Once Gary and I had committed to it, we were all in. The West Capital Alumni Association’s All American Vintage Classic has existed for twelve years. The first one was organized by Brenda Anderson, wife of Sacramento short track legend Johnny Anderson. Bonnie Chisholm was a board member back in ’06 and took over the event reins the following year. Chisholm also heads up the vintage segment at the Louie Vermeil Classic at Calistoga each Labor Day and that is how my buddy Gary Barnes and I came to be invited.
Now Barnes and I had never driven our race cars on asphalt before…and that is where the Voytek brothers come in. They were planning to attend the Classic anyway so when they offered to crew for us and lend us their pavement expertise, it was pretty much a no brainer.
We arrived in Roseville (CA) on Thursday at dusk. Many of the participants were already there including a Super Modified that was very familiar to me. One of the last races I attended at the old San Jose Speedway was the Johnny Key Classic in 1976. And here before me, literally moments after pulling through the pit gate, appeared the winning car from that event. Thus began an awesome weekend that at times bordered on the surreal.
Friday began with a race memorabilia swap meet. The number of vendors was small but somehow everyone in my party found something they couldn’t live without.
Naturally, I wanted to race with Gary. Yes, my 1985 Sargent is technically a Super but in reality the car has more in common with his ’80 Stanton Sprint Car than the other Supers on hand. It has torsion bar suspension, no starter and I run it without a wing. The officials wouldn’t have it (a Super is a Super; a Sprint Car is a Sprint Car… I guess). Instead they tossed me in with a mixed group of varied experience. I recognized the #5 car from the pages of Vintage Oval. I even remembered the guy’s name: Dan Green. He was one of Legends of Kearny Bowl up from the Fresno area. Also in our session was the Duke McMillan built #0, recently restored by Mike Sargent and driven by Jim DaRe.
The green light blinked on and we were underway. The #5 was circulating slowly, clinging to the bottom groove. DaRe meanwhile chose the high line and really starting hauling the mail. I was somewhere in the middle. I dove in under the #5 and powered away. Within a few laps I was gaining on him again! The #0 in contrast, flashed by me for a second time! On the checkered flag lap the three of us arrived in turn four together. DaRe on the outside, I commit to the bottom, #5 in the center. The #0 easily crossed the line first; I accelerated past the #5 but got a shot in the right rear for my efforts. When I came back around on my cool off lap, #5 was parked sideways at start/finish. “Uh-oh” I thought, “I’m gonna get blamed for that.” It turned out Green no longer owned the car and the new owner of #5 was letting his wife take a test drive. (A rookie ribbon tied to the back of the cage might have been a good idea).
“You see the painted stipe around the bottom?” the head official asked me. “Yeah, I guess.” I said. “You have to stay to the right of that.” He told me I was fast but I was going to wreck somebody. “You need to move up a groove, work on being smoother, slow down to go faster, etc.” I told him I understood and promised to behave myself. In the final session I kept my nose clean. I ran by myself and worked on driving smoother.
Saturday morning we pushed all the cars over behind the grandstands. There was a hot rod show, other display vehicles and vendor booths- all of it, free to the public. Around noon the alumni association honored their new inductees and we all enjoyed a great barbequed lunch. I estimated the group under the pavilion at 350 but Chisholm revealed later that the head count was actually 380- a complete sellout. Afterward we pushed all the cars back to the pit area and track time commenced.
I feel like I continued to get smoother, driving deeper into the turns and braking less, rolling on the throttle earlier. My lap times were likely coming down but my engine temp was starting to climb. I eventually dropped some fluid on the track and found myself back under scrutiny. For my final session we switched out the radiator cap and closed off the overflow making a contained system. I vowed to pull off if the temp got higher than 240.
I was laying down my best laps of the weekend when rivulets of water began streaming down the face of the dash. Then: “Ka-booof!” The lower radiator hose blew and I became a passenger on my own personal carnival ride. Luckily I stopped without hitting anything, faced up the banking between turns three and four. I checked for oncoming traffic just in time to see #5 (of all possible cars) hit my water, do a quick 360 and kiss the retaining wall! My Vintage Classic ended there.
I was glad to hear that damage to the #5 was minimal. Calling it a “racing deal” is cop out so if I spoiled his and his wife’s weekend, I take responsibility and apologize. Gary meanwhile did awesome. He led the Sprint Car finale for eight laps before finishing second.
Throughout the weekend there was serious buzz about this being the last Vintage Classic to be held at All American Speedway in Roseville. I certainly hope that that is not the case. Thanks again to Bonnie Chisholm and all the people that help make this event one of the greatest vintage racing events I have ever attended.
