Monthly Archives: May 2017

Portrait of Paul-1

Paul first came to Willow Springs International Raceway when he was fourteen and ever since then, it became something his dad and he frequented together. The car he drove “belonged to the two of them 50-50,” and they both ran it.

They ran an original Jack Roush NASCAR 1989 Race Car mostly at Willow Springs and at Sears Point Raceway, Sonoma, Northern California. Their car was the road course car for Scott Barton for 10 years; until he retired the car in 1999. The way it looks in the picture below was exactly the way it looked when it left Watkins Glen International track (in New York, USA) for the last time.

Jack Roush had many NASCAR teams and Paul’s car was a perfect Roush NASCAR vehicle. However, although he owned a NASCAR car, Paul was not a NASCAR racer. He only owned vintage cars and ran cars at race tracks “for fun.”

Paul suggested that anyone, “who wanted to come out to the track should come out because it’s one of the best things you could do and a lot of fun.”

Paul’s car on the track

what a cool car

Paul’s crew discussing events

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Joey

Joey had a 1966 Mustang which he acquired at 15 years old. Joey and his father restored the Mustang in their garage. His father had been into car racing his entire life and that’s how Joey grew up.

The Mustang was Joey’s first and only car and he drove it everywhere. Joey noted that he always had to be very cautious while driving.

Joey was from Santa Clarita, California, USA and completed Mission View Public Charter for high school. He was working in the structural steel industry. Joey mostly installed I- beams all over Los Angeles, and sometimes even worked on skyscrapers in downtown Los Angeles.

Joey said that anyone who’s never been to Willow Springs International Raceway, “should definitely come out and see what it was like.”

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Gegi

When I met Gegi, she was enjoying her first time ever at Willow Springs International Raceway. She accompanied her boyfriend to the Shelby Cobra Club event and was able to get a shotgun ride on the track in his race car. She considered it all very exciting and said she was “a little bit nervous, but it was a lot of fun.”

Gegi was originally from Costa Mesa, California, USA. She studied horticulture at Polytechnic State University–San Luis Obispo, then attended Santa Ana College Basic Fire Academy.

Gegi never ended up getting a firefighting job because, while waiting to be placed, she worked as a substitute teacher. Subsequently, her special education job at Edison High School in Huntington Beach, California, USA, “fell into place” after she earned her State credentials, so it must have been her destiny.

Some days, Gegi regretted not being a firefighter, but she really enjoyed what she was doing, so she was essentially a very happy person.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Bill-1

Bill had his 2000 Panoz for about a year when we met. He bought it specifically for an event such as the Shelby Cobra Club event at Willow Springs International Raceway. He was into running cars since 1952 when his father took him to sports car racing events.

Bill ran at Willow Springs and other Southern California tracks during the mid-seventies. He had another race car which was a Roadster, but considered the Panoz more comfortable.

Bill grew up in Burbank, California, USA. He moved there when he was about four and graduated from Burbank High School. He went to California Polytechnic State University College of Engineering – San Luis Obispo and majored in Aeronautical Engineering.

As an aeronautical engineer, Bill worked for Lockheed Martin but was laid off twice so he went into the oil industry instead. Bill was in offshore oil drilling and assigned to Brazil to be in a training program for management. He went through every phase of the job: roustabout, roughneck, deckhand, assistant driller, driller and a tool pusher.

Bill became a marine operations coordinator for Santa Fe drilling which joined with Global Marine and eventually was bought out by Transocean. He said it was very interesting working in the oil industry because it got him all around the world, “not just Brazil, but also to the North Sea and Indonesia.”

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Jay

Jay owned his own Body Shop store in San Fernando Valley, Ford Auto Body. He was about to retire when we met. He also enjoyed running cars as well as collecting them.

Jay came out to the the Shelby Cobra Club event at Willow Springs International Raceway every year. The year we met, he came with the “66” car you see below, which was a 1964 Daytona Coupe built for him in New Zealand by John Olson. John Olson was a friend of Jay’s but he’s also was the one who built the original Daytona Coupe, Serial Number 2287, for Carroll Shelby. That car was missing for 35 years. When it was eventually found, it was restored and then put in Auto Palace in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

Jay owned an identical vehicle, his having serial number to 2603. Jay had just gotten his “66” (2603) back into shape and considered it a very fun car.

Jay excited to run his “very fun car”

Jay in the driver’s seat

special tags on “66”certified historical Shelby

in front of trailer

Jay running”66″ on the Willow Spring track

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Angelia

Some people are just beautiful both inside and out.

It was just a pleasure to know someone like Angelia who was a registered nurse working in a long-term care facility in Ridgecrest, California, USA. When asked if geriatric nursing was her niche in life, Angelia responded,  “I just enjoy helping people in general . It wouldn’t matter what I am doing.”

Angelia, however, admitted to a goal: to work at, in pediatric oncology at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She had volunteered with Children’s Hospital as a summer camp counselor every year for six years. Angelia said that the cancer patients participated in all the same activities that any normal child would: archery, hiking, riding horseback riding, arts and crafts and swimming . “It’s just a fun summer camp.”

Angelia believed, based on her performance record as a volunteer, it would not be difficult to get a job there in the future.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Bob-2

Bob liked to snow ski, mountain bike, and participate in Motocross, which he did for 40 years.

Bob worked in the printing industry or about 30 years so he worked printed children’s books, schools books, and catalogs for various publishers . Most of the work he did was for for schools and universities, so for example, his catalogs were most often printed for these institutions of learning.

