The late Gary Ormsby from Auburn, California – 1989 NHRA Top Fuel Champion

I wanted to include Gary Ormsby in our Northern California Race Car Driver directory, so I looked him up on Google. To my surprise, there was no website about him, no fan page, not even a wikipedia page. So I decided to write what I could find and then ask for help from you. If anyone can help me with more details of his amazing life I would appreciate it. I am even trying to write a wikipedia article on him too. Please email me here:
Gary Ormsby was the 1989 NHRA Top Fuel Champion. He owned Auburn Toyota and Auburn Subaru Hyundai in Auburn, California. His crew chief was Lee Beard. Together they were within one round victory of winning the championship in 1990 as well. He died the following year of intestinal cancer in Roseville, California on August 28, 1991.
Gary Ormsby's 1962 Vagabond Dragster
One of Gary’s first cars, Vagabond, a 1962 AA/Fuel Dragster.

It was during 1990 that he set the (at the time) World Record of 4.881 seconds at 296.05 mph in Heartland Park, Topeka Kansas. He helped put that track on the map in the drag racing world. Since then, they have named one of the roads around the raceway, Gary Ormsby Drive.

In 1989, Gary destroyed 2 cars in terrifying accidents on the way to winning the championship. He had to drive an old retired car that he had on display in the showroom of his car dealership in Auburn to finish the season. This video shows the 2 accidents.

Gary Ormsby was one of the best drag racers to come out of northern California. I am anxious to learn more about him and his racing career. There is a great article on Lee Beard and Gary Ormsby and their championship season together here.

For a free subscription to NorCal Car Culture please enter your email address here:

Jimmy Boyd to be inducted into The National Sprint Car Hall of Fame

On Wednesday, The National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Iowa announced its 13 inductees for 2011. Named in that group was Jimmy Boyd of Woodland, CA. who will be in Knoxville on June 4th to receive his award. You can read the entire press release here: Jimmy won the Northern Auto Racing Club championship in 1979. He won 3 feature events, 7 heat races, 4 trophy dashes, and 2 fast times. On March 18, 1978 at Devil’s Bowl Speedway in Mesquite Texas he won his only World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series race. What made it more special is that it was the inaugural A-Feature event for the newly formed series and he raced an all-star field to win the $2,000 prize.
Boyd’s first race in a sprint car was in 1967 at Calistoga Speedway and his last race in 1984 at Baylands Raceway Park. Two sites with lots more information are West Capital Raceway Alumni and SCRAFAN.COM.

Congratulations Jimmy Boyd!

Michael Waltrip’s New Book: IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE

On the 10th anniversary of Michael Waltrip’s first win at the Daytona 500, he releases his first book, “IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE: Dale, Daytona, And The Day That Changed Everything” It is a book that describes his memories of the highs and lows of maybe the greatest and worst day of his racing career.

I don’t know about you, but I will never forget being thrilled to see Michael win his first race, the Daytona 500 at that, and listening to his brother cheer him on. But then, seconds later, listening to the way Darrell Waltrip kept questioning the condition of Dale Earnhardt. He kept saying “I hope Dale’s alright”, “he is alright isn’t he”. Then when he saw the replay of the crash, he said: “This is huge, when you go head on, and that TV does not do that justice, that is an incredible impact head on, it throws you forward in the car, those are the kind of accidents that….absolutely are frightening.” What an emotionally draining day. I’m really looking forward to reading what Michael has to say.

He will also discuss his struggles to keep on racing and then to build a successful race team.  You can read about what Michael Waltrip is planning for 2011 here.

The book will be available February 1st.
You can order it here: