“Bad Blood In The Land Of The Alamo” | San Antonio (TX) Speedway
A bitter feud between two San Antonio, Texas race track owners produced consequences, none bigger than the once-thriving Texas asphalt short-track scene is now all but gone. Dale Earnhardt Jr. commissions his team to a town already synonymous with historic battles.
This episode features:
Robin McCall wrote her name into auto racing’s history books by becoming the youngest woman to ever qualify for a NASCAR Cup race, when she timed 35th quick for 1982 Gabriel 400 at Michigan International Speedway at the age of 18. But her road to the top started in San Antonio, Texas, where she burst onto the quarter-midget race scene four years earlier and quickly established herself as a champion. In 1980, she found herself in the middle of a points battle in the limited late model division at San Antonio Speedway with track owner Don Bierschwale’s son Eddie. Robin would rack up 10 victories and Rookie of the Year honors, but fall short of the championship trophy due to a penalty for aggressive driving in the final race of the season. McCall returned to San Antonio Speedway on Lost Speedways to talk about her experiences at the track and how they helped launch her career as a pioneer female presence in auto racing.
When Don Bierschwale led a group of 30 car owners, drivers and investors to build San Antonio Speedway in 1977, his son Eddie was one of the first to pick up a hammer and help out. After pouring his blood, sweat and tears (and a few beers) into the ½ mile asphalt speed plant, he started his racing career there and went on to win the 1980 limited late model championship. His experience at the track would establish him as Texas late model front runner, and soon the Bierschwale family went NASCAR Cup racing. Eddie would make 117 Cup races from 1983 to 1993, and would also notch an ARCA victory at Texas World Speedway in 1992. Eddie illuminated Lost Speedways’ audience with a behind the scenes look at how the track came to be, and an incredible story of how he once flew out of the track and landed on top of a spectator’s sports car.
Ricci Ware Jr.
San Antonio Speedway was in a lot of ways built out of spite. The Don Bierschwale-led group of 30 investors had a bone to pick with San Antonio radio broadcasting icon Ricci Ware and his Pan American Speedway on the other side of town. Ultimately, Pan American would lose the battle and shutter in 1978, but the Ware family’s presence in the San Antonio racing scene would remain alive and well through son Ricci Jr.'s blossoming career. Ricci Ware Jr. would join the USAC Stock Car circuit in 1979, but would remain close to San Antonio Speedway, continuing to compete in his short track car when the schedule allowed. He would go on to win the 4-cylinder modified division championship at the track in 1986 and 87, but his career would be cut short due to a horrific accident in 1989 when he hit the front stretch boiler-plate wall head on and had to be extracted from the vehicle and transported by helicopter to a local hospital. Ricci Jr. reunited with Eddie Bierschwale and the Lost Speedways crew at San Antonio to discuss their family feud and the wreck that ended his racing endeavors.
Watch Lost Speedways - Season 2 on Peacock TV.