Davey Hamilton: A Hero in My Eyes

Have you ever had someone you met a long time ago, never to see them again for more than 25 years? The only connection you have is to have read about him in newspapers, magazines and seen him on TV. This story is about me and Davey Hamilton.

Back in 1987 I started taking photos of supermodifieds here in the Northwest. That is how and where I met Davey, a shaggy blond haired kid in an offset supermodified at the Portland Speedway. At first introduction it was clear that we had a lot in common and got along well. Every track I saw him at he always had a smile.

I followed Davey’s career around different tracks in the Northwest and California. One time a few years later I was working as a volunteer at the Portland 200 Indy car race at Portland International Raceway. The race weekend was always The Open Wheel Spectacular at the Portland Speedway on Saturday night and the Portland 200 on Sunday.

Davey had developed into one of the top open wheel drivers in the Northwest. At the race at the speedway Davey was wanting to meet some of the Indy car owners. Early Sunday morning Davey and I went to the raceway and to the pit/paddock area where he introduced himself to the Hemelgarn Racing Team and to A. J. Foyt. And as they say—the rest is history.

Before we leave the world of supermodifieds here is a little information why Davey is a hero in my eyes. Several years of going to different race tracks in the Northwest, I would take my son, Tim, to the races with me. Every time we would see Davey he would shake Tim’s hand, call him by name and tell him to have a good time. One of the top racers knowing Tim’s name and talking to him is why he is a hero to me. He paid attention to everyone, even young fans.

You have to start somewhere. Davey’s first race car a long time ago was a home built roadster with a 230 cubic inch, 6 cylinder and a 1 barrel carb. He raced at Firebird Speedway in Idaho. From that he went to the powerful offset supermodifieds. Davey’s favorite super was the Trigueiro Motorsports Super. With that car and crew he won 1987, 1988, and 1989’s Northwest Supermodified Racing Association Driver’s Championship. Also, he won the Western States Supermodified Racing Association Championship in 1994 as well as the Copper Classic at Phoenix International Raceway at least twice in the supermodified division.

On to bigger and better things- open wheel racing, Indy lights, CART Indy car, Indy Racing League and the Indianapolis 500. In order to have the opportunity to try out for the 500 you have to pay. In Davey’s case he traded the homebuilt race car his dad, Kenny Hamilton had used in his attempt to qualify for the 500. In 1982 Kenny’s car, the Eagle Aircraft Special tried but did not make the 500. The unique car caught the eye of Ron Hemelgarn. Ron wanted the car for his museum, The car was traded to give Davey a tryout for the 500 in 1991.

Now for some statistics, Davy raced Indy cars 1991 to 2001 and then 2007 to 2011, though he did not win a race in 56 races he finished second in points in 1996, 1997 and 1998. Davey did race for several different teams throughout this time.
Then came the accident, a wreck involving three other drivers including Davey. He slammed into the retaining wall at the Texas Motor Speedway, crushing both legs and feet. After 23 operations and a long recovery, Davey’s desire to race again at the 500 came true in 2007 through 2011.

Then came retirement, he worked as a radio broadcaster and partnered with several racing associations. He became a race car team owner in Indy cars, USAC sprint cars, King of Wings sprint cars. He was also racing Stadium Super Trucks and back to racing supermodifieds at Oswego Speedway in New York.

With the Indy cars coming back to Portland, I thought I could find Davey, knowing that he has worked for several Indy teams. I put together a photo album of Davey and all the supers he drove throughout the years in the Northwest. Well, he was not in Portland that weekend. He was racing a super at Oswego Speedway.

Going to the Indy 500 this year, I was hoping to see him and I did find him, working for Harding Steinbrenner Racing with car number 88, driver Colron Herta. Davey’s job is a coordinator and advisor using all his knowledge to make the car go faster. Davey was very busy, after all it was the Indy 500.

Davey asked if I could meet him at Lucas Oil Raceway Park. As a car owner he had a USAC pavement sprint car racing there. I did meet up with him and gave him the photo album. We talked about the old days and what the future holds. He says his legs feel great, and as far as the future, he plans to stay involved in racing, Indy cars, team ownership and driving.

