1974 Speedway Yearbook!!
The R. J. Reynolds Company expands it's involvement in racing to include the short tracks and the Weekly Winston Racing Series is born. The 74 season also included the official start of the Hobby Division in NASCAR records with the class running cars five years older than the Late Model division, giving the top division a place to sell off their equipment as they kept pace with the latest developments in racing.
Ted Fritz, 12j, is back in action with a 63 Ford Fairlane, and Reed makes a showing in a 63 Pontaic Tempest.
Reed picks off another speed record, but Ron Lyon of Modesto is the king of the hill with fifteen fast times and three new records, including a season best of 15.718 on September 21st.
Dennis Hickman of Modesto picks up five dash wins on the year, while Fritz notches seven feature wins and fourteen total wins. Reed answers back with eighteen main top five finishes to pile up the needed championship points ahead of Fritz and Hickman. Barry Mitchell and Ron White of Stockton also show as top stat runners in 74.
Stockton drivers Chris Saxon and Steve Riley dominate the Hobby stats with Saxon nailing twelve fast times and seventeen main top five runs. Riley picks up six dash wins, and seventeen total wins, with each man taking eight feature victories. Rick Meyers of Riverbank, Harold Tackett of Stockton, and Keith Smith of Manteca also take their fair share of the stats, with Saxon taking the division championship title. Steve Roach takes charge of the Late Model semi main title.
(Ted Fritz pictures courtesy of Ted's nephew Bill Olsen.)
New first time drivers, and future superstars are in action for the first time this season in the form of Kenny Boyd in the Hobby division, and Ivan Baldwin and Ernie Irvan in Late Model.
Reed and Lyon again do battle in the speed department with Reed setting one new record and Lyon grabbing two. The best belonged to Lyon at 15.552 on September 21st.
Lyon notched twelve fast times on the year, with Phil Tilbury of Escalon picking up five dash wins, but the remaining top numbers fell to Reed as he set two still standing division all time records of sixteen main event wins and nine in a row. His twenty-four main top five finishes also remains as a division all time standard. Ron Strmiska, Tim Gillit, and Harry Belletto all show in the thick of the season battles as well.
Keith Smith grabs ten fast times and seven dash wins in the Hobby ranks and ends the year with fourteen total wins. Jack Fraiser of Modesto scores with six feature victories, and ties the 'racing cowboy' Walt Ogden of Ceres with fifteen main top five finishes. Bill Beeler of Modesto, and Tony 'Super Mex' Pasada of Stockton also show well this year.
Reed takes the season Late Model crown ahead
of Tilbury and Lyon, while Smith becomes the Hobby champion.
A Little Modified History....
Nick Ringo, #23, of Coyote, CA., shown here driving a Chevy owned and sponsored by Laurie Rodriguez. at San Jose Speedway in 1974.
There were five events at five tracks for the Golden State Classic in 1975, but Stockton was not a part of it this year and Johnny Brazil took the overall title for the series.
There were seven events at seven tracks for the series in 1974 and Ringo won the Stockton race on 10-26, with Dewayne Woodward taking the overall series title
While Ringo was always a competitive driver and capable of the win, 1975 was his best year on record for Super Modified action, winning the Madera season title and with other races at other tracks added in, won the overall State of California title.
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