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Portrait of Paul

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

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 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

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