Circle Trackin’

One thing about being my age, it gives me the opportunity to comment on the days of racing that most people reading the “The Nest” were not able to visit.  Some way or another I have been involved with racing most of my life.  Before organized drag racing existed (OK, so there was a little street racing – which we DON’T do now), most racing was centered on circle tracks.  There were Midgets, Sprints, Big Cars (stretched sprints that were sometimes used in Indy racing), Track Roadsters and Jalopies.  They were all exciting and fun and at a very young age, I had the privilege of being associated with all of them.  Just out of school, I met who was to become a very good friend and mentor in my young days of racing.  His name was Bill (“Zeke”) Adair.  Don’t know where the nickname came from but Bill was an excellent mechanic and a hard core racer no matter what kind of racing it was.

You old timers may remember the Top Fuel Dragster team of Weekly, Fox and Holding.  Well, for a short time they joined with Zeke and became Fox, Holding and Adair and did real well together.

While I was associated with Bill, we worked out of his garage in Venice, CA.  I was his only volunteer “full time” assistant and pit crew.  I lived with my family in Venice so I had little overhead and Bill paid my way into the races as a crew-member and also paid my travel expenses (very little, as we slept in the truck, or car, or whatever we were using at the time).  One of the very popular Southland racetracks at the time was in our own backyard, the Culver City Stadium at Washington and Lincoln Blvd’s (since deceased).  We ran a lot at Culver and at different times during my years with Zeke we ran several different types of racecars, Jalopies, a Sprint Car and a Track Roadster.  To say I had a favorite car is difficult as I just loved each one as much as the others.  The roadster was probably my favorite as it was a sponsored car and ran real well.

A fellow named Ferris Webster was a Film Editor for MGM Studios in Culver City and also owned a very popular bar and grill called the “Retake Room” right across from the entrance and exit to the studio (not a bad location, eh?).  Ferris was a real nice guy with a lot of dough and he sponsored the car.  It was a ’23 Ford “T” body with a ’39 Ford flathead V8 with all Edelbrock Racing equipment.  It was nicely painted in red and white with the “Retake Room” painted on the sides and it was fast.  A couple of famous drivers (for the time) drove it but I can’t recall who they were.  We raced with such well-known drivers as Rosie Rousell (who may be still around and had his roadster in the NHRA Museum a couple of years ago) and Troy Ruttman, who went on to Indy fame.

1948 - Troy Ruttman at Culver City Stadium

There is so much to talk about of my circle trackin’ days that I’ve decided to make this a two-parter and continue it next time with some good stuff and a couple of very interesting afterthoughts.  Please join me then.

Thanks for visiting and…

See you at the races!

Ronnie Hier

Home Of Nostalgia Drag Racing

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  1. Pingback: Circle Trackin’ 2 « The Nest

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