Parnelli Jones, 1963 Indy 500 winner, thrilled appreciative race fans by driving a sprint car at speed on the high banks of All American Speedway in Roseville, California on September 16th. Jones was a special guest of honor at the All American Vintage Classic, a two-day affair that included vintage open-wheel racers in exhibition runs, and the 2006 Hall of Fame induction for West Capital Raceway Alumni Association.
Hila Sweet was also a special guest of honor. Sweet was the first woman to win a jalopy race in 1951. After she organized a professional women's tour in southern California, hesitant promoters became convinced to allow women to compete. Sweet was the first female to receive a NASCAR license in 1955.
Sprint car and midget stars that ran at speed at Roseville during the 2006 All American Vintage Classic included Sacramento's Johnny and Billy Anderson, Chuck Gurney, Sr., Tony Simon, Walt James and Kenny VanBlargen. More than 100 vintage machines took part in the fabulous affair under sparkling late summer skies.
Also attending the All American Vintage Classic were circa 1960's Gold Cup Race of Champions winners Al Pombo and Red Mullican. During that era, the Gold Cup was a 200-lap grind with a 64-car field on the half-mile clay oval at Capital Speedway in West Sacramento, California, later renamed West Capital Raceway.
The inner quarter-mile black gumbo clay oval of West Capital, situated at low elevation near the Sacramento River, was considered one of the tackiest surfaces anywhere and produced spectacular competition, with enthusiastic fans right on top of the intense action. After 33 years of operation from 1947 to 1980, West Capital Raceway was closed.
The 2006 inductees into the West Capital Raceway Alumni Hall of Fame were Howard Holtsman, Nick Rescino, John Soares, Duwayne Starr, Kenny Woodruff and Richard Wyrsch.
The 2006 All American Vintage Classic was a smash hit, and will return to Roseville September 14th and 15th, 2007.
COPYRIGHT 2006 ALAN MESSICK PHOTOGRAPHY