The month of September sweeps in as August walks away, slowly, leaving Summer’s promises in ashes. Pat was winding down a long day and had strolled out to his shop to again try and make gains on his roadster pick up project. All of the pieces seemed to be falling into place; yet, he was missing a solid K member and a gennie Deuce grille shell. Many of his pals had chided him on this detail. “Dude, just buy a repo piece!” “So-Cal has a decent piece.” “Call Bob Drake, they have them.” And so on, so on and… well Pat heard every detail but on his RPU he wanted the real deal. Pat smiled and agreed, yet. With all of the efforts he had put place on his hot rod, reproduction would not suffice.
He’s kind of like that. The frame was an original set of ’32 rails he had found in a abandoned mining camp in Montana. The cab and bed he had scored from a long abandoned tug boat station in the ‘Couve. The mill was from a ’44 Ford, a 59L block that had been found in a crate in St Johns. It seemed that for the most part, every piece of his hot rod had come together by chance or word of mouth. Yet, his connections either had a grille they were not parting with or, they knew a guy who had a friend who… well, you know. Pat leaned back on his work bench and looked at his pickup. So. Damned. Close.
He shook his head. In his mind he did a mental recap of the parts he had gathered to create what his heart and mind had created. It’s not every day one is rescuing a less than 500 ever produced vehicle, or that shakes up things and dares to make it a hot rod. He shook his head and hit the lights. His ‘70 Dodge Demon 340 seemed like a cake walk compared to this pile of metal.
As he had done for all his 58 years he rose, greeted the day with questions and a spark somewhere in his psyche’ made him rethink his daily routine. It was Sunday, September 1st. Summer’s last 20 days were here and on this bright crisp day Pat knew this was the day and where to find that last part. He placed his cell phone into the glove box of his ’64 El Camino and just drove. He left his home in the outskirts of Vancouver, Washington, got onto I-5 and headed North.
The Elky’s 327 sang through the twice pipes and Pat felt like a passenger as his body drove and he observed. He crossed the Lewis and Clark Bridge out of Longview and headed across the Columbia River and into Oregon, and then he was driving West toward the coast. Highway 30 has this incredible climb outside or Rainier and as Pat had done so in all his years, marveled at the view as he drove on. At the crest of the hill, he down shifted and got into the left lane and took a side road and headed South.
He had never been down this road.
And he had spent nearly 40 years as a tow truck driver in the Northwest. The road split into a Y and he banked to the left. Around him the trees has started to turn colour as Autumn kept teasing her arrival. Pat reveled in the landscape and soon he slowed and on his right was a very old wrecking yard. He had never seen or had known this placed existed, yet, it felt like he knew where it was all along.
He killed the ignition and the 327 became silent. Around him were the occasionally chatting birds and the wind as it swept through the trees and evergreens. The El Camino’s engine ticked as she cooled down. There was an iron archway with Gallagher’s in faded letters. No signs forbid his entrance. With caution, he walked into the yard and saw a very old Spartan trailer parked next to the gate.
Outside on a stump an old man sat with a pipe between his lips and was whittling a piece of Fir into a sharpened point. “Eh youngster, can I help ya?” Pat paused. Why had he driven here? What was he after? Then he spoke and he heard what he said, more than knew what he was going to say. “I am here after that old ’32 Ford grille shell, the purple one.” Pat cocked his head to the side and the old man nodded, “Yassir, right over near that shed.“ He did not have to point; Pat nodded and walked right to it. “$80, right?” and the old man nodded. Pat peeled off the bills, they shook hands and he was back into his El Camino and headed home. The ride home was a blur. It was not til he was a few miles away from home that he lost that foggy mental state and felt himself driving again. But he knew where he had gone to, knew how to get there and what the reward was once he had arrived. Yet had never had set foot in that yard before.
Later that night as he bolted the grille shell into place and he tried to explain it to his friend who had dropped by, it still did not make sense. Lonnie asked, “Well could ya drive there again?” Pat shook his head. “I do not think I could.” Lonnie nodded. They fell silent and marveled at how great the roadster pick up looked with that purple grille shell on it.
Sometimes parts just find their way home.
—Written by Mark Karol-Chik August 10, 2019
He could have been anything. His father was Martin Revson, a founding partner of Revlon Cosmetics. He was rich, well educated, athletic and looked like a movie star. According to their sister Jennifer, Peter and her brother Douglas excelled at all things but chose to drive race cars.
