Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Blast From The Past

There are two places in racing I'd love to go to if I had a time machine to visit. Antioch in the mid to late 70's (Sportsman division) and Vallejo and Pacheco (Hardtop division). Okay, that's three. I cheated. My dad's stories of Johnny Franklin, Julian "Catchem" Castro, Hugh Purdy, Ted Graitrix, Bob Caswell, Nelson Snow, Leroy "Go Getem" Geving and, okay, you get the picture. A book about Hardtops at these two tracks would kick butt. I have some material, but it's a pity I don't have much.

My time in racing began at Antioch Speedway in the late 70's. The good old days for me. Nothing ever quite compared to those days. The Sportsman division had guys like "Chargin" Marvin Wilson, J.D. "You Betcha" Willis, Dennis "Foot In It" Furia, Gene Millard, Dana "Always On It" Auger, Mike "The Blue Knight" Gustafson and so many others. Len Mello was my favorite. Here are four shots I scanned last night. I remember when Dave Gonderman won his first feature. I liked that white Mustang he ran the next year and won with. Mike Green was my brother's favorite driver, and I remember him being consistent, having a pretty car and not being too aggressive..

But, I also remember the budding Street Stock class we had back then. Keith Shipherd, Scott Busby, Julio Jones, Joey Rodrigues, Debbie Clymens, Chuck Carter, Robbie Waldrop. There were some talented drivers in that group, let me tell ya. Some people were getting up and leaving during the Street Stock main, but that was a highlight of my night back then. I remember Carter in that yellow #66a car. Won several features, but he didn't move up like most of the others did. Clymens gets praised as a pioneer for women, and she should. But, there were others before her. Donna Walton and Dean Cline had a close battle for the 1979 Stock Car crown.

Anyway, just wanted to share this picture. I'll stop here. I have three other posts up today, and I want to keep them on the main page.