Combining the nonstop buzz of Las Vegas with the world’s largest automotive tradeshow is a guaranteed good time, and SEMA 2017 didn’t disappoint. All the fun aside, SEMA is serious work, and where we keep on top of what is new and hot in the automotive industry so we can offer our customers the latest technologies and aftermarket components.
We strapped on our walking shoes and checked out all that SEMA had to offer. It is always fun to see what will be unveiled, and the direction the industry is leaning towards. One thing was more apparent than ever—80s-era body styles are the next thing. We saw a number of sweet builds base off from square body trucks, 3rd gen Camaros, and fox body Mustangs.
We hope you enjoy checking out a quick peek into some of the amazing builds that were on display. You can check out our BLOG posts for additional images: http://metalworksclassics.com/#blog
It was in thick and anxious anticipation that I waited for my press credential clearance for the Red Bull Air Races. Their second year being held in a hover over the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, this was a great opportunity to take a new angle of attack on a sport and facility that I have become comfortable with.
This degree of motorsport is yet another marginal hue according to the United States demographic. Internationally however, the Red Bull Air Race Championship has been flying high for eleven years. Similar in tone to Formula 1, the Air Race Championship frequents exciting and affluent cities all over the world. Before hosting their series finale at Indy, the pilots had already put on a dazzling display in Saudi Arabia, Japan, Russia, Hungary, Portugal, and Germany and did a fly- by off the beaches of San Diego. Indy is far from the most populated event, though with a few more years of traction, and a prayer for good weather, it could be.
Finally, with email confirmation in hand, I ran down to the offices that are kiddy corner to the famed Speedway. Upon entering, I noticed a dramatic shift. All of the credential girls had turned into 50’s-inspired flight attendants. (EXP WHAT IT LOOKED BEFORE) In the spirit of branding domination, Red Bull converted both the credentials office and the media center into lux cocktail lounges. Complete with potted plants, huge translucent murals on the glass walls, and more helpful stewardesses, the place was almost unrecognizable.
This is precisely why I wanted to see this spectacle. Where the Indianapolis 500 is steeped in history and fans, this over-the-top effort to make an impression through details is a different approach to this facility.
Last year, both classes of planes put on a great show. In the title series, referred to as the Master Class, a German pilot by the name of Matthias Dolderer was handed the win and championship with one more event to go. This time around it was mathematically down to a handful of pilots, whomever won the race would take home the prize.
With the sun shining and the wind low, it was considered ‘perfect flying condition’ by most of the pilots. One- by- one they zipped through the puffy nylon pylons. Each run required three trips through the course before loop–da–looping around and starting the circuit again. The name of the game is to complete the task as perfect as possible. Penalties take form as additional time added to the run. These penalties can be for clipping a pylon, not going though the two- pylon gates in a horizontal fashion, flying too low in the course or flying too high in the course, pulling too many g’s on the loop and others.
In short- not just any pilot have the skill to do this. The Red Bull series itself knows the level of competency needed and hand picks the pilots to compete. This is very different from most motorsports where drivers show up with their bag of cash from sponsors and deals with a team. Here, Red Bull assigns the pilots to the stables and hooks sponsorships on their own. Everybody gets a slice of the pie.
A mechanic who was dutifully buffing his plane broke all of this down to me. “Each plane has one man. I am the man for this plane,” he said wearily. “We ship the planes from one country to the next, then assemble them close to port. They fly them to the track.” He said.
“So you have to completely disassemble their plane between races?” I asked. “Yes” he sighed “we pretty much rebuild them from the ground up overnight.” It was no wonder why this gentleman looked exhausted.
Even though the weather was shockingly beautiful for qualifying, a cold, harsh rain set in for race morning. The officials called off the support series, named the Challenger Class, and the qualifying order from the day before stood as results. This made French born Melanie Astles the first woman to win a major event in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway track history. “I am glad that I won here at Indy,” she said “but I do my best flying in the rain and in the wind. I was looking forward to going out there today and showing my best, but I am still happy with the result.” She said.
With one eye on the radar, Flight Control opted for a later start time for the Master Class. Unlike other events held at IMS, the Red Bull Air Races continue rain or shine- the heavier deciding factor being wind speed. The blustering breeze made the pylons dance all morning.
While waiting for the weather to clear, the pilots stationed at the front of their hangars to do interviews with media, talk with sponsor guests, and interact with fans. One of the front -runners for the series title, Japanese team Falken pilot Yoshi Muroya even hosted a special guest. 2017 Indy500 Champion and fellow countryman, Takuma Sato was close by all weekend.
Another contender for the race win and series crown was a veteran of the sport, American, Kirby Chambliss. “I have logged over 27,000 hours (of flight),” he said “that’s like taking off and landing four years later.”
