Raymond (Ray) Elder, who won a record six championships in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West, died Thursday at the age of 69.
Elder – who won titles in 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974 and 1975 – also distinguished himself and his West Coast-based family racing team by winning two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races at Riverside (Calif.) International Raceway in 1971 and 1972.
“Ray was a tough competitor and a great representative of NASCAR on the West Coast,” said George Silbermann, NASCAR vice president, regional and touring series. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”
Elder’s team – with his father, Fred, the car owner and brother, Richard, the crew chief – were well known as the “Racing Farmers” from Caruthers, Calif. Following their retirement from racing, they continued their farming operation. In addition, Elder and his wife, Pat, ran a mini-mart in Caruthers, located about 15 miles from Fresno.
Elder is second on the list of career wins in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West with 47 and also second on the list of career series poles, also with 47. His first series win came at Ascot Park in Gardena, Calif., in 1966 and his last victory was at Craig Road Speedway in Las Vegas in 1978.
In addition to his six championships, Elder finished as the runner-up in the final standings three straight years – 1966, 1967, 1968. He holds various records in the modern era of the series, including the most consecutive starts, with 121, and the most top 10 finishes in a season, with 27.
Elder received the Most Popular Driver Award in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West eight times, seven in consecutive years. He was among the drivers named to the “NASCAR K&N Pro Series West All-Time Top-10,” compiled by NASCAR and NASCAR Insider in 2005. He was among the inaugural inductees into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2002 and was inducted into the Fresno Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990.
RICHARD (DICK) CARTER PASSES
My old friend Dick Carter passed away on Tuesday, June 22, 2010, I don't how old he was but he stayed young longer than most. He raced stockcars, hardtops and sportcars. He won championships at the old Oakland Speedway and won the 1965 SCCA regional Championship for BP driving a '65 Mustang. He raced at least once a year till into his 70's at Stockton 99 Speedway, He was and old car guy so his stories were always good and seemed to get better as the years passed. In the 50's I lived just around the corner from him and I think he was the first racer I new and later I became friends with his son as well. I would get calls at midnight or later from him while he was playing poker at a local Indian Casino, just to say hi or to talk about the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. Dick always had room for me whenever I was in town and he never let me down with stories about the old days of racing. God speed buddy, I will miss you for sure.
2002 HoF INDUCTEE LES RICHTER PASSES
Sad News - Les Richter: Les Richter, twice a key force in establishing big-league auto racing in Southern California after a career as an all-pro linebacker with the Los Angeles Rams, died Saturday. He was 79. Richter died at Riverside Community Hospital after suffering a brain aneurysm Friday, said his son, Jon. Richter first led Riverside International Raceway, a twisty road-racing course east of Los Angeles, to national prominence largely by bringing NASCAR there in the early 1960s. After that track closed in 1988, he helped supervise development of Auto Club Speedway, the 92,000-seat Fontana track initially called California Speedway that opened in 1997 and now hosts two top-level NASCAR races a year. Richter was an influential motor sports figure nationally even though he never drove a race car or turned a wrench, one whose football background earned him the nickname "Coach." "Les Richter will be missed by the entire NASCAR community and always remembered for all he did for the sport on all levels," NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said in a statement. In promoting Auto Club Speedway's construction, for instance, the track's original owner, Roger Penske, tapped Richter to meet with politicians and answer the public's questions at town hall meetings. In addition to his son Jon, he is survived by his wife, Marilyn; a daughter, Anne; and three grandchildren.
May 13, 1923 to September 9, 2009
Racing legend Walt James passed away on September 9, 2009, at the age of 86. He was a decorated World War II veteran, flying 26 missions as Lead Bombardier/Navigator, based in England. He served three years active duty and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal of Honor. He remained in the Reserves where he retired in May of 1983 with the rank of Lt.Colonel.
