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Old 05-06-2009, 02:21 PM   #1
Don Holbrook
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2009 BCRA Hall of Fame Inductees

Lincoln, NE. (May 6, 2009) - The votes have been counted and the 2009 inductees for the Big Car Racing Association Hall of Fame are Kansas City's oval track Champ Ray Lee Goodwin now of Sedalia Mo, prolific car owner Pius Selenke Wichita Ks, Minnesota's Earl Kouba, once known as the "Sedalia Hay Barber "of Colorado , Father and Son 1958' BCRA Champs Burt and Burty Blanot of Colorado Springs, Colorado, Legend Buddy Taylor of Albuquerque New Mexico, 50 year vet Curt Stockwell of Denver, Driver and Photo Journalist Tom Davey of Denver Colorado, Champion Car Owner Larry Swanson of Lincoln Nebraska, versatile Texas Champion Ralph Parkinson now of Gladstone Mo, Sprint car great "Lil"Joe Saldana of Indianapolis Ind, and top Kansas car owner Pete Forshee of Wichita.

All of the 32 finalist from the list of nominees were deserving and Leroy Byer's summed it up well in, "I selected these ten and it was tough! I could of selected another ten and been almost as satisfied. HECK they all deserve it in my book! This well rounded class of Inductees includes some of the best car owners and drivers ever in BCRA history.

Longtime BCRA official and mainstay, Mearl Holbrook of Colorado has been selected to recieve the "Don Budy Memorial Award" for 2009.

The Hall of Fame induction will be at Speedway Motors on June 26th at 6 pm at the Museum. The Induction ceremony itself is expected to take an hour with tours of the museum to follow. Also.... there will be the regular tour begginning at 2 pm on Friday where members can tour the facility before the induction if so desired. This remarkable collection of American Speed has become so extensive it is hard to take it all in with just one visit. Be sure to be at the front door of the Museum at 2 pm to be included on the tour and inform the attendant that you are with the Big Car Racing Association.

On Saturday June 27th, we will gather at Joe Haag's Hot rod shop and museum (located at 1901 1st street in Lincoln, more information to follow) at noon for lunch, a static display and bench racing. At around 4 pm we will move to the track at Eagle, Nebraska for static display, on-track sessions and interviews of the Hall of Fame inductees and car owners who attend.

The host Motel will again be the Days Inn located at 2001 West "O" street in Lincoln and the Airport Days Inn, both approximately the same distance from Speedway Motors in West Lincoln. The phone number for Days Inn is 402-477-4488 and ask for the BCRA block of rooms to get the special rates. For more information cal 308-325-5455.
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Old 05-06-2009, 02:44 PM   #2
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Once Upon a Time

Article by Gerry (GT) Miller

Once upon a time a young man climbed into the seat of a Big Car Sprinter and won a race.

You want more? Oh, OK…

The time was 1977. The place was George Butland’s wonderful old Colorado National Raceway. The car was Ernie DeCroce’s and the driver was Sammy Swindell. Still not enough for you? Right!

That race was the final scheduled race of the BCRA and by virtue of winning it Sammy became the last BCRA Champion! This is a fact not generally know by Swindell’s legion of fans, (or a lot of other people either.) Of course he’s gone on to fame and fortune in the World of Outlaws and other racing ventures but technically you could say that his roots are in the BCRA.

And just to prove that he hasn’t lost his touch after thirty-two years, he showed up at this year’s Chili Bowl in a machine that he helped to design and build and cleaned house! Won every race he entered including the first ever Race of Champions, heat races, Pre-lims and the Feature Event! Hell, he even won hot-laps!

While we were on the subject of things and people that have been overlooked over the years an old friend came to mind. Not all those that made the BCRA what it was were drivers. There were a lot of people behind the scenes that didn’t get their share of the Glory sometimes…and we think Mearl Holbrook was one of those.

Mearl got his start in racing as a driver after WW II but soon found his niche in the Public Relations and Officiating ranks. He was an early member of the Pike’s Peak Hill Climb Association and did much of their PR work. The “Climb to the Clouds” was, in fact, his great love and he was involved in one way or another with the Peak for the rest of his life.

He became active in the BCRA at the beginning and in 1963 became assistant Pit Steward, rising to the post of Chief Steward in 1967. During the 1970’s he moved to Oklahoma City where he became active in the old NCRA group until he moved back to Pueblo, Colorado. And, as if he wasn’t busy enough he was also an active writer for National Speed Sport News for many years, and was still covering the Hill Climb at the time of his death.