After the gaggle of fans continued on, Chambliss rolled his Red Bull-spangled plane to the front of the hangar and grabbed an armful of tall, thin energy drink cans. I watched as he methodically set them up around the open floor area. Glancing up, he felt the need to explain the method to his madness. “This is my test track,” he motioned. “I like the flight simulator fine, but this just helps me picture what I need to do out there better.” Carefully, the two- time World Champion demonstrated the path he would take around the big course outside by using his hand to simulate the plane. After a couple of circuits he explained how the day was going go.
After each pilot takes a qualifying time, the Master Class grid is set. Much like drag racing, two pilots are slotted against each other. The better time moves on to the next round. They go from 14 pilots, to 8, then move on to 4. The last round is a shootout, best time takes all.
The wind and mist carried on throughout the rounds. Late in the previous day, the race officials made it clear that clipping a pylon, whether it was moved by the wind or not, would result in immediate disqualification. A few would be knocked out of the running by this rule enforcement, including Chambliss.
Muroya set the bar high out the gate with a new track record of 1min 03.026 seconds, which no one could touch. It came down to he and the Czechoslovakian, Martin Sonaka in the Red Bull colors. Leading the points going into this final round of battle, not only was the race win, but also the series championship was at stake. The fatal flaw of a missed vertical maneuver added four seconds to Sonaka’s time, and he could not recover. This handed the win and crown to Muroya, making him the first Japanese pilot to win a championship in series history.
Amongst screams and jubilation, Takuma Sato appeared in Victory Circle to congratulate his friend. Only four points granted Muroya the series championship, and mere seconds gave him the opportunity to kiss the bricks at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
“We love this sport,” said an Air Race fan by the name Jim. He and his wife had avidly followed the series for years, and had the helmet full of notable signatures to prove it. “We don’t like any other organized sports. If you can’t get killed in the stands, then it is not exciting enough for me. We are from San Diego and saw them on their way out here. This is our first time in Indy!” When asked if he would come back for the already- promised Red Bull Air Race in 2018, he was quick to reply “Absolutely.”
Press deadline for this column is coming up right on the heels of the SEMA show. As most readers know the SEMA show is all about the entire motorsports aftermarket. The other thing we know is all the coolest of the latest hotrods built are debuted there. This writer could not make it there this year however he has been enjoying pics sent back to him by SEMA model, Tracy SG Rider. Friend her on Facebook.
I would just like to say that you truly cannot appreciate the magnificence of all of the creativity that goes into all of these cars and parts that are shown down there unless you have been there. And it is a shame that there are many members of our government that would very much like to see everyone of us being transported around in nameless, faceless, driver-less little boxes in the future. And as Gearheads I would like to think that there are damned few of us that would look forward to existing in that kind of a future. So with that said, let’s get on to the news of the day.
Communist China has made an announcement and now California has come on board with them. They are in favor of banning the sale and use of internal combustion engines in the future. And make no mistake about it, California is no bit player in the overall scheme of things. They are the sixth largest economy out there.
And let us consider one thing concerning this all electric vehicle Utopia that they envision. They all require batteries. And what do we all know about batteries? That’s right Egbert — they always go dead. So what then? We throw the whole car away just like our cordless drills, iPads and cell phones because it is too expensive otherwise. And understand this – that will get expensive! As you are forced to use more and more of your residual income in order to have transportation then what will that do to your discretionary income and your standard of living? Think about it.
There is a lot of talk about mining companies these days. This Brave New World that our Visionaries conceive of should work out quite well for them. This world full of batteries is going to require a long list of rare earth metals such as lithium and Cobalt. There is not enough of that around, so… China might be able to dig up a bunch of it. How much do you think they will charge us?
News from the Tesla front. Seems they are having a few problems with their every man car, so to speak. That would be the model 3. Seems they are having problems with the spot welds on the assembly line. Something to do with the car’s construction of mostly steel as opposed to aluminum. All we know is that they are behind schedule and they need to pick up the pace. Now we are hearing that they have fired something around 400 to 700 employees.
Now a tidbit from the European community it seems that the powers-that-be are attempting to declare mandatory insurance for all competitors in all of motorsports, all the way up to F1. But here is the rub, the insurance companies are not interested in issuing those kinds of policies. We will see what happens.
Motorsports magnate, Bob Lutz has written an article about the future of driving cars. It has proved to be quite controversial. Refer to Automotive News for more.
Now, here’s an update on Uber. This has to do with their flying car project. It is moving right along. They have signed an agreement with NASA to create a new air traffic control system for 2020. Elon Musk of Tesla has weighed in on this and he says—not doable.
And finally, back to Earth we have Google’s Waymo operating totally driver-less in Arizona. They are planning to be hauling around the public in just a few months.