Whenever I interview anyone I always ask, “What was what was the first car you drove on the road?” This is where Davey and I have something in common . We both drove our mother’s cars, his mom’s a 1971 Torino and mine a 1962 Galaxie. Also in common we both had minor incidents. Davey ran into the garage door and I went into a shallow ditch. So even heroes are human!

MY FIRST INDY 500: A Week of Fun and Excitement

One of the things on my bucket list was to go to the Indy 500. Well, it has happened, and it was a week I will never forget. The speedway is huge, the museum is fantastic and the people are friendly. Since my adventure lasted a whole week, this story will go day by day. While I was there I heard things and observed things, which I will interject throughout this story.

FRIDAY the 17th — Usually when I am up at 0-dark hundred it is to go to a car show or cruise-in. Not this time. I was on my way to Portland to catch a flight to Indy. My wife drove and we picked up my friend Steve Veltman. Steve was my guide on this adventure because he has been there and done that many times. As we were making our landing approach into Indianapolis Airport you could see the Speedway.
“That place is huge.”

After we landed we picked up our rental car, found our airbnb and went grocery shopping. We went out to dinner at White Castle, a hamburger place in Indianapolis that I had never been to. Then we drove by the Speedway. Even at night that place has a presense.

SATURDAY the 18th — From our airbnb we walked to the track and sat in the seats that we would have for the race, in the middle of turn one. Great view! We could see the cars coming out of turn four, down the front straight, through turn one, down the short shoot into turn two. Then we walked to the tunnel that led to the infield. We went to the Pagoda Plaza where we met Steve’s daughter, Cora. Cora works for the Speedway Museum and for NBC Sports. She was very busy.

I went through Gasoline Alley for the first time. All the cars and race teams were there. Every race team had their own garage area. With the garage doors open you could see the teams at work. When qualifying time approached we went back to our seats in turn one.
“Oh my goodness, those cars are fast.”

After qualifying we went back to our airbnb. I saw wildlife in the neighborhood.

“Racoons, squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, an opposum hissing from under the porch and the smell of a skunk. More wildlife than at my cabin at Detroit Lake.”

Later we went to a local hangout, the Union Jack Pub for dinner. The place was filled with memorabilia. Diecast cars, photos, posters, shirts, helmets and even a real sprint car in the corner. Oh yes, the food was great, too.

SUNDAY the 19th — We went back to the track and it started to rain. We walked around gasoline alley trying to find my friend Davey Hamilton who works for Harding Steinbrenner Racing as a coordinator. Davey was busy so I will try to catch him later. The rain finally stopped. Qualifying was a go after the track was dried. I thought the Indy cars were loud, but the loudest things on the track were the jet track dryers. After about an hour of that noise the track was dry. Qualifying was on. The fastest and pole winner was Simon Pagenaud at 229.992 MPH.
“Beats watching old westerns.”

MONDAY the 20th — When Steve and I decided to go to the 500 he suggested getting a Bronze Badge. The badge works like a pass to go almost anywhere. One of the perks is to be able to go on pit row Monday only. A great chance to get up close and personal with cars, teams and drivers. After practice we finally got to talk with Davey. We talked about his racing supermodified in the Northwest and California. He told us about another supermodified racer who has a shop in the area, Chet Fillip. Both Davey and Chet are two of a small group of drivers that went from supermodified to Indy cars.

TUESDAY the 21st — Nothing going on at the track. So we went to Grant King’s shop. The shop restores vintage Indy cars. He also displays vintage sprint, midget, and quarter midget cars, along with several walls covered with photos of old race cars from the northwest. While we were there we met John Martin. He is a former Indy car and Trans Am driver. Nowadays he is a specialist in rebuilding Offy engines and VW engines for vintage midgets.

“Frankenstein engines: an Offy engine built from several different Offy engines,” and “I can fix junk, it only takes a little longer.”