While attending the University of Hawaii in 1960, Peter entered his first race. To the chagrin of his mother, it seemed he was a natural at this endeavor as well. He finished second in his first attempt, won his second outing and was reprimanded for aggressive driving in the third. Aghast, his parents promptly withdrew their financial support. Peter took the balance of his funds earmarked for college and moved to England. There, he nurtured his relationship with Teddy Mayer (whom he had met while attending Cornell). Mayer was more interested in the business side of professional racing and did not drive. Through their association, Revson made good contacts and ultimately gained access to more sophisticated machines.
After knocking around Europe for a few years, “Revvie” (as friends had begun to call him) returned to the United States to race big bore sports cars. The new Canadian American (Can-Am) series had just been introduced with advertised purses that exceeded those of Formula One. Both Peter and Douglas were front and center from the inaugural race on. Peter performed well enough to capture the attention of Ford executives and soon endurance racing and pony car seats were being offered. Meanwhile Mayer (who was by now managing Team McLaren), was on hand to monitor Revson’s progress.
When Douglas perished in a racing accident in 1968, Peter was understandably shaken. The brothers had made a pact however, and both had agreed to carry on even if one had paid the ultimate price.
In ’69 Peter got his first opportunity to race at Indianapolis. His mount was an underpowered Brabham but he squeaked into the Show and motored from dead last to fifth. After finishing in the money at Sebring as well, actor Steve McQueen hired him to co-drive his Porsche 908 in the 1970 edition of their twelve hour contest. The story has become legend as the factory teams one by one fell by the wayside and the duo of Revson and McQueen found themselves leading the event. Literally in the eleventh hour, Team Ferrari pulled Mario Andretti off the bench and put him in their sole remaining entry. In total darkness, Andretti began turning laps at qualifying pace. He eventually caught and passed the little Porsche and crossed the finish line twenty four seconds ahead. Reportedly McQueen took most of the credit for their near upset but the more informed recognized that Revson had done most of the heavy lifting.
Finally in 1971, Mayer felt that Revson had reached his full potential and offered him a contract with Team McLaren. Peter responded by putting his state of the art M16 on the pole at Indianapolis and finished second in only his third start in the 500. In Can-Am racing he was now driving for the dominate team. Revson won half of the races outright and finished on the podium in another three. His points accumulated were enough to earn him his first championship.
In spite of his successes, Mayer didn’t offer him a fulltime ride in Formula One until the following season. In this arena Revson was winless although he finished in the runner-up spot once and in the “show position” three times. The result was a fifth in the 1972 point standings. In Can-Am racing McLaren had lost its edge and the title had gone to Porsche. In Indycar a McLaren had won its first 500 but that was in the capable hands of Privateer Roger Penske.
In 1973 Peter’s dream of winning Formula One races was realized when he won both the British and Canadian Grand Prix. When Mayer had the opportunity to hire ’72 World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi (who came with Marlboro sponsorship) however, he did so and Revson was left without a ride. For the 1974 Formula One campaign Revson signed with Don Nichol’s new Shadow Team. The ensemble failed to make the first two races on the schedule and jumped at the opportunity to practice prior to the third round in Kyalami South Africa. On 3/22/74 Revson crashed his DN3 racecar when a titanium ball joint failed at a high rate of speed. He was reportedly killed instantly.
“He gave 100 percent of himself every time he went out on the track,” Jennifer Revson told George Levy in his book on the Can-Am. “He hated losing. He hated coming in second. Had he lived, I believe he would have realized his goal of becoming World Champion.”
I recently had the opportunity to visit the World of Speed Motorsports Museum as well as meet with other writers of this paper. Without much advance planning, I took the bull by the horns and committed. It was going to be an incredibly packed Saturday morning. `
The Museum, on 95th Avenue in Wilsonville was (and still is) hosting “Mario Andretti: Racing Royalty.” The Museum set out and delivered on honoring the most successful American race car driver of all time with their displays of (1) not only Mario’s first car but (2) the GT-40 he co-drove to win the 1966 Twelve Hours of Sebring. The GT 40 was the poster on my teenage bedroom wall. Seeing this car in person was an incredible opportunity for me. It is the first car you see as you enter the museum floor. Bright yellow, the KarKraft T-44 4-speed ‘’eyes’’ you with those racing-lens lamps, low, sexy stance, and competition provenance. Bruce McLaren (of Can Am racing fame) paired with Mario to win in this very 427 cubic inch Ford V-8 fitted with a trans axle. It was Ford’s 1-2-3 sweep that year. Oh, the history!