After the war Walt and his brother Joe joined other daring young men at Ash Can Derby, where they would race their street cars on an ill-kept sandy oval or went to the Dry Lakes (now part of Edwards AFB) and ran speed trials. He became a charter member of the newly formed California Roadster Assn where he raced roadsters against such future greats as Jack McGrath, the Rathman brothers,Troy Ruttman and Pat Flaherty. Walt also raced sprints with other big racing names and stocks with the likes of Parnelli Jones. In 1950 he was voted into thePresidency of the CRA, a job he cherished for 21 years. The CRA flourished in California, Arizona and Nevada. In 1969 Walt had an idea which he was able to interest Terry VanGorder in. Terry was the Vice President at Newhall Land and Farming in charge of Recreation. “Walt was the founder, architect, builder and General Manager of the newly formed Indian Dunes Motorcycle Park,” says VanGorder. He transformed 600 + acres of unincorporated land along the Santa Clarita River into a premier motorcycle facility which opened June of 1970 and remained in operation until 1985. He had wanted a place where families could spend an entire day of fun. There were two main race tracks, the International and Shadow Glen, a mini-bike track, and if you got tired of riding on a track, you could spend hours out on the trails. He added a tenth mile dirt oval for Speedway bikes, then enlarged and paved it for Three Quarter and Micro Midgets. The Dunes was a second home to many kids and hosted racing from several different clubs like CRC, CMC, and AMRA (now NMA). The World Minis began its history at the Dunes, running there from 1972 to 1976. It was the starting ground for many young motocross riders many of who went on to become top riders in the industry like Donny Hansen, Johnny O’Mara, Kyle Lewis, Eric Kehole, Larry Brooks, Jeff Ward, Jim “Hollywood” Holly, John Desoto, and many, many others.
In 1982 Walt and a group of buddies resurrected the Western Racing Assn, a sprint car club that had folded in the mid 50s. It was to be a group of older sprint cars and midgets to show off the ingenuity of the early days of racing or, as he liked to say, the Senile Racing Group. He’d say, “We’re just a bunch of old blind guys who still love to go fast.” Also about 1981, Bill Huth owner of the Willow Springs Raceway, encouraged Walt to build a track for WRA and in 1982 the track was open for business. A very surprised Walt got to the track to find it had been named WALT JAMES STADIUM. Every year since on Thanksgiving weekend Walt and Dottie have hosted the WALT JAMES VINTAGE GATHERING. Bill Huth has said he will still have the 17th annual Walt James racing weekend this Thanksgiving.
Walt never met a person he didn’t have a smile for or a helping hand. He touched thousands of people’s lives and will never be forgotten. But his joy was always family, with wife Dottie by his side at racing events, watching son Lee racing sprint cars as a top contender with the World of Outlaws, and all his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He had a twinkle in his eyes seeing grandsons Brent, Tanner, and Caden race motocross, and was amazed at the kinds of tracks that are built nowadays and how the motorcycles had progressed. He did always comment that they didn’t need to be grading the track during motos, that the guys should have had the rough lines that were at Indian Dunes and then they wouldn’t be complaining so much.
He is survived by his wife Dottie, son Lee James, wife Lori, grandson Jeff (wife Cindy and their six children) granddaughter Lindy; daughter Vicki James; and daughter Wendy Lovgren, husband Bobby, and grandsons Brent, Tanner, and Caden.
Graveside services are to be held Friday September 25th at 10:00 a.m. Riverside National Cemetery is located across from March Air Force Base where Walt had once served Reserve time. Check in at the information booth for directions. A Celebration of Life party is being planned for a later date.
The family has requested that in lieu of cards or flowers, a donation be made in Walt’s honor to the Castaic Lion’s Club, where Walt was a proud member for40 years: Castaic Lion’s Club c/o the Lion Walt James Memorial Scholarship Fund P. O. Box 312,Castaic, CA 91384
or to the Sam Schmidt Paralysis Foundation PO Box 3661 Princeton, NJ 08543-3661.
Jack McCoy accepts his HOF induction from founder Tim Meyer.
