The 11 newest members of the Calistoga Speedway Hall of Fame will be formally honored at the traditional induction dinner during the Louie Vermeil Classic on Labor Day weekend.
Among the inductees are a national championship winning crew chief, a seven-time Calistoga Speedway track champion, race officials and a broadcaster who have dedicated decades of service to the track, and drivers who have distinguished themselves by winning on the infamous half mile oval.
“Because of their performance on the track or service behind the scenes, all of this year’s inductees have contributed to the legacy and the reputation that Calistoga Speedway enjoys with fans all across the country,” said Tommy Hunt, who promotes racing events at the track through HMC promotions. “Some thrilled fans in wheel to wheel competition on the track and others were often invisible to the fans but indispensable to the track’s success and we are glad to honor them this year.”
The inductees are:
- Augie Grube of Calistoga, who began his driving career in the era when sprint cars raced without roll cages and who subsequently took on responsibility for shaping and preparing the clay oval in advance of race weekends.
- Tom Brazil, a former manager of the Napa County Fair who played a crucial role in supporting the race track and the Northern Auto Racing Club when Louie Vermeil was the club’s president.
- Steve Kent of Fresno, a seven-time Calistoga Speedway track champion who sits fourth on the track’s all time win list.
- Kenny Woodruff of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, a seven -time winner as a crew chief at Calistoga before moving to the national World of Outlaws tour and winning dozens of races and a national championship with Bobby Davis, Jr. in 1989.
- Rich Forsberg of Auburn, a graduate of the super modified ranks who has won at Calistoga Speedway as a driver and a car owner.
- Bob Pool of Sacramento, a veteran race photographer who subsequently spent two decades as a racing official with the United States Auto Club.
- Bobby Gerould of Sacramento, who followed in the footsteps of his broadcasting father as an announcer at Calistoga Speedway and many other tracks throughout Northern California.
- Darrell Hanestad of Fremont, a second-generation driver who was renowned for running the high speed top groove of the half mile oval and who sits 21st on the all-time win list at Calistoga Speedway
- Cliff Blackwell, who began his career driving midgets and, throughout a 50-year career as a car owner, competed in some of open wheel racing’s biggest events with top drivers such as current NASCAR star Kyle Larsen and USAC national Silver Crown champion Kody Swanson
- Fred Ponzini of Morgan Hill, whose career as a car owner spanned 50 years and who was a co-founder of the sprint car sanctioning group the Northern Auto Racing Club and its first vice president, and son Gary Ponzini of Morgan Hill, who as a driver competed in the Northern Auto Racing Club, USAC’s national series for midgets, sprint cars and Silver Crown cars, racing in the Midwest and Northern California