First Of All...
Just A Kid From The Grandstands: My Time In Auto Racing
Available on Lulu in Paperback And Hard Cover
Don's California Racing Recollections: Best Of The Blog And Beyond
Available via print on demand at Lulu in Hard Cover or Paperback
Also, what could be a series of informative books...
Short Track History Project at Gofundme
The slogan I went with when I announced at Chowchilla Speedway was "Having More Fun In 2001" and we were. Hobby Stocks had the big car counts and the special race (Hobby Stock $500) that had its roots in the CRO Chat Room. Then, there was the Open Wheel Round Up, which was also started in that room in our weekly chats. Tom Sagmiller was willing to do what it took to make that track a success, and he did. Nobody would care now if he hadn't done it then.
Anyway, we had a pretty darn good Dirt Modified show then as well, and our Street Stocks, Mini Stocks and Sprint Cars had their moments too. I have audio calls from those days, and I wanted to share one of them here. This comes from an exciting race in July of that year and involves the Street Stocks.
Here is the audio call. Unfortunately, they aren't letting me embed it here, but the link will take you there.
Chowchilla Speedway Street Stock Audio Call by GenWhat
Also, I share the articles from that race. I did special one for the newspapers down there, and these are the ones that would run in several magazines, including The DCRR.
LEFLER HOLDS OFF NOLAND FOR CHOWCHILLA WIN
CHOWCHILLA, CA...JULY 21...Veteran George Lefler Sr. won a thrilling three car battle for the 20 lap RACE Super Street Stock main event victory Saturday night at Chowchilla Speedway. It was the first $250 feature win of the season for Lefler aboard his Steiner Development sponsored Nova, and it came despite heavy pressure from runnerup Raymond Noland. Keith Van Houten won his third 15 lap California Sportsman feature in four visits ahead of Mike Palmberg and Kevin Freitas. Rick Ernest won the 10 lap Mini Ourlaw main event.
Point leader Monty Tomlinson Jr. and Darrell Hughes won the two very competitive six lap Super Street Stock heat races before Noland came back to win the four lap trophy dash. Fighting a handling problem in recent weeks, Darren Thomas set the early main event pace ahead of Mark Acosta and Eugene Costa. A low pass in Turn 4 of the third lap gained Costa second, but contact in Turn 2 a lap later sent Costa spinning as Acosta was back in second ahead of Lefler. Charlie Corn spun in Turn 4 with Acosta and Tomlinson getting collected in the lap five incident as Thomas led Lefler and Tony Keldsen back to the yellow flag. Thomas led Lefler and Keldsen on the restart as last starter Noland was up to fourth. A low move in Turn 4 of the seventh lap gained Noland third from Keldsen, and he immediately began to look for the way past Lefler as Lefler tried to pass Thomas in this close three car battle. Thomas was suffering a push problem from a broken right suspension part and was having a hard time turning the car. On lap 13, Noland found a way around the outside of Lefler in Turn 3 and made an inside pass on the front stretch to take the lead from Thomas as Lefler followed into second. However, Costa spun in Turn 4 a lap later, and Noland made contact with a tractor tire trying to go underneath him as Thomas and Lefler both raced by to the yellow flag. Thomas led Lefler and Noland on the restart with Tomlinson and Hughes running close in the top five. On lap 16, Thomas had the bad push in Turn 4 as Lefler, Noland, Tomlinson and Hughes all got by. Despite heavy pressure from Noland and Tomlinson, Lefler brought it home to a well earned victory. Following Lefler, Noland and Tomlinson at the finish were Hughes, Thomas and Rich Firato.
Van Houten would enjoy a sweep with wins in the four lap trophy dash and six lap California Sportsman heat race. Open wheel veteran Palmberg set the early main event pace ahead of Mark Jump and Rob Schropp. A low move in Turn 3 of the second lap gained Van Houten third, and he went by Jump on the outside down the back stretch of the fourth lap for second. Van Houten made a high pass in Turn 4 of the eighth lap to take the lead from Palmberg as Jump's Turn 2 spin handed third to Freitas. Van Houten stretched his lead from there and scored his ninth feature win on the Sportsman circuit ahead of Palmberg, Freitas, Ed Marion and Jump.
R. Ernest won the four lap Mini Outlaw heat race with Ron Ward the four lap trophy dash winner. Ed Thompson led one main event lap before a high pass in Turn 4 gained Ward the lead. An outside pass on the front stretch of the fourth lap gained R. Ernest the lead. R. Ernest would stretch his lead from there and score the victory as Ward was second just ahead of Thompson. Sheryl Ernest was fourth.
