Parky Nall, Clay Smith, Frank Galpin, Johnny Mantz, George Jefferson and Bill Sedgwick.
GEORGE JEFFERSON Our first inductee started racing in 1966 up in the Pacific Northwest with a 1964 Ford Fairlane. Soon, with his brother Harry doing the driving and Parky Nall building the engines, they moved up to the NASCAR Sportsman division, which is now the Busch Grand National Series and in 1972 they lead the nation winning a record 27 of 35 starts, including 17 in a row.
The list of drivers who have driven for George Jefferson reads like the who’s who of NASCAR. Tim Richmond, David Pearson, Sonny Easley, Hershel McGriff, Kyle Petty, Chad Little, Derrike Cope and his brother Harry are just a few of the drivers that got behind the wheel of his Winning race cars cars. Richmond ran fifth at Phoenix, as did McGriff at Riverside. With 25 starts in the NASCAR Winston Cup. Series his cars never started farther back that 15th. Both Derrick Cope and Chad Little were Rookies of the Year in the Winston West Series, and Little won the 1987 series championship in George’s cars.
As Parky Nall tells the story, “Jeff” as he was called back then, always stood next to the track, as if his car was the only car there, Nall went on, “it became part of my job to grab Jeff and keep pulling him back out of harm’s way, but on September 2 1973, in Monroe Washington, the 17th short track race of the year, tragedy struck again, as Jefferson stood next to the front straight away a car blew an engine and the car following hit the oil and headed straight for Jeff, I grabbed him by the arm and we both started running, I looked around just as the out of control car struck him, he flew up in the air and landed hard suffering two broken legs, facial lacerations, a broken jaw and internal injuries. As the Ambulance started pulling away, with Jeff inside, the back doors flew open and the gurney he was on started to fly out, Nall says he fell completely out the back but George says it only came half-way out.
(This accident also took the life of Samuel "Pat" Pattison a NASCAR Official who ran to help Jefferson as he layed injured. Pattison was struck by one of the out of control cars and was thrown approximately 60 feet. He was pronounced dead on arrival at hte local hospital.)
George Jefferson has spent most of his life in the lumber business in centeral Washington,and he is still racing with his two sons Jason and Jeff . Please welcome George Jefferson to the stand.
Mike Verlatti, Bill Sedgwick and Christine Walker
Our next inductee has enjoyed a very successful career in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series ˆ both as a crew member and as a driver. Whether he was working under the hood of a car or strapped in the driver‚ seat, competitors knew the effort Bill Sedgwick put forth would make his team a contender. He is perhaps best remembered as the driver of the familiar blue and white number 75 Spears Manufacturing entry from 1989 to 1993, when he was a dominant force in the series. Bill has always had a complete understanding of race cars. He built his first car, which he competed in at Saugus Speedway beginning in 1979. It was a tough challenge to set up a car for the third-mile oval and it was a equally tough task for a driver to negotiate those flat turns. But it gave Bill the perfect place to develop his skills as amechanic and as a driver, as he competed there every week. He raced at Saugus through 1983, when he won the Street Stock Figure-8 championship. Bill‚s focus was not entirely on short track racing, however. In 1980, he bought an old NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series stock car and headed to the 2.5-mile superspeedway of Ontario Motor Speedway ˆ where he finished 19th in his first race in the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series. He continued to develop his mechanical skills, meanwhile, while working with well-known West Coast crew chief Leon Ruther. In addition to preparing and maintaining open comp stock cars driven by Jim Insolo in the early1980s, they were also involved with the Grand National West entry of Hershel McGriff in 1984.Bill‚s passion for the sport continued to grow and by the time he joined Spears Motorsports in 1987, racing was his full-time job. He served as a co-crew chief the following year as the Spears team won the championship in what is now known as the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southwest Series ˆ with Roman Calczynski behind the wheel. In addition to his work as a mechanic for Spears, Bill also got a chance to drive for the team in 1988. He ran four races in the West Series that year, scoring a top-five finish at Portland, Oregon. That finish was just a hint of what was to come the following year. Bill emerged as a title contender in 1989, as the Spears team ran the full West Series schedule with him as their driver. He put together some of the best figures ever by a series rookie upuntil that time. In addition to winning the rookie title, Bill finished second in the championship standings ˆ winning three races and had top-five finishes in nine of 11 races. The following year featured another tough title battle that came down to the closest finish in the history of the series, with Bill finishing just one point behind Bill Schmitt for the 1990 championship. He was not to be denied in 1991, however, as