An award was given to Erwin Hayer this last weekend at the Hayer Memorial Speedway to honor the Hayer Family’s involvement and dedication to the sport over the years. Dawwna Paniagua covered the history of the track below;
Quarter midget racing in Sacramento County was first held in the parking lot of a Sears and Roebucks department store in about 1952. After a short period drivers and their families organized the Capitol Quarter Midget Racing Association (CQMA), which was forced to find a new location to hold racing competitions.
A member of the CQMA, Grover James, a Rio Linda Resident, asked local ranch owner Roy Hayer if he might dedicate some of his land for use as a racetrack on a Wednesday in 1954 and the CQMA held their first race on the following Saturday at a location where the closest Rio Linda Preparatory Academy School Playground ball diamond is to where the snack bar is on the current Roy Hayer Park.
In 1954 the quarter midget races commenced on the Hayer ranch on a flat dirt track graded by Roy’s son, Erwin and it was called Cracker Jack Track. Three years later, Roy Hayer had his son Erwin Hayer build a permanent banked dirt track for the racing association at a nearby location adjacent to Dry Creek. The track at this location has been in continuous use by the Capitol Quarter Midget Racing Association since 1957.
In 1957, when the current quarter midget track at Rio Linda was built, there were seventeen tracks and nearly 3000 drivers in Northern California alone. The Rio Linda Speedway enjoys a unique status as the only dirt quarter midget racetrack still operating in California.
Roy Hayer had always been a supporter of activities that kept families together and gave something for the children to be active and interested in. The Roy Hayer Park was started by Roy Hayer when Erwin was in the Cub Scouts and was an official overnight Campsite for the Boy Scout Golden Empire Council until Roy sold it to the County for a Community Park. The Central Park Horse Arena and the BMX Track area were also included in this sale.
Roy Hayer arrived in Rio Linda around 1922 with his parents, brothers and sisters and graduated from the Rio Linda Elementary School in 1927.