Saturday, July 20, 2013

Looking Back At The Tim Williamson Classic

Tim Williamson (January 13, 1956 - January 12, 1980) raced the Sportsman division at Watsonville Speedway in the 70's and spent five consecutive seasons ranked inside the top 20 in points, four of those in the top ten and one in the top five. In 1978, he began running the Winston West Series and was a winner in that once that season. He also won a race in that series in 1979, while ranking second in the standings.

Tim seemed destined to make it to the Winston Cup Series. He managed to start some races in that series at Riverside Speedway and Ontario and had a top ten finish at Riverside. He was killed at Riverside International Raceway during the companion NASCAR Grand American event the day prior to the 1980 Winston Cup Series opener. In an attempt to pass competitor Glen Steurer through the esses (turns 2-5) early in the race, one side of Williamson's car left the track surface which then caused the car to slide out of control back across the track, as well as an additional run-off area before hitting a retaining wall. The driver's-side of the car hit the retaining wall broadside with enough force to careen the car back across the run-off area and onto the track surface where it came to rest just before turn six.

Since his death, there has been a Tim Williamson Classic memorial race held each year at Watsonville Speedway (now Ocean Speedway) in Watsonville, California. The first race in 1980 was a 100 lapper for the Sportsman division. The race became a Stock Car 100 lap event the next year and throughout that decade. At various times, the race's distance has been altered in the last 20 years, twice to run twin features to make up for rain outs as the drivers were competing for NASCAR Regional points and needed that makeup race.

In 1994, the race was moved to the Dirt Modified division, where it stayed until switching to the Street Stocks in 2004. Since 2006, the American Stock division has competed in the race that has become a tradition at Ocean Speedway.

Below is a listing of past winners of the Tim Williamson Classic winners:

1980 J.D. Willis *
1981 Ralph Beck **
1982 Dan Simkins
1983 Orval Burke
1984 Ray Morgan
1985 Doug McCoun
1986 Kevin Pylant
1987 Jim Pettit II
1988 Bobby Hogge III
1989 Jeff Silva
1990 Steve Hendren
1991 Jeff Silva
1992 Robert Miller & Jeff Silva
1993 Steve Hendren
1994 Jeff Botelho & Mike Brumit ***
1995 Bobby Hogge IV
1996 Bobby Hogge IV
1997 A.J. Kirkpatrick
1998 Jim Pettit II
1999 Eric Jacobsen
2000 Jim Pettit II
2001 Eric Jacobsen
2002 Bobby Scott
2003 Jim Pettit II
2004 Darrell Hughes ****
2005 Danny Scott
2006 Tim Clark Sr. *****
2007 Kyle Camperud
2008 Bill Sorg
2009 Tony Oliveira

* The Sportsman division competed in this race in 1980
** The Late Model Division began competing in this race in 1981
*** The Dirt Modifieds began competing in This Race in 1994
**** The Super Stocks began competing in this race in 2004