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SOCIETY OF LAND SPEED RACING HISTORIANS
NEWSLETTER 324 - May 28 , 2014
Editors-in-Chief:Jack &  Mary Ann Lawford www.landspeedracing.com
President of the Society: Jim Miller, 1-818-846-5139.
Assistant Editor: Richard Parks, Rnparks1@Juno.com
Photographic Editor of the Society: Roger Rohrdanz, beachtruck@juno.com
Northern California Reporter:  Spencer Simon, sparklecraftspecial@yahoo.com
Field Reporter/Historian: Bob Falcon, RFalcon500@aol.com

Click On All Images / Link For more Info / Images

Some Names To Look For In This Newsletter:
President's Corner; Editorials;

GUEST EDITORIAL, by Dyno Don Batyi:   
     "California Summary for Senate Bill 1077: Would require the Transportation Agency to develop, by January 1, 2016, a pilot program designed to assess specified issues related to implementing a mileage-based fee (MBF) in California to replace the state's existing fuel excise tax . The bill would require the agency, at a minimum, to assess certain issues related to implementing an MBF, including, among others, different methods for calculating mileage and collecting road use information, processes for managing, storing, transmitting, and destroying data to protect the integrity of the data and ensure drivers' privacy, and costs associated with the implementation and operation of the MBF system, as specified." 
     This bad bill has passed the Senate Transportation Committee with a 9 to 0 vote. The membership of this committee consists of 8 Democrats and 3 Republicans for a total of 11. The two remaining votes were Republicans that abstained.  I cannot see the Appropriations Committee passing up a bill to increase taxes.  I believe the only chance we might have is in the Assembly.  Dyno Don Batyi
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STAFF EDITORIAL, written by Richard Parks.
 
     I realize that when I write on a subject that I’ve written on before that many of the readers will simply skip it and go on to other topics.  I have no choice.  At the editorial level we have to set standards and we have to stand behind those standards as boring as that sounds.  I talked to Jim Miller, our Society’s on-going president, who told me, “It is disappointing when we buy collections of photographs with our own money and put it on the internet free of charge, to see others copy those photos and resell them as their own property.”
     Basically what Jim is referring to is THEFT and there are many of you who are our friends, whom we talk to and associate with who frankly don’t understand that you are stealing someone else’s property.  It seems that in motor racing it is an accepted practice to walk into someone’s shop and borrow a tool with the intention of returning it someday, but actually never getting around to giving it back.  Or there are those who borrow photo albums and then wait for the elderly hot rodder to die so that the “taker” can claim that it is now his due to “possession under the law.” 
     Danny Oakes used to tell me tons of stories about pilferage.  Seems one “gofer” whose job it was to take engines and tires from California to the Indy 500 would make a detour through Dallas, New Orleans, Nashville and other places, hitting all the bars and strip clubs along the way.  When he got to Indianapolis there were no tires or engines left; “they just fell off the truck.”  Danny said the same guy borrowed his midget to race one night and sold the car, leaving Oakes without a ride.  We can laugh 50 years after the fact, but it isn’t funny when someone steals from us.  It’s even more hurtful when the thief is someone close to us and we trusted them.
     Jim quoted me lots of laws on property rights; such as a photograph belongs to the snapper for 150 years.  I quoted more laws back to him.  But in the end it doesn’t matter what the law says, because these claims are rarely taken to court and the judges make such ridiculous rulings that the laws to protect us are rendered moot.  So I’ve created a sort of standard for the Society of Land Speed Racing Historians (SLSRH) and it is this; “If something belongs to someone else IT ISN’T YOURS TO TAKE.”  However, if you paid to purchase that photo and on the check, or if you have a contract, and it says, “Property transferred from me to the new guy for the sum of x dollars,” then it is yours. 
     I accept photos for publishing in the SLSRH and send it off to Roger Rohrdanz for processing and publishing.  Roger demands a caption and accreditation and we rely on your honesty to tell us who owns the photograph.  If we find out you are lying to us or you don’t know, but take ownership anyway, then I may bar you from the newsletter in the future.  We have no room for those pushing the boundaries of honesty.  Let’s say you own a photo taken by Jim Miller, but he gave or sold it to you, then how do you list accreditation for it?  Here’s how Jim does it; “Original photo from the collection of Jim Miller, now legally owned by John Doe photography.”  From my standpoint if Jim Miller snapped that photo and owned the camera at the time, the photograph will ALWAYS and without exception be a Jim Miller photograph.  That is, the “creator” is the original “maker” but over time the photo may be transferred to someone else.
     Yes, I know that this can be confusing; “Original photo by Jim Miller, given to Richard Parks, who left it in his estate to John Doe, who sold it in a heartbeat to Anonymous Andy, who to get DVD money, sold it to Fast Eddie.”  I also know that most of you will simply ignore this advice.  You aren’t a thief or a bad person if you don’t record the previous ownership of something, as long as you acquired ownership legally.  What you are if you ignore a provenance is FOOLISH.  There is a big difference between being foolish and felonious.  Sadly, we have lots of foolish hot rodders and lots of felonious ones as well. 
     I remember a time when two boat racers bragged to me how they had stiffed me of a small amount.  It seems to be a rite of passage to stiff your “friends.”  They had stiffed me and like a joke they wanted to let me know.  Somehow I wasn’t amused that they had taken something from me.  It’s been 12 years since then and frankly it still isn’t funny to me.  I thought back to the 1950’s when a few classmates took advantage and asked myself if the theft had become funny yet.  Nope, it was still THEFT and it was still un-funny.  Jim and I discussed this topic at length and we came to a conclusion; there will always be people in racing and in life who will steal from us.  We also came to the conclusion that we will stand up to our principles and mention it again in an editorial; it is not okay to steal someone else’s work.  IS THAT CLEAR?
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     It was a bad day today; the "Chief’s wife died this morning and also A. J. Watson, who built Indy cars. Maurice "Chief" Petty was the brains behind his brother Richard Petty.  One of my customers in San Antonio, Texas used to have an Indy car and his son Bob Jones now has a very good Porsche garage and his father still hangs out there and once in a while helps restore some of the older Indy cars; Jones Autoworks.  There was lots of Indy history there with "Pops" Jones.  I never did meet Chief's wife.  Chief was the engine builder and he developed the engines using the valve train "spin-tron" machine and then they ran the engines on the dyno with a lot of success.  Not many people knew that he also raced until his leg got hurt.  I got to know the entire family at the Petty Enterprises when I did some cam work for them.  They were all very nice people.  It was always a good time when I visited their place.  Dema Elgin
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Legendary Indy 500 car builder A. J. Watson dies at 90.  By Curt Cavin, USA TODAY Sports, 4:35 p.m. May 12, 2014.  For photographs see USA Today.  Cavin writes for The Indianapolis Star    
     INDIANAPOLIS — A legend among the Indianapolis 500 legends died Monday.   A.J. Watson, whose cars dominated the roadster era of Indianapolis Motor Speedway's heydays, died four days after his 90th birthday.  Watson-built cars won the 500 six times between 1956 and 1964, and he was the winning chief mechanic four times.  He was a fixture in Gasoline Alley for more than 50 years, and he'd counsel anyone seeking his advice.  "I don't know if there were many ever comparable to him," said A.J. Foyt, who won the 1961 race in a car copied from Watson's design.  Foyt won the '64 race in an actual Watson roadster, joining Pat Flaherty, Rodger Ward (twice), Jim Rathmann and Parnelli Jones as 500 winners driving Watson's work.  Watson was the model of professionalism and presentation, and he never strayed from his neatly cropped white crew cut. Foyt said it was amazing that Watson could build a car without getting dirty.  The simple Watson had a simple motto: If it's not broke, don't fix it. 
     "An amazing man, the most impressive mechanic, engineer and designer I ever worked with," said John Barnes, who in 1998 started Panther Racing. "He's who I want to grow up to be like."  Watson left John Zink's team to join Bob Wilke and Ward, forming the Flying W's as part of Leader Card Racing, which spanned the careers of Ward in the late 1950s through Buddy Lazier in the early 1990s.  "He was a leader in the garage area, both him and his cars," Roger Penske said of Watson, who was born in Mansfield, Ohio, but was known as a Californian. "His integrity as an individual was amazing."  Foyt was at Watson's side Thursday in celebration of Watson's birthday. Foyt spent 45 minutes there as his Verizon IndyCar Series cars practiced just four blocks west of IMS.  "I'm so glad I got to see him and be there," Foyt said. "We talked about building (engines) in a garage. His cars were No. 1 here; they were the ones to beat." 
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THE ANNUAL AUTO/AVIATION LITERATURE FAIR, by Robert Falcon.     
     The new name for this event is the Auto/Aviation Literature Fair, which will be held at the Automobile Driving Museum (ADM), in El Segundo, California.  This is a continuation of the former "Automobile Literature Faire" that was presented by The SoCal Chapter of The Society Of Automotive Historians (SAH) on a traditional date of the last Sunday in June at various locations.   I served as The Director of the SAH chapter and with the committee that researched available locations.  Dean Case as a Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) West organizer, and also a member of the SAH committee suggested that we consider the ADM since he had good results with several SAE events he placed there.  Dean and I visited the ADM and met with the museum's Director.
     I am now the Director of the Auto/Aviation Literature Fair and after a great deal of research and effort, our group decided that the ADM offered better weather during the summer than the previous locations that were used for many years.  The ADM, located near LAX in El Segundo was quite happy to sponsor us.  After much thought about my personal career in the Auto World and many of my aviation pals it dawned on me that mechanically we are all "joined at the hip" and we all have libraries of car and aviation books.  The Automobile and Driving Museum has ample room to provide vendors with selling space for your excess Auto and Aviation books, magazines and collectibles.  So while you are doing your Spring cleaning this is an opportunity to convert your old books into cash.
     Attached is the current advert flyer and we urge you to become familiar with the "Freeway Close" ADM.  It is a great car site and well worth the time to visit.  There is no charge to visit the Fair and purchase collectibles there, but a donation is requested to view the adjacent auto collection and workshops.  This is not a swap meet for cars or car parts.  The Auto/Aviation Literature Fair is for books, magazines and other related collectibles.  The ADM address is; 610 Lairport Street, El Segundo. The location is within blocks of the I-105 and Sepulveda Blvd.
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STAFF NOTES: John Hutchinson, who keeps us apprised of the hot rodding scene in Great Britain, sends this to us.
     Welcome to the May 2014 edition of the
www.RodsnSods.co.uk newsletter!  To start off this month, we've got great pics of the new Batmobile from our good friends at www.CarCrushing.com.  Also in this month's newsletter we've collected an interesting group of threads for our community, including thoughts about an Austin 7 Box Saloon project, pics of a pop build, and a look back at Bruntingthorpe '87.  After you've read all that, please click on the image to right to head to www.CarCrushing.com Facebook page to enter their contest to Win A Trip To SEMA just by liking their page.
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     I'm searching for any information and photos about WES COOPER, the well known dry lakes 4 banger racer.  I love 4 bangers and information relating to them.  I am a member of SOSS and FAST FOURS.  Any leads would be much appreciated.  Mark Holdaway
    