JACK McCOY PASSES
Sad News: Jack McCoy: Jack McCoy, a two-time champion and the winningest driver in the NASCAR Camping World Series West, died Tuesday at the age of 71. McCoy – who won series championships in 1966 and 1973 – registered a record 54 series wins, along with a record 57 career poles in the series. A native of California’s Central Valley, McCoy was well known for the Dodge he drove, which was usually purple in color. He was among the inaugural inductees into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2002 and was among a list of drivers named to the “NASCAR Camping World Series West All-Time Top-10,” compiled by NASCAR and NASCAR Insider in 2005. While McCoy’s overall racing career spanned from the late 1950s to the early 1990s, he focused primarily on the NASCAR Camping World Series West from 1962 to 1974. In addition to his two series championships, he finished as the runner-up in the final standings of the series on four occasions – 1969, 1970, 1971 and 1974.
HOF MEMBER RON HORNADAY SR. PASSES
Today, Sunday, Dec. 21st, 2008, the Hornaday Family has lost their Hero, their father, Ron Hornaday, Sr. He lost his fight to cancer.
Our father was the inspiration to all of us and was a True Champion to the very end. We will miss him so very much but it is a comfort to know that he is now with his beloved wife and our mother, Helen where he wanted to be.
Inducted in the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame) (2002)
NASCAR Pacific Coast Late Model Series champion (1963, 1964)
NASCAR Cup Series Statistics
17 races run over 10 years
Best Cup Position- 45th - 1955 (Grand National)
First Race- 1955 Arizona State Fairgrounds (Phoenix)
Last Race- 1973 Tuborg 400 (Riverside)
He raced at Saugus Speedway for several years, driving the #97 "Galpin Motors 1957 Ford. He also raced on the West Coast of the United States in the Pacific Coast Late Model series (now the NASCAR Camping World West Grand National Series ) in 1956. He began winning races a few years later, and he finished second in the 1962 season championship behind Eddie Gray. He won the season points championship in 1963, and he repeated as champion in 1964. In his Pacific Coast Late Model career he had 13 victories.
Hornaday, Sr. was a true racing icon and will truly be missed!
KEVIN TERRIS DIES AT AGE 63
Kevin Terris, 63, died October 14 in hospital at Fresno, California. A native of Canada, Terris raced out of Hermosa Beach, California and was 1969 NASCAR PCLM Rookie of the Year. Terris joined the PCLM series after buying a 1967 Plymouth from MGM Studios after they'd used the car in filming of the Elvis Presley movie "Speedway". Terris helped finance his racing by renting the car (and driving it himself) in TV and film productions. He made 11 starts in NASCAR's top series, then known as Grand National, between 1970 and 1984. All but one of the starts came at Riverside International Raceway and Ontario Motor Speedway, the exception being at Talladega in 1971 (he also was a DNQ for that year's World 600 at Charlotte). Terris had three top 10 finishes at Riverside, with his career best being a 6th in the grueling 500 mile race in 1972. He also qualified in the top 10 twice at Riverside. The bulk of Terris' career came from 1969 through 1972, when the bright red-orange Plymouth with his #32 was a familiar sight on Western U.S. tracks. PCLM/GN West stats being what they are, I come up with 28 career starts, with a career best finish of 3rd coming at Sears Point International Raceway in 1969, a race he led late until going off course. He finished 8th in points in 1969 to earn Rookie of the Year honors. After 10 years, Terris returned to drive a Buick in two Riverside events (1982 and 1984). Among interesting events Terris competed in were the first Stock Car race at Sears Point and the first NASCAR GN race at Ontario Motor Speedway.
TED FRITZ AGE 72
Ted Fritz, 72, passed away October 25 at Turlock, California. Fritz was the 1973 Stockton 99 Speedway Late Model Sportsman champion, scoring 14 main event wins on the tricky 1/4 mile paved oval in 1973 and 1974 and narrowly losing the '74 title to Dan Reed, with whom he had many memorable duels. Fritz moved up to the NASCAR Grand National West division in '75, making 1 career NASCAR GN start at Riverside. He also competed in Late Model Sportsman races at Riverside.
