Monday, February 9, 2015

California Short Track History Preservation Project

This is the official announcement of the crowd funded racing short track preservation project I just began at Go Fund Me:

With each year, it seems like the history of our short tracks fades further into obscurity.  Some of the tracks people loved to visit as kids aren't even there anymore.  Other tracks still continue, but even the people promoting these tracks don't remember the history of their race track.

However, there are Facebook pages and web pages being created by those who wish to remember the histories of their beloved tracks.  A few tracks and racing organizations have been fortunate enough to have talented authors who have endeavored to write incredible history books.

This still leaves other race tracks that are in need of somebody to put books together with stories and pictures and as many interesting statistics and facts as possible.  At the top of my list is the track I went to for over 25 years, Antioch Speedway.  While I was there, I  compiled statistics and researched the track's history.  I even did a weekly publication for several years. 

I would like to begin telling the story of this track's wonderful history going back to the very beginning all the way to the current day.  I would also like to do this for other tracks, including Merced Speedway and Petaluma Speedway, and the carbureted Spec Sprint Car group.  I also have much history on Vallejo Speedway and would like to put something together for that track.  I have other tracks in mind as well.

I think it would be a shame to let this history fade away, left only to people's memories with photos and a few statistics to back it all up.  To do what I have in mind would be a full time operation that would take many months to complete and would encompass several books.  I will be going over all of the notes I have, making visits to libraries to copy archival stories and would need to be able to maintain a base of operations to do all that is needed.  Given the limited budget I maintain, I can not possibly do this without help.

The money raised here would go towards the completion of this project and would help maintain a base of operations.  Donors would be kept updated on all of the progress made and would be receiving copies of the finished book or books depending on level of contribution.  At one tenth donation level, work will begin on the first book, which I anticipate to be in the 300-500 page range and cover at least one decade of racing at Antioch Speedway.  More books would follow.

I recognize the figure is high, but I have to be honest.  A good portion of it will go towards maintaining a place to complete the project, and the rest will go towards producing books and making sure the donators receive their books.  As Antioch will be the first track covered, I will also be listening to ideas on what to cover next and accepting any materials offered towards making these books the best they can be.  All loaned materials will be returned once scanned properly.

So, if the history of racing means something to you and you like the idea of books being created that will be filled with lots of information and include week by week (as much as possible) stories of the racing seasons, I am ready to make it happen.  I am ready to make this a full time effort to the best of my ability.  I think you will like the results.  If this is something you think you can support, please fund my effort.  You won't be disappointed.  I am ready to tell the wonderful story of racing past.

It should be pointed out that this could potentially expand to become a multi year project with visits to cities of other race tracks to conduct newspaper research, the creation of a web page with special donor member perks and possibly even the creation of a Hall Of Fame committee with an eye on inducting racers from several California tracks into a special Hall Of Fame, complete with banquet and dinner.  Where any of this would go would depend on what the people want.  For now, the focus would be on the books.

Once I am funded, my commitment is to work on preserving the history of our great sport as much as possible and to the best of my ability.  The goal has been set with the idea of rewarding the top donators in mind.  Also, I wanted you to know that all funds will be used in the way I have said they will.

$1000 Investor Status:  First ten books, exclusive updates (racing talk phone conversations when available)
$200 Gold Status: Copy of first two books, exclusive updates
$100 Silver Status: Copy of first book, exclusive updates
$50 Bronze Status: PDF copy of book, exclusive updates
$25 Valued Supporter: Exclusive updates

*  Exclusive updates will come in the form of .pdf files or audio updates.

The first ten books (tentative, but I will be starting with Antioch Speedway)

Antioch Speedway 1990's
Antioch Speedway 1980's
Antioch Speedway 1970's - 1960's
Carbureted Sprints (From California Dirt Cars to Spec Sprints)
Petaluma Speedway 1980's - 1990's (could become two books)
Merced Speedway 1980's - 1990's (could become two books)
Watsonville Speedway 1980's - 1990's (could become two books)
Vallejo Speedway 1961-1979 (could become two books)
Chowchilla Speedway
Bakersfield Speedway 1990's (Possibly 1985-2005 and could be two books)

Obviously, there are other tracks on my radar, including Marysville, Porterville, Hanford and Santa Maria.  Also, there is early history going back decades for some of these tracks.  I know there are also people with ideas on where I should go with this, and I will be listening. 

It is my belief that by strengthening our knowledge of the past, it helps make the present more meaningful. We paint a picture of how much racing has meant to the state and how much it still means today.  It is our hobby and what we love(d) to do.  I don't want to see this history get lost, and if you feel the same, support the cause.

 Announcing The First Book Scheduled In The Series

Don's California Racing Recollections:  Antioch Speedway The 1990's

DCRR Racing News covered the decade of the 1990's from start to finish and in great detail.  In fact, I don't believe a track in California had more in depth coverage than Antioch Speedway that decade.  The track entered the 1990's with a Late Model class that still had a couple of good years left in it.  The Street Stocks were solid.  The Figure 8 was out of control and heading into it's last season.  The new Dirt Modified class had just begun.  The track saw several touring clubs run with the regular program, including the SORA Sprint 100's, NCMA Modifieds, PCDCA Dwarf Cars and Northern Stars Mini Sprints.

As the decade progressed, the Late Models gave way to Dirt Modifieds and a new Pure Stock class was introduced.  Though racing wasn't always pretty in the Dirt Modifieds, the drivers flocked to the show every week as the track averaged 30 cars per race for a time. The track hasn't enjoyed such success with the division ever since.  The decade ended with a management change and a new division, Wingless Spec Sprints, being added to the show.

All of the stars of the 1990's are chronicled within these pages with race reviews, statistics, stories and photos.  Jeff Silva and Jim Pettit II had their time to shine in Late Models before Steve Hendren and Robert Miller took center stage.  Troy Shirk was looking for a Street Stock "threepeat" but ran into a road black named Bart Reid.  Reid, Don Shelton, Rick Pretruzzi and Ron Parker were just some of the stars of the early 1990's before Jason Mincey had his turn in the spotlight and a long time competitor named Rob Waldrop finally grabbed a little glory of his own.

A couple of Stock Car stars of the 1970's and 1980's, Richard Johnson and Bruce Curl Sr., helped usher in the Dirt Modified era, but a returning Street Stock and Sportsman racer named Scott Busby would come back and make history.  Soon, Busby had an intense rivalry with a kid named Bobby Hogge IV.  New stars were called upon when a new era began at the track as the decade came to a close, and Shelton and Dan Gonderman answered the call.

Women had been making their presence known at the track since the mid 1970's, but it was a lady named Terrie Wacht who would win a battle with Cecil Henry to become the first female champion at the speedway in Pure Stocks.  Talented racers like Tim Flanary and Rich Gardner Jr. made Pure Stocks a division people wanted to see as the class closed the decade needing B Mains and sometimes C Mains due to huge fields of cars.

This book will pay tribute to all of the stars and all of the competitors in each division who made racing at Antioch Speedway something people wanted to see in the 1990's.  So, if you want to see this book and more become a reality, support the California Short Track History Preservation Project today by contributing HERE.

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