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Thread: Old San Jose Speedway

  1. #1

    Old San Jose Speedway

    Does anyone out there (AXe) know what ever happened to a lot of the old asphalt san Jose drivers? I was thinking of guys like Nick Ringo, Ed Hopper, Wendell Chambers, Donny and Jack Epperson, Ray Otis, Mike Damron, etc. It seems like we all know about the careers of such as Quick Nick, Howard K, Roland Wolatyka(sp), Lloyd Beard , Al Pombo, Marshall , etc. Some of the less notable but still there every Sat. night and faassstttt.......great to hear about any. Thanx

  2. #2
    Race Fan
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    Most got to heavy for the horsepower to pull around any more
    Ringo should be lucky if he is not in jail,
    Ray Otis was still managing a Payless Rockery there in San Jose.
    Ed hopper had got married again last I heard,
    i
    I dont have any idea of the others.
    aXe
    Born Again Race Fan seen at
    www.openwheelracers3.com

  3. #3
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    A few San Jose regulars from 1950 on.
    Dick whalen
    Dick Overstreet
    Bill Hill
    Carmel Fernandez
    Rob Carlotto
    Joe Diaz
    Rick Henderson
    John Colendich
    Ray Ranier
    Johnny Freitas
    Jerry Freitas
    Ed Andrews
    Herb Kaeding
    Don Loyd
    Uncle Dudly (Bob Hewitt)
    Shiner Watkins
    Art Biggioni


    These are just a few from the past. Its Real sad no one from the era has taken up the job of a good site to remember them on.
    Here is a site. And there is another one I cant seem to find right now. The guy running it has bounced it around a couple of times.
    This guy has some great idea's, But there should be more out there untouched so far.
    aXe
    I found the other address I will enclose it also.

    web pageweb page

  4. #4
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    Art Bigioni drove Supermodifieds right up until he got hurt at Phoenix in 2001 (maybe it was 2000). He retired at that point. He had some health issues last year but had surgery I hear and is doing very well. I think he was 66 or 67 when he drove his last Supermodified Race. His son, Bob drives the number 96 Supermodified for Courtney Lewis and Art can be seen hanging around the pits at SRL races.
    Rob Carlotto bought one of the Biswell Supermodifieds last year and came out of retirement to run selected SRL races. He ran pretty well at some of the shows and I think he plans running most of the California and Nevada venues of the SRL this year.
    A good race driver, given adequate seat time, can drive any well prepared racecar on any track surface or configuration at competitive speeds. Remember, I said a GOOD race driver!!!

  5. #5
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    Al Pombo, Marshall Sargent, and Lloyd Beard have all passed. The SJ Fairgrounds ran the Lloyd Beard classic (100 lapper) for years. They used to run the Pombo-Sargent classic in Hanford.
    Howard (if still around) is probably enjoying Brent's sons kicking butt in sprinters. Nick Rescino was still running in the early 90's.
    ...---...

  6. #6
    Al Pombo is still around , saw him last weekend @ Hanford for the Golden State opener selling his T shirts. Still looking good. Kings still runs the Pombo/Sargent Classic every summer for the Golden State sprinters. You can still see Howard Kaeding at the races watching Brent, Tim and Bud. Also @ Kings still see Everett Edlund all the time, great guy. Les Martella still comes all the time, see Ed Parmeter, Ken McGregor, Duane Hunsaker and a few others every once in a while....

  7. #7
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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by West Coast Dave:
    [QB]Al Pombo is still around


    Last I heard, he wasn't! Thank goodness my "sources" on the left coast aren't reliable!!!!


  8. #8
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    I never made it to the old San Jose Speedway, because I didn't move to the greater Bay Area until after it closed, but I did make it to the Fairgrounds dirt track several times in the mid-80's and saw some of those drivers - who were still active.

    Nick Ringo being mentioned reminds me of one of the funniest (and strangest) things I ever saw at a track. During a heat race, he and Mark Sargent tangled, they kept bumping and banging each other around turn 3 and 4 and basically locked wheels as they continued slowing...sliding head on into the guard rail exiting turn 4. Sargent's car hopped the LR of Ringo's and did a slow roll as they came to stop. Ringo was instantly out of his car and pummeling Sargent - who was strapped into his car upside down! A very strange looking punching bag. Officials managed to pull Ringo away and a stunned Sargent climbed out and yelled at Ringo. It got stranger...the Semi lines up. As the cars circulate the track before taking their starting spots, there's a buzz in the crowd. Typical of San Jose - a guy stood up in our section of the stands looked at the track in stunned disbelief and then turned and said to the whole section "That's Ringo in that car." and pointed to another car circling the track. Shortly after this, officials were watching the same car and then signalled the car to come in. He didn't at first and it looked like they were ready to move push trucks and a wrecker onto the track when the car pulled into the infield - and out stepped Nick Ringo. Not only had he gotten in the other driver's car - but he had put on the other driver's firesuit and helmet in an effort to go unnoticed! I always wonder how it got around that it was in fact Ringo.

    Stranger yet, Ringo and Mark Sargent were the ones that jumped the fence to get Bob Zwemke out of the fire at the old Speedway.

  9. #9
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    Aside from all of the favorite well known drivers from the days, San Jose Speedway hosted probably my favorite and most exciting races ever. February 14th, 1971, USAC midget race. 'Huge turnout of cars and drivers and the race that Burt Foland and Tommy Astone had for the whole 100 laps, guaranteed, anyone that was there that day still remembers! Burt was in Ollie Johnson's Offy and Tommy was in Jack London's Offy in his USAC debut. What a RACE!

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