Back to Mr. Andretti’s wins; Pikes Peak, The Indy 500 — you get the picture. Unless if you are one of a rare few, whom are not knowing of Mario’s fifty years of motor sports endeavors. I am not one for statistics, and therefore will not enumerate any further on his successes. Needless to say, you should get to the museum before the chance to see this fine exhibit escapes.
The World of Speed Motorsports Museum also hosts a “Cars and Coffee” each Saturday morning, year round. It was packed when we visited. On hand were another two examples from my ‘coveted car’ list – both green – as in British Racing Green. I will only mention them (an AC Cobra and a big-block 1967 Corvette Stingray) as you will find out more about them in this issue.
(See page 4 for Steve Beireis’ story)
I was truly ‘’green with envy’’ of the original-owner vehicles that were parked in front of me. Was every Saturday like this? Cars parked here and there in 4 parking lots. Too much to take in, and share this all with Veltman and Beireis. And visit the museum.
It was Alex Mills Day that Saturday. Celebrating his 35 years on the planet, Alex was taken too soon by cancer. One of the first Portland Cars and Coffee Volunteers, his Dodge Viper stood in silent salute to his automotive efforts. Alex was instrumental in bringing the United Kingdom’s Top Gear television program to the United States via his ‘Final Gear’ web presence.
Back to inside the building: Mr. STP (Andy Granatelli) has his life in motor sports showcased. So do the “Women In Racing” (a rotating driver exhibit) Simulators for Lotus Formula, Lotus Indy and a NASCAR Taurus, along with a true replica of the 31 degree incline that makes up the Daytona Banking Wall. You may have seen the NASCAR vehicles through the windows of the museum if you cruise I-5 in Wilsonville.
Stop instead of passing by, pick any day (except Mondays when the museum is closed) and check it out. Just don’t stop on a nice day in the summer like I did without committing to a full morning of cars, racecars, stockcars, drag cars.
Graffiti Weekend in Roseburg Oregon has a lot of things going on every July. One of the happenings is the Petersen Collector Car Auction, held at the Douglas County Fair Grounds.
This year offered a number of very nice collector cars. As usual the auction was well attended. My friend Bill Nelson and I have been making a habit of going to this auction each year for the last several. There were some great deals to be had. I shoulda bought that last car across the block… what a dummy I am.
The 60 Biscayne was really nice and it went to a new home. So did a very nice 63 Chevrolet Impala.
Petersen’s Auction is a family owned and operated, Oregon based company that really does a great job with each of their auctions, usually three per year. This one in Roseburg in July and two in Salem, one in the fall and one typically in February. Check them out either as a buyer or a consigner. You might find your next old car treasure, or you could thin your own herd.
Visit their web site www.petersencollectorcars.com to see what’s coming up on the block in Salem September 28.th Or call Curt or Susan @ 541-689-6824.
As far as I know, kids don’t build plastic model kits anymore. In the early sixties when I grew up, they were hugely popular. Models were available almost anywhere toys were sold- drug stores, hobby shops, five and dimes, even grocery stores. If you attended a boy’s birthday party in 1963, you were likely to see several model kits cheerfully received.
Even my older brother (who seemed to me devoid of creative DNA) was a capable model builder and assembled a pair of Austin Healy 3000s. He wasn’t interested in embellishment however, so they received no paint or decals. Me? I couldn’t accept the tires being the same hue as the fenders. Applying paint and decals was the best part!
Hawk released their Weird-Ohs kits (Digger, Davey and Daddy) in ’63 and when we saw them, we had to have ‘em! Artist Bill Campbell (clearly inspired by Big Daddy Roth) produced some truly unbelievable box art. I slammed together Digger in his bucket-T and couldn’t goop on the pigment fast enough. The result was always a disappointment but I was hooked. MODEL PAINTS! Didn’t you love those little quarter ounce bottles? They had a load of ‘em wherever models were sold. The Weird-Ohs were right up our alley and I procured “Freddy Flameout” and several of the “Silly Surfers” when they became available.