Bob was originally from San Fernando Valley and went to John H. Francis Polytechnic High School “Poly High School.” At the time of this posting, he lived in Santa Clarita, California, USA.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordind ©2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Wayne

Although Wayne was in a wheelchair, the Shelby Cobra Club event at Willow Springs International Raceway was a big part of his life. Wayne had been attending the Willow Springs event since the early eighties and he and his brother had been racing Hot Rods since the early sixties. The reason Wayne quit was because he could no longer handle the fast cars. Wayne was sricken with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) several years prior to our meeting, and because of that, he had to stop racing, But that didn’t keep him from attending the events with his brother, who continued to race. (ALS is the disease that affected Lou Gehrig and Stephen Hawking.)

Wayne was originally from East Los Angeles, California, but at the time of this interview, he lived in Hemet, California, USA. Wayne’s brother owned a fire sprinkler company and Wayne had been a field Foreman for him. They had many famous customers such as Sears and Disneyland. One time, Wayne flooded a Sears store because he accidentally pulled the fire sprinkler. This earned him the nickname Rainman. Wayne was forced to retire in 2002 because he required bypass surgery.

Wayne’s brother had been racing a 1966 Shelby GT350 since the early eighties, sold it to Wayne who took it to car shows until he sold it. The current owners were at Willow Springs running it (see below.)

Wayne and his brother had a lot of different cars throughout their lives: eight different Shelbies, hot rods, a Model A Roadster pickup, a 37 Ford Roush Mustang with a tubular frame and a Trans Am. Any that were racing class, Wayne ran at Willow Springs at some point in time.

Wayne’s brother bought an old David Pearson car (see below) which, at time of purchase, looked like it belonged in the junkyard. His brother recently finished restoring it, and the picture below represents the first time it came out to run. One of the places, besides Willow Springs, that his brother was planning to run was with the Historic Grand National Stockcars Group which was North of San Francisco, California; a place where several tracks could run Sportsman Class (non-NASCAR) cars.

Another interesting fact about Wayne’s cars is that when Wayne could no longer drive his 200 Shelby, he sold it to a developer from Miami, Florida, USA. Prior to selling it to him, his brother replaced the street motor with a race motor. About two and a half months prior to this interview, the new owners gave it extensive exposure by running it at Sebring International Raceway and Atlanta Motor Speedway and were planning to run it at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in June. The new owners were going to have a NASCAR famous woman driver, Sarah Fisher, driving alongside the owner at Indy.

Wayne’s motorized wheelchair moved in so many positions, I’m not sure Wayne could count them. Wayne was kind enough to move into the shade, for optimum light conditions, and then he leaned the chair back so I could have a better angle. Thank you Wayne for your time, your stories, and your efforts.

David Pearson #21 1971 Mercury Cyclone

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Congratulations, graduates!!

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Nate

I met Nate on his last day as a lifeguard in Antelope Valley. It was his last day because, although he was raised in Lancaster, California, USA (Los Angeles County), he was planning to move to Ventura County, California.

Nate was a triathlete who aspired to be an Olympian. He hoped to participate in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and perhaps the Olympics in 2024, especially if they were going to be held in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Nate first started running cross-country when he was in fourth grade and continued all through middle school. He did not go to a specific high school, but rather, was an independent study student; he continued running.

Nate’s father was a competitive swimmer in high school, so, Nate did laps with him since he was about eleven years old. When he was fourteen years old, Nate acquired a bicycle and started participating in Triathlon.

When I met Nate,  he was heading to the International Triathlon Union (ITU)  Junior Triathlon World Championship qualifier in Richmond, Virginia, USA, with his biggest supporter, his Dad.

Nate also qualified for World Championships for his age group and was, therefore, invited to go to the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Rotterdam in September of 2017 with Team USA.

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.

Portrait of Dena

Dena was originally from Crowley, Louisiana, USA. She moved to the Los Angeles California, USA area because of the weather. At the time of this posting, she lived in Antelope Valley which was much more conducive to her asthma issues than living in
Los Angeles.

In the past, Dena had a disabling fall that required neck surgery. Dena was a retired registered nurse, RN, and at the time of this interview, did social work.  Dena studied general sociology at California State University Northridge and studied social work at University of Southern California (USC) where she received a Masters in Social Work (MSW.)

Dena acquired her female German Shepherd dog, Gracie, from a breeder, which she normally would not do. But Dena believed that since Gracie had a lot of problems, had someone else adopted Gracie, she would have ended up as an owner surrender, most likely in the pound. Dena had patience for Gracie and kept her and loved her. It was when Dena realized just how serious Gracie’s fear problems were, that she started training in agility with Mary, from Palmdale, California, USA.

Mary helped Gracie get over her problems by training her (along with Dena, of course) to participate in agility. When Gracie had it all together, Dena started her male dog, Harlem, a Siberian Husky, in agility training (see below). This was approximately three months prior to my meeting Dena. The fun run, where we met, was just the perfect venue and level for him (see my Portrait of Jean for more info about the fun run.)

Harlem was Dena’s daughter’s seizure dog. Her daughter was having 25 to 30 seizures a day and Harlem saved her life. Due to Harlem’s unique talents, Dena and Harlem were also training to be a therapy dog team with the goal of volunteering with pediatric oncology patients at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Harlem was very large for a husky and looked like a small Malamute to me. He was adorable and lovable and very friendly. Dena was a great person who I would be honored to have as a friend.

Harlem and Dena. What a team

Image Credits: Bat-Ami Gordin © 2017 all rights reserved. Credit if you use it, please.