Finally I must announce the loss of renowned, local race car designer, Rolla Vollstedt who passed on at the age of 99. Also my 20 + year old cat, Keeper passed on as she approached 99 in human years. Keeper was a car cat who made appearances in many of my Driveway Repair videos that I have done on YouTube. She is sorely missed. That’s all for now GearHeads.
This is a story of a toy. Not just any toy, mind you but a Cox Thimbledrome named Sebastian. Sebastian was made the day after Thanksgiving, 1946.
Now days every toy is manufactured the same way, it seems. A design is agreed upon, it is then passed on to a committee, it is voted on, the designated a name. The is appointed to a group. The group’s design is then voted upon and then the board of director’s votes and either approves the idea, decides to study the idea further, pass it on to another group or kill the idea all together. If approved the idea is passed onto the manufacturing process where the computer program is set forth. The assembled by someone pushing buttons.
Back in 1946, toys were assembled mostly by hand by workers hoping to pass a good product into the hands of another person. Sebastian rolled off the assembly line surrounded by others who had just been built. Mostly, a real engine powered the other toys. Real racers, headed for the hands of older kids and young adults who would race the cars at parks or other such venues. Sebastian was a “push car.” He had no engine but, looked the part. Bright Red paint, a cast side pipe and hand brake were attached to his flanks. Up front, a cast aluminum grille and on his blazing red paint job, a gold #2. He rolled on aluminum wheels with real rubber ribbed front tires and knobby style dirt track rear tires. Sebastian was assembled to look like a real Kurtis Kraft Midget racer.
The toys were all very excited. It was the season they had been told that soon they would be in the hands of real humans who would play with them and love them. The toys were gathered up and packed up into boxes and shipped from Santa Ana, California to the far corners of America. Sebastian ended up in a place called Denver, Colorado. His shipping box was jostled about and then suddenly filled with light as the shipping box was broken open.
He and four other racers were pulled out of the boxes quickly polished and set out in the store’s front window. Sebastian was beside the other Thimbledromes which all had motors. They were on a shelf that over looked an American Flyer train set that would chug its way through a tunnel and then come out of a far wall as a whistle sounded. There were other things which surrounded him that he did not have a clue what they were. Outside the big area in front of him he could see things happening that he had no idea what they were. The outside which had a steady flow of things going back and forth slowed down and finally stopped as it became dark and something was falling from the sky.
A big voice was heard behind him. “Hello new toys and welcome. I am Grandfather Time and you are in the front window of Daniels and Fishers Department Store. The other things around you are other toys. The fellow below us is “Hermy.” He is an American Flyer train, the best on the market! With that the train blew two short blasts from his whistle. “We have Shirley Temple dolls and Charlie McCarthy dolls here as well,” said the old clock. “Above us are a pair of airplane toys and a spaceship toy.”
The grand old clock paused, all the toys were hanging on his every word. “You are to go and be adopted by a child, a human. This is a toys purpose, to make those who own you, happy. The things you see walking past the front window, that is the big ‘thing’ separating us from the world outside, are humans. You will never fully live until you find a home.” Sebastian let the words of the old clock sink in and let it imprint itself on his memory. A Home, he thought. This is what I want to find. He watched outside the window and waited for the darkness to subside and the light to return.
The night gave way to day and the people began to stroll past the window. Some were in a jury and the smaller ones would stop and fog the glass staring and pointing at the different toys. Each had a wish and would focus on the toy that caught their fancy. And, it all began to happen as the clock said it would. The toys were picked up by humans and others were placed in their spots in the front window. Sebastian did his best to earn the respect of the little humans hoping to get a home. He made sure he was in the best light, (only when he could, after hours when no one was around) to show off his bright red paint. But still he sat as his siblings were purchased, leaving him alone. The pace of the humans out front grew to a maddening pace and then it slowed. There was a sound in the air the day no humans came to the store. Great bells were sounding outside and a distant sound of singing.
The Grandfather Clock told him that maybe it was not his season, maybe next year. Sebastian did not understand and still tried to look his best for the humans that may happen to walk by. Then it happened. He was picked up and he was grateful. Could a home be in his future? Was this the day to revel in? But it was just a store employee moving him from the front window to make room for a winter apparel display. Sebastian was placed in a box with decorations and moved to the back of the department store and put in storage. It must have been the wrong box for the darkness, for the little red racer seemed to last a long time. What had actually happened was the box that Sebastian had been put in had been inadvertently placed on a cart for store records and that box had been rolled into ‘long term’ storage.
Daniels and Fisher merged with the May Company and the big building in which Sebastian had first discovered the outside world was closed and set for demolition. Workers were assigned to go through the store and salvage any merchandise that could in return, turn a profit. Some remaining toys were donated to a local hospital. A last-minute opening of an old box revealed Sebastian. He looked like new and the worker who found him smiled. His first thought was to pack the racer into his back pack and take the old relic home, but he decided to send it off to the hospital. The was put into a box and was jostled about while he rolled across town to Mercy Hospital. This was to be his new home.
