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Come take a ride with me

My early years

As a young boy of 7, I wasn't doing well in school and my mother was looking for a way my father and I could have a real bonding experience.

She had an acquaintance named Shirley Trudell whose son was racing Quarter Midgets. She told my mother that there was a local track at the AV Fairgrounds and invited my parents to witness a race for themselves.

My parents were interested, and after seeing the races, promptly bought me an older, but still competitive Midget racecar. I don't remember the first time I drove it, but I do remember that I felt like I was born to do this thing. Through this new experience I was given an enormous boost in abilities, my grades improved, my family bonded on a whole new level and my love for auto racing was born.

The appeal of auto racing in the late 60s and early 70s came from drivers being such rugged individuals who used that ruggedness to tame those beastly machines they piloted. They could easily be compared to WW2 fighter pilots. Men the likes of Dan Gurney, Mario Andretti, Jim Clark, Jackie Stewart, Graham Hill, Bruce Mc Claren, AJ Foyt, Richard Petty, David Pearson and Cale Yarborough, just to name a few. My walls became adorned with these drivers and their cars. My hero was Dan Gurney, and he is still remembered as being the gentleman of motor sports, and also one of the best drivers.

Fun fact: After winning Le Mans in 1967, he was so stoked about winning that when he was given the big bottle of champagne, he shook it up and sprayed the photographers, drivers, Henry Ford II, Carroll Shelby and their wives with it. The spraying of champagne in the winner's circle is a tradition that is still carried on in motor sports all over the world today.

The first car I had was called a Ridged, (the one to the left in the picture) because it had no suspension at all. It was great for the dirt tracks, but it wasn't long before I was racing on other tracks that were asphalt, which meant I needed another car. Oh, darn. So, my dad bought the orange one. I was the only 7 year old on the whole street with two cars! It was very exciting and we went racing almost every weekend.

The whole experience was life changing, and wet my appetite for more competition. I took to it like a fish to water, and I was really good at it. I set a new track record for the Novice class, and I won several races (see trophies in the picture). The track at the AV Fairgrounds was my home track, but we also went to tracks in Northridge, Pomona and Chino.

This is the first installment of a journey I hope you will enjoy taking with me. I will give commentary and interesting stories (I hope) about my racing career and my love for the sport, leading up to my current endeavor of racing a fully prepared 1965 Corvette in the Vintage Racing Series at some of the most famous tracks in the country.

So, strap in and get ready for a wild ride!

Until next time.

If you have any questions or comments you can contact me at [email protected].