track including a entertaining account by local historian and former racer Ross Fosbender who raced a Triumph TR-3 at the track in 1967.

Meadowdale was the ultimate destination for many of the top drivers of the late-1950s and 1960s.  Prominent drivers such as Dr. Dick Thompson, Lance Reventlow, Jim Jeffords, Rodger Ward, Curtis Turner, Fred Lorenzen, Roger Penske, Harry Heuer, Augie Pabst, Jim Hall, Lloyd Ruby, Bobby Unser, Jim Rathmann and Mark Donohue were just a few of the drivers that raced at Meadowdale during its heyday.

This natural terrain race course located 35 miles west of Chicago, just off of Route 31 in Carpentersville is worthy subject.  The book details the history of Meadowdale Raceways with text, news articles and the aforementioned photographs.  Nonetheless, what makes the book come full circle is the work and effort to save the remains of the track including its historic silo. It also accounts the preservation of the land the track into its current state as a nature preserve. Add the interesting photographic chapter featuring many of the photo comparisons, then and now and you have a winning combination.

The Book The Midwest Motorsport Legend – Meadowdale Raceways is available from Aloe Publications at

Any questions? The author can be contacted at:

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Steve Zautke, a Milwaukee, WI native, was raised in the sport of auto racing. His father, Bill, was a movie photographer that shot racing footage at tracks such as the Milwaukee Mile and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the 1960’s and 1970’s Steve’s first professional job in racing was as an Emergency Medical Technician at tracks such as Angell Park and Hales Corners Speedway (1988-1991). Steve has also worked for the Milwaukee Mile as videographer, in media relations and historian (1993-2011). Steve also has worked as a reporter for Racing Information Systems (RIS) and has written features for ‘Vintage Oval Racing’ and ‘Victory Lane’ magazines. Most recently, Steve has written a book on Road America for Arcadia Publishing. ( ) Steve co-hosts “Sparky’s Final Inspection” a motorsports-based radio show with hosts, Steve “Sparky” Fifer and “NASCAR Girl” Summer Santana on Sports Radio 1250AM in Milwaukee and is also available on the internet at A member of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Induction Committee, Steve follows all types of racing from the dirt tracks to Formula One.