The box was opened, Sebastian was placed on and rolled across the floor. What a feeling! He felt like screaming with joy as his wheels created a unique shirring noise on the hard, waxed linoleum floor. Sebastian felt the still air turn to wind as his speed picked up. Then as quickly as it had been there it was gone. He wanted to feel that again! Free and Fast he felt! But the worker picked him up and placed him into a box in which other toys had been placed.
Sebastian waited and then saw the blazing light pierce the darkness as the lid of the box was opened. He was lifted out and placed on the floor. The hand gripping him felt different than that of an adult. It was smaller and seemed filled with care. A child held the racer up and made some inaudible noises-bbbbbbbbbbbb-and raced him across the floor. Again, that feeling of bliss. Sebastian felt like this was his home now. He was going to be loved and things would be good from now on.
Many different children played with him. He lost his side pipe with an incident involving a chair leg, but no matter. He loved his new life. His paint was chipped in places and he thought nothing of it. One day a new boy arrived. He could barely make the noises the other kids made, but really attached himself to the toy car. In fact, this child was able to take the car to his room when it was deemed rest time for the boy. One day, a larger pair of humans came to visit the boy. Sebastian heard the larger say to the little boy. “Son, what do you have there?’ “Wow.” Sebastian was lifted out of the child’s hands and the adult looked at the little red racer carefully. “Now that is a really neat toy! Man, I have not seen one of these since I was a kid!” The adult smiled as he held the racer and then returned it to his son’s hands.
Sebastian felt special. Was this what it felt like to be loved? The boy was gentle with the racer and seldom let it fly across the room. He and his Dan would play with Sebastian rolling him back and forth, always careful not to bounce him off the furniture. Then, as things seemed normal, the boy went away. He was better, and it was his time to go home. He cried for the red racer. “I want to take it home!” He cried, but the boy’s Mother gently explained how other kids needed special toys to play with. That the little racer was a great toy and would be best left here in the hospital where other kids could enjoy it. The little boy subdued his crying, but claimed he would never forget the red racer! Never!
Sebastian remained in the hospital playroom, again experiencing the hands of new kids and adults alike. He would love it when a new kid would pick him up and cart him off to their room. A temporary home away from the other toys. As time slipped by the other toys came and went more frequently. Most were more pliable than he. “Plastic” is what one toy Mustang claimed he was made of. Sebastian wondered where the other toys like him were. It had been a long time since he had seen another racer like himself. Were they happy in their homes, he wondered one day as a concerned mother lifted Sebastian and took him to a nurse. “Excuse me, just how is it that this dangerous toy is amongst our poor sick children?” The nurse gave the concerned mother a blank look. “Let me explain, this toy is made of metal!” Another blank stare, “Our children could be hurt on this toy!’ “Does the term LAWSUIT mean anything to you?” This, the nurse understood and took the racer from the concerned mother. That night a couple of workers rounded up any toys that could be ‘dangerous’ and placed them in a box.
The box was closed. Sebastian’s world was in darkness again. The darkness was long lasting this time. Sebastian did not know if he were still together or maybe disposed of. What if this was the end? He had heard about ‘The End’ one night while in the department store window. The Grandfather Clock had been answering questions from the toys when a Raggedy Ann Doll asked, “Grandfather, is there and end?” A strange quiet fell around the room. The wind howled outside, and a swirling of snow flashed by the window. Grandfather sighed. This question he had answered to many times and each time it was never easier. He spoke.
“Yes, yes there is. Some toys will be loved so much they have but no chance of survival. Be it a doll losing her stuffing or a train’s motor failing to pull a load, the End for toys is sometimes inevitable. Many here will meet an end. Cast off to the side and forgotten. This is not the time for you to know of The End. Revel in life and enjoy what is ahead of you.”
Sebastian had taken these words to heart and feared The End. He wished for so much more, but began to think about his existence. The department store window, the smiles of children looking at him through the glass. The hospital years and especially the little boy who wanted to take him home. Home, a word that was larger than life itself. Sebastian wished for a Home. That was what he had always wanted. So, he rested in the dark. Him and a collection of other toys deemed dangerous for sick or recovering children in a hospital play room. And as before, the box was jostled one day and was suddenly being transferred across town, a Tonka Dune Buggy next to him screamed in the dark, “It’s the End. I know it.”