The next stop on our shop tour is Chet Fillip’s Advanced Racing Suspensions. Chet raced a very unique supermodified throughout the country. The car is a Hyte built offset rear engine powered by a fuel injected big block Chevy. It sits so low the top of the roll cage is only about 2 ½ ft high. Chet still has the car. It’s in storage on the second story of his shop. Even if it is covered with dust and spare parts it is all together and so cool.

“‘I asked, didn’t you race the 500? “Once a while back,” said Chet very modestly.’”

Back to the speedway to get a guided tour of the museum by Cora. She worked on the display to celebrate Mario Andretti’s 50 years at the speedway. She did a great job, we saw all of Mario’s cars, driver suits, helmets and photos.

WEDNESDAY the 22nd — Time to kiss the bricks. Steve and I took the tour, a bus ride around the 2 ½ mile speedway and stopping to take photos and the kiss. Back to the museum and to the photo archives. It’s a room where they have thousands of photos taken at the speedway. You can buy any photo 8×10 for as low as $10.00.

On the way back to our home away from home we stopped at Dallara Race Cars. The shop was closed, but the display area was open to look around. About a block down the road was an indoor go-cart racing track for all ages to participate. It has a road race course, a flat oval, and a high banked oval.

THURSDAY the 23rd — Back to the track for Legends Day, a day of vintage Indy cars both on display and racing on the track. The display was of 70 vintage race cars. They had everything: diesel powered, Offy powered, Ford and Chevy powered, custom built engines and a turbine. There was such a variety of cars: uprights, roadsters, laydowns, rear engines and front engines. It was great to see the old cars out on the track. The sounds of the different engines was exciting to hear.

“When restoring the Boyce vintage race car transport truck , it was like a scene from NCIS with body parts all over the floor,” spoken by the driver of the transport truck.

The question came up about vintage racing: “When was the first car race? Right after the second car was built.”

FRIDAY the 24th — Carb day, Beer Day. The day that a lot [ cont. from p. 13 ] of people take a day off work and party. “Take the lawn chairs out of the garage put them on the driveway and party.”

As we went to the track we saw dozens of parties even early in the morning in driveways and yards.
“A beer keg in a baby stroller.” I kid you not.

The speedway was full of fun loving partyers and unusual dress. I saw a man with cut off bib overalls held up by one strap, cowboy boots, a sparkling star spangled cowboy hat.

It’s the last practice for the Indy cars. We sat in our seats and watched the practice. Then we went out to Lucas Raceway to watch the USAC sprint cars. We were able to take advantage of a chance to watch the race from the press box. It was great.

SATURDAY the 25th — This is the day after Beer Day. As we were going to the speedway and to the Memorabilia Show therein, you would never have known there were any parties the day before. The neighborhood and Speedway were cleaned up, no litter or beer cans could be seen. If you are looking for anything about the 500 you could find it at the Memorabilia Show. Poster, pins, yearbooks, photos, books, shirts, jackets, and even a brick from the original paving of the speedway. I even bought an original brick dated 1901 from turn three that was used in a local flowerbed. It was great just to walk through the show.

SUNDAY the 26th — RACE DAY! And for once the weatherman was wrong. All week long they said it was supposed to rain Sunday. The weather was high clouds, mild breeze and no rain. We arrived early to the Speedway so we would not miss anything. As I watched all the pageantry, marching bands, releasing the balloons, the crowd of people just kept coming in. Everything I dreamed of. Corvettes were the official pace cars. “Back Home Again In Indiana” sung by Jim Cornelison, the national anthem sung by Kelly Clarkson. The pace cars hosted former winners. Then the flyover: four planes led by an F-16, trailed by an A-10 Warthog with a P-51 Mustang on one side and a British Spitfire on the other side. It was cool! Then came the familiar announcement, “Drivers start your engines”. The pace laps, the green flag, the deafening noise of the cars and the crowd, 400,000 strong. Three wide down the front straight diving into turn one.

It was hard to get any good photos due to the crowd and the speed of the cars.