MARK: I checked my library and Wes Cooper shows up in two of Tom Medley's books that he did for the Tex Smith Libraries.  The first book is HOT ROD HISTORY BOOK ONE: THE BEGINNINGS.  The second book is HOT ROD HISTORY BOOK TWO: THE GLORY YEARS.  I talked to Jim Miller, the president of the Society of Land Speed Racing Historians (SLSRH) and he said Wes Cooper ran on the dry lakes before and after WWII.  I checked my personal index of the SCTA Minutes, a book my brother, father and I are trying to publish, and there was no mention of Wes Cooper, but there was a Jack Cooper.  Does the Secrets of Speed Society (SOSS) in Ohio have any information?  Miller also says there is an article on Wes Cooper and his roadster in Hot Rod magazine, sometime in 1948 or '49.  Several people have an original Hot Rod or reproduction and perhaps our readers of the SLSRH will write in with the exact issue number and year.  Have you gone to the search engines on the internet to track down Wes Cooper?  My suggestion is that contact some of the older land speed guys and ask them what they know about Wes and then to give you a few other LSR guys to contact.  You didn't tell me if you lived overseas, which would make phone contacts costly, but phoning is the quickest and surest way to find out information. 
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STAFF NOTES
: The following is from the internet.
     The Society (S.O.S.S.) is doing its best to save the history of "Ford Speed and Sport" as it was in the old days of Ford Model "A," "B" & "T" driving, cross country touring, hill climbs and racing of all types (1910 through 1934 and onto today).  We take great pride in our collections and restorations of rare speed equipment, Speedsters and cars that raced or cruised the landscape of this world.  We are truly international in scope with members around the world.  Winner of 18 Golden Quill awards for editorial, photography and design. 
     Our prime educational tool is our official journal, “Secrets, the Vintage Ford Speed & Sport Magazine (tm).”  Published quarterly, with 52 glossy color pages packed with facts, figures, drawings and photographs.  We tell the stories of our worldwide membership, past advertising, new products and events to show and tell about speedsters, hill climbs, open wheeled racers, cross country touring and performance for  Model T and A and B Fords 1909 to 1934. 
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     Thanks so much for the quick reply, can I become a member of your group so I can receive news, etc.  I live in New Zealand, 62 years of age, been involved with hot ridding and trucking one way or another for over 45 years.  Will send a couple pics of my buggies. How can I contact Jim Miller?   Mark Holdaway
    