Sebastian was startled to hear this. The other toys remained silent. Each awaiting their own fate quietly, remembering happy days outside of the lonely box. Then as before, the box opened. Sebastian was removed from the box and tough it was an adult who carried him, he was handled with the greatest of care. The adult paused at the big workbench and proceeded to clean the old racer. He used a tooth brush and wax to bring the shine back to the red paint. Carefully he polished the aluminum parts and used some cleaner on the red racer’s tires. The adult gave Sebastian a final polish and gently set him on a very old wooden floor and gave the racer a push. Sebastian’s old wheels carried him a short distance and he stopped. Frowning, the adult lifted the racer and sprayed something on the axles.
Again, he set the racer down and gave a push. Sebastian felt the still air turn to wind as he sailed across the floor. The adult gave a great whoop and chased after the little red racer. Sebastian felt like he may have a second chance. A chance to find a home after all.
The adult picked up the racer and placed Sebastian in a small wooden case. He was next to an old baseball card, Joe DiMaggio, 1953, a set of Aviator glasses with the case and a Buddy L Corvair Pick-up truck. Across from him on the other side of the room was a big old grandfather clock. Sebastian wondered if it was the same one from the department store, but knew better because this one was still and the pendulum was not swinging.
After dark, conversations were exchanged, and everyone spoke of their value and where they were from. Sebastian only knew the plat where he was made, the department store and the hospital. The term “value” meant nothing to him. A doll stood up and exclaimed how she was a first edition Barbie and had all her accessories. She told the room she was very valuable and that she was most likely to sell for a huge amount. A stuffed bear told the room he was a very rare ‘Beanie’ and that being handed out at the All Stars Game made him worth thousands.
The whole night went like this. Sebastian finally asked if anyone was just interested in find a home. The room erupted with laughter. The red racer thought about this ‘til dawn. He did not want to know his “value.” Just to find a home.
The next day. The store opened with a flurry of business. There was a flood of the people coming in and out. The faces were of older people and a few children wafted in and out. But none stopped to stare longingly at the toys. A woman stopped in front of the racers display case and soon was holding Sebastian. She carried him to the front of the store and Sebastian sighed as was put into a box again. Be he had his hopes this time. The woman had spoken excitedly about how her husband played with a car like this as a child and had been searching for one since. Maybe, thought Sebastian, just maybe he would find a home this year.
He sat in the darkness and waited. And waited. Until that fateful day when he was passed around and placed next to some other boxes. He hoped he would be opened and not set to the side this like the other times in his past. His box was opened and the eyes looking at him were much older, but familiar. The face was the same, save for the years that had ticked by. The man smiled the same smile as the boy who had played with him so many years earlier. It was Christmas 1996. 50 years of waiting, finally, Sebastian, the Red Racer had found a home.
When the dust settled…
Rob Lindsey of Wilsonville, Oregon was the 2017 WSS (Wingless Sprint Series) Champion.
Four years ago, the first Feature I submitted to Roddin’ & Racin’ NW was the story of Lindsey’s (and teammate Rich Gentes’) first crown winning season. Back then they achieved it with consistent high placings but no outright wins. In 2014 the team ventured into winged sprint car racing and chased that dream for two full seasons. When the NWWT (Northwest Wingless Tour) combined with the ODSS (Oregon Double Shot Series) in ’16, Lindsey and Gentes returned to the non-wing ranks to contest for the title. They captured the year’s opening event at the high desert Madras Speedway (5/7) and never looked back. The 2016 schedule consisted of thirteen races at six different venues. (Two of those events unfortunately, were rained out). In the eleven races run, Lindsey won four (two at Madras and one each at Grays Harbor and Willamette Speedway). He placed second in another five events, third once and a season low of seventh at Sunset Speedway in Banks, OR on 7/23. It was a year any team would be proud of without a single DNF (Did Not Finish) and Lindsey and Gentes celebrated their second championship at a gala awards banquet held at Pumpkin Ridge Country Club near Banks.
The 2017 schedule showed similar promise- It again was comprised of thirteen events at all the same dirt venues. At this years’ Opener however, sixty-plus year old sprint car aficionado Gary Lynch captured the win. To the uneducated, this may sound like an upset but the Redmond, OR based owner of his own performance products company, has raced the open wheelers since the 1970’s! Lynch schooled the tour in his own backyard and served notice to fans that this season would be different. Round two went to the Mayor of Cottage Grove, OR – Kyle Miller. Miller (now piloting Katy Adelman’s #6) is virtually unbeatable at his home track so this could hardly be called “an upset”. What did raise a few eyebrows was the WSS’s first visit to Elma, Washington where Pat Canfield emerged victorious. Canfield (a former sprint car champion in his own right) is unable to devote himself full-time to racing these days due to work commitments but must be taken seriously whenever he competes. He drives with tremendous heart and seems to especially like the large ovals.