SUPER STREET STOCKH 1-Monty Tomlinson Jr., Roy Hart Jr., George Lefler Sr. H 2-Darrell Hughes, Raymond Noland, Rich Firato. DASH-Noland, Hughes, Tomlinson. MAIN EVENT-Lefler, Noland, Tomlinson, Hughes, Darren Thomas, Firato, Tony Keldsen, Mark Acosta, Eugene Costa, Hart.
CALIFORNIA SPORTSMANH 1-Keith Van Houten, Rob Schropp, Ed Marion. DASH-Van Houten, Kevin Freitas, Schropp. MAIN EVENT-Van Houten, Mike Palmberg, Freitas, Marion, Mark Jump, Schropp, Billy Mattos.
MINI OUTLAWH 1-Rick Ernest, Ron Ward, Ed Thompson. DASH-Ward, R. Ernest, Thompson. MAIN EVENT-R. Ernest, Ward, Thompson, Sheryl Ernest.
HAMBLIN, O'HAGAN REBOUND FROM MOTOR WOES FOR VICTORY
ANTIOCH, CA...JULY 21...Taking advantage of his front row starting position, Mark Hamblin led all the way for the 25 lap RACE Modified feature victory Saturday night at Chowchilla Speedway. It was the third feature win of the season for title contender Hamblin aboard his Kelloggs Supply sponsored Modified, and it follows three weeks of major engine and transmission problems. Jack Stanford put himself back in the championship hunt with a second place finish ahead of Jeff Decker. In recent week's, Jerry O'Hagan has gone through a couple of motors, but he came back in a big way with his fourth 20 lap Hobby Stock feature win of the season ahead of Red Williams and Rod Lefler.
The ninth eight lap heat race win of the season further helped Stanford's Modified championship bid. Hard luck racer Mark Condell won his heat race before Mitch Enos impressed with a thrilling four lap trophy dash win. Hamblin set the early main event pace ahead of Steven Williams and Larry Folkner. John Cipparone spun for a lap four caution flag, and Folkner rode the outside around Williams for second on the restart. David Soito Jr. and Cipparone tangled for a lap eight caution flag. The track uses "Texas" restarts with the leader on the front row alone and everyone doubled up behind him, and Hamblin continued to lead as Williams rode the outside around Folkner for second. A four car crash eliminated point leader Paul Stone, and Folkner took second from Williams on the restart as Hamblin continued to lead the way. A low move in Turn 4 of the 17th lap resulted in contact and gained Williams second from Folkner, who fell back after that. Richard Keldsen brought out a final caution flag on lap 20, and Hamblin led Williams and Enos on the restart. A low pass in Turn 2 of the 24th lap gained Stanford third from Enos. Hamblin went on to score the much needed victory. Williams crossed the line in second, but he was disqualified in tech for illegal brakes. This gave Stanford second ahead of Decker, Enos, Charles Paul and Folkner.
Top rookie Mark Funkhouser, Williams and Mark Odgers each won eight lap Hobby Stock qualifying heats before the returning Bud Glover won the four lap trophy dash. Roy Luton scored a popular 15 lap B Main win ahead of Paul Salaiz and Jerry Bridger. Rod Lefler paced two laps of the main event before a high move in Turn 4 of the third lap gained O'Hagan the lead. Williams was running third, and he used an inside move on the front stretch of the tenth lap to drop Lefler back to third. Point leader Jay Connelly quickly settled into fourth. Williams gave it a good effort, but O'Hagan was not to be denied as he scored the victory ahead of Williams, Lefler, Connelly and Funkhouser.
MODIFIEDH 1-Mark Condell, Mitch Enos, Lonnie Lacy Jr. H 2-Jack Stanford, Nathan Corn, Charles Paul. DASH-Enos, Stanford, Corn. MAIN EVENT-Mark Hamblin, Stanford, Jeff Decker, Enos, Paul, Larry Folkner, Corn, Condell, Lacy, Wayne Reeder.
HOBBY STOCKH 1-Mark Funkhouser, Bud Glover, Andrew Krumm. H 2-Red Williams, Kraig Rawles, Craig Tatum. H 3-Mark Odgers, Jack Van Hoff, Ron Altamirano. DASH-Glover, Odgers, Van Hoff. B MAIN-Roy Luton, Paul Saliaz, Jerry Bridger, Phil Greene, Rob Zoellin. MAIN EVENT-Jerry O'Hagan, Williams, Rod Lefler, Jay Connelly, Funkhouser, Glover, Odgers, Krumm, Van Hoff, Luton.