MARK: You can join our group simply by going to www.landspeedracing.com and logging in with the website owner.  Put the website on your list of favorites and check there about once a week for new issues.  You can also read my stories at www.hotrodhotline.com, guest columnist, Richard Parks.  Since we are an all-voluntary group who donate our time we encourage our reader/members to contribute all that they want in regards to straight-line racing, LSR and hot rodding to help us have a well-rounded newsletter.  We don't have a lot of members from Australia or New Zealand and consequently the news from down under is rather sparse.  We would be delighted to have contributing members from that area of the world.  So write in as often as you want and share with us all that you know of the racing history in your area.  If you send photographs make sure that you caption them, number them and give credit to the owner of the photo, telling us that we have permission to use his/her work.
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STAFF NOTES: John Hutchinson sent us a notice from SO-CAL Speed Shop, Pomona CA (sales@so-calspeedshop.com) on their new inventory of Brookville steel hot rod bodies.  The styles are American Speed 1933 and 1932 Dearborn Deuce.  SO-CAL Speed Shop is located at 1357 E. Grand Avenue, Pomona, CA 91766.  SO-CAL Speed Shop was founded by Alex Xydias and later was re-founded by Pete Chapouris with Xydias' approval.
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     I am doing the film all about female land speed racers. I really enjoyed talking to you at the Roadster Show and I thought I would update you on my project.
     My movie is focusing on the 23 women in the Bonneville 200 MPH Club, but it will also include my own story as well. This July, on my 16th birthday, I will leave the DMV and drive straight to the USFRA meet at Bonneville. I was offered a ride in a stock car to upgrade my competition license.  Then in August, I’m going to drive Wayne Jesel’s pickup truck in hopes of joining the 23 women and becoming the youngest 200 MPH club member ever.  I am hoping this story can now appeal to young people everywhere, but especially young girls, and inspire them to chase their dreams, just as I am “Chasing 200.”
     Going through school I have noticed that a lot of teenagers think they have to be “grownup” before they follow their dreams. I think the best time to start is now! I don’t have to be grown up to make a movie or break a record. I want to use this film to inspire young people, especially young women, to set goals and dream big. One of my goals for the project is to have teen girls and young women provide music, graphics and other aspects of the film.  I already have one
musician attached and hope to find more.
     I have realized that it’s time to involve some professionals, so I have some really cool people on board! I have my co-producer/director
Harry Pallenberg, who directed Where They Raced, as well as some other documentary films. I also have Holly Martin, who is a well known Landspeed photographer, and a professional cinematographer, Robert Morris, on board.  
     Next week we will be launching the crowdsourcing fund raising campaign on
Indiegogo.  Our hope is to raise $50,000 so we can finish the movie and get it ready to enter in film festivals! We are trying to get the word out there about this project so I can make it a success. I would love to hear your thoughts on my project
Kaylin Stewart, Website-
www.chasing200.com, Facebook-www.facebook.com/landspeedwomen, Instagram and Twitter- @chasing200, <kaylinstewart@gmail.com>​.
    
KAYLIN: With your permission I will run your letter at www.landspeedracing.com.  I think you are doing everything right and the people that you have helping you will keep you on track.  I would suggest that you look around, especially among high school friends and find a few additional assistants.  One would be a PR person.  You may want to do this yourself, but don't overload your schedule with anything that you can delegate, as long as the person who helps you is equal to what you could do.  Another thing that you can do is start calling everyone.  Once you have a project a phone call is not like a gossip call.  Hot rodders, executives, and influential people have about 5 minutes that they can give to a new idea.  If the subject is just gossip you won't hear from them again.  If it is an average idea you will get your five minutes.  If it is an outstanding idea they will put you on their list of people to watch. 
     But the same is true with you; there is only so much time you can devote to another person and so their support or ideas must match yours in quality or you have to move on.  That was a lesson my father taught me.  People move forward at different rates and some never move on or do anything of importance.  You have a worthwhile and important project, well thought out and planned and highly achievable with a large upside.  It isn't that women are better or worse; that's not the subject.  It's that women are vastly under-represented in motor sports.  Every marketer, company and executive who has a motorsport product, yearns to increase the percentages of women so that they equal participation rates of males 16 to 34.  Help them to capture this market and you will grab their attention. 
     I want you to work on your PR, but get others interested in doing so.  You still have to call people, make appointments, get others to give you a referral and a reference, see people in person, be organized, quick and efficient and get on to the next call or interview.  PR is an interesting field and women are flocking to it.  There is a lot of psychology to making PR work well for you.  Notice that a woman's voice will have an advantage in talking to men and the same is true in reverse; a man will have an advantage in talking to a woman.  So you should have young men and women help you.  Another tip is to widen your base of prospective supporters.  Don't just pursue straight-line people; go after roundy-round types.  Many of these men have to make a living in oval racing, but also like LSR too.  Don't forget the wives and lady friends of racers.  They often sympathize and can be very influential in prodding their other half to listen to a new idea. 
     If you have a good PR team they will look for and find websites like
www.landspeedracing.com, www.landracing.com, www.ahrf.com, www.benchracing.com, www.socalcarculture.com, www.racingjunk.comwww.hotrodhotline.com, www.bikerhotline.com and many more fine websites that will take PR releases and race results.  Never write a PR release to look like a PR release, for those get dropped into the websites areas that people avoid.  Make the releases NOUN filled, short and newsy, with about 5 photos, unless the owner/operator asks for more or says "no limit."  One huge PR release won't be read, but break it down into smaller, more folksy emails and they have a greater chance of being read and appreciated.  The PR releases that I get I no longer read.  I just don't have time and send them right on to other websites or give them the website owner/operator so they can send them on themselves and spare me the effort.  But make that PR release like a person to person email with good news (full of nouns) and I'll take the time to read and to responds.  Send me news for my newsletter as often as you can; and to the other websites too. 
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Route 40.  By Le Roi Tex Smith.  Reprinted with permission of
www.hotrodhotline.com and Internet Brands.
   You know, I hear so much about Route 66 I just want to puke!  To me, there is nothing magical about it.  Because I have travelled every inch of it one time or other, and when I started bouncing across western America on that thin strip of madness it was in old Fords and Chevys with a Desert water bag draped over the bumper or a headlight bracket.  It was drudgery of the first magnitude.
   It wasn’t so bad from Chicago down to about Oklahoma City, mostly just typical mid-America small towns every 30 or so miles.  Water tower, crossroads middle of town, two or three obligatory gas stations where someone actually came to your car alongside the gravity feed visible pumps (these were the first to change as the 1950’s came along), World Famous hamburgers and milkshakes at a corner eatery…stuff that was marginal then and entirely forgettable now.  Well, except for that full one-pound beefsteak out near Amarillo.
   And the old vacuum tube car radios that faded in and out as you sped down the highway at an average speed approaching 50mph.  Of course, you could get that huge clear channel station down in Mexico, where they were selling mail-order live chicks, or the one from over in Albuquerque that only got stronger as the sun sank lower.
   You certainly didn’t want to miss the Wigwam, which was in the era when Motels were new to the scene and a buck a night was normal.  Although you could get a pretty good bed, without bed bugs, for as little as 50 cents a night in the edges of the “bigger” towns. Of course, at the See The Prehistoric Thingie you parked out in the desert beside huge billboards that fed into tiny little rooms, and while you were inside someone was sneaking up behind your car and plastering a sticker on the bumper.
   We crossed much of that road back before WWII, and all of it before 1950, the later years in a Studebaker Champion that got about 22mpg and an average speed of nearly 55mph.  All of the miles with roll-down air conditioning and baloney sandwiches on the fly.  It was a long three days from the Mecca of Southern California to the relatives in eastern Oklahoma.  I never thought to count the number of flat tires.  I did grow to despise those border inspectors at the Colorado River entry station into the Golden State.  If your car had a California license, they would often just wave you through, but heaven help you with any other plate.
    Going west, the misery tended to climax just west of the California border, as you would climb out of the river plain.  From there all the way to San Bernardino it was an oven.  We never seemed to make the trek in the cool months.  From Berdoo in to LA it was still mostly grapevines and palm trees. You didn’t get into the Orange Ahead much until you started up 99 at Bakersfield.  Nope, route 66 was a strip of misery with a smile at either end.  Even after we got those window air conditioners that spewed water all over you at a corner.  And the only treasure was really as you turned north across San Fernando Valley and went up and over the beginning of 99.
   Up on the top of that strip of non-engineering was where, in much later years, I did discover some real un-live treasures.
   Back then, it was called The Grapevine, pretty much because it was a twisty and tough pass over into the San Joaquin.  Coming from the south, the little two lane kind of ran out of humanity out just north of where Magic Mountain theme park now is, at Castaic.  Two gas stations, one either side of the highway, and pre-historic trucks trying to make the top, before humping out south of Fort Tejon and running helter-skelter down that infamous decline into the Valley.  I lived up there, on the top at a little community called Lake Of The Woods in the Seventies, and I got to know the area really well.
   Now, you start paying attention.  You turn west off the freeway at Lebec and go west about 5 miles to Lake Of The Woods.  Nothing much there except for a fork in the road. If you go right (north) up the small valley, keep right at the next fork and go down into Pine Mountain Club.  Just as you arrive at that retirement area, there is a small dirt road that turns down a canyon.  Through a fence there and shortly you find an old falling down adobe place.  That was a Wells Fargo station back when, and if you keep going downhill you eventually come to the east west road from the 99 freeway (I-5) to Maricopa.
   But back in Pine Mountain, you keep going north and you descend the mountain enough until you come out of the big pine trees onto a narrow descending ridge.  You start looking in those steep gorges on the side, there was a complete ’34 Ford sedan down one of those ravines.
   Now, back up to Lake Of The Woods. Instead of going north at the fork, you go straight ahead toward Lockwood Valley.  The road opens into a big sage brush flat. I don’t remember the dirt road, but it is only about a mile or two west of LOW, you turn south and climb up into the breaks.  Go back into those ravines and on top of one is an old abandoned mine.  When I was there it had a dozen or so old cars sitting around. Since none of them were ’32 Fords, I never bothered with them.  By now, however, you are getting the idea that there is VT pretty much everywhere.  But not right alongside the paved highway.  Normally, I used a 4WD for these off pavement excursions.
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Little Tokyo Historical Society - Doka B-100.  Written by Ernie Nagamatsu, owner of the Spurgeon/Giovanine LSR roadster and the Ol' Yeller road course roadster. 

