Sunday, March 15, 2015

Watsonville Speedway Hall Of Fame


Ken Nott Sr.
Ray Morgan
Jerry Cecil


Duane Noe
Doug McCoun
Vic Irvin


Art LaCost
Kevin Pylant
Dave Byrd


Bert Moreland
Dennis Wilson


Johnny Brazil Jr.
Jim and Tina Bowman


Roy Large
Art Eaton

Induction ceremonies were held at the track, but I'm still looking for details on who was honored.


Induction ceremonies were held at the track, but I'm still looking for details on who was honored.

The Watsonville Speedway Hall Of Fame

Ken Nott excelled at Figure 8 racing and was the track;s biggest star in the 1970's and early 1980's. A winner of roughly 90 Figure 8 races during that time, Ken won Figure 8 championships in 1974, 1977 and 1981, and he frequently ranked high in Stock Car points as well. When he retired from driving, Ken went on to crew chief his track champion son Ken Nott Jr's efforts.

Ray Morgan is one of the track's all time greats in the Stock Car division. Ray won championships in 1978, 1979, 1981 and 1986. During that time he was a State and Merced champion as well as finishing second in u=the 1984 Regional point race.

Jerry Cecil won more Sportsman Main Events than anybody at the track from 1968 to 1981 with over 50. The man some have called the greatest local Sportsman driver in the track's history won track championships in 1974 and 1970. With his son Mike also a champion in the 1990's in Street Stocks, Jerry is among the ranks of father-son duos to be champions at the track.

Duane Noe was a star at Watsonville and his home track in Merced. The man nicknamed "The Sidewinder" won Sportsman championships at Watsonville in 1977, 1979 and 1980 and won the state championship along the way.

Doug McCoun will come up in conversation as the track's greatest Late Model Stock Car driver. He won his first championship in 1975 before winning the title again in 1982 and 1984. Doug's biggest accomplishments came in 1985 and 1986 by winning back to back Regional championships. He also won the National championship in 1986 before moving on to become a top driver in the Southwest Tour.

Vic Irvin was a star at Watsonville and Merced. Vic won over 40 Sportsman features at Watsonville from 1968-1981, putting him #2 on that list. He frequently ranked top five in Sportsman points. Vic's brother Cecil was a front runner at the track as well, and his son Ernie went on to have a successful career in the Nextel Cup series after starting in the Sportsman class at Watsonville.

Art LaCost was one Watsonville's biggest stars in the 1960's at a time when the track was just getting established. He won back to back track championships in 1961 and 1962 and won the title again in 1967.

Kevin Pylant was a start in two divisions at the track. He won street stock track titles in 1982 and 1983 before moving up to the Late Model division. He won the late model title in 1985. Pylant went on to become won of the top 410 sprint car racers in the state.

Dave Byrd was a star at the track during the 1980's and 1990's. He won the Late Model championship in 1983, which helped propel him to the Pacific Coast Regional championship. Byrd returned to the track to race the Grand American Modified division, winning championships in 1994 and 1995.

Bert Moreland raced BCRA Midgets back when the division ran seven nights a week before a crash ended his career as a driver. He was eventually indicted into the BCRA Hall Of Fame. Moreland built Watsonville Speedway in 1960 and managed the track for 28 seasons as well as managing track in Antioch and Merced.

Dennis Wilson was a super star in the Early Model Stock Cars, winning an incredible 30 main events in the 1974 season when he raced four times a week and won track championships at Watsonville, San Jose and Merced. He also raced in the Winston West class.

Johnny Brazil Jr. raced at Watsonville from the late 1960's through the 1980's and excelled at both oval track and Figure 8 racing. In 1972, he won the track's Stock Car championship. A year later he won his first Figure 8 championship, and was again the Figure 8 champion in 1980.

Jim and Tina Bowman are respected at Watsonville Speedway as the track's parts dealers and sponsors of the track and several racers. Jim was a competitor as well as being a championship car owner and was a big booster of the Dirt Modified division when the class started at the track in 1990.

Roy Large raced Stock Cars and Sportsman at the track for several years. When he retired as a competitor, Roy remained a part of the program for several seasons as a track preparer and chief steward. 

Art Eaton carved the half and quarter-mile tracks out of the dirt in the late 1950s, then won the first stock car race at the speedway. He was one of the top racers at the track during the 1960's.

Ray Johnson* was one of the top Stock Car drivers at the track in the 1970's. He won the track championship in 1973 and did it again in 1976. He enjoyed some success when he came out of retirement in the min 1980's.

* I believe he was inducted into the track's Hall of Fame in the early 1990's, but I haven't been able to verify that. I distinctly recall hearing about this induction the next night at Antioch and thinking that it would be nice if Antioch would do that. If he's not in the hall, he should be.