ED JUSTICE SR.
Sad News - Ed Justice Sr.: Ed Justice Sr., the last of the three famous brothers whose stickers rode on winning race cars around the world and whose automotive lubricants and additives rode inside many a winning race engine and transmission, died Sunday, Aug. 31, from kidney failure. He was 87. Ed and his brothers, Zeke and Gus, had always been in business together, starting with a bicycle-rental company they formed while the three were teenagers in Paola, Kan. A friendship with an Amoco gas station owner named Bill France lead to their participation in the founding of a new sanctioning body named NASCAR. Their sponsorship decals were on many of the first NASCAR entries. The 1950 Darlington race saw the first "Justice Brothers" crew shirts, another innovation. That same year one of their sponsored cars--a Kurtis Kraft--won the Indy 500 with Johnnie Parsons driving. Race teams around the world continue to use their products. Last year, Justice Brothers decals rode on winning entries in Le Mans, Baja, NHRA, NASCAR, IRL and CART. Among others, Ed is survived by his son, Ed Jr. Justice Brothers today makes more than 100 products. You can read about the company and its history at www.justicebrothers.com. Funeral services will be held 11 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 11, in Sky Rose Chapel at Rose Hills cemetery in Whittier, Calif.(
Delwin "D.J." Smith Dead at 83
Delwin "D.J." Smith, father of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series pioneer Jimmy Smith, died May 12 in Temecula, Calif. where he resided for the past 15 years. Smith was 83.
D.J. was born on January 6, 1925 in Crookston, Neb. He served in the Navy, was stationed in San Francisco and later settled in Southern California. He married and had three children: Joan, Jimmy and Wendell Smith.
D.J. became involved with auto racing in the late 1950s promoting all types of racing and later became a car owner. After retiring, he began his second career with his sons at Ultra Wheel Company and devoted 100 percent of his time to Ultra Motorsports which fielded cars in both the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and the then NASCAR Winston Cup Series.
D.J. developed relationships with many of the NASCAR greats such as Tiny Lund, A.J. Foyt, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Parnelli Jones and Junior Johnson, to name a few.
His son, Jimmy, was one of four off-road racing owners who came to NASCAR in 1994 with the concept of racing pickup trucks on paved ovals and road courses. The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debuted the following year and currently is in its 14th season. In 2005, Smith’s team won both owner and driver championships fielding Dodges driven by Ted Musgrave.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, May 19 at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, 4471 Lincoln Ave., Cypress CA 90630, telephone 800-204-3131.
Donations can be made to Victory Junction in memory of D.J. Smith, 4500 Adams Way, Randleman, NC 27317. Please request Victory Junction to send donation cards to: The Smith Family, 75 Linda Isle, Newport Beach, CA 92660
Retired Los Angeles Times motorsports writer Shav Glick dies at 87
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Shav Glick, who covered the Indianapolis 500 and a variety of other races during 37 years writing about motorsports for the Los Angeles Times, has died. He was 87.
Glick died Saturday at his Pasadena home of complications from melanoma, the newspaper confirmed Sunday. He retired at 85 last year.
By the time he was assigned the auto racing beat at the Times, Glick was 48 and had already spent 34 years covering other sports.
In 1994, Glick was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in Novi, Mich., becoming the first writer for a general circulation daily newspaper to earn that honor.
"He was the authority. You wanted to be noticed by Shav Glick," former Indianapolis 500 winner Mario Andretti told the Times. "He certainly had my respect."
Glick served in the Army during World War II. After that, he went to work for the Pasadena Star-News and stayed until 1954, when future Times publisher Otis Chandler hired him as sports editor of the Los Angeles Mirror, a sister paper of the Times.
When the Mirror was merged into the Times, Glick made the transition as well. Before covering racing, he was the golf beat writer and for a time, he covered both sports until scheduling conflicts made it impossible.
Glick covered short tracks and super speedways, road racing and drag racing and midget cars.
"He was a true friend of mine, a friend of the sporting world and someone with high integrity," car owner Roger Penske told the Times. "I have a lot to thank him for, and so does the entire motor racing industry."