     There was an announcement in the Rafu Shimpo newspaper in November of last year of the very first $1000 Prize Short Story Contest (2800 words) presented by the Little Tokyo Historical Society.  The rules for the Short Story contest stated that the writer had to include Little Tokyo elements and could be a fictional story of the past, present, or future.  I thought I could share some of my great memories of Little Tokyo and integrate them into a short story.  Story writing is very complex and demanding and I thought it would be an interesting challenge to write a fictional short story for the contest.  There were 60 fine short stories submitted and we made the cut.  On April 29th at the Awards evening the three final stories were read by theater related readers which was a brilliant idea and highly emotional and somehow we won.  We are humbled.
     While growing up in Orange County, we would take trips to Los Angeles to visit my Uncle Howard and his family living in Boyle Heights.  It was always exciting to visit Little Tokyo that was near Los Angeles City Hall, as my Uncle Howard had a Dental Lab in the area.  His Metropolitan Dental Lab was on the 3rd floor in the old Taul Building, which was located at the corner of 1st and San Pedro Streets.  I was always intrigued with the many USC Asian dental students who were always in Howard’s dental lab and the ongoing work was exciting to watch.
     After high school at Garden Grove, I came to Los Angeles to live with my uncle’s family while attending East Los Angeles Junior College.  When I started USC dental school, I realized why there were so many Asian USC dental students always at the Metropolitan Dental Lab, as they could not join the dental fraternities at USC.  The dental fraternities had large dental labs where students could do their homework and technique assignments.  Howard Ogawa seeing the discrimination and inequality, he opened his dental lab to all USC Asian dental students and gave each student a key to his lab at no charge, which was sometimes used around the clock by students.  The lab became like a USC dental student club and everyone helped each other, as Howard was the ultimate mentor to so many that passed through his dental lab.
     I learned so much about Little Tokyo while hanging out along 1st or San Pedro Streets and we would take a break from dental school assignments and go down to the dark basement of the Taul Building to play a game of pool.  It was haircut at Flo’s, best noodles at the Atomic Cafe cherry coke at the Fuji Pharmacy soda fountain counter, Nisei Sugar Bowl Restaurant, Far East Café, auto repair at Jesse’s Automotive, and of course the chili dogs at Sue’s tiny food counter under a stairway in the Taul Building.  I would do deliveries for my Uncle Howard and I knew the many pioneer dentists in Little Tokyo, as well as knowing Howard’s many good friends that had a business or worked in the area.  Sometimes we came into LA to watch the Nisei Week Parade from the 3rd floor windows of the dental lab that faced San Pedro and 1st Streets.  With that experience, I integrated some of that into the short story - Doka B-100 included.
     I picked the 1954 time period for the attached story and the Pool Hall in the old Taul Building of the 1950s was the perfect setting for the short story and as I envisioned the Ex GIs/442nd that struggled with no jobs and post traumatic syndrome before it became a common word and affliction and using the Sugar Bowl, Sun Building apartments, Far East Café, Maryknoll Church School, and all of the other great historical places and all gone now except for the Far East Café.  The character developments (there really was a Doc Goto and I used Doc G and Herbie Boswell was really the mailman for Little Tokyo as well as Horse the Shoeshine guy was interesting with writing challenges and selecting names and including traditional past ethnic elements and keeping to the 2800 word maximum was a challenge.
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Doka B-100.  Written by Ernie Nagamatsu.
     I would slowly make my journey each day along First Street from the Sun Building and each curb was becoming more of a challenge, as my limp seemed to be getting worse each year. It was the fall of 1954 in Nihonmachi of Los Angeles. I would always end my walk at the cavernous opening of the Taul Building and there was always a boisterous greeting from Horse who had the shoeshine stand to the left. The bookies would be standing along the left wall reading the Daily Turf, as they sometimes took bets from stopping cars. I would stop at Sue’s tiny food counter that was somehow tightly squeezed under the angled staircase and it had only 5 small wood stools. The LAPD cops would come by at noon to Sue’s for her famous recipe Chile Hot Dogs. Sue was barely 5 foot tall and always had a smile and a cup of coffee with one day old donut ready for me at no charge. 
     Herbie Boswell was the local mailman and could tell you all the dark secrets of Little Tokyo.  Herbie was our unofficial Mayor, as everyone just loved him.  Herbie and Horse (Horace) were black and would get into a loud and jovial chatter about spit shine on Cordovan shoes that could reflect like headlights to taking about relatives that lived in Bronzeville and of course talking Jazz.  Everyone called me Hammer, as my last name was Hamamoto.  After coffee, I walked towards the single elevator door and turned left to the black nondescript door with the small sign; Pool.  No matter how I felt, I could feel the solace and a safe harbor feeling, as I would walk down the long steep stairs to the Pool Hall. In the dark room there were 6 illuminated pool tables that reminded me of the Edward Hopper painting- Night Hawks.
     Only one table was lit when nobody was playing and it looked like a green emerald island floating on a dark sea.  The Pool Hall Manager- Mako would let us Ex GIs sit along the left side on the wood benches.  We would always greet each other with a friendly Doka.  Across the dark cavern were the droopy strings across the room with markers.  Most times we would not talk, but we all enjoyed the Glenn Miller period music that Mako would always play.  That special music took us back to safe times and places, as we remembered the dances on the weekends in Camp.  When we climbed the stairs to the outside world, the bright sunlight seemed to be so blinding and we could barely focus our eyes for a while.
     I had to leave the family home in Boyle Heights, as my father kept on yelling at me to get a job after WWII and somehow I just could not even deal with a job interview.  I married Toshi just before signing up in Manzanar.  She just could not take the constant and hurtful bickering between my father and myself in Boyle Heights.  My wife and our young daughter Jean moved to Chicago to move in with her parents.  I would hear the words of my father in a Samurai tone Baka, Social Work, Bakatade!  He knew that I left the service and also lost my GI Bill benefits.  It was my father that encouraged me in Camp to join up and bring honor to the family.  I had to leave my wife in camp that was so difficult and heartbreaking for me.  My father Taka knew I quit the war.  After I left the house that was just off of Brooklyn and Soto, I found a tiny apartment in the Sun Building.  I would once a week drive our family 1938 DeSoto Airflow from Jessie’s Auto on Second Street to Boyle Heights to pick up my mother’s special hand embroidery work on elegant crisp cotton ladies blouses and hankies then drive to I. Magnin’s Department store on Wilshire to deliver them and get the new orders for mom.
     My mother, Marie, would slip me money in an envelope to keep me going.  We were so lucky as our good neighbor Goldie Steinberg saved our house during the WWII by renting it out and stored our ugly gray DeSoto Airflow in the back yard covered with a tarp.  The Ramirez family saved our Maytag and furniture.  Jessie, who had the garage on Second Street, was a Mechanic during the WWII campaign and he knew my situation and he stored the DeSoto at his garage and never charged me for any repairs. I was just hoping one day I could explain everything to my father and for causing him all the pain in his life.  I was just short of a dishonorable discharge in his mind.  My father had a constant percolating anger, as he was a somewhat machinist before the WWII and then was a chick sexer (on an egg farm) for a period of time.  Eventually my dad ended up doing part time gardening like so many others and sadly he started gambling.
     When I decided to leave the family home, I was so lost and confused.  Nihonmachi was like a welcoming beacon light with like-kind people, but for months I would just stay in my tiny apartment in the Sun Building.  My tiny room in the Sun Building had a jig- saw puzzle like pattern on the floor with missing linoleum pieces and a naked lamp without a shade.  The bed was an old army surplus bed frame with sagging springs.  On the windows I hung mom’s rice sack curtains with her fine embroidered flowers.
     I met a wonderful waitress named Michi at the Sugar Bowl restaurant on San Pedro Street and she was always friendly to me.  I always sat at the very end of the round counter seats.  I did not talk, but she patiently communicated with me by serving me extra food or coffee.  She asked me if I served in WWIII and if I was OK.  Michi often told me quietly in her soft voice that she seemed to fully understand my situation.  Michi said very sadly that she lost her husband in WWII and would tear up at times and could barely speak.  She had a University education, but was working at the Sugar Bowl. I had an education at City College and majored in Social Work, but I was still without a job.  Michi would always greet me with a long firm handshake.  
     Sometimes we would have early dinner at the Far East Cafe and order Egg Fu Yung and Ginger Beef.  The 'Far East' felt like walking into a "Speakeasy" with all the old style dark wood booths with curtains that could be closed.  Once Michi wanted to invite me for dinner at her house and I told her I was happily married and could not go.  I went to Maryknoll School long before and I tried to talk to the Priest about my mind always being in a state of suspension like a Cat’s Cradle.  Sadly the priest could not help me. I could not deal with crowds and had anxiety, but Michi was patient with me.  We would laugh and talk about Mess Hall food and the dances on the weekends in Camp.  She talked to the manager and got me a job from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM to clean up the kitchen.  Michi would stay beyond her shift to help me get my job done.
     Mako at the Pool Hall was from Hawaii and always called us Kotonks, as he was in the 100th and a cook.  He would growl and bellow at us at times, but had a kind and warm side with cooking good food for our growing group of GIs at times, as he knew what we went through.  Now and then Mako would shout at me; Hammer play this guy, as it was a single guy wanting a game of pool and he did not want to lose table time money.  Mako would allow me to get my mail delivered to the Taul Building, 312 East First Street, B-100 Pool Hall, as I did not want my family to know where I was.  My wife living in Chicago always was positive and wanted me to join her and our daughter, but the time was still not right.  The letters from my wife Toshi and daughter Jean kept me alive.
     Doc G always stopped by the Pool Hall to place a bet with the bookies.  Doc G was a medic during the WWII and he always came over to talk with his caring and benevolent voice.  There were about 9 of us ex GIs and Doc G would make us come to his office for treatment or medication if we were sick at no charge.  Doc encouraged us to talk more and two of the men never said one word and just shook their heads yes or no.  With Doc G encouraging me to arrange regular talk stories sessions, our group of Ex GIs grew to up to over fifteen at times.  We were not like the VFW then, as we all went to the same basic training at Shelby and served in units we all knew of.  We were hurting more, as we lost more soldiers than other units.  Doc talked to me directly and into my eyes and said “Hammer, you went to school for Social Work and you need to take the lead now and help the others without jobs and they are really struggling.”  
     We all seemed to carry the load of Gamon on our backs and we could not cry or complain and yet we saw the horrible blood and guts of war.  Our hearts were as crushed like other GIs and yet something in our genes did not allow us to mourn like others, even in the deep agony of war and having to see our buddies having their bodies blown apart in pieces.  All of that never left us, but we cried by ourselves alone and those wounds never healed.  Mako would play Glenn Miller music in the Pool Hall with songs like In the Mood, String of Pearls, and of course the song Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree, which always made some of the men recall the girls that they left behind in Camp when they enlisted.
     I started to record a very organized journal of our Talking Stories sessions and everyone felt safe, as they knew it was called a No Names Journal.  Through these sessions and also constant discussions with Doc G, we somehow started to get the Ex GIs out of their very sealed cocoon and slowly and carefully we unwrapped their stories, which we thought were never to be told or discussed.  Sometimes some men got so choked up and their voices would trail off and we always allowed very long periods of silence with deep respect for each other. 
     Sometimes there was a different kind of pain inside us such as thinking of our parents in Camp watching the dark colored official Military vehicle come slowly through the front gates and wondering what mother would get the neatly folded American Flag today.  The deep anger and rage would seem to spill out and it was like having buddies in a war again.  Tabo had a steel split hook left hand that looked menacing, as I thought of all of our injured buddies.  The comment that I will never forget was said by the GI that never talked and he just said once, “We were used and mislead, but I will always be an American.”
     Before I found the Pool Hall in the Taul Building at the corner of First and San Pedro Streets, my life was a big gray fog.  For me, saying to myself often, “It was them or me,” just did not work.  I would have my laundry done by mom once a week.  Michi would save me left over rice for the weekends.  I would take a can of sardines, opening with the small turn- key and then added shoyu and some sugar and put it directly on my hot plate at my apartment.  Rice would be put in a tin pie pan with some water with a wet napkin on top of the rice and steamed it on the hot plate. 
     My father had a cerebral stroke and died suddenly.  We had small funeral service at Evergreen Cemetery and the Japanese headstones were towards the entrance gate. I finally told my mom the story about being discharged early.  It was in the winter in Italy that my “in the event of” best buddy Jun was blown away in front of me by a German sniper.  “In the event of” meant we carried each other’s critical family information at all times and we even exchanged St Christopher medals in our case.  My rage was unbelievable, as I grabbed Jun’s rifle and skirted around crawling to the left and surprised the snipers in a bunker above us and shot four soldiers and near point blank with insurmountable anger beyond my body.  I maybe shot more bullets than was needed, but I had an overload of adrenalin in my veins thinking of Jun.
     I was wounded and the Commander wanted to decorate me and make me an officer when I told him clearly I just can’t do this anymore and want out.  I would puke for days after that horrible incident.  I could not erase seeing the eyes of the young soldiers and it would make me tremble and shake at times.  I asked to leave the army the rest was history.  Just before lowering of my father’s coffin at Evergreen, I placed into his coffin a white flower, my two Purple Heart medals, uniform patch, and my Distinguished Service Cross and sadly I just turned and slowly walked away.
     Doc G took the many “No Names Journals” to the Commanding Supervisor of the WLA Veterans Affairs Offices and the Supervisor knew of the achievements of the 442nd in WWII.  The Supervisor agreed to Doc G’s plan to set up a Sounding Board Program for all Ex GIs in need of counseling and support.  My “No Names Journal” was kept for developing official guidelines for the new program at the VA.  Doc G also convinced the Supervisor that I should be part of the new program and hired as a paid employee.  He found a place for me to live within walking distance to the VA in West Los Angeles.  My GI buddies, Mako, Doc G, Michi, and I said our sad goodbyes at the Far East Cafe.  Outside, I had a long handshake with Michi and said to her, “you protected me and this is for you,” giving her Jun’s St. Christopher medal.  I somehow have finally adjusted my eyes to the bright sunlight of the outside world with the help of Doc G in Little Tokyo. 
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Gone Racin'...Veda Orr's Lakes Pictorial 1946 Season, by Veda Orr.  Book review by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz.  Reprinted with permission of Internet Brands and
www.hotrodhotline.com

