Wednesday, December 10, 2014

More Notes From The Chowchilla Speedway Archives

I decided to dig into my vaults for a few snap shots from the early days at Chowchilla Speedway.  These are just pictures from the pits.  Interesting story about this camera, I lost it in the pits at Chowchilla.  Left it on a trailer and nobody turned it in.  With L & J Photography and Green Flag Photography sending me photos for the magazine, I sort of retired as a photographer after losing the camera.

Anyway, here's a few photos and anecdotes about the drivers who helped make Chowchilla Speedway so special.  Also, I've managed to put together a champions list.  Actually, I was scanning these photos and compiling a bunch of statistics for a possible book in the future last year when I got derailed onto other things.

Mark Condell #33a was not the luckiest driver in the Modifieds at Chowchilla.  He did manage a top ten season in 2001 to go with the top ten rankings he had at Antioch and Merced.  Mark was one of the original investors in Chowchilla Speedway.

I need to consult the notes, because I'm not sure which Reed #11 this is.  I'm guessing this was Ike, who won the 2002 championship.  Ike and Dudley Reed were fast competitors whenever they came.  The Reeds supported Mini Stock racing at Porterville too.  I recall talking with them about reopening that track.  Years later, it finally happened.

When the wave hit Chowchilla that turned Mini Trucks into Mini Stocks, "Rocket" Ron German #54 was on it.  He was one of the faster drivers and won his share of races.  He's probably part of the reason the track split the class into Mini Stocks and Super Mini Stocks.  He was second in points in 2001.

When the Limited Sprints left Merced, George Terry #2 ran a season at Antioch in Wingless Spec Sprints before founding the new Chowchilla effort.  He won the 2000 championship.

As I recall, Monty Tomlinson Jr. #7 was top three ranked at Merced and Chowchilla in 2000.  In 2001, he was Chowchilla Street Stock champion.

At one time, Steven Williams #93 was racing Dirt Modifieds and Limited Sprints.  He was 2001 Limited Sprint champion and finished fourth in Modified points that season.

A star of Merced Speedway Modifieds in the early 1990's, Mark Hamblin returned and won a close championship battle with Paul Stone and Jack Stanford in 2001.

"Pastor" Paul Salaiz #40 was part of the invading wave of Hobby Stock drivers from Watsonville who helped turn this into a 20 plus car show every week.

"Thy Flying Irishman" James McGranahan #42 was one of the faster drivers in the Super Mini Stock class, but not always very lucky.  However, he had back to back top three seasons in 2002 and 2003.

Ken Jepsen #94 was a star at Watsonville and Altamont when both tracks started Pure Stocks.  He was fast at Chowchilla as well.  He wasn't a member, but he was usually running up near the front.

Mike Beltran #5 came on board at the track in 2001 with a "Rookie Of The Year' season in 2001 in Super Mini Stocks.  I recall that he was fast, but I seem to recall him flipping his car one night too.

Joe Diaz Jr. #85 was part of the Mini Truck revolution at Merced and that track's last Late Model champion.  He got on board with the Limited Sprint effort and eventually became promoter of the Chowchilla Barn Burner Series.

Steve Bisordi Sr. and Jr. #23 were part of the Watsonville invasion that helped created a buzz about Chowchilla Hobby Stock racing.  I don't have notes in front of me, but at least one of them were feature winners at Chowchilla in 2000, if not both.

One of the families that has been a part of Merced racing tradition since the 1950's is the Corn family.  "The Corn Dog" Nathan Corn #97 lost the 2000 Street Stock title to Steve Stone Sr. by nine points, but he emerged with the 2003 title.

One of the keys to Chowchilla Hobby Stock success in that second season was the 11 local drivers who built cars.  Jack Van Hoff #44 was one of them.  He was a feature winner that season and top ten ranked.  In 2004, he finished third in Street Stock points.

Jerry "Hood Pins" O'Hagan #39 finished second in Hobby Stock points in 2000, but he won the championship a year later.  In 2002, he won the Limited Late Model title, and he finished second to Mike Meazell a year later.

A rookie in 2000, "Rebel" Red Williams #9 won the Hobby Stock title.  A year later, he finished third before moving up to do some Street Stock racing.  He won several Hobby Stock races.

Chowchilla Speedway Champions

Dirt Modified Champions

2000 Mike Johnson
2001 Mark Hamblin
2002 Jack Stanford
2003 Bill Saltzman
2004 Brad Coelho
2005 Tim Balding
2006 Tim Balding
2007 Alex Stanford
2008 Randy Brown
2009 Alex Stanford
2010 Ryan Porter
2011 No Champion
2012 No Champion
2013 Need Info
2014 Josh Vogt

Street Stock Champions

2000 Steve Stone Sr.
2001 Monty Tomlinson Jr.
2002 Darrell Hughes
2003 Nathan Corn
2004 Chris Messmer
2005 Steven Hannah
2006 Steven Hannah
2007 Gary Tucker
2008 Willie Livingston
2009 Mike Shepherd
2010 Mike Shepherd
2011 Roy Hart Jr.
2012 No Champion
2014 Rick Sylvester *

*IMCA Stock Car

Hobby Stock Champions

2000 Red Williams
2001 Jerry O'Hagan
2002 Jimmy Brewer
2003 Marshall Weaver
2004 Shane Hausmann
2005 Kevin Pettitt
2006 Kevin Pettitt
2007 Farren Steitz
2008 Robert Hurst
2009 Jarrod Fast
2010 Ryan Larimer
2011 Ryan Hart
2012 Chris Falkenberg
2013 Need Info
2014 Shane Hausman

Mini Stocks/Four Banger

2000 Bob Terry
2001 David Mullett
2002 David Mullett
2003 David Mullett
2004 Jimmy Myers
2005 Russ Myers
2006 Robbie Loquaci
2007 Need Information
2008 Alysan Widick
2009 Kathy Evans
2010 Kathy Evans
2011 Johnny Tevis
2012 Katie Briggs

Mod. Mini Stock

2001 Bob Terry
2002 Ike Reed
2003 Ron Martinez
2004 Ron Martinez
2005 Danny Luukkenon
2006 Kristy Myers
2007 No Information

Wingless Spec Sprint *

2000 George Terry (Winged)
2001 Steven Williams (Winged)
2002 Keith Shipherd
2003 No Points
2004 No Points
2005 No Points
2006 No Points
2007 No Points
2008 No races
2009 Kris Koontz
2010 Brandon Burd
2011 No Points
2012 No Points

* In some seasons, the track was running NCMA, CSRA or both in combined shows and had no official point race of their own.

Ladies Division

2001 Rhonda Smith (Street)
2001 Kristi William (Hobby)
2002 M'lissa Manzella (Street)
2002 Darcie Odgers (Hobby)
2003 Darcie Odgers (Street)
2003 Robin Fast (Hobby)
2004 Breanna VanTassel (Hobby)
2004 Cristi Benson (Mini)
2005 Melissa Fuhrman (Hobby)
2005 Brandi Myers (Mini)
2006 Jeanette Gomes (Hobby)

Figure 8

2002 John Keldsen
2003 Thomas McAbee
2004 Thomas McAbee
2005 Ross Killian

Limited Late Model

2002 Jerry O'Hagan
2003 Mike Meazell
2004 Fred Lind
2005 Levi Peterson

Sport Modified

2008 George Mederos
2010 Shawn Bryant
2011 Gary Hildebrand
2012 No Points
2013 Need Info
2014 Nick Spainhoward


2001 Keith Van Houten
2008 Mark Odgers
2009 Tim Prothro
2010 Mike Shearer