Born Shavenau Glick on Sept. 16, 1920, he grew up in Pasadena. Glick was a classmate and friend of Jackie Robinson at what was then Pasadena Junior College before Robinson became the first black to play major league baseball.
Glick is survived by companion Doris Syme, son Michael of Santa Barbara, three grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. His wife of 41 years, Florence, died in 1991. His stepson, Jeffrey Hale, died in 1997.
A memorial was being planned.
Bob Beadle, age 73, passed away Sunday August 12, 2007.
Dorothy, his wife of 45 years, was instrumental in his adventure into auto racing. They met at Sunshine Dairy in Ballard and when Bob saw her he was stricken. "I asked her out of course" says Bob. Dorothy may have had some doubts but "She wasn't having anything to do with me paying her way. She agreed to a "Dutch-Treat", no strings attached and took me to the old Sea-Tac Speedway." Bob would go onto say, " I guess I passed the test because we were together from then on." That was when Bob took on racing as one of his main hobbies and later one of his businesses.
Bob started drag racing at the Puyallup Drag Strip when a close friend, Chuck Evans, convinced him to buy a modified from Worth Skinner with urging from Dorothy to race at Sky Valley Speedway in the mid -1960's. Bob continued to race around the Northwest including Skagit Speedway, Evergreen, Elma, Port Angles, Yakima and the brand new Tri-City Raceway where he christened the track with a tremendous wreck coming out of turn 4. Losing a right front wheel on his modified racecar, he hurdled full throttle into the railroad ties at the end sending one right through the modified barely missing him. The accident slowed his career with a lot of torn muscles.
Bob then turned to help to promote and announce at Sky Valley Race Track partnering up with Marv Larson. Bob continued to race at Skagit Speedway on Friday nights.
Bob helped to bring in super star California racer, Jimmy Gordon, to begin a two-day dirt championship between Sky Valley and Skagit Speedway attracting the best northwest open wheel drivers. This event was the ceremonial start of the annual Dirt Cup.
With his experience at Sky Valley he came together with Reg Midgley from Victoria BC to start an open wheel series called the International Drivers Challenge Series (IDC). The series included both asphalt and dirt tracks with seven races in ten days drawing the top open wheel drivers including Roy Smith.
Bob and Reg used the same format and started a stock car series and that is when his interest in NASCAR racing began. Bob became a car owner with Roy Smith driving. After winning many open competition races and NASCAR sanctioned races, Bob partnered in the Vice President position with Dick Midgley to run what was then known as the Winston West Grand National Series. With Roy Smith at the helm Bob went on to purchase his own team winning multiple Grand National Championships as a car owner.
During the period of 1978 Bob, with brother John, Terry Forsyth and Reg Midgley won the lease at Evergreen Speedway with his son Mickey helping with the operations. In 1980 Bob arranged for Cup superstar David Pearson to race at Evergreen. Pearson quipped that Evergreen was the "Super Speedway of the West" and the phrase is still used today. 1985 became a catalyst year for Bob, John and Mickey negotiating with Dennis Huth and Brian France to help with the beginning of NASCAR'S Northwest Tour. Evergreen sanctioned as a NASCAR Weekly Series Track and hosted the first ever NASCAR Northwest Tour race. By the time the tour ended in 2006, Evergreen Speedway had hosted more Tour races than any other track in the Northwest.
Bob's biggest achievement was to announce with Brian France that Evergreen Speedway would be holding the first ever NASCAR 500 lap race in the Northwest. The first Washington 500 was in 1985 and a huge success being won by Derrick Cope who went on to win the Daytona 500. After the first year of the Washington 500, Motorcraft became the sponsor.