It wasn’t until the fourth event (a return visit to Grays Harbor) that defending champion Lindsey scored his first ’17 win. Then it was back to the Grove 6/17 where Miller again captured the laurels.
When the tour paid their first visit to Willamette Speedway this season, there was a first time winner- Lance Hallmark. Up from the midget ranks, Hallmark and his devoted crewman/brother- in- law “Rhino” make a formidable team and it was only a matter of time before they hit pay dirt
The Wingless Nationals were held July 8th at Cottage Grove and (surprise) Miller won his third WSS race of the year.
The following weekend the tour returned to Madras for the first time since the Opener and the series’ only female competitor, young Lindsay Barney finished first. (That’s six different winners in eight races for anyone that’s counting!) Then Barney backed that up with a repeat performance at the Banks bullring 7/22 proving she too, is a force to be reckoned with and is capable of winning on any given night.
When the WSS returned to Willamette after a two week hiatus, Rob Lindsey looked poised for his second ’17 win but spun from the lead on a restart after losing his brakes. All eyes refocused on the veritable dogfight between Barney and local hot shoe Bricen James for second which now became the battle for the win. Then seemingly out of nowhere, 6/24 winner Hallmark arrived on the scene and simply motored past both of them—Unbelievable!
Lindsey got his due on eclipse weekend, claiming his second victory of the season at Madras 8/19. When the tour made their annual trek to Coos Bay Speedway for the Ironman Wingless Sprint Challenge, Lindsey repelled a stellar field to add a third win to his year’s tally.“Ironwoman” Barney captured the hearts of the spectators however, storming from the back of the grid to finish a remarkable second.
On Sept. 9th a strong field of eighteen assembled at Sunset for the season finale but it was not to be. Mother Nature finally took one for herself and the ’17 campaign ended on a soggy note. In actuality however, the champion had already been decided. Though hard driving Tim Alberding had chased Lindsey all season long, he was ninety points behind going into the final night. Candidates for most improved driver, Barney and Hallmark finished third and fourth in the standings respectively. 2014 series Champion, Brad Rhodes (profiled in these pages a couple years back) finished fifth.
Lindsey heaps the credit for his success on his team co-owner and tireless crewman, Rich Gentes, proprietor of Maxline Custom Cases. Speedmart, XXX Chassis and Summerfield Golf Course and its residents deserve mention here as well. All of the WSS competitors will be honored in a victory banquet held the first weekend of November near Willamette Speedway this year.
The eighth annual Downtown Oregon City Cruise is now in the history books. This year, unlike last year’s cruise, had perfect weather. Always a popular cruise, 2017 had nearly 350 cars, trucks, and motor cycles on display.
The cruise is hosted by Trick ‘n Racy Cars, car club and the Downtown Oregon City Association. Several blocks on Main Street from 7th to 10th and the neighboring side streets are closed for the Saturday show.
Oregon City was once the territorial capitol before Oregon became a state and was the end of the Barlow Trail during the wagon train era in the mid-1800s, it has an historic charm and is a picturesque venue.
Many of the downtown businesses support the cruise and the cruise really draws a lot of spectators. With perfect weather, it was great fun for the participants and spectators alike.
The 50s in the Fall Car Show in Lebanon has been put on by the Rollin’ Oldies Car Club for the past 27 years. The club was formed in 1990 by founding father Harry Carter. Today the club has over 120 members as well as several lifetime members. Those who are host cars do not compete for trophies. The show is open to all ages and groups of vehicles.
This year was one of the biggest shows with over 236 assorted vehicles. With that many cars it took up pretty much all of the space of the beautiful River Park which has been the site of the show since the beginning. The only exceptions were when the park was being revamped in some way.
With cars from all over we were treated with oldie, but goodie, sounds from Russ Strohmeyer of Stro’s DJ Service.
The Rollin’ Oldies Car Club is very active in Lebanon. The show has been at River Park from the start. With donations from the club, for example, there has been a new flagpole installed at the park.
Other donations are unique to the needs. Lebanon is home of COMP-Northwest Medical School. The club has purchased medical bags for the student doctors to help them out with expenses. Other moneys go to scholarships for LBCC Auto Shop students, different charities like soup kitchens and the Oregon Veterans Home, also in Lebanon.
Just about every car show has a raffle drawing. This show had some great prizes. The most unique prize I have ever seen was a case of toilet paper. The guy who won that was very happy!
“Rocketeer” Rich Bailey brought his blown alcohol dragster. Rich not only races the dragster, but he displays it at shows, too. This year, after a summer of racing he finished 5th in points, racing at tracks throughout the west coast. Between races he has shown the car at the state fair and several car shows throughout the state, which helps his sponsor Burgerville of Albany and Capital Auto Group of Salem. Not only does it look great, but it sounds great. “Let’s fire this beast up!” is something you always want to hear at a show. Rich and his crew did just that. He started the dragster and, yes, it did sound great!