The whole race was great, especially the last 15 laps. It was a battle for the lead between Alexander Rossi and Simon Pagenaud. Passing back and forth right in front of us in turn one.

As you probably know Pagenaud came through as the winner with Rossi a close second.

MONDAY the 27th — We took the day off and tried to unwind and relax before getting ready to go back home. It took a couple hours to pack with all the souvenirs I got, but well worth the time.

TUESDAY the 28th — Made it to the airport only to find as we were checking in that our connecting flight in Chicago was canceled due to mechanical problems. There were no other flights to Portland on Tuesday. Southwest took very good care of us though, and we finally got home Wednesday afternoon after a stop in Vegas and beautiful downtown Burbank. It was a great adventure, fun and exciting, but it was great to be home.

RAIN OR SHINE: South Albany High School Car Show 2019

As tradition would have it, car shows in early April are held in the rain. I have been to this particular show for several years. Some years there is beautiful weather, some years there is not. This year, even in the rain, it was a great show with a great variety of cars, trucks, muscle machines and hot rods.

The car show is a fundraiser for South Albany High School’s class of 2019 drug and alcohol free graduation party. Inside the school we were able to stay dry in the cafeteria with chances to win raffle prizes, and or buy hot drinks and snacks available to anyone who wanted to join in.

Several Mustangs were there. Julene Michell Clark brought her daily driver, a 2017 blue Mustang convertible. On the other side of the variety of vehicles was Terry Thompson’s 1951 Chevy rat rod, a licence plate-ladened pickup. The bed of the pickup truck is covered with license plates. Unique, right? The only car under cover was Anne Clark’s 1956 Nash Metro. Also, Chuck Barr brought his beautiful satin black, green flamed Mercury custom chopped 2-door.

Several car clubs were represented by their members. Beaver State Corvette Club, Rollin’ Oldies and a club new to me was the C3 Car Club out of Portland are just a sample of the clubs that were there.

The C3 Car Club is a club for modern muscle Camaros, Chargers and Challengers. Talking to the C3 Club president, “Rasta”, said it’s a new club that is about two years old. The club has 50 members and is a very family oriented club. C3 is one chapter of the over 40 chapters throughout the US and Germany. Can you picture modern muscle cars made in the USA on the Autobahn. This club travels to car shows all over. The farthest they have gone is a 14 hour trip to North Hollywood, California. This day they arrived in Albany with 12 beautiful cars. They looked beautiful, even in the rain. Among my favorite cars is one you don’t see too often. It’s an outstanding 1974 VW Karmann Ghia convertible owned by Dennis Tomlinson. Last, but not least, C3 member, Steve Vanverhoof brought his 2017 Dodge Charger. It’s center strip was a light blue that was scalloped. Very unique!

If you go to car shows, go even in the rain. The South Albany High School show is one that provides money for a good cause and you may be surprised at who shows up!

Found Treasure

When you hear the phrase “barn find” you think antique car, old muscle car or a vintage race car. Well, this is very similar, and it has to do with a vintage race car.

When I retired one of my projects was to clean and organize the attic. I have gotten to the point that I am going through old photos. In my search, I found a treasure: 6 original photos of the 1966 Le Mans winning Ford GT40 Mark II.

I had heard stories that car companies would go around the country displaying an award-winning race car. Apparently, it is true. In 1967 Ford displayed the GT40 Mark II at Wilson Ford in Corvallis, Oregon.

In 1980 I was working in the parts department of a dealership in Corvallis. One of the salesmen, knowing I like race cars, gave me some photos. The photos were originally taken with a Kodak Instamatic camera and the date, 1967, was hand written on the back. The photos show the car being delivered to Wilson’s Ford on an open flatbed trailer that was being towed by a ‘67 Ford Ranchero. The photos in the showroom show how small the GT40 is, and how low it is compared to a ‘67 Ford Galaxy and a ‘67 Ford Falcon. I had heard stories that car companies would go around the country displaying an award-winning race car. Apparently, it is true. In 1967 Ford displayed the GT40 Mark II at Wilson Ford in Corvallis, Oregon.