The first realistic car model I remember attempting was a ’69 Barracuda. This bad boy deserved special treatment so I stepped up and purchased one of those slightly larger glass jars of metallic bronze paint. I was in such a hurry to get to the finish in fact, that I glued the hood shut so I didn’t have to mess with an engine build. Naturally I didn’t own a decent brush and very likely didn’t possess any thinner but I was undeterred. I proceeded to apply numerous coats of thick enamel hoping my brush strokes would magically disappear on their own (they didn’t). A week later when my ’Cuda was dry enough to touch, it still looked like crap. Application of decals was my last resort but there simply weren’t enough decals on the sheet to disguise my horrific paint job. Defeated, the Barracuda took its rightful place in the garbage can and I took a hiatus from model building.
Before long, an older brother (or perhaps it was “Mike” down the street) presented me with a solution: rattle cans. Custom colors were expensive but almost any can of spray paint would do. Whether dad bought it to touch up a fender or mom purchased it for a craft project, it would certainly go on smoother than brush paint. I remember Mike donating a “Little Red Wagon” drag truck for me to experiment on and the result was stunning. I shot it flat black then added a canary yellow spatter effect! I was so proud of the result that I entered it in a model contest- which I lost. The judges sited shoddy workmanship but I’m convinced that they agreed my paint job was awesome! The good news was that I was back!
Mike and I both entered the next model contest. He built a cam-backed dune buggy called “a Shelako GT” and I assembled a Porsche 904 racer. I think we pooled our allowance money for a rattle can of Appliance White paint. We didn’t win that competition either but the Porsche received an Honorable Mention (mostly thanks to Mike’s tutelage). Armed with a little encouragement I was ready to tackle something more challenging. I requested an eighth scale trike motorcycle model called “the King Chopper” for Christmas. It was the first model I ever assembled with a ton of detail and I was pleased with the finished product. I got to display it on one of my mom’s knick knack shelves in our family room (for about a week!) I believe that was the final build of my childhood.
If my model building experience had ended with the Barracuda fiasco, I probably wouldn’t have ventured back into it once I retired. I have discovered that I am a much better model builder now than I was in my youth. For one thing I now have patience which I didn’t possess as a child, allowing glue and paint sufficient time to cure. For another I have a little expendable income, affording me quality supplies like good brushes and plenty of paint thinner. Lastly, the paint they put in rattle cans these days is much improved. If you can follow directions, you can lay down a paint job as good as Earl Scheib.
If you built models back in the day, I encourage you to try it again. For me it is as much fun now as it ever was. If you‘ve never tried it, for whatever reason…What do you have to lose?
June 2019 brought the MECUM Auction Company to Portland Oregon again for another nationally televised collector car auction. For us old car nuts, these are always exciting with hundreds of collector cars in one place to view and to buy.
I sold my 66 Biscayne at the Las Vegas Mecum Auction last year. That was exciting and I can tell you that these folks are absolutely great to work with, very professional, very helpful and full of integrity.
This years Portland Auction saw hundreds of cars “cross the block,” and by my calculations had nearly a 59% sell through. The Mecum auction is a “reserve” auction, meaning the owner can put a minimum amount he or she will accept for their car. Of course, the owner can “lift” the reserve as the car is on the block if the bid doesn’t reach their minimum but gets close, spurring him or her to do so. If you are in attendance you might hear “the reserve is off.” This sometimes causes the bidders to increase their bids/efforts since now they know they are going to actually buy the car of their dreams. Many cars cross the block with “NO RESERVE.” You’ll see a sticker, usually in the upper center of the windshield, with a capitalized NR. This means these cars will sell to the highest bidder.
Speaking of Dream Cars… Too bad I’m not rich. I would have bought a few cars at this year’s auction. There was a Nova SS that I particularly liked. Coincidently, a friend of mine liked it too and was watching it closely. The bid went higher that he and his wife were willing to go but it sold and went to a new home.
There were what I would call some “real deals” there too. One I liked was a 49 or 50 Studebaker with a later Studebaker V-8 engine, updated newer Cadillac interior and flames. It was an older build, showing some use but I thought is was a deal for around $6500 at the hammer. One could have driven it to a cruise the next day after the auction. Instant fun for that low of a price, what a deal.
I anticipate the Mecum Auction Company will be back again next June so if you’re selling or looking to buy, plan on getting your car consigned early, in the spring 2020 or if your in the market for another addition to your stable, mark you calendar for next year. You can find consignment info etc. at www.mecum.com.
