Old School DRIVERS
The 100 winningest drivers MY EYES have seen - By Bobby Gerould - Last updated October 3, 2005. Rocklin, CA. …Here is a fun project that anyone can do. Try to re-trace all the races that you have been to in your lifetime, and list the winners of each feature your eyes have seen. It takes time; I've been working on my list literally for about six years. About once a month I take a few hours and dig through old programs, do Google searches, read journals, and use Kevin Eckert's website to try to find the race winners I saw. For the sake of clarity - I am including any race where I was on the grounds - even the ones I may have slept through as a three year old. My Dad was an announcer of super-modified, and sprint car events on the West Coast. From birth I went to West Capital Raceway (W. Sacramento, CA.) on Saturdays. Later, as Dad did more writing, and announcing we included Friday nights at Chico CA. and special events at Dixon CA. into the mix. As a teenager and college student I worked for NARC and hit all the major Northern California dirt tracks. Adult work for USAC, the World of Outlaws, and others has blessed us with the opportunity to see many tracks across the USA, and into Canada. The results of all this logging and work will be a historical log that I can always go back to for reflection. Over the course of the next 100 weeks, HammerDownUSA.com will list a driver in a countdown of the driver who MY EYES have seen win the most feature races. My list will obviously reflect my environment. It will not be a list of who I consider to be the greatest drivers ever. That would be subjective, and impossible. But I can scientifically list the best drivers I have seen. This list is a fun project for me and I hope you will enjoy the journey to naming number one. ...#100 Perry James Jr. - Elverta, CA. - 2 wins. #99 Mitch Sue - Live Oak, CA. - 2 wins. #98 - Peter Murphy - Sydney, New South Wales, Australia / Oakhurst, CA. 2 wins. #97 Johnny Tiner - Rio Linda, California. 2 wins. # 96 Ed Organ, Napa CA. - 2 wins. #95 Lee Brewer Jr. - Memphis, TN. - 2 wins. #94 Johnny Pearson, Stockton, CA. two wins. #93 Dave Bradway SR - Fair Oaks, CA. - Two wins. #92 Mike Kirby. Torrance, CA. - two wins.
#91 Joe Hill - Sacramento, CA. - Two wins.
One of the veteran racers I saw compete every weekend was Joe Hill. Joe was smooth and fast in the races I saw him run at West Capital Raceway and Placerville Speedway. Hill was the 1978 driving champ in the Super Modifieds at West Cap, and later he 'owned P-Ville' in the early stages of their sprint car class. Hill was the 1982 and 1983 sprint car champion at Placerville driving a # 53 car. I remember Joe having a #97 Super Mod (pictured above) that came closer than any other car to having a rounded 'bumble bee' tail. It almost looked like a sprinter at a time when almost all Super Modified teams were making a transition to racing sprint cars in Northern California. The copycats came out in force in the Super-Mod ranks, all trying to look like Hill's car. ...An early thrill for me was being held by one arm, bear-hug style, by Hill as I sat on a cushion next to him on the edge of the right side of the cockpit while taking some laps at West Capital in a 'closed practice'. The two times I saw Joe win that I know of were both at West Capital. I don't remember any details of a season opening win on March 10, 1974. Likewise I have no recollection of a September 11th victory (year unknown). I only know I was on the grounds because I have the souvenir program from the night. …Later in life, I became very close to Joe's late wife Larmae. She passed away a few years back after a long battle with cancer. "Mae's" son Rick Hirst, and grandson Kyle Hirst are also racers. …Joe still comes to the races because of a very close relationship with Sammy Swindell.