These pages cover
"special events" that occur to or for people or peoples,
groups or groupies directly or remotely connected with the sport
of drag racing. These "events" will be posted here
when they happen or as we get them. Or better yet, if we get
On Saturday, April 17, 2004,
the staff of the Wally Parks Motorsports Museum put together
one of the most interesting and historical group of men ever.
The operators of the major So. Cal drag strips. This panel consisted
of Blackie Gejeian, Fresno: Steve Gibbs, Irwindale; Chuck Griffith,
Pomona; C.J. "Pappy" Hart, Santa
Ana and Lions; Harry Hibler, San Fernando; Mike Jones, OCIR;
Don Rackemann, Saugus, Fontana & Riverside; and Louie Senter,
Saugus. Moderator of the event was Dave "Big Mac" McCelland
who also operated the Dallas Int'l Motor Speedway....yep, you
get it...one of the most notorious group of characters ever assembled!
The stories told this day were colorful, funny and interesting.
There was a guy taping the event so if the museum ever sells
copies, get one! The chances of ever getting this group together
again with this format will probably never happen. The four years
I got to work for Pappy at Lions as track photog were four of
my best years ever and to still have him around 33 years later
is such a thrill for me. It was a wonderful event and I want
to thank Sam Jackson, Greg Sharp, Steve Gibbs and the reat of
the museum staff for putting this event together. John Ewald
The program is a collectors item
itself, and made for a good autograph piece.
Inside Front Cover
A big crowd of racers
and fans were on hand to witness this get together.
This panel consisted of Blackie
Gejeian, Fresno: Steve Gibbs, Irwindale; Chuck Griffith, Pomona;
C.J. "Pappy" Hart, Santa Ana and Lions; Harry Hibler,
San Fernando; Mike Jones, OCIR; Don Rackemann, Saugus, Fontana
& Riverside; and Louie Senter, Saugus. Moderator of the event
was Dave "Big Mac" McCelland who also operated the
Dallas Int'l Motor Speedway.
Note: On 06-27-04
CJ Hart passed away: Funeral and Media
Steve Gibbs helps Blackie show
the famous shot of four top fuelers racing side by side...a promo
idea Blackie put together. The winner of this foursome was James
Warren who was on hand at this event.
Mike Jones and Don Rackemann...talk
about contrast in personalities!
Judy Thompson, wife of Mickie
when he ran Lions when it first opened sits with Bob Muravez...who
was probably driving back then as well.
Don Rackemann had a hard time
keeping quite as Louie Senter tells stories about the operating
style Don used at the Saugus track...interesting bookeeping!
Rackemann stories could fill up many volumes, probably make for
a complete library.
Mac at the mic - nothing
Mike doesn't seem amused
by the bantering of Don and Louie.
What a great day for all to get
autographs, especially since Bob McClurg's new book "Diggers,
Funnies, Gassers and Altereds" was on sale there for these
men to sign. Here C.J. signs one. Bob's book is available at
Pappy and Harry Hibler share
a laugh, which there were plenty of. Great to see Harry out of
the hospital from his nasty motorcycle accident last year...it
was touch and go for awhile.
Steve Gibbs talks about the time
he blew up an old car with a M80 at the top end of the Irwindale
track one night causing the Irwindale Fire Department to show
up...ask him about it sometime.
While the boys were having fun
at the museum, the BankAmericar sat alone at the Long Beach Grand
Prix in the Bridgestone/Firestone booth just before the Expo
opened and thousands of race fans got to check her out...The
digger was a big hit with the open wheel racing fans.
Photos & commentary
by John Ewald
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