Summer is funny. We long for it as the chills of February wrestle toward the Spring which March promises, only to be doused in the rains of April/May. June breaks through with clearing skies and the Sun rises and sets later each day, stinging our skin with that desired heat and the Earth awakens and thrives. July continues on with the heat of Summer as the skies darken bit by bit earlier each evening as the heat of August in the throes of angst fights for all of Summer’s worth, fights against the return of Autumn.
It was in August of 1970 that I first remember how amazing the heat and colours of the season were, especially reflected across the hood of a 1965 Pontiac GTO. It was the family car, if you can imagine that. 4 speed, hopped up 389 beneath the hood and she had left the factory in that amazing colour offered by GM for one year only,
Not really silver, far from purple. Think of a sunset in August, after the sun has had its way and baked the Earth for all she is worth before returning to rest in the West. The sky is alight for a short period of time before night and dusk. Add a shimmer of pearl and one will see what the design staff at GM did in the launch of the 1965 line up of cars.
Scientist report that solid memories for an infant/child start at about 4 years old or later. I can see this car still in my dreams. I am there in the driveway helping (?) my Dad as he is washing down the bucket seats. Just above us on the patio on top of the garage is my beautiful Mom holding my sister who is just almost 2. The sky is alive with colours. That bright white interior, chrome reversed wheels, with simulated knock off center caps, red line tires, and that colour.
That ’65 GTO was in my life for 7 years, but the memories she created are endless. My Aunt recalls how on a trip to New Mexico, she told me stories and put me to sleep as the miles rolled past. I remember my cousins telling me stories about Uncle Barry and the rides they were given. Tales of shrieking tires, hard shifts and how the howl of that stout 389 made them want to have a car like that GTO.
I hold a handful of photographs. Mom, my sister. Dad, me, my baby brother near that 1965 GTO. Years have rolled by and that car is now something which is out of my grasp. I remember the last ride in her on County Line road. The sounds of that 389 thrashing against the night, the headlights chasing that dual lane road and laughter as my Dad drove the ’65 hard enough to make us kids feel alive.
First off, I would like to give a shout out to my car club Street Magic of Portland who has been around now for 40 years. We share this anniversary with Johnny Limbo and the Lugnuts. They recently celebrated theirs and they brought back all of their old band members on that night. And that was something else.
I also need to give a shout out to the Northwest Motorsports Association for the recent Light the Night Car Cruz that was held down in Gladstone. It sure was fun taking over that town. Check out the video. And they have since taken a vote. And they will be coming back next year, so be ready. Also there is another Gresham Cruise coming right up. Check out PDX Car Culture on the Web for the details.
And so now it is time to get back down to the subject of talking about the future of automobiles, a subject I bring up quite often here. So you may know that GM had made an attempt to team up with Rivian, but that didn’t fly. Just as a reminder, Rivian are the ones that are developing EV pickup trucks. So the latest word is that GM is thinking about reviving the Hummer and it will become an EV.
And of course we cannot ever stop talking about Elon the Muskfather. He has been driving around in his own AV. And we have mentioned that they are building their own batteries and now it looks like they are looking at getting into mining the rare earth materials needed to build batteries. And that does have some significance considering the China trade wars.
Then, he’s talking about developing their own in-house Auto insurance. And then there was something about a submarine car. Then there is the China gigafactory coming. That is all coming together and he wants to have one of those on every continent.
Let us continue with some news from Autoline Daily. Soon we will see Dominos delivering their pizzas with AVs. Now let’s roll into some other stuff.
As far as ICE is concerned, it looks like the world is moving away from the V8 power trains. We will be looking at three four five and six inline program engines. Developers are designing interchangeable parts that will work on all of these engines. This will be put to use in hybrids in other countries.
And then, perhaps some of you have heard that Ford is gearing up to deliver a hybrid Mustang.
Next we have Federal-Mogul announcing something about a transient plasma ignition. It will burn through the entire combustion process faster and cleaner. There will no longer be a flame front like many of us racers have dealt with. Another thing that is coming is dual fuel injection.
Soon we will be seeing 48 volt mild hybrids which will give more torque. They are calling this eTorque. And expect to see electric turbos that will eliminate turbo lag. Next there is this other thing called skip fire injection which will be used to deactivate cylinders. And I don’t want to talk any more about that because I’m getting tired.