Bill Elliott became the first Cup driver to participate in the Washington 500 winning it in 1987 starting a series of Cup drivers to participate in the race including; Junior Johnson's Dream Team of Bill Elliott, Sterling Marlin, and Geoff Bodine. Geoff Bodine won in the now famous Bud Light car, winning the race from the back after a little miscommunication, starting with the NASCAR Officials. Other Cup drivers participating would include Davey Allison, Dave Marcus, and Kenny Schrader. Chad Little and Derrick Cope started their careers in the Northwest and went on to be very successful cup drivers. Bob also made the race the richest race on the West Coast by announcing a $50,000.00 purse to win, which at that time was more than the Winston Cup race at Phoenix.
Bob became a legend in the auto racing industry spanning over 50 years. He was inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in 2003. Bob was a kind-hearted soul whose life revolved around youth, sports, family and friends. A celebration of Bobs life will be held Friday August 24th 1:30pm at the Mill Creek Country Club. Remembrances may be made to Seattle Junior Hockey or a charity of your choice.
Hall Of Fame Inductee Tom Hamilton Passes
4/22/07Sad News: Tom Hamilton: Tom Hamilton, a local Southern passed away recently. The California racer saw that need and started a small company called “Stock Car Products.” The company opened for business in 1969 in Santa Fe Springs, Calif., Soon the majority of NASCAR Grand National Series regulars were running his spindles, hubs, steering arms and rear end housings. The company later added brakes, shocks and steering components to it's catalog. Virginia racer, Emanuel Zervakis. Zervakis, who was Stock Car Products biggest customer, became the East Coast distributor in the spring of 1973. Hamilton was also a successful car owner fielding rides for the likes of Hershel McGriff, Jimmy Insolo, Timmy Williamson, Follmer, Ivan Baldwin, Tom Maier, Terry Bivens, Ron Esau, Jim Cook, Rusty Sanders and Vince Giamformaggio. Hamilton ran the Daytona 500 two times with drivers Timmy Williamson and Rusty Sanders. By 1988 Hamilton was ready to retire. What had as a hobby had turned into a multi-million dollar business, and Tom's son Steve spun off a division of SCP and continues to supply racers with high quality race car dry sump systems. Emanuel Zervakis purchased Stock Car Products from Hamilton and moved the company to the east coast. Since the purchase, SCP has steadily added to its inventory and now stocks over 7500 racing parts and components. Hamilton was inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall Of Fame. Services are not finalized.(4-23-2007)
John Soares (L)
Memorial Service for John Soares, Sr.
88 year-old John P. Soares, Sr. succumbed to pneumonia in Ohio a little over one month ago. John was an auto racing icon in Northern California and, at one time or another, successfully competed in just about every type of race car. In his early years he raced roadsters and midgets and he was a two-time Bay Cities Racing Association (BCRA) hardtop champion. Later, he raced late model stocks cars on the West Coast and scored a victory in the NASCAR Grand National division (which later became the Winston Cup Series and is now the Nextel Cup Series.) After retiring as a driver, John and his late wife, Gladys, successfully promoted weekly auto racing at the Antioch Speedway and, later, at the Petaluma Speedway. Over the years John Soares, Sr. was inducted into the BCRA Hall of Fame, the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame, the West Capital Raceway Alumni Association Hall of Fame and the Motor Sports Press Association Hall of Fame.
Shortly after his passing, a small family funeral was held back in Ohio and his remains were cremated. A Northern California memorial service and celebration of John Soares, Sr.'s life is now scheduled in Oakland later this month. The 11:00 AM service is set for Monday morning, April 23, 2007, at the St. Paschal Baylon Church, 3700 Dorisa Avenue, Oakland, CA 94605-4941. All are cordially invited to attend.
West Coast Stock Car Hall Of Fame inductee and Legendary racer Len Sutton, 81, dies from cancer complications
Former Indianapolis 500 racer Len Sutton, one of the greatest drivers from the state of Oregon, died Sunday from complications from cancer. He was 81.