It’s funny that the flatbed trailer the GT40 Mark II was delivered in was so different from the modern transporters. Nowadays you see a Semi truck and trailer with room enough for up to 3 race cars. These transporters may have engine shop, machine shop, fabricating shop, or even a place to sit back and relax.

Back in ‘67 I would love to have seen this great race car, one of my favorites.

In 1966 the Ford Motor Co. entered 8 cars in the 24-hour race at Le Mans. Five other GT40s were entered by privateers. Ford swept the top three places with the GT40 Mark II serial number P/1046 came up the winner.

After a complete restoration, in 2014 it was reported that the Ford GT40 Mark II serial number P/1046 was sold for $22 million dollars. Since I can’t afford the real car the photos are the next best, found treasure.

Variety is the Spice of Life

A mild winter here in Albany, but a highlight of the winter is the Winter Rod and Speed Show at the Linn County Fairgrounds. This year’s show was an exceptional show with a great selection of cars, trucks, racing vehicles there. Not only was there a unique variety of vehicles , but a unique variety of vendors as well. Vendors selling their wares, such as die-cast models, tee shirts, metal signs, and leaf gutter covers—more to come on that later.

Now on to the show! There was a mixture of vehicles such as a traditional classic beautiful blue T-Bucket and an Indy car, a 1986 March Indy car powered by a fuel injected small block Chevy engine, driven by sprint car champion Sammy Swindell. If you like sports car there was an original 1953 MG and a replica of a 1958 Ferrari 250 Testa Rosa. In the same building was a very unique truck. Some would call it a rat rod. I call it a work of art. It’s a ‘32 Dodge cab modified, on a semi truck chassis. The suspension is air operated with a combo compressor and air tank behind the cab. The rear axle has a set of duelies for tires and air bags to raise and lower the rear end. The front suspension is a straight front axle with custom fabricated cantilever rockers with air shocks. It came out of the Nasty Works Shop in Eugene. It is an engineering marvel.
Back to the vendors. If you were hungry there was popcorn, candy, beef jerky, ice cream, and nuts being sold by vendors. Also the best barbecue sauce I have ever tasted- the award winning “Best Damn bbq Sauce” out of Salem.

Back to the show. Every vehicle there was beautiful. A car that I had never seen before, a white ‘67 vw bug that was chopped, had an extended front suspension, no front fenders and very loud straight pipes coming from a heavily modified engine. This was along with your rail dragsters, drag alters, classic cars and trucks.

As you walk around the perimeter of the building, more vendors. Plastic models, paint and upholstery, different types of raffles, custom posters, custom drawings, key chains, scenty air fresheners, windows for your home and the new shop you are building were there for you to purchase. For the daring there was a nascar race car simulator where you can sit in a nascar race car and run a virtual race.

Speaking of works of art, Loren Kuipers from Scio brought his ‘65 Chevy pickup. It is pearl white and has blue trim with what looks like raindrops that he painted himself.

Also at the show was drag racer, artist, and author Kenny Youngblood. Local author Jim Lindsey, with 2 books about growing up in the time of early hot rodding.

So, next winter, usually around mid-January, if you want to add some spice to your life come to the Winter Rod and Speed Show in Albany.

Road Trip to Yellowstone

Just about everyone that reads Roddin’ and Racin’ NW has a vintage car, hot rod, muscle car, race car or is interested in them.

Compare that to a daily driver, work truck, grocery getter that needs more attention than a hot rod. Play attention to your daily driver. Nothing worse than to have your wife broken down along I-5 with a van full of kids.

Basic maintenance on your daily driver is very important. My wife and I were planning a trip to Yellowstone and we did not want to have any foreseeable problems, so I took our Escape to the shop for an oil change and to check everything out. When I was younger I use to do all that myself. Now I have a good reliable shop do all my maintenance. I had them look over the Escape before our trip to change the oil and filter, check the brakes and rotate the tires-normal maintenance stuff for peace of mind on a 2000 mile trip so as to, hopefully, have no problems.