     Veda Orr's Lakes Pictorial 1946 Season, by Veda Orr is not a book, but a pamphlet.  It has long been out of print and actually was never published.  Veda Orr made up the pictorial pamphlet herself and used a mimeograph machine to copy the captions.  As the title indicates, she produced this pamphlet in 1946, but she may not have published it until sometime later in 1947.  She hand stapled the 24 pages and the two covers, which made the pamphlet 48 pages in all.  I can't even be sure if I have an original or a copy of the original.  I don't have the count for the total that Veda Orr made or how many were lost over the years.  The pamphlet is rather simple in make, design and style and ordinarily such home-made works of art, history or literature are unappreciated and thrown away and thus lost to us.  The textual material is almost completely made up of captions.  There is a brief introductory page mentioning the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) members who are still in the military and have not been released from active duty in World War II, and Veda and Karl Orr are mentioned as the creators of the pamphlet.  There is a short notation that Veda Orr owns the rights to the pamphlet, but I doubt that she took any legal action to register those rights.  At the time it was simply a labor of love for Veda and there was little thought of economic gain or that this raw pamphlet would ever have more than a short lifespan.  All the photographs are in black and white on common, non-waxed, non-photographic paper and at their best could only be called average in quality.  Quite a few pages are blank on one side, meaning that not all 48 pages have material represented on them.  There are 12 black and white drawings by Richard (or Dick) Teague and 83 black and white photographs.  The drawings by Teague were taken from the SCTA programs. 