Sutton started his racing career at Portland Speedway in 1946 shortly after getting out of the Navy and was soon a winner in track roadsters, midgets and stock cars on tracks throughout the Northwest. He won four midget races at the Hollywood Bowl in Salem, countless more track roadster races at the track and numerous championships until he left the Northwest in 1956 to race in the big time. Among the championships he won were the 1950, '54 and '55 Oregon Midget Racing Association titles and 1954 and 55 Northwest midget championships. Sutton first made the Indy 500 field in 1958 and would race five times, including a runner-up finish to teammate Roger Ward in the 1962 Indy 500. He had three wins in AAA and USAC champ car races in 76 career starts. Sutton retired from driving in 1965 after a USAC champ car race at Langhorne, Pa. "We had a real, real bad accident, a midget driver, whose name is Mel Kenyon, got severely burned," Sutton said, "and I got out of the race car that day and said to myself, 'I think my family's too important. I've got to hang it up.' " Sutton, was inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall Of Fame in 2005 and the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1985. He is one of three racers so enshrined: Hershel McGriff and Monte Shelton are the others. Sutton lived in Lake Oswego in his later years and remained active in the vintage racing community, racing as recently as August at Cottage Grove Speedway in his replica track roadster.
Born in Redlands, California in 1924, Marvin Porter served four years in the Air Force during World War II. He returned to California and took a job as the door-to-door milk delivery man. At age 25, Porter began racing in the Jalopy events on the local tracks of southern California at places like Lincoln Park in Los Angeles, Culver City, Carrell Speedway in Gardena, San Diego, Bakersfield, and The Orange Show Stadium in San Bernardino.
Porter’s close friend Rufus “Parnelli” Jones suggested that he get himself a stock car and begin racing with the Pacific Coast Stock Cars and with NASCAR. Porter took Jones’s advice and drove Jack Chatenay’s No. 30 Plymouth in the NASCAR Grand National Division event at Portland Speedway starting 16th and finishing 9th. He drove Chatenay’s Plymouth in two more events before entering the Southern 500 at Darlington driving Oscar Maples’ No. 12 Ford finishing 26th after the engine expired.
Porter competed at the California State Fairgrounds driving the No. 12 Ford finishing second. At the Santa Clara Fairgrounds in San Jose, he qualified 12th and won on the ½-mile dirt track. The event was scheduled for 200 laps, but after a horrendous crash on lap 116 left only five cars in the event and only the cars of Porter and Eddie Pagan on the lead lap, NASCAR declared the event concluded.
In 1958, Porter competed in six NASCAR Grand National events. He recorded a 9th place finish on the 2.85-mile road course at Bridgehampton Raceway in Bridgehampton, New York driving Howard Phillippi’s No.17 Ford.
Porter campaigned his own No. 12 Ford in seven NASCAR Grand National events in 1959. He recorded a 3rd place finish in the 500-lap event on the 4/10-mile dirt track at Ascot Stadium in Los Angeles and a 4th in the 200-lap event on the ¼-mile dirt track at Heidelberg Raceway in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
In 1960, Porter drove Mel Miletich’s No. 98 Ford in three NASCAR Grand National events and scored a win in the California 250 on the 1.4-mile asphalt Marchbanks Speedway in Hanford, California after leading 50 laps. He led the first 11 laps of the Copper Cup 100 at Phoenix, but an oil line failure put him out of the event.
Porter made eight Grand National starts in 1961 with his best finish being a 13th in the Festival 250 at Atlanta International Raceway.
In 1963, Porter drove Miletich’s No. 77 Ford in the 2 NASCAR Grand National events at Riverside, California. A rearend failure in the first event dropped him from competition and relegated him to a 38th place finish. In the second event, Porter finished 15th. In 1964, He drove Miletich’s No. 77W at Riverside finishing 7th in the Motor Trend 500.
Porter’s final event in NASCAR Grand National Division competition came in the Motor Trend 500 at Riverside in 1967. He qualified 25th for the event, but broke a swaybar on the 15th lap and finished a disappointing 38th driving Carl Dane’s No. 1 Ford.
In his eight-year NASCAR Grand National Division career, Porter recorded 34 starts, 2 wins, 6 top-5s, and 12 top-10s. Marvin Porter passed away in November 2002.