another stellar performance by Bill and the Spears team landed them the West Series championship. They returned in 1992 to capture a second consecutive title. For some who only thought of Bill as a driver, he demonstrated his versatility in 1994 when he took the role of crew chief for the Spears entry in the West Series, with Ron Hornaday Junior taking over the driving duties. The result was another season inwhich the Spears team was a contender for the title. With the launch of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 1995 and Hornaday‚s departure, Bill returned reassumed the driving duties for Spears. Although their primary focus was on NASCAR‚s newest national series in 1995, Bill did win two of the three West Series races the team ran that year. He remained in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series the following year, driving for Darrell Waltrip through the 1996 season. Bill eventually returned to the West Series, driving for Tim Buckley from 1999 through 2001. Bill opted to hang up his helmet after three seasons, however, and once again concentrate on the role of crew chief. As a driver, he recorded one of the best winning percentages in the history of the NASCAR Grand National Division, West Series. He competed in 109 races ˆ scoring 17 wins, 61 top-five and 74 top-10 finishes. He ranks fifth on the list of career money leaders in the series with $686,749 in winnings. Bill continues to play a big role as one of the top crew chiefs in the West Series today. He teamed with Mike Duncan at the start of the 2002 season and continues to contend for championships. Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming to the West Coast Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame, Mr. Bill Sedgwick.
This introduction could almost begin with: Once upon a time there was a little black Plymouth that did” and you would ask did what? Well I’ll tell you what the little black Plymouth did, on September 4, 1950, it lined up against 74 other cars consisting of BIG Cadillac’s, Lincolns, Oldsmobile’s and Buick’s for the first every 500 mile stock car race and beat all of them, and to add to the drama, the driver was a little known west coast open wheel driver, Johnny Mantz. There are many stories about that wild day of the first running of the Southen 500. Hershel McGriff drove his ‘50 Olds from Portland, OR to Darlington, painted the number 52 on the roof and doors and raced it in the First Southern 500, started 44th and finished ninth, collected $500 and drove home. When Mantz arrived at Darlington he didn’t have a ride lined up for the 500 but the race promoter Bill France Sr. had a black ‘50 Plymouth that was being used as a “Gopher”, running to get food and drink during the busy week. Mantz talked France into letting him run the “Gopher” in the race and drawing on his experience in running 500 mile races at Indy, he knew tires would make the difference, Mantz got his hands on some Firestone racing tires and the rest is history. Mantz and that little black Plymouth in just over 61/2 hours won the race by two laps, beating NASCAR legion Fireball Roberts, collected the winners purse of $10,510 and returned to Hollywood, California. Johnny ran second to Marshall Teague at Gardena, California in ‘51, and won the Inagual USAC National Stock Car Championship in ‘56. Mantz, ran stock car races when ever he could, as a driver he could drive anything and he did, midgets, sprints, Big Cars, later to becalled Indy Cars and he ran well winning many times. Being an early day outlaw he didn’t win many championships, because the money wasn’t in championships, but in winning races. A lessor-known fact of Mantz was that he was the first to try and bring NASCAR sanctioning to the west coast in 1951. The race was successful for the promoter but not for NASCAR, stalling there move back to the west until 1954. Mantz was JC Agajanian’s (2002 inductee) first Indy car driver, qualifying the cream and red colored No. 98 Grant Piston Ring Special 8th and finishing 13th. Besides winning countless races he also ran in the first Carrera Pan Americana Mexican road race in 1949, a 2135 mile race through Mexico. Joining Fords first ever involvement in endurance type racing with his own 1949Lincoln, prepared by fellow Hall of Fame members Bill Stroppe and his Indy car mechanic and crew chief Clay Smith, Stroppe rode as his co-driver and the venture was sponsored by Inglewood car dealer Bob Estes. The team of Mantz, Stroppe and Smith ran at or near the lead right up till the final leg when the big Lincoln couldn’t take the punishment any longer, with the finishline in sight and no more spares tires to run on, Mantz was forced to run on rims and limped across the finishline, Stroppe and Mantz had held the lead in a number of legs and couldhave won, but they ended up 9th overall, winning enough to pay for the trip. That first race was won by Hall of fame member Hershel McGriff but that’s another story. With his success at the Mexican road race and his connection with Bill Stroppe and Clay Smith he played a major role with Fords racing program leading the Lincoln-Mercury division to many stock car victories. Mantz continued to race and was killed in a highway accident on October 25, 1972. Accepting for Johnny Mantz is someone that he new well, fellow Hall of Fame member Lloyd Dane.