We made it to the park with no problems. On the first day in Yellowstone, driving along, we had an elk jump right out in front of us. I hit the brakes hard and stopped in plenty of time. I thought, “Glad I had the brakes checked”. Meanwhile, the elk trotted down the middle of the road without a care in the world. Of course, they own the roads there.

You can tell where the animals are, by all the cars parked along the road. Several cars had slowed down and a buffalo was right beside the road, with a Forest Service vehicle right next to it. I could just hear the ranger now, “I pulled you over for obstructing traffic”.

What looked like an Audi car club was taking a tour through the park, with several A8’s and other high-end Audis. It was cool.
Driving along a beautiful creek with cliffs on the other side we came across a bunch of cars and everyone was looking up the cliff. We pulled over to see what they were looking at. I thought it was a National Geographic photo shoot there were so many cameras on tripods and giant telephoto lenses. I thought maybe a bear or a bighorn sheep. I asked one of the photographers what were they shooting? She told me it was a juvenile Osprey. An Osprey? I can see bald eagles and ospreys all throughout the Willamette valley on any given day. One photographer said it was a slow photo day.

Stopping several times for photos, the shoulders on the road were loose gravel. I had no problems getting back on the road–good tires. Glad I had them checked.

We saw all the geysers and mud pots, waterfalls, hot springs, various animals (no bears) and everything was beautiful . Even through the mist and rain that we had once in a while, we had great views with new the wiper blades I had installed before we left. Glad I had those checked and replaced!

Heading home, we were going through Montana . I am sure you know the speed limit in some places is 80 mph. Again, glad I had my oil changed and tires checked for peace of mind.

We got home safely with no problems or worries.

So, work all you want on your toys, but to keep peace of mind in the family, keep your daily driver in good, reliable condition. It makes for wonderful road trips.

Stories from the Swap Meet

It was a perfect day for a swap meet. The sun was shining it was not too cold and I didn’t have that much to sell. The swap meet in Albany is huge, four large buildings and a lot of spaces outside with your typical things to buy like tires, carbs, diecast cars, tools, project cars, turn key cars, neon signs, and even old Levi jeans.

This is what I noticed while walking around the meet. I would overhear people talking. The most common phrase heard was, “I used to have one of those!” when talking to friends or just listening to people I know. Here are a few stories I heard.

In one of the outside spots there was an early Datsun Z car for sale. A couple guys were talking. “That is cool, I’ve always wanted one of those. We could pull the engine out and put a small block Chevy in it, put bigger wheels and tires on it and go racing.”

Inside one of the building was a selection of carbs. Three guys were discussing the virtues of how many carbs do you put on an engine: one 4 barrel carb, two 4-barrel carbs, three 2-barrel carbs and so on and so on.

Listening, I know its called eavesdropping, but not if you’re with friends. I think this was one of the best stories. As we stood around looking at a ‘65 Mustang we heard the story that went like this. A dad just bought a ‘65 Mustang that had been sitting for a while. He brought it home, it was a runner. As the dad was washing it and cleaning the interior his wife came out to see his new toy. All shiny and clean, this mustang was purple in color and had black interior with a V8 engine and an automatic transmission. Just then his 16 year old daughter showed up. “It’s beautiful,” she exclaimed. Looking the car over she asked, “can I drive it ?“ Mom said, “I’m sure Dad will let you drive it”. Well, to a 16 year old girl that means ”It’s mine”. After that the dad only got to drive it after he did some repairs or tune ups and oil changes. Most of the time it was rescuing her when she ran out of gas.

One of my stories is how I learned how to drive my dad’s ‘51 GMC pickup with a 3 speed on the steering column. Our family had 3 acres in southern Oregon. I was bucking hay with a couple of friends and I was driving. Now, still learning how to use the clutch, I let it out too fast and, as you could imagine, we lost about half the bales off the back of the truck. We had to do all that work over again. My friends were not happy with me.

So, next time you go to a swap meet or car show stop and listen. You may hear some great stories. That is, if you haven’t heard them before.