     If this pamphlet isn't quite up to some of the more professionally published books on the early dry lakes of Southern California, then why even do a book review, especially when the supply of these pamphlets is next to impossible to find.  The answer lies in the unique position that Veda Orr held in the hearts and minds of nearly every dry lakes racer from the 1940's.  She was the first woman to be allowed to race in the SCTA.  As World War II began and young men were drafted or enlisted and sent overseas, Veda wrote to them with the news of the local racing scene.  So great was her correspondence list that she created a newsletter format, mimeographed it at her expense and sent this newsletter off to whoever wrote to her.  She expanded her enterprise by finding the addresses of every land speed racer that she could find and kept this up for years, until the war was over and the boys came home.  We shouldn't forget Karl Orr, for every step that Veda took, her husband stood firmly behind her with financial support and encouragement.  The Lakes Pictorial was one of her last endeavors and it did very well, but within a few more years she and Karl would be involved in oval track racing and then a divorce would end their racing partnership.  Veda and Karl had no children; racing was the thread that bound them together and when that was severed they drifted apart.  I think so highly of this pamphlet in the way that a Christian would think of an early Bible found in an archaeological dig site.  It isn't much to look at, but it represents the very beginnings of our sport of land speed racing and thus, by and in itself, this is a historical part of our heritage.  Every once in a while a Lakes Pictorial shows up on Ebay, but not very often.  When they become available they are snapped right up. 

     As a historical aid it is very important.  They list some of the racers who made important contributions to land speed racing, including Art Tilton, Ernie McAfee, Jack McGrath, Manuel Ayulo, Bruce Blair and others.  Bruce of course was killed in an airplane crash over the desert, and Nellie Taylor was recovering from severe war injuries that would shorten his life.  Danny Sakai was killed in an auto accident.  The first photograph shows Veda Orr in the 7C Karl Orr Speed Shop Special, recording a speed of 121.62 in the Class C roadsters, in May, 1947.  The title says Veda Orr's Lakes Pictorial 1946 Season, but here we have a photo from 1947.  Sometimes the captions get a bit sloppy.  She follows that photograph with three more of her, one at Kearney-Mesa in San Diego in 1938.  A rather famous photo shows the SCTA officials meeting with Rex Mays, Louie Meyer, Addie Leonard and DeRalph Frizzell at a MacMillan Petroleum meeting in 1946.  The SCTA representatives included Wally Parks, Mel Leighton and Randy Shinn.  The drawings by Richard (Dick) Teague can be found in SCTA Programs and in the SCTA Racing News, but here is another opportunity to own some of Teague's drawings.  There were quite a few talented artists and drawers during the early days and often when a camera wasn't available, a free hand sketch recorded the run.  A photograph of the SCTA awards presented at the banquet in 1946 includes a caption remark that the trophies were designed by Gus Maanum, another very talented artist and sketcher.  Veda then shows all but 15 of the 58 cars that won the right to carry their numbers into the next season.  They read like a who's who of dry lakes racers; the very Holy Grail of the sport.  The first is Randy Shinn who was leading the points championship until seriously injured in an accident that left a huge scar from scalp to chin.  Shinn was out of the running and that left Tony Capanna with a chance to get the points necessary to win the season's individual points championship.  Tony turned his car over to another driver rather than win in an uneven race.  Don Blair earned enough points to send Tony down to 3rd place, but the members of the SCTA were so impressed that they voted Capanna the first recipient of the Art Tilton Sportsmanship trophy. 

