Brucker Jr., 83, longtime operator of Cajon Speedway
By Bill Center Union-Tribune
2:00 a.m. April 2, 2009
Earle Brucker Jr.,
the operator of Cajon Speedway from 1958 through the track's closing
in 2004, died Saturday night in his El Cajon home.
Brucker was 83.
A San Diego native and San Diego State graduate who briefly reached
the major leagues as a catcher with the Philadelphia Athletics late
in the 1948 season, Brucker inadvertently became a race track promoter
His father, Earle Brucker Sr., had gained a 50-year lease to property
adjacent to the Gillespie Field airport in 1955 with hopes of building
a spring training facility for the Detroit Tigers.
After the Tigers rejected the proposal, Brucker Sr. decided to use the
land for a race track, a private fairgrounds and a high school football
stadium. He then turned the project over to his son, who retired from
baseball after the 1955 minor league season.
At first, Cajon Speedway opened as a motorcycle track. The 5/8-mile
stock car oval was completed in 1961 and the facility opened to car
racing that year just two weeks after Balboa Stadium closed.
Brucker teamed early with El Cajon businessman Tom Jackman, who concentrated
on the racing end of the operation while Brucker Jr. operated the facility
and oversaw the business. After Jackman died, Brucker Jr. turned Cajon
Speedway into a family business.
The track closed when the county refused to extend the lease on the
property. The land, which housed a motocross practice track in addition
to the asphalt racing oval, is still vacant.
As a baseball player, Brucker was promoted to the A's for the final
week of the 1948 season. He played in two games and went 1-for-7 with
a walk. He never played in another major league game, although he played
seven more seasons in the minors, mostly in the Pacific Coast League.
Private services will be held.