Jim Lindsay: The man who wrote the book “The Little Bastards”

The other day I had the privilege of having lunch with a true hot rodder, Jim Lindsay. Jim has written two books: The Little Bastards and Swerve, book two of The Little Bastards series. Jim had a vision about writing a novel, backed by real life experiences about the hot rodding.

The Little Bastards is a story about car kid in a small town in Oregon, growing up from pedaling bikes to racing hot rods, all in the decade of the fifties. As a car guy I know what is was like back then- tee shirts, blue jeans, flat top haircuts with butch wax .

Jim has lived this life style as a true car guy. His dad had a fear for his boy, then in high school, unleashed, would become a hoodlum. So Jim hid his early cars in town behind a friend’s house. The first was a ‘47 Ford coupe and later a 1954 F100. His first car, he could park at home was a 289 powered Mustang, lowered and used hard.

Now this will make all you car guys cry. The price of gas back then (back in the mid ‘60’s) was about 28 cents a gallon. Food was priced similarly. Back then, in Albany, the place to stop for a snack, was Red’s Drive-In where you could get a burger, fries and a drink for about $0.50. Or, if you were a little short on money because you spent it all on gas, you could get hash browns and gravy for $0.25. Red’s Drive-In later became the T&M and then Westy’s.

This description was true in Southern Oregon where I grew up and spent most of my hard earned money on gas. I could cruise all night long. I think that was true no matter where you lived.
Jim’s passion for cars was fueled by witnessing kids of the 50s, with Elvis style hair, driving chopped down Fords with spinners and loud pipes. He was impressionable, being pre-teen, when these creatures wearing bomber jackets owned the streets with their girlfriends wearing lipstick and winks. Now, I have read The Little Bastards and I loved it. I can relate to getting a car, fixing it, cruising with the friends you make and the fun you have.

Talking to Jim, we discussed the trend of cars. In the ‘40’s and ‘50’s if you wanted a hot rod you had to either build one or buy one. Then came the factory cars and the world changed when the Beatles got off the plane. This was about the same time when old time rock and roll faded out and the trend of muscle cars started. Now you could go down to the dealer and get a Chevy, Ford or a Dodge already souped up and with a 4 speed. As Jim said “ the days of having to build a hot rod are over”. Today you can build a hot rod or buy a hot rod of your choice. There are also vintage muscle cars, modern muscle cars, kit cars or just take a car of your liking and fix it up the way you want. The possibilities are endless.

Jim has built and raced multiple types of cars beginning with a deuce roadster in the early ‘70s. He drove all over, even to Bonneville. Speaking of Bonneville, Jim is the proud owner of the “Red Hat.” A baseball cap is the badge worn by life members of the Bonneville 200 mph club- a prestigious group of about 600 men and women who have set a record at a SCTA sanctioned event at over 200 mph.

Jim set a record with the average speed of 218 mph last year. The racecar is a rear engine modified roadster built with the help of Marty Strode, a metal wizard from the Portland area. The roadster is powered by a blown ‘50 Mercury engine equipped with Ardun heads.

A mostly home built race car is his bright yellow ‘23 Ford roadster with an alcohol injected 341 DeSoto Hemi engine. Jim raced the Nostalgic Circuit at dragstrips up and down the west coast. In 2006 he became track champion at the Woodburn dragstrip.

As a young man, Jim saw Bob Duedall’s competition coupe dragster around town in Albany. Fifty years later he became owner of the car that he had worshipped as a young man. Once restored the Bob Duedall T-bodied comp coupe was on the prowl again. It was taken to the 2013 Grand National Roadster Show in Pomona, California, where it won best dragster. The car was then displayed for a year at the World of Speed Museum in Wilsonville.

So lately after reading The Little Bastards, it reminded me of a cross between the movies American Graffiti and Stand By Me. Jim hit it right on the nose with his hot rodding knowledge and racing experience. I just started reading Swerve and it is just as great as The Little Bastards. I highly recommend both novels for any car guy.