Parker "Parky" Nall February 25, 1929-January 3, 2005
IT'S A MATTER OF LIFE... He built engines, full life
Midland man was a popular mechanic in NASCAR, other circles By GERRY HOSTETLER/Charlotte Observer
He built engines that won races on land or water. He crafted them for customers such as Sterling Marlin, Parnelli Jones, Marvin Porter, A.J. Foyt, David Pearson, Ron Hutcherson and Janet Guthrie, the first woman NASCAR (Modern era)driver.
Parker "Parky" Nall Jr. of Midland, known for his ability to wring extra power from a stock engine, died Jan. 3 at home of cancer. He was 75 and had retired in 2000.
His knack for increasing horsepower made him a popular mechanic in many circles. His talent contributed heavily to NASCAR wins for Porter in 1960, a second place in 1962, and more wins in 1963 and 1964 for the Ford team of Eddie Gray and Ron Hornaday.
He moved to Portland, Ore., and built engines for speedboats. He piloted one boat to victory in a Columbia River race from Portland to Astoria when he was quite young, said Barbara Nall, his second wife.
Parky served aboard the USS Forrest B. Royal on his Korean War hitch in the Navy, then opened a machine shop on the West Coast. An early marriage produced son David and daughter Carrie (Oliver). He later married Barbara and added daughter Linda (Silwedel) and son Vance.
`Basically a Ford man'
In 1975, he came to Charlotte and set up shop next door to Hutcherson-Pagan Enterprises on Statesville Road. Ron Hutcherson met Parky that year when he bought his first racing engine from him."He always built good, strong motors," Ron said. It was Parky's engine that powered the Chevrolet Laguna No. 36 to a 1977 win at Talladega. "He took a Chevy 358 cubic-inch motor, and it outran a Chrysler 426 and we won the race. He was basically a Ford man, and we teased him that he had `Ford' written on his shorts."
"He was a very, very gifted mechanic and was very particular. He was a little on the hard-headed side and wanted to do it his way," said Ron.
"But his was usually the best way."
`Always had a backup' That hard-headedness was "probably the most prominent feature of his personality," said son Vance.
Parky's inflexible focus on quality and preparedness caused "the guys to tease him because he always had a backup for a backup and if that broke, he had a backup for that." His dad was a self-taught mechanic and "never went to (mechanic) school that I know of," said Vance.
In 1989, Parky met Susie Cecil at the February Daytona 500 race; they started dating in November. "We had a nice life, a fun one," Susie said.
The couple enjoyed Parky's Navy reunions and attended those in Newport, R.I., New Orleans and Charleston.
"Parky loved the Navy reunions," Susie said of her silver-haired, tattooed companion. "He talked to all of his old friends and liked to relive those days. The first one we went to, they stayed up all night and he came home laughing."
Parky liked fishing at Southport and held many fish cookouts. "It was a big thing," Susie said.
A bigger thing was his induction into California's West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame in October. The induction program noted that he started in the sport as a young boy by sneaking into races. His reputation for building engines spread, and in 1959 he got a job with the winning Vels Ford team.
In all, Parky had a career to be envied. He got paid for doing what he wanted to do -- and it's a good bet that he did it exactly the way he wanted
WEST COAST STOCK CAR HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE CARL DANE DIES AT AGE 84
Carl Dane December 16, 1920 - December 25, 2004
Carl Dane one of the leading car owners and crew chiefs during the early years of west coast stock car racing past away on Saturday, December 25, 2004 at his sons home in Newport Beach, California.
He was an early pioneer in the development of stock cars in both the NASCAR and USAC series and won many races with drivers Parnelli Jones, Danny Letner, Al Pombo, Marvin Porter, Mario Andretti and his brother Lloyd Dane.
Walt Falkner was killed in one of his cars in 1956 in a USAC race at Vallejo Speedway in Vallejo, California.
His younger brother Lloyd lives in Harrisburg, NC and his older brother preceded Jim in death.
All three brothers were inducted into the West Coast Stock Car Hall Of Fame in 2002.