FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Louie Vermeil Classic at the Famed ½ Mile Calistoga Speedway
Contact Phone Number or Purchase Tickets: 916-773-7223
Final Four Newest Members Released for 2017 Calistoga Speedway Hall of Fame
by: Troy Hennig – Special Thanks to Tom Motter, Jim Allen and Steve Turnross
ROSEVILLE, CA – (July 25, 2017) … With the 10th Annual Louie Vermeil Classic sprint car and midget race at the historic half-mile Calistoga Speedway quickly approaching we are releasing information about the final four newest members inducted into the Calistoga Speedway Hall of Fame. In a prior release, we talked about Rendy Boldrini, Duane Bonini, Dave Bradway Jr., and Jack Gordon. This release will focus on Chick Lastire, Jack McAfee, Don Melvin and Galen Unruh.
The 6th Annual Calistoga Speedway Hall of Fame Induction dinner and awards banquet takes place on Friday night, September 1st. This evening is dedicated to the introduction of the eight newest members into the Calistoga Speedway Hall of Fame. Price for this night is $55.00 per person. Tickets can be purchased through HMC-Promotions by calling (916) 773-7225 Monday thru Friday 9 AM to 5 PM or Saturday 9 AM to 4 PM. No dinner tickets sold at the door.
Chick was one of the founding members of Bay Cities Roadster Racing Association (predecessor to B.C.R.A.) back in 1939. This organization was founded to find legitimate tracks upon which to race their Modified Street Roadsters. One of the first tracks they raced on was at the Calistoga Fairgrounds track in October 1939. Chick and his brother were both injured in that Roadster race. As a car owner, chick continued to run his car at Calistoga, prior to and after World War II. “Gabby” Gilbert was his usual driver in those days. Chick was also involved with Charlie Curryer’s A.R.A. and raced Sprint cars as well as participated in Stock car races in Northern California during those Pre-war and early Post-war events. After 1946, Chick operated his sprint car at Calistoga on a regular basis with a variety of drivers in the car. In 1950, Chick won the A.R.A. (American Racing Association) Car Owner Championship. Chick stayed active in sprint car racing until the demise of the A.R.A. in 1959.
On June 15, 1974, Don Melvin posted one of the most impressive Calistoga drives ever when he stormed from 12th to the lead of the semi-main, and then came from the back to win the feature. The fans stood, and screamed as Melvin raced side-by-side to the feature checkered flag with Phil Pedlar. Melvin won by a scant margin. Melvin was a stout NARC competitor finishing in the top ten in points from 1970-1978, except 1971, when he was out with injuries from a Calistoga flip. Melvin has five career Narc wins. 21 semi main wins and 39 heat race wins. He also served as a NARC board member from 1971-1977.
Jack McAfee first began running Sprint cars at Calistoga in 1973 with an Edmunds copy car he built driven by Johnny Tiner. For the next 25 years, Jack never had a car he was involved with finish outside of the top 10 in points. In those 25 years Jack never had a major sponsor. He worked out of a two-car garage in Woodland California he had built an amazing amount of sprint cars and super modified's with just himself and his two boys. Every bit of money that went into his cars, was made by building cars and parts for other people throughout those years. He would always say “I'm 100 percent or done.” Throughout his 25 years, McAfee raced with more than 20 different drivers including fellow Calistoga Hall of Fame members Dave Bradway Jr., Gary Patterson and Rendy Boldrini.
Galen Unruh was instrumental in marketing and leading the Northern Auto Racing Club from the mid 80’s through the 90’s. Unruh was elected to the Board of Directors in 1986. A year later he was Vice President. In 1988, Unruh was elected President of NARC. After the 1996 season, he retired to enter a four-year religious study program leading to ordination. Unruh used his marketing background to put together Sponsorship Proposal packages for 38 different race teams. Most of these proposals were for NARC based teams but he also did some for teams running a 360 sprint car series.
The 6th Annual Hall of Fame Induction will take place inside the Tubbs Building located at the Calistoga Speedway. Doors will open at 5 PM and dinner is scheduled to be served at 6:30 PM. Veteran television auto racing reporter Bobby Gerould will once again be the master of ceremonies. Dinner will include Tri-Tip, salad, potatoes, veggies, and pasta along with dessert. Refreshments will include Wine, Beer, Water, Lemonade or Coffee
The 10th Annual Louie Vermeil Classic is scheduled to take place September 2nd and 3rd at the Napa Valley Fairgrounds in Calistoga. Front gate will open at 5 pm with racing scheduled to start at 6:30 PM each night. Tickets for the Louie Vermeil Classic can be purchased by calling 916-773-7223. The traditional racing format will feature both non-wing sprint cars and midgets with entrants from all over the United States.