It is quite a paradox of motorsports that many great mechanics and designers go unheralded simply because they don’t crave national publicity. Our next inductee Clay Smith, the wrench turning legend, fit that category. Smokey Yunick once said, “Clay Smith was the world’s smartest mechanic, but competitors probably used more expletive names for him when they were trounced by Clay Smith-prepped cars. As the consamate All-American backyard mechanic, the redheaded Clay Smith’s fame earned first as an engine builder and then as a camshaft designer. Clay’s reputation arose from the rough and tumble of midgets, dirt track sprint cars, track roadsters, record breaking Bonneville racers, Indy cars and stock cars. as early as the late 1930s, Clay was literally hand-grinding camshafts-sometime fine tuning each cam lobe differently to maximize the volametnic efficiency of a particular engine. In the late 1940s, Clay set up shop in the Los Angeles area, although he specialized in camshafts, his racing engines soon were setting world records. Fleeting national prominence came to Clay when he teamed with Bill Stroppe to run local auto dealer Art Hall’s winning hydroplane in a 1947 regatta. Their high-revving Ford inline six had won, despite factory engineers saying that it would be impossible. (Clay’s correction of the oil starvation and vibration problems of the engine saved it from extinction) afterward, Clay and Stroppe were hired on the spot to do special project work for Ford Motor Company. Their next triumph came when the Mercury they “fine-turned” won the 1950 Mobil Gas Economy run. The partners again made history by putting together teams of Lincoln’s that dominated the large stock class until the Pan-American races ended in 1954. During his short lifetime, Clay also wrenched for dozens of top Indianapolis teams and was chief mechanic for Troy Ruttmans 1952 Indy winner. Who knows what else Clay Smith could have achieved if his life had not been cut short, at the brink of greatness, by an out-of-control race car that struck him at the DuQuoin (Illinois) Speedway pits on September 6, 1954. Following the death of Clay Smith in 1954, Fellow boat racer "Red" Wilson took over the reigns, and then in the in the late 60's, George "Honker" Striegel took on the challenge. George has established a Clay Smith Team dedicated to building quality products that set the standard for the industry. Clay’s wife Ruth Ellen passed away in May of this year and Clay Jr., passed away a few years ago. Here to accept for Clay Smith are the current owners of Clay Smith Engineering are George Striegel and his wife Patty.
Frank Galpin (L) and Burt Boeckmann current owner of Galpin Ford.
1959 a service writer for a San fernando Valley auto dealership purchased a Chevrolet stock car from local racer Dick Getty and started winning races all over Southern California. Soon a problem arose, the car was a Chevrolet and the driver worked for a Ford dealership. When word got back to the dealerships owner, the service writer was called into the owners office and in no uncertain terms was told, “That Chevrolet has got to go” and the response was, but boss, I love racing, and the boss responded, what do you love most, your job or the car. The choice was easy, as the job Ron Hornaday Sr. had was a good one and the Chevy found a new owner.