Both books are available on Amazon or for signed copies send $20.00 for Swerve and $15.00 for Little Bastards or $35.00 for both to Stamper Press, 34339 Colorado Lake Dr., Corvallis, OR 97333. You’re going to love these stories.

3 in 1: A Full Day of Automotive Events

We all know that things change, sometimes good, sometimes not so good. This is very good. When was the last time you were able to go to three events all within walking distance? The Mild to Wild Swap Meet has always been held in Albany at the Linn Co. Fairgrounds. This is what has changed. In February 2019, the swap meet will be at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem. Now it will be held with two other events on the same day, the Salem Roadster Show and indoor dirt track racing. That makes it a 3 in 1 day.

The new kid on the block, or rather, in the fairgrounds, is the swap meet. The Mild to Wild Swap Meet is in Columbia Hall and will be held on Saturday, February 16th from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. Now if you want to get a booth to sell something contact Steve Moore at 541-990-8087. If you do get a booth set up is the day before, on Friday afternoon.

The Salem Roadster Show is in the Jackson Long Building on Saturday, February 16th from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm and Sunday, Feb 17th from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. I have been to this show before and it is great. With a variety of cars and trucks, it has something for everyone.

Last, but not least, is the indoor circle dirt track races. It will be at the Forster Livestock Pavilion the races go for two shows . The first one is from 9:00 am to approximately 3:00 pm. The second one is from 5:00 pm until they are finished. The classes are open comp cage karts, pee wee karts, micro-sprints, Pro 4 cars and dwarf cars. The racing is exciting, but the temperature usually is cold so bundle up.

With 3 different events there is also three different admission fees. So, in the middle of winter on probably a rainy day you can get your car fix all indoors all day long. Don’t forget! Saturday, February 16 there is three automotive events in one day at the State Fairgrounds.

2018 Northwest Art and Air Show Festival

I am used to getting up a 0 dark hundred in the morning for a car show. This morning was a little different. The show was in my home town of Albany. The only reason I was up and out so early was to watch the balloons go up.

Hot air balloons launch real early in the morning when the air is calm. The Art and Air Show Festival is a big weekend event here in Albany. The festival consists of hot air balloons, craft booths with just about everything from photos, to art work, to paintings and much, much more. There is also food vendors, live music, fireworks, and last, but not least, a car show.

My friends and I like to show up to the car show early. This way we can see the see and hear the other vehicles rumble in. In some cases you can hear a hot rod or race car come in before you even see them. One of those cars is a ‘62 Nova Pro Street drag car. Paul and Kathy Campbell of Albany owns this beast. It runs the quarter mile in the low 9.00 seconds.

Part of the festival is events at the local airport which is right across I-5 from where the car show is. As we sit there, shooting the bull we can see all the different aircraft take off and land.

We can see everything from a biplane, ultralights, home built aircrafts, to watching a Lear jet take off.

Ok, back to the cars show. Now I love any car with fuel injected velocity stacks, big wide tires and wings, like a Can Am race car. In my opinion wings should be on race cars only. I bring this up because of one car that has been around Albany for a while. Blaine Blood drives a ‘23 T bucket with big rear tires, side pipes and tall staggered velocity stacks feeding a small block Chevy. From a distance it looks great, up close you find the truth, The stacks are fake , they cover a 4 bbl carb. Don’t get me wrong, this car still looks and sounds so cool.

On the other end of cool cars is a 1964 Amphicar. You know, one of those cars you can drive down the boat ramp at a lake and just keep on driving. The amphicar is owned and driven by Fred Calosso all the way from Florence, that is Florence, Oregon, not Florence, Italy.

The car show is sponsored by Lassen Toyota and put on by the Willamette Chapter of Studebaker Drivers Club. So, next August, if you are in the Albany area stop by. Where else can you see a car show with a great variety of vehicles and an air show. Not to mention it is all free except for parking. That will cost you 5 dollars. There is something for everybody. If you come don’t forget to come early. The hot air balloons launch at 0 light hundred, at sunrise.