     Kenny Lindley took fourth, followed by Stuart Hilborn, then Doug Carruthers, Howard Wilson, Karl Orr, Lou Baney and the Schiefer/Theodorelus car.  In eleventh place was Charles Scott, then Jack Calori, Bob Smithson, Chuck Potvin, Palm Brothers/Doug Hartelt, Bill Burke, Charles Gregory, Dick Kraft, Phil Remington and Harold Anderson.  Kraft would make a name for himself in early drag racing and Remington in road racing.  Veda Orr would place number 21 in points that season, followed by Kenneth Jones, Jack McGrath, Bert Letner, Frank Coon, Dick Neville, Arnold Birner, Lowell Lewis, Jim Harrell and Yam Oka.  Weiand/Van Maanen placed 31st in the points race, followed by Palm Brothers, Manuel (Manny) Ayulo, Steve Genardini, Archie Tipton, R.L. Shinn (in his second car), John Cannon and Richard Allen.  The 39th place was not assigned and there is no reason given.  John McCoy took the 40th place in the standings, followed by Bruno Salazar, Marvin Lee, Al Deverich, Bill Brown, Chauncey Crist, Harry Oka, Bob Speik, Thun Brothers, Porrazzo Brothers, and Terry Smith.  In spot number 51 was Bob Riese and then came Gilbert Ayala, A. W. Barrett, Bob Hill, Gold/Lee, Bruce Blair, Bub Marcia and George Barber.  All but fifteen of these men and one woman have their cars shown in Lakes Pictorial.  The last six pages show other well-known dry lakes racers who finished out of the points chase or who didn't participate in racing that year.  Danny Sakai had passed away and Bob Rufi gave up racing after his near fatal accident.  Rufi set the dry lakes racing community on its head with a pre-war run that broke 140 miles per hour.  A great many racers reached for that record, but Rufi was the first in his little hand-built streamliner.  Also mentioned are Sandy Belond, Spalding Brothers, Ralph Schenck, Vern Houle, Roscoe Turner, Ed Iskenderian, John Athans and Jim Nairn.  The last photograph in the Lakes Pictorial is Veda and Karl Orr.  Why not, they financed and created this little gem and they deserve to have the front and back pages all to themselves.  Karl is seated in his 1942 record holding modified which won the points championship that year.  Veda is standing beside her husband.  Karl has a rare smile and a ruggedly handsome face partly hidden by his helmet.  Veda has a radiant smile in her helmet and cover-alls.  For that brief moment there was no one quite as beautiful as Veda Orr and it is easy to see why the land speed guys fell in love with her.  She was at the top of her world.  I rate this book a perfect 8 out of 8 spark plugs for its originality and relevance to land speed racing history.

Gone Racin' is at RNPARKS1@JUNO.COM

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Gone Racin’… Real Road Racing; The Santa Monica Road Races, by Harold Osmer and Phil Harms.  Book review by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz.  28 August 2007.
  Reprinted with permission of Internet Brands and www.hotrodhotline.com

     An extremely good book on early American road racing is Real Road Racing; The Santa Monica Road Races, by Harold Osmer and Phil Harms.  Osmer began his writing career by compiling the history of various racing tracks in Southern California.  His books were short but filled a valuable need.  In this book on the history of the Santa Monica road race, he expands the size of the book and looks at just one race and the quality and tone of the book increases considerably.  Phil Harms is the co-author and historian.  Harms has amassed racing results for over 9000 open wheel events from 1896 to the present.  His photographs and knowledge have helped many authors compile first class works on motorsports in the United States.  The collaboration of Osmer and Harms has produced a very good story about an important series of races that began in 1909 and ended in 1919.  Real Road Racing; The Santa Monica Road Races is a paperback book with the highest quality waxed paper, measuring 8 ˝ inches in height and 11 inches in length.  This is a strange size since most bookcases are set up to receive books that are 11 inches in height and 8 ˝ inches in length.  The cover has a racing car of the era and is suitable to use as a coffee table book.  Real Road Racing; The Santa Monica Road Races has 132 pages, two-thirds of which are well researched text about the history of the road race in Santa Monica and its impact on racing.  There are 4 color photographs, 12 maps, one drawing of the early Santa Monica City limits and 6 insets of programs and various rules requirements.  Because the races took place before color printing, 138 photographs are in black and white but their quality is very good.  In addition there are 6 Ads of the era, 8 race result sheets and additional driver information in the index.
     Real Road Racing; The Santa Monica Road Races was first published in 1999 by Harold L. Osmer Publishing, P.O. Box 4741, Chatsworth, California 91313.  There were only 200 books published in the original printing.  To find this book, check with Doug Stokes at Autobooks/Aerobooks at 818-845-0707, and give the ISBN# 0-9659533-1-9.  Osmer and Harms also had access to the photographic collections of Chuck Groninga at Red Lion Racing, Brian Blain, Carmen Schroeder, Lindley Bothwell, Herald Examiner Newspaper, Los Angeles Public Library and the Security Pacific Collection.  The price is $29.95, but since it is in a limited edition, the book will be valuable as a collector’s item of early auto racing memorabilia.  The cover design and artwork is by Neil Nissing.  Phil Harms and Harold Osmer wrote the Preface, explaining the origins of auto racing.  The Table of Contents breaks the book down into ten sections, with a Prelude and ending with an Afterword.  The Prelude to Santa Monica is the first chapter and discusses the road racing that took place in America before the Santa Monica Road Race.  The Long Island, New York Road Race was held from 1904-1910 over a length of 30.24 miles.  Following that road course race was the Savannah, Georgia Road Course Race that ran from 1908-11.  The Santa Monica Road Race began in 1909 and continued on through 1919.  The Venice, California Road Race was run from 1910-1916.  Other races were held in Milwaukee, San Francisco, Europe and elsewhere.  These races were being organized a mere ten years after the invention and marketing of the automobile.  The desire of the public to view these new machines became a frenzied mania.
     The second chapter is called The First Year 1909.  Santa Monica is eager to gain notoriety and the road race is just what the city fathers need.  The road course was 8.4 miles long and looked every bit like a modern NASCAR stock car.  There was a long straightaway on Wilshire Blvd, which had a wicked turn onto San Vicente Blvd.  Three short turns on San Vicente led to a sharp turn onto Ocean Blvd and a mile run before an equally sharp turn back onto Wilshire.  Long courses meant little action and crowds would often become restless.  Dogs, horses and people would venture onto the road courses, creating obstacles for the drivers to dodge.  Harris Hanshue won the 1909 race over 24 laps at an average speed of 64.44mph, a remarkable speed for that day and age.  Bert Dingley won the light car race averaging 55.32mph.  Chapter Three is entitled Reaching out 1910 and details the race in that year.  Four classes raced in 1910, but it was Teddy Tetzlaff who won the top two races with Bert Dingley taking second place in both.  Tetzlaff recorded a 73.142mph in his Lozier and won the race by nearly a six-minute margin.  Chapter Four is named Coming of Age 1911 and discusses the growth and complexity of the road race.  Harvey Herrick set a national record of 74.603mph in winning the top class but his margin of victory dropped to three minutes and the racing became tighter and more exciting.  Chapter Five is called The Shriners Come 1912.  With the Shriners, a new and improved organization takes over the Santa Monica Road Race.  A $5000 purse draws some of the best race drivers in the country.  Tetzlaff won his second title in a row at a speed of 78.718mph.  While the race proved successful, tensions were brewing between East and West Coast racing associations. 
     Chapter Six is named
One Tough Year 1913.  The effort by New York’s AAA to control auto racing resulted in many drivers preferring to go it alone.  Barnstorming was a term for racecar drivers and promoters to hold their own unsanctioned races and challenges.  It proved highly profitable for drivers like Barney Oldfield.  The AAA and other sanctioning bodies truly believed that it was imperative to control auto racing in order to keep down injuries and fatalities.  Earl Cooper won the 1913 race and there were no fatalities.  So far the Santa Monica Road Race had only gotten bigger and better each year.  Chapter Seven is titled Going Bigtime 1914.  The AAA transferred the Vanderbilt Cup and the American Grand Prize Road Race to Santa Monica.  The promoters now had the premier road-racing event of the year set for Santa Monica.  The purse expanded to $15,000.  Ralph DePalma won the Vanderbilt Cup Race in his Mercedes with an average speed of 75.49mph over 35 laps.  Eddie Pullen won the American Grand Prize Race in his Mercer at an average speed of 77.32.  DePalma won $4000 and Pullen won $3000, a fortune in those days.  The attendance topped 100,000 people, there were no fatalities and the prize money was upped to $20,000.  With everything going right, the city of Santa Monica had the premier auto race. 
     Chapter Eight is called
Back Again 1916.  Santa Monica officials lost the Cup and Grand Prize Race to San Francisco and did not put on a race in 1915.  The Vanderbilt Cup and American Grand Prize Race returned to Santa Monica in 1916, after a dismal mess at the 1915 races in San Francisco.  Dario Resta won the 1916 race in the Vanderbilt Cup and Howard Wilcox in the Grand Prize Race.  A tragic accident took the lives of a driver and three spectators and injured three more.  The race was suspended due to World War I and there was no racing in 1917-18.  Chapter Nine is named Return From The Trenches 1919.  The racecourse was shortened by about a mile in length and no longer ran through Ocean Blvd.  Cliff Durant won the race with an average speed of 81.27mph.  This was the last year a race was held in Santa Monica.  Road racing had taken its toll and the town had grown to the point that it was more of an inconvenience than a fun event.  Auto racing was exploding all over to newer and bigger venue sites.  Chapter Ten is titled the Epilogue.  Various drivers are discussed and what happened to them.  There are tables and charts with interesting statistics about race drivers and the races they won.  A short bibliography and Afterword ends the book.  Unfortunately, there is no index.  This is such a spectacular book that the absence of an index is very puzzling.  Should the authors decide to do a reprinting, they would be well advised to add an index for the use of scholars and fans of auto racing. 
Gone Racin’ is at
RNPARKS1@JUNO.COM.  Autobooks/Aerobooks is at 1-818-845-0707.
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Gone Racin’…
Where They Raced; Auto racing venues in Los Angeles, 1900-1990, by Harold L. Osmer.  Book review by Richard Parks, photographic consultant Roger Rohrdanz.   Reprinted with permission of Internet Brands and www.hotrodhotline.com

