It was a sweltering hot August day of 104 degrees by 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Weather forecasts had given little chance of a breeze in the air at the big dirt track inside the 142 year old Stockton Fair Grounds in Stockton California.
To set the scene, the King of San Joaquin Open Competition Vintage Race was sponsored by Sacramento’s Downtown Ford, PacWest Trailers, Rex Hutchison Racing Engines, Tognotti’s Speed Shops and a former model Miss Roddy Auto Parts, Connie Lynn. (She married well and now sponsors the races… lol)
Each racer was paid to start the main event. This event was the first CSRA sanctioned event on the west coast with actual rules amidst a boycott by a half dozen cars for various reasons which seem political to some neophyte as myself to those sort of things. After all I’m just a fan who loves the big dirt tracks and hard nose racing. Some of the best racing I’ve seen was between just two cars. Just watch this brief film clip and you’ll know what I mean.
With that said and soliloquies out of the way this King of San Joaquin Open Competition Vintage Race main event, because of a yellow, was really two 5 lap trophy dashes.
Here are the racers that made the show and man were these guys serious about the race.
Fans were thrilled to see the Pereira and Son’s Advanced Water Products #99 Chevrolet Supermodified headquartered out of Kerman California. This 1968, 383 cubic inch 600 horse power Pereira Supermodified racer was marvelously prepped by the Pereira and Son’s Advanced Water Products Racing Team and was shoed by ‘Tony Fireball’ Pereira, the Mad Portugee himself this night.
The Pereira and Son’s Advanced Water Products Racing Team debut their new Ford F-350 stud to pull a beautiful stacker trailer. Of course the Pereira and Son’s Advanced Water Products Team have several Supermodifieds and need to get all of them to the track.
Pavement specialist, Tony Fireball looked awesome all night on the massive dirt track winning the fast heat race and was in the hunt for the big enchilada in the main event all the way to the end.
‘Gentleman Big Dave Duncan’ from Oregon was a West Capitol Speedway regular and later Calastoga veteran. The Gentleman from Oregon was assigned the chauffeuring duties of a racer recently back from being honored at the Knoxville National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum.
The famous #11 1980 USAC Champ Car, affectionately refereed to by Big Dave as ‘Cadillac’, was owned and built by Chuck Delu, Ed Watson, Duke McMillen, Miller, Mccreary and Race Craft. This USAC Champ Car had in its seat, Andretta, Rip Williams, Van Connet, Keading and several other notables who drove in the Thunder and Lighting Division of USAC.
Mark ‘Country Dude’ Dolner from Sacramento California was in the very potent EJ’s Speedway Parts #7 1982 Chuck Delu USAC big block 427, 850 horse Sprint Car. (legendary EJ Dolner, winner of 15 Championships)
Wow- was this machine impressive. Whenever Country hammered down on that big dog, you could hear that deep, villain-istic, mighty roar. A remarkable and ferocious piece of equipment.
The ‘Dutchman’ from Dallas Texas was tapped for the seat in the always stunningly turned out, ‘Dos Unos’ #11 1970 West Capitol Speedway Downtown Ford PacWest Trailers Rex Hutchison Racing Engines Tognotti’s Speed Shops Supermodified racer.
The little Speedway Supermodified Racer has quite a following, all 14 Sacramento companies with the ‘Pride of Sacramento’ program were on hand to see their car do what it does.
The team told us to watch for the new die cast of the car coming soon. We’ll be waiting with great anticipation.
With 6,000 paid attendance an over 100 cars competing in the Tony Hunt Wingless and King of the West 410’s, there was no time to qualify. A heat race was provided for these guys to shake the rust and cobwebs off their cars many of which haven’t been on a track this big in a long time. ‘Tony Fireball’ easily hammers down a nice win in the heat race while ‘Country’ preforms ballet with 850 horses blasting pass two cars at once low, real low on the last lap to take second and the fans loved it.
Race Directors Mike Andretta and Joe Diaz handed the line up down to the drivers and car owners for the main event.
on the inside pole is the vaunted #99 Advanced Water Products Chevy an on the outside pole is the Downtown Ford PacWest Tognotties Speed shops #11 Supermodified.
on the inside #7 EJ’s Speedway Parts USAC big block Sprint Car and the outside 2nd row is the #11C National Sprint Car Hall of Fame Champ Car.
Something that was evident with these racers from the first heat race- they’re there to race. We had earlier seen action between Dutchman high in a monster slide ‘backing-into’ turn two, with Gentleman Big Dave even higher making an outside pass on the big half mile tap wheels on the last lap of the heat race. Big Dave, driving the Hall of Fame Champ Car was out with a flat and taco’d rim and the #11 Supermodified with a broken wheel and cut right rear although he was able to get though three and four to see the checker. So its no surprise the fans were anticipating a good race here. Listen to how loud they sigh as the yellow comes out for one of the racers.
As they formed up it seemed with a small field an innocuous beginning to a race. It will turn out to be nothing further from the truth on this extremely balmy night.
The Mad Portugee led them to the flag. His race savvy knew to keep the start slow because the Pereira Chevy was one of the few carburetor motors in the field and the slow start helps him and would be difficult for the injected pieces he was in against. Immediately as the green flag dropped Tony Fireball and the Dutchman were scream’n pulling away from those USAC super cars.