Mearl was a large friendly man, with a voice to match; if he was in the room you knew it, but he knew his racing and the one thing that infuriated him more than any other was someone who pretended to be a racer. One of his lines we will never forget was when he encountered one of those “wannabes”. “That dumb SOB,” said Mearl,” Don’t know a Jacob’s ladder from a step-ladder!”

A truck driver by trade he retired at the age of 50…and spent the rest of his life chasing race cars. Literally! In his later years his legs gave out on him so he obtained one of those little tiny motor scooters…and we mean tiny! As we said Mearl was a big man…and he got bigger. At times, when he would race through the pits on that mini-scooter it looked as if he were floating in the air…in a sitting position!

He died of heart failure at the age of 71, in Pueblo, Colorado on July 10, 1996 and his ashes were scattered, at his request, to the four winds from the top of Pikes Peak.

Mearl Holbrook 1925-1996 R.I.P




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Old 05-06-2009, 03:47 PM   #3
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I just got to talk with Burtie Blanot on Apr. 26th. He was at the El Paso County Speedway practice session with SCott Snow snd his son Trevor.

He had to turn his hearing aid up to talk with me, but he's still walking tall.

Congratulations Burtie....well deserved !!




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Old 05-06-2009, 05:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Starr View Post
Article by Gerry (GT) Miller

Once upon a time a young man climbed into the seat of a Big Car Sprinter and won a race.

You want more? Oh, OK…

The time was 1977. The place was George Butland’s wonderful old Colorado National Raceway. The car was Ernie DeCroce’s and the driver was Sammy Swindell. Still not enough for you? Right!

That race was the final scheduled race of the BCRA and by virtue of winning it Sammy became the last BCRA Champion! This is a fact not generally know by Swindell’s legion of fans, (or a lot of other people either.) Of course he’s gone on to fame and fortune in the World of Outlaws and other racing ventures but technically you could say that his roots are in the BCRA.

And just to prove that he hasn’t lost his touch after thirty-two years, he showed up at this year’s Chili Bowl in a machine that he helped to design and build and cleaned house! Won every race he entered including the first ever Race of Champions, heat races, Pre-lims and the Feature Event! Hell, he even won hot-laps!

While we were on the subject of things and people that have been overlooked over the years an old friend came to mind. Not all those that made the BCRA what it was were drivers. There were a lot of people behind the scenes that didn’t get their share of the Glory sometimes…and we think Mearl Holbrook was one of those.

Mearl got his start in racing as a driver after WW II but soon found his niche in the Public Relations and Officiating ranks. He was an early member of the Pike’s Peak Hill Climb Association and did much of their PR work. The “Climb to the Clouds” was, in fact, his great love and he was involved in one way or another with the Peak for the rest of his life.

He became active in the BCRA at the beginning and in 1963 became assistant Pit Steward, rising to the post of Chief Steward in 1967. During the 1970’s he moved to Oklahoma City where he became active in the old NCRA group until he moved back to Pueblo, Colorado. And, as if he wasn’t busy enough he was also an active writer for National Speed Sport News for many years, and was still covering the Hill Climb at the time of his death.

Mearl was a large friendly man, with a voice to match; if he was in the room you knew it, but he knew his racing and the one thing that infuriated him more than any other was someone who pretended to be a racer. One of his lines we will never forget was when he encountered one of those “wannabes”. “That dumb SOB,” said Mearl,” Don’t know a Jacob’s ladder from a step-ladder!”

A truck driver by trade he retired at the age of 50…and spent the rest of his life chasing race cars. Literally! In his later years his legs gave out on him so he obtained one of those little tiny motor scooters…and we mean tiny! As we said Mearl was a big man…and he got bigger. At times, when he would race through the pits on that mini-scooter it looked as if he were floating in the air…in a sitting position!

He died of heart failure at the age of 71, in Pueblo, Colorado on July 10, 1996 and his ashes were scattered, at his request, to the four winds from the top of Pikes Peak.

Mearl Holbrook 1925-1996 R.I.P
Thank you Joe for posting the article. It should be in the next BCRA Newsletter. Its to bad that you or I didn't get a photo of my father riding his scooter around the pit areas.
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Old 05-06-2009, 07:36 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Don Holbrook View Post
Thank you Joe for posting the article. It should be in the next BCRA Newsletter. Its to bad that you or I didn't get a photo of my father riding his scooter around the pit areas.
That, we should have done, he did get around on that scooter. It's like it was just yesterday.
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