     Harold L. Osmer was a student and chose to do research on a subject that had been neglected, the old auto racing tracks and sites in Southern California.  His paper helped him achieve his Masters Degree and it gave racing fans a historical overview of the rich history of our past.  The one complaint in this marvelous book is that it is so short.  Everything about the book, Where They Raced; Auto racing venues in Los Angeles, 1900-1990, is of the highest quality in research and writing.  Osmer has located the original sites of these auto racing tracks and has given us a taste of what racing was like from the earliest days of automotive racing.  The photos, maps and diagrams are amazing and the text is interesting.  The book measures 11 inches long by 8 ˝ inches high and is in a paperback format.  The paper is thick white matte bond and has an interesting front and rear cover.  It is 64 pages long but has an amazing amount of information and should be read as a history and trivia book for the true racing fan.  There are 4 color photos, one color drawing, two black and white drawings, 66 black and white photos, 16 maps, one Ad and 2 black and white programs of the era.  There is a short preface by the author and a fine Table of Contents.  In addition there is a List of Figures, which is an indices of the photos.  There are five chapters and a selected bibliography in the back of the book, which is short but informative.  Osmer includes an interesting series of appendices, which the reader may want to study as it gives all sorts of data that a true racing fan would enjoy.  But surprisingly for such a well-written book, the author did not include an index of names and subjects.  The subject index at the beginning of the book does not suffice for having an index at the rear that lists all the people and places mentioned in the book.  Indexes of people/place names are often overlooked.  For the short time it takes to do this clerical task the benefits and rewards to the serious reader are well worthwhile.  Yet authors make this oversight far too often.  The superior writer will never overlook a name/place index.
     Nevertheless, this is a remarkable book and one worth adding to your library.  Chapter One is titled Introduction and gives a short historical overview of early day racing in Southern California, especially in the Los Angeles area.  Chapter Two is called Road Race Courses and shows us some of the fascinating early races.  The first was the Pasadena/Altadena Hill Climb of 1906.  Also mentioned are the Corona Road Race, the Santa Monica Road Race and the Venice Grand Prix.  There were all held before and around World War I.  Chapter Three is named Board Track Speedways and tells of these special types of race courses that were constructed of lumber, which was cheaper in those days to build than were graded and paved oval tracks.  Sixteen board tracks were built in the East and 8 along the Pacific Rim states.  Board tracks were as short as a half mile and as long as two miles and their smooth steep banked tracks gave lots of thrills and chills.  The first board track was built in 1910 at Playa Del Rey in Venice, California and the last board track was built in 1928 at Woodbridge, New Jersey.  They attracted huge audiences for the day but maintenance, age, development and changing tastes doomed them after two decades of marvelous excitement.  The aerial photos and maps bring back an earlier day.  Chapter Four is titled Small Ovals and describes the many oval race tracks built out of dirt, clay and paved surfaces in the Southern California area.  Six tracks are detailed; Ascot Park, Legion Ascot, Gilmore Stadium, Carrell Speedway, Gardena Speedway and Ascot Park.  Mines Field is briefly mentioned.  The first track opened in 1904 and the last track closed in 1990.  New racing venues have opened up since then but are not discussed in this book. 
     Ascot Park is the oldest, having been built in 1904 and was near USC, the boundaries being South Park, Century and Slauson Avenues.  It began as a horseracing track and gradually the cars began to race there as well.  The stands were covered and looked very much like the Kentucky Derby.  Legion Ascot was built in 1924 and earned its name by the promoters, which was the American Legion Post 127.  The Legion ran the track in an effort to bring organized and sanctioned racing to the area.  The racecourse proved too fast for the cars of the day and after two dozens racing deaths on the track, the public outcry became too much and the track was closed.  Some of the most famous race drivers of the 1920’s and ‘30’s raced on this grand course and the road course that was adjacent to the track.  Legion Ascot was between Soto, Eastern and Valley Blvd.  Mines Field was a B shaped road-racing course that was extremely popular with the public during the Great Depression.  It was located just east of the Los Angeles Airport and was especially popular with track roadsters and stock car racing.  Gilmore Stadium was built in 1934 at the corners of Beverly Blvd and Fairfax Avenue.  The oval racecourse attracted the best Midget racers in the country.  It was probably the finest racetrack ever designed and built but its last race was held in 1950 and then the valuable land became part of the CBS facility.  Carrell Speedway also had a short but famous run.  It was built in 1940 and closed in 1954.  Carrell was located near Vermont Avenue and Artesia Blvd in the city of Gardena, California. 
     Gardena Speedway, which many call Western Speedway, opened the year that Carrell closed.  It was located between Rosecrans and Western Avenues in the city of Gardena.  Jalopies, Midgets and stock car racing used this track.  Ascot Park opened in 1957 and was the last of the old tracks to close in 1990.  Ascot Park is just a short walk from the older Carrell Speedway.  Ascot Park was managed by J. C. Agajanian and his family.  Other races courses mentioned were Saugus (Bonelli) Speedway, Los Angeles Coliseum, Culver City Speedway, Huntington Beach Legion Speedway, Ontario and Riverside. Chapter Five is named
Conclusion and Osmer explains why the tracks finally were closed due to land development, the same factor that closes modern tracks.  The Bibliography follows and gives ten books worth checking out at the library for some heavy reading on the subject.  The Appendices gives some very valuable and interesting information on who won various races at the major tracks.  Osmer also lists the tracks known to have existed in the area, the size of the facilities and the dates they opened and closed.  He lists the number of oval, drag and road courses by state with California having the most oval and drag racing and road racing facilities in the nation.  Where They Raced; Auto racing venues in Los Angeles, 1900-1990 is a fine little addition to your library.  You can purchase this and other books by Harold Osmer at Autobooks/Aerobooks at 1-818-845-0707.
Gone Racin’ is at .  ********************************************************************************************

 

 

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