SPRINT CAR INSIDER — LEMOORE, Calif (July 6, 2018) –> Back in the 1947 the Lemoore City Council granted a man by the name of, Doc (J.P) Young, permission to lay out a race track amidst the salt grass and alkali at 18th and Iona. With the help of interested friends such as, Leo Hansen, and Vernon Chinn providing the heavy equipment his dreams became a reality as a flat oval track was fashioned.
By 1950 the Lemoore Race Club was founded and the first race of any magnitude was held in conjunction with the Lemoore Day Celebration of the Golden Jubilee Anniversary. A crowd of 1500 spectators witnessed these 30.5cc cars race around the track, restrained by only a rope provided by the local Fire Department. There was not a bleacher on the property; spectators sat in, and on, their cars parked around the oval. The first race saw ten cars show up mostly from the Fresno and Dinuba area.
Late in 1958 Floyd Blakely heard that there were small cars running around the nation called “MICRO MIDGETS” and went to a meeting in Marysville. He came back with news of the National Micro Midget Association, (N.M.M.A), which had been adopted in 1956. The Lemoore Race Club like the plan and joined the organization. However, since the cars in the club did not fit the specification plans of the N.M.M.A yet, the first sanctioned race in 1959 was supported by out of town cars from all over California.
On July 23, 1959 the club was notified that they were to host the Western U.S Championship on Labor Day, just 30 days away. None of the local club members had ever even seen a championship Micro Midget Race, yet, on Labor Day they hosted 72 cars from Micro Clubs west of the Mississippi.
Bob Murphy named the facility the “Lemoore Jet Bowl,” as the Naval Air Station was just beginning to form. Club president, Floyd Blakely, and Bob Murphy spent many hours in preparation for this big race by a club that did not even have a micro midget. In 1968 the name for these vehicles changed from “micro midgets” to “modified midgets” because many felt that micro had too much of a connotation to a toy.
The Lemoore Racing group has hosted many Championship races since their first Western Championship in 1959. The Jet Bowl hosted its first International Championship in 1973, and again in 1975. Lemoore raceway was affiliated with the N.M.M.A until its last day of operation.
(Taken from the 1989 Lemoore Racing Enterprises 30th Anniversary Edition Program)
“A man had a dream, a dream of laying out a track amidst the salt grass and alkali of Lemoore. Nearly seven decades later no once could have possibly envisioned the legacies that rose out of these humble roots.” -2018
Founding Members: Inaugural Honorary Hall of Fame Inductee’s: 2012
J.P (Doc) Young – 1st president of the Lemoore Race Club, He sought out initial permission to lay out a track in the city of Lemoore.
Floyd Blakely – Got the Lemoore Jet Bowl Sanctioned by the N.M.M.A and served as the president of the club. He also took the role of president of the N.M.M.A in 1962 after serving as vice president in 1961. His role in the sanction was pivotal to bringing exposure to racing in Lemoore.
Val Burrows – He and wife Jackie were major influences during construction of the track and served many roles in the early years, such as, Steward, Official, and Flagger.
Gary Burrows – The youngest of the founders, son of Val Burrows, he had to be granted permission to race at only 13 years old. He went to work for Standard Oil, and his company is still a Lemoore Track sponsor today.
Pat Hargrove – Owner of a local auto parts store in Hanford, a WWII Veteran, and legendary car owner, Hargrove built his first midget in 1961 and put Lou Trigeuro at the helm.
Louis “Trig” Trigueiro – Set national record for a 1/10th mile on July 21, 1962, and he earned more points than any member of Lemoore Racing Enterprises during the 1962.
Ted Borecco – Orginal board member, he was a driver and an official known for travelling to race. Known for his quote, “I love race car drivers, but when they put helmets on they become idiots.”
Jim Henley – Original Board member, He enjoyed racing of all types, and just being at the track. An active politician he served 4 years on the state water board appointed by the original Governor Brown.
Ernie Costa – Original board member and car owner, he eventually left the helm to his son Ron, who was a dominant force through the better part of three decades.
Tom Blakely – Original board member and brother of Floyd, he served the local racing community for decades after the founding.
Anthony Trigueiro – Original board member, he was one of the ten individuals instrumental to getting racing in Lemoore off the ground and building up a tradition like we see today.
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