With the Downtown Ford PacWest Hutchison Racing Engines Tognotti racer twisting the Rev’s, blasted 2 car lengths half way down the front stretch. Fireball, hammer down drilled that baby hard into one and got back every car. Fireball rotates the 99 racer and has to correct. Dutchman burps the Downtown Ford PacWest Tognotti racer and mashes it rotating the car hard. Country Dude stays low with the car under him as the journeyman from Oregon, Big Dave really rotates that Champ Car right on the outer edge of the park going into one! Both Supermodifieds leave one and two with the USAC super cars lurking.
Dutchman on point tries to collect the car under him and goes low in three with Fireball using all the 600 horses going high. Tony Fireball in the Advance Water Products Chevy will be in a position out of three to go high or low in a diamond depending on what the #11 Supermodified is going to do. Country and Big Dave in the USAC super cars are still matriculating around the track saving their cars.
Coming out of 4 the Dutchman tries to get his racer high because that’s where he drives, “ride’n high liven’ life like he’s never gonna die.” Moon pedal matted from that size 17 on Dutch, the DTF PacWest racer, with Fireball on his tail blow down the front stretch.
The Pereira Chevy has a lot of top end and tends to gobble the #11 up there. As they go into 3 on lap two the Dutchman seems to have the racer under him and roars out 4 with the #99 Pereira Chevy in a close second, The Gentleman from Oregon two cars back in the Champ Car third and Country Dude tight on his six. Dude and Big Dave will go at it, tong and hammer, for the next couple of laps with The Gentleman from Oregon finally attacking the second place car of Tony Fireball.
Big Dave the veteran he is, showed Fireball the car in two an on the very next lap with Fireball high, Big Dave slips the Champ Car underneath attempting to take second. The Mad Portugee was wrestling the car through two as was the Dutchman all night. As Tony tried to pull the powerful Pereira Chevy off the edge of two, he was trying to keep from going out of the park. When Fireball went into a slow spin, Big Dave, already committed, was somehow able to move the Champ Car a little lower and clear Tony Fireball relieving him of second place. Dude will abruptly make an absolutely magnificent move from left to right to save Fireball a head on crunching warranting the first and only caution of the race. Yeah, these guys were racing and more surprises left.
As they circled waiting for Tony Fireball to form up with the field the Dutchman who had been running high and wide open was very hard on equipment and the right rear was giving way. The Dutchman very slyly circles the track with his right rear in the wet stuff to cool his tire. Big Dave pulls along side Dutch while they’re circulating the big 1/2 mile track on caution to show him the Champ Car is on your six now buddy.
The Champ Car is 500lbs lighter and Dutch is gonna have to reach in the ‘old bag of tricks’ here if this Supermodified has a chance.
As the lights go off they get ready on the back chute and just entering three, Dutch has a Dutch Treat for the field hoping to catch them napping. The Dutchman drops the hammer and turns ‘right’ head’n for the top. Yeah Dutchman ‘stretched the rules’ by leaving before the cone but tell CSRA Tommy Lee Hennings not me.
When the #11 Dos Unos Downtown Ford Supermodified emerged pass the flag stand that motor was spinning in what sounded like full valve float. H o l y crap, the Dutchman absolutely fly’s into turn one, violently rotates that Tognotti racer and nearly goes out of the park ! The announcer screams, “Oh dear God !” out of fear for the little Ford and Dutchman. He then realized he was on live mic.
Dutchman made it through the corner out of two and boogying like a bandit on the back stretch yard’n the Champ Car a length or two back.
Country, hang’n on for dear life to that UN-believably powerful EJ’s Speedway Parts 850 horse beast finally passes Fireball who may have used his Supermodified up as well.
Dutchman takes the field high in three and four and makes a great corner as Big Dave Duncan is bottom feeding with that Hall of Fame Champ Car. The Dutchman knows he must keep that Supermodified spinning the heavy reciprocating weight in order to have a chance to beat this formidable car and wylie veteran driver in the Gentleman from Oregon.
Dutchman goes high in one, rotates the car, loses areo across the wings and goes into a long slide-out through two. Big Dave Duncan turns the Champ Car left and goes under the #11 Downtown Ford PacWest Tognottis Rex Hutchison Racing Engines Supermodified and grabs the lead.
During this cluster, Tony Fireball put a spectacular move on Country Dude in the EJ Dolner big block 427 USAC Sprint Car and snatched third. The Dutchman recovers and shoots down the back straight away barely holding onto second with the Mad Portugee, Tony Fireball back tight on his six.
The Gentleman from Oregon will check out with a half lap lead never having to flog ‘Cadillac‘ once.
During this time Dutch, Fireball and Country Dude are 2,3,4 respectively. Going into one coming to the white flag lap Dutchman very angrily blast the little Ford through the corner. Tony Fireball will have a problem out of one and Country Dude squirts that big block 850 horse power and takes third back.
The finishing order will remain the same on the next checker flag lap.
Story is- Duncan saves equipment and comes from back of pack to salt win by a half lap like a pro. 2nd, 3rd and 4th was a blanket.
Official finishing order- Gentleman Big Dave Duncan your Feature Winner and new 2014 King of Vintage Champion. 2nd the Dutchman, 3rd Mark Country Dude Dolner 4th Tony Fireball Pereira- The Mad Portugee
DUNCAN WINS KING by