Orville Eugene Dahl, Jr.
Orville Eugene Dahl, Jr., 71, of Stockton, passed away Feb. 6, 2012. He was born Feb. 29, 1940 in Moorehead, MN. Mr. Dahl was the loving father of Thomas Dahl (Donna) and
David Dahl, the dear brother of Allen Dahl and Karen Dahl, and the devoted grandfather of Torre Dahl, Daniel Dahl, Mark Jacke, Caiden Jacke, Storya Jacke and Nate Jacke. He was a 30+ year member and 2 time president of Stockton Water Ski Club. Mr. Dahl was a NASCAR fan and an auto shop teacher at Edison High School. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army.
Friends are invited to visitation 10 am to 4 pm, Sat., Feb. 11, 2012 at ABC Wallace Funeral Services, 445 N. American St., Stockton. Celebration of Life: Sat. 12-6 p.m. at American Legion Hall #803, 3110 N. West Lane, Stkn. Graveside Service: Mon., Feb. 13, 10 a.m. at Cherokee Memorial Park, Hwy. 99 & Harney Ln., Lodi. Please sign the online guestbook at www.abcfh.com.
Here's an article on Orville retirement, as written by Jim Sheils, track historian:
TURNING LEFT THROUGH ADVERSITY
By Jim Shiels
Orville Dahl, a 60-year-old recent Pure Stock driver from Stockton, got his first taste of racing by sitting in the stands on the back straight at Stockton 99 Speedway. And although the stands were torn down in the early 50's, he remained a die-hard fan. For many years he played the games of "second guess' and "hind-chair quarterback" to the Modified, Early Model and Late Model drivers of the 50's,60's, 70's, and 80's.
In 1987,on his way home with a female friend from a restaurant in Copperopolis, he was hit head-on by a drunken youth returning from Hot August Nights in Modesto. The crash broke Orville's ribs, hip, and pelvis, and ruptured his aorta, the primary artery to the heart. Before emergency surgery could replace the artery with a plastic hose, blood and oxygen starvation caused nerve damage and completely paralyzed him from the waist down.
Although a year of painful therapy resulted in a return of some feeling to his legs, Orville was destined to watch the races from a wheelchair.
A mechanic by trade, Orville often wondered why many drivers could never put together an engine that would last, and set out to try his hand on a motor of his own for another driver. He soon decided, "Why should I work for some other guy's fun when I can work for my own."
With that thought in mind, Orville put together his own Pure Stocker in 1998 and headed for the track. By this time, after additional years of rehab, Orville could manage the gas and brake pedals without the use of hand controls that many still think he had.
In 1998 he won two-semi mains and a feature, along with five other main top five's, to finish 7th' in points. Last year in 23-nights of competition, he notched six-heat wins, three - dash wins, and three feature wins to finish 3rd in the season standings. In that two-year span of time and including the five events to date in the 2000 season, Orville only missed running or transferring to one A-main event due to problem in a semi. His season totals to date include three-heat wins, and
three-dash wins, with two-main top five's to boot.
Tests in the off season reveled scar tissue on the plastic heart tube, a condition that also weakens the connections, and his Doctor simply told him "One crash, small or big, could kill you".
Against his Doctors advise, Orville started the 2000 season but has finally realized that DEVOTING his life to racing is a far cry from GIVING his life for racing, and that decision means that Orville will hang the helmet on the hook for the last time, on a short but inspiring career.
When asked what his racing future would hold he replied,"I'm not sure." "I may give my son a chance to race the car, or just be an owner for someone else." "Maybe I'll just go back to being a fan."
Whatever he decides, the drivers and fans (Especially this humble scribe), will give Orville Dahl a hardy salute for
his courage and determination, and A JOB WELL DONE.