But wait there is more. Staying with internal combustion engines, we are hearing about water injection. Looks like Mercedes-Benz and BMW are working on using the condensation from the air conditioner to be routed back into the gas.
Also, I should say that the bean counters are saying that the US will be the late adopter in this world wide change. We’ll be hanging onto the internal combustion longer than the rest of the world. I guess it is only fitting seeing as how we are the ones who started this whole ruckus in the first place.
I should add that these cars are getting smarter. Not only will they be getting harder to work on but they will tattle on you. Just sayin’.
And now I would like to conclude this with a few tidbits from the racing world. It looks like Volkswagen broke out this IDK, EV out at Goodwood. It just took away the long standing track record from McLaren F1. They ran the course in less than four minutes, the first car to ever do that!
Finally we have good old Don Garlits. Here is a man who has set many records in his lifetime. And he has been working with this EV dragster. He is shooting for 200 mile per hour. By the time this issue goes to press we will know whether or not he was able to accomplish that.
See the video at gearheadsworld.blogspot.com. And that is it.
Chuck Fasst, #GearHeadsWorld
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!
Whilst sitting around a room of young racing aficionados, empty cans were strewn about the table surface and a forgotten slice of cold pizza sitting unwanted in the corner, somebody asked “What is the best racing movie ever made?” a chorus of answers was quick to reply “Senna!” “Rush!” and my personal favorite, “Grand Prix!” Sadly the congregation of twentysomething-year-olds stared back at me with a blank expression- their cinematic catalog peters out pre-1990 and everything made prior is sadly rendered obsolete.
“Days of Thunder!” Somebody slurred and instantly an argument broke out about whether or not the 1990 NASCAR flick starring Tom Cruise was actually under serious consideration for the prestigious Best Racing Movie title.
“Driven!” the same guy yelled and everyone laughed. This was clearly a joke. No true-blue race fan in their right mind would pass over LeMans, Winning, or even Talladega Nights for Driven.
A passerby walked back into the room and said, “I have never seen Driven.” Unanimously we decided that it was vitally important that a screening was in order. Couches, chairs and a TV were immediately shoved into the adjoining living room and someone dove into the corner of stacked DVDs in search for Driven.
Made in 2001, Driven stars Kip Pardue, Til Schweiger, and Estella Warren. (Who?) Sylvester Stallone and Burt Reynolds are supposed to be leading men but their storylines are barely a step above a cameo. Women, crowd shots and dramatic one-liners pepper this somewhat confusing storyline. Guys are stealing each other’s girlfriends; cars are being launched 50 feet into the air and frosted tips hairstyles are present.
A personal favorite scene includes a spontaneous chase sequence through the streets where neither driver is wearing any sort of safety features in open cockpit IndyCars. I guess we, as an audience, are supposed to believe that these guys are actually chatting with each other between midtown traffic while going close to 200mph.
One of the guys in the viewing party had a particular problem with how the characters in the movie put their gear on in the wrong order before strapping into the car. “HEY BUCKO, NO RACE CAR DRIVER TAKES HIS HELMET OFF, THEN HIS GLOVES! IT WOULD BE TOO HARD TO UNDO THE STRAPS” he yelled. When the dust settled, credits rolled, and the fridge was out of beer we all sat around and continued the conversation from earlier in the night.
“The McLaren documentary was really good.” “I have been watching the Formula 1 docuseries on Netflix, Drive to Survive—that’s really good too.” “I’ve never heard of Winning, who is in that?” Could all be heard over one another.
“Guys,” I said, “we are never going to agree on what the Greatest Racing Movie Ever Made is, but I think we can all safely say what the Worst Racing Movie Ever Made is…”
20 Racing that are More Worth Your
Time than Driven:
The Big Wheel – (1949)
Days of Thunder – (1990)
Drive to Survive- Series – (2019)
Dust to Glory – (2005)
Le Mans- (1971)
Grand Prix – (1966)
McLaren – (2017)
Patrick Dempsey: Racing Le Mans series – (2013)
Rush – (2013)
Talladega Nights – (2006)
The Love Bug – (1968)
To Please A Lady – (1950)
Senna – (2010)
Snake and Mongoose – (2013)
Stoker Ace – (1983)
Viva Las Vegas – (1964)
Weekend of a Champion- (1972)
Winning – (1969)
World’s Fastest Indian- (2005)