“Ava”, a love story…After WWII a young man bought a new car, a 1946 Desoto coupe. He dated a young lady from Redmond. Back then to date a young lady you needed an escort, but this Desoto did not have a back seat. The escort had to follow in another car. So, there was more alone time for this young man and his young lady friend. You may think the young lady’s name is Ava, but the car’s name is Ava. Jim bought the car new in 1946 and drove it all the time until 1972. He married his lady friend and they lived together until Jim passed away from cancer. Before he died he put Ava in a heated garage, up on blocks for the next 42 years. In 2017, Jim’s wife passed and the family sold the car to Ray and Dianne Lancaster of Salem. Ava is all original. A 236 flathead six cylinder automatic top shift transmission.
Without the back seat the trunk is huge, big enough to sleep in. Only 531 were made. Now there is a new love story with Ray and Dianne Danny Petersdorf from Salem has owned his ‘59 Pontiac Catalina for over four years. The car is all original except the interior having been redone. Everything else done on the car is “age correct” including Danny’s hairstyle—a purple mohawk—cool! I know they had different hairstyles back then, including mohawks, but maybe not purple!
A true custom, Dan Pullen’s 1949 Chevy Fleetline. Back in the 50’s you built customs from parts of different cars. Dan did just that. He has owned the car since 1987. The car has been chopped, lowered with air bag suspension with a 4 bar rear end. He took parts from a ‘57 Chevy dash, ‘62 Cadillac taillights, ‘57 Chevy grill bar, and an Olds windshield. Dan did all the bodywork himself. He did a great job of splicing and dicing which turned out to be one of the smoothest bodies I’ve ever seen.
Founding father, Harry Carter, who is no longer with us, would be very proud of what the Rollin’ Oldies have done over the last 27 years and what is in store for the next 27 years and longer.
Oregon’s own Petersen Collector Car Auction held their auction in Salem in September and it was a great success. With 92 cars consigned to them they had a 42% sell through. That’s significant because their auctions ARE reserve auctions, meaning the car owner can put a minimum sale amount on their car. With a reserve on the car it can’t be sold for less than the reserve amount unless the owner lifts the reserve. Your car won’t be sold at a loss or for less than you wanted to take for it, but you, the owner can remove the reserve if the bid gets to an amount you are willing to take for your car.
Some auctions are ‘no reserve’ auctions meaning, your car simply sells for the highest bid, not at Petersen Auction. As the seller you “reserve” the right to not sell your car for less than you want to sell it for. I like it because I can remain in control. Consignments are being taken now. Call 541-689-6824 for more info. The next opportunity for you to buy or sell at a Petersen Auction will be February 3rd, again in Salem at the Fairgrounds. See you there!
This delicious 83 year old 1934 Ford, Full Custom Panel, has quite a history. She has only had four owners since she was purchased brand new back in ’34. The Black Diamond Bakery, up in Black Diamond Washington, welcomed this beauty and used it as a bakery delivery van for a good many years. When it was time to order a new one, the ’34 was sold to Sonny Barritt from Quality Brake & Muffler Shop. (#2) It then became an auto parts delivery van for several more years. She came down to Oregon a few years later when Mr. John Davis from “Papas Toys” needed a delivery van to promote his trucking company, (#3) and then she became one of the first custom cars and trucks as a member of the classic “Papas Toys” car museum. The current owner, Mr. Sonny Martin (#4), from Aloha Oregon, purchased the ’34 when the Davis family decided to down size the Papa’s Toys collection and moved to another location in the Cornelius area.
Sonny Martin has brought this 83-year-old van, full circle and renamed her “Back In Time.” From bakery goods, to brakes and mufflers, to promoting the Davis family trucking story and the car museum, where she was the center of attraction to the thousands that visited “Papa’s Toys.”
For power, she sports a 350 Chevy, producing 300 HP, w/350 Turbo Hydro tranny and ceramic headers and stainless exhaust, w/8” Ford rear-end. She sports, ride tech adjustable coil-over shocks and Wilwood 4 piston disc brakes on all four corners. American Mag Wheels, tilt steering, cruise control, A/C, power windows, power sun roof and six-way power seats. Add on a super Sony AM/FM remote stereo w/CD. In addition, the all steel body has been sectioned 4” and the all leather interior is finished over all oak flooring.
Sonny Martin has truly brought this gorgeous 1934, red on red Ford full custom, classic van, “Back in Time.” He is excited with the opportunity to share her with the world at custom car shows and automobile events all over the west coast and beyond. We at R&R NW Publications are honored to make her our Featured Ride of the Month for November 2017.