Stock Car Racing – Really, You’ll Like It

Ken Gifford

It’s become evident to me that A News Café’s loyal audience enjoys reading about the finer things in life: Fancy restaurants, classically trained musicians, modern art, carbon fiber bicycles, European vacations. And sex. Clearly, you like reading about sex.

My stories about stock car racing, however, do not seem to stir the same level of enthusiasm. I know, I know. When you think of stock car racing, you probably conjure the made-for-TV product that is NASCAR. Hick announcers who shout “boogity, boogity, boogity,” and start every sentence with the admonition “Lemme tell ya what.” Races that last longer than an NBA playoff game. Drivers who, with a straight face, say things like, “The Factory Egg Farms Salmonella Food Poisoning Ford was runnin’ real strong today. It’s a cryin’ shame the motor blowed up on the 8th lap.”

Like a lot of life-long auto racing fans, I find today’s NASCAR nearly insufferable. That’s not the stock car racing I’m talking about. My past stories and today’s are about stock car racing at our local fairgrounds in Anderson.

If an image of destruction derby just popped into your head, you’re mistaken. Destruction derby involves guys and gals ramming heavily reinforced junkers into each other. That sport (sport?) is barely a third cousin to real stock car racing.

All right, I’m getting to the point. Shasta Raceway Park will host honest-to-goodness stock car racing this Saturday night. The Airport Auto Brokers Late Models will be the featured attraction with a 75-lap main event. The term “stock cars” is actually a misnomer. These are purpose-built racecars with major horsepower, and track promoter Rick Faeth expects at least 20 of them to speed around the three-eights-mile asphalt oval on Saturday.

The Lakeport-based late model series provides exactly the sort of highly competitive, regional auto racing that NASCAR used to sanction – before the organization decided to focus all its attention on televised soap operas. Longtime Shasta fans will recall NASCAR’s now-defunct Southwest and Northwest touring series, both of which made popular stops at Shasta in past years. The Airport Auto Brokers Late Models are a similar class of racecar. Expect a whole lot of side-by-side racing as drivers hurry to the front during the relatively short race.

So come on out to the fairgrounds on Saturday for professional auto racing. Tickets are only $10 (cheaper for kids and seniors), and the weather forecast looks delightful. The first race is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

I’ll see you there, right?

*****

• While we’re on an automobile theme … Caltrans has completed resurfacing 23 miles of Highway 395 from Modoc County to the Lassen County line with recycled tires. The project not only kept a whole bunch of old tires out of garbage dumps, it provides a surface expected to last for seven years. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funded the $2.1 million project.

• The Greater Redding Chamber of Commerce will welcome five newly elected members to its board in January. They are Randall Hempling of Shasta Regional Medical Center, Cher Matthews of Bank of America, Jason Montague of Giles Lock & Security, Mark Vegh of Wells, Small, Fleharty & Well, and Patti Wilson of Hemsted’s Moving & Storage.

shigley-mugshotPaul Shigley is senior editor of California Planning & Development Report, a frequent contributor to Planning magazine and attended his first auto race a really long time ago. He lives in Centerville. Paul Shigley may be reached at pauls.anewscafe@gmail.com.

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has been a professional journalist since 1987. For 12 years, he served as editor or senior editor of California Planning & Development Report, a statewide trade publication for land use planners, real estate development professionals and attorneys. Prior to that, he worked as a reporter or editor at newspapers in Redding, Grass Valley, Napa and Calistoga. Shigley's work also has appeared in the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Planning magazine, Governing magazine, California Law Week, National Speed Sport News and elsewhere. In addition, he is co-author of Guide to California Planning, a college text and reference book, and is currently working on a book for the American Planning Association about the Bay Delta and California water resources. A graduate of California State University, Sacramento, Shigley has contributed to A News Cafe since 2009. He and his wife, Dana, live in western Shasta County.
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7 Responses

  1. Avatar Carol & Rex says:

    thank you for the stock car articel!!

    notice:: please keep your eye on "" #73 LAURIE WEBBER"", she is a first year driver in the "HORNET" division, and as of late she has been showing up QUITE

    OFTEN on the winners lists (trophy dashes, heat races, ect.). not bad for a

    GOOD LOOKING young lady who says she is still learning. LOOK OUT UPPER

    DIVISIONS!!

  2. Avatar Jon Pecaut says:

    Nice article.

    One of this Saturday night's sponsors for the stock car races is the Trinity Touring Club. The TTC is a local non-profit car club that puts on monthly Autocross Racing, also at the Shasta Raceway Park. These events are open to anyone with a driver license and a vehicle that passes safety inspection. The next event is this Sunday morning and is free to spectators.

    Thanks

  3. Avatar gamerjohn says:

    Turn left, turn left, go straight, turn left, turn left, go straight. Repeat 500 times while trying not to crash.

    No thanks, I have some paint I need to watch dry.

    Don't get into the drama between the drivers' rivals and pit crews. I grew up on WWE and get bored by fake drama.

    • Avatar Carol & Rex says:

      i understand your comment about the WWE (we agree 100%). but if you would get to know driver #73 laurie webber, in the hornet division, like my wife and i do, i am sure she would change your opinion a little (i hope)? we are not "related" to her in any fashion, and i happened to meet her on a jury trial in redding. this is a young lady of strong convictions, that works hard, and is passionate about ALL she does. I AM SURE THERE ARE MANY MORE STORIES AT THAT TRACK THAT MAKE GOING ROUND AND ROUND INTRESTING FOR A LOT OF FOLKS. this is not an ad for shasta raceway (we "are not" affilated in anyway), nor is it a special endorsment for #73. we hope this just helps you understand that everyone(?) needs a "place" in this crazy world, and those lucky enough to be able to (afford) to race, or go to races, are seeking their special place. thank you, and no malice was intended towards you or anyone else.

  4. Avatar Joanne Lobeski Snyde says:

    Loved your article! Seeing local people perform in a competitive sport is a treat. Sure, I had to put aside my snobbish Eastern European aristocratic upbringing to even consider attending the "races" that first time, but the experience was absolutely thrilling. Stock car racing has no resemblance to what a person might watch on T.V. Local stock car racing, to me, is about mechanics, young and old, honing their mechanical and driving skills in a competitive venue. Hey, I even helped sponsor a young man who had blown his engine. He's now an established truck diver with a family and home.

  5. Avatar gLo says:

    I used to be a fan but it wasn't fun anymore once I found out who "Earl" was. I watched intently as the commentator exclaimed, "There's Earl on the track!" I couldn't see him. And then again, "Earl's everywhere!" I finally figured it out when they announced, "Here comes Kevin Harvick racing his "PenzEarl Chevrolet".

  6. Avatar Dave Rowney says:

    Thanks, Paul, for the interesting article about local 'stock' car oval track racing. Of course there are many other forms of driving competition that some readers might find interesting.

    I second Jon Pecaut's suggestion; people can try out high performance driving competition without endangering your car or yourself if you come out for an autocross staged by our local club, Trinity Touring Club. One driver at a time goes through a course marked by rubber highway cones. It is very safe and you will learn useful driving skills.