Early that next year, a truck with a brand new Ford Starliner 2-door hardtop pulled into the service bay at Galpin Ford, Hornaday, called his boss Frank Galpin and asked what he wanted done with the car. Mr. Galpin said; “that’s your new race car”, and one of the most dominate westcoast racing stories was about to unfold. Frank Galpin founded Galpin Ford in 1945 in San Fernando, and built it from a relative country store operation to one of the largest and most progressive dealerships in Southern California. He was a man of many interests, he breed horses and was a successful restaurateur. This was a time when auto dealers sponsored race cars in a big way, “Win on Sunday, sale on Monday “ is how the saying went. Oscar Maples, Vel’s Ford, Dick Miles, Bob Estes, Rush Chevrolet were just a few of the dealers sponsoring cars in the NASCAR Grand National Series. Frank Galpin jumped in with both feet and he spared no expenice, they soon had a race shop, hired one of the top chief mechanic in the area named Parky Nall and started racing. 1961 was a learning year, but soon the number 97, and number 88 Galpin Fords were winning races, “steady” Eddie Gray, Don Noel and Ron Hornaday Sr. drove for the Galpin Fordteam. In 1961 Eddie Gray won Galpin Fords first Championship and again in 1962 Gray won the championship beating Hornaday by 34 points. 1963 Hornaday won thechampionship and repeated in 1964. Four championships in four years against the best teams in the NASCAR, After winning the first race in the 1965, the winning car was sold to Paramount Studios for the movie “Red Line 7,000” and with the demands of the dealership Galpin and Hornaday cut back on the racing. Galpin Ford Drivers in that 4 year span won almost 30 Grand National races between them. Hornaday continued to race but only part time, and retiring from Galpin Ford in 1999 after 40 years of employment. By the mid 60’s General Sales manager Herbert F. (Bert) Boeckmann had completed his buyout of the dealership from Frank Galpin. Stories about Galpin Ford abound, In the fall of 1963, Galpin Ford employees boarded a chartered TWA plane to see Ron Hornaday Sr. compete in the NASCAR race at the State Fair in Sacramento. In 1966 Galpin Ford moved to a modern, new facility on Roscoe Boulevard, in the heart of the San Fernando Valley, with a 20-car showroom and the first dealership full-service restaurant in the world - TheHorseless Carriage. Galpin Ford hosted The King Tut Exhibit in 1975. In 1995 Bert Boeckmann was honored with the distinguishedHoratio Alger Award during a nationally televised ceremonies in Washington, D.C.. Hornaday continued to work for Galpin Ford and retired after 40 years of service in 1999. That little 3 car show room has grown to include 10 different franchises and ranks among the largest volume dealership in the nation, The awards and honors go on and on But tonight we celebrate Frank Galpin/Galpin Fords induction into the West Coast Stock Car Hall Of Fame
Parky Nall (Left) and Ron Hornaday Sr.
PARKER "Parky" NALL
Our next inductee started like so many others in this sport, sneaking into the races as as young boy. He worked on cars whenever he could and the word soon spread around the tracks that this kid was getting good. In 1959 he went to work for the Vels Ford team with drivers Parnelli Jones and Marvin Porter. He worked with Jones for 4 races then worked on the Fords of Porter, winning a championship in 1960. In 1961 Parky moved to Eddie Pagan’s Ford team and together they finished second to Eddie Gray. ‘62 found him on the powerhouse Galpin Ford team of Eddie Gray and Ron Hornaday Sr. again winning championships in ‘63 and ‘64. With the closing of the Galpin Team Parky packed his bags and move to the Portland Oregon area. There he set up shop building engines. The 1965 champion Bill Amick used his engines, along with Dick Niles and George Jefferson. In 1974 he moved once again, this time he followed is long time friend Eddie Pagan to the new center of stock car racing Charlotte, North Carolina. Once again going into the engine building business. Larry Wallace, Noel Brown and Robert Yates are just a few of his former employees. Not only was he a smart engine builder he had a head for business and bought property any where he could. Parky passed away in January 3, 2005.