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SEMA SAN Driving Force Newsletter


SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting Discusses the RPM Act of 2017



Take action now: visit sema.org/rpm to save our racecars! Watch SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting's latest message on what racing enthusiasts can do to help the RPM Act get across the finish line in 2017: https://youtu.be/92AANftSVek




8th Annual Collector Car Appreciation Day to Be Celebrated July 14, 2017



The SEMA Action Network (SAN) announced that the next Collector Car Appreciation Day (CCAD) will be celebrated on July 14, 2017. The date will mark the eighth consecutive commemoration in what is now an annual event to raise awareness of the vital role automotive restoration and collection plays in American society. “The U.S. Senate first recognized Collector Car Appreciation Day in 2010 at our request and helped launch this annual event,” said SEMA Vice President of Government Affairs Steve McDonald. “As we prepare for the eighth celebration of our nation's automotive heritage, enthusiasts and related businesses are already planning open houses, car cruises, club gatherings and educational events to commemorate the day.” (Read More)


Legislative Front Lines


Click here for the complete list of Legislative Action Alerts.



Please credit the SEMA Action Network (SAN) when reprinting any content contained in this email.


SEMA SAN Strike Force


Darrell Leland's first car, a 1967 Oldsmobile Toronado, is shown sitting in the driveway of his parents' house in Las Cruces, New Mexico. This Polaroid was snapped in the summer of 1982, shortly after he bought it.



Darrell Leland has fond memories of his first car, a 1967 Oldsmobile Toronado. At 20 years old, his desire to obtain a car of his own had been building up for some time. “I loved the Toronado because it was technically advanced, unusual and just different,” Darrell explains. He recalls his father shaking his head in disapproval while gazing at the huge vehicle that he had just brought home. “Just a few hours before, dad had given me the lecture,” says Leland. “He instructed me to get something sensible that got good gas mileage and was reliable. He was a fan of small Japanese cars, the ones favored by Consumer Reports. Refusing to buy a car like that and instead getting the Toronado was the closest I ever came to youthful rebellion.”

Darrell's father made several predictions about the purchase, some of which came true. As he had suspected, the car needed just about everything including new brakes, shocks and transmission. However, the car's young owner worked on it tirelessly for the next few years and got it into good running condition. Several long-distance trips were taken in it that began from his home in Las Cruces, New Mexico. One drive in 1986 took Leland through the deep south, up the east coast and eventually to Riverton, New Jersey. There he stayed with his grandmother for about a year. “I sent a picture in the mail to my father showing the Toronado triumphantly sitting next to the Delaware River by grandma's house,” he remembers. He also gained instant respect from the car guys he'd known in high school because of the car's wild looks, unusual drivetrain, high compression 425 c.i. engine and respectable acceleration. “That car often attracted a crowd of admirers. That was certainly the case when I was in New Jersey as many people were amazed by its complete lack of east coast rust.”

He currently has a flathead six-powered 1935 Oldsmobile sedan sitting in his Albuquerque, New Mexico driveway. “Common sense tells me that it's pretty far gone and isn't a good candidate for restoration. But I'm too stubborn to give up on it just yet.” Leland's current dream is to own a 1937 Packard 1502 Super 8 Limousine. He says that a model 1508 V12 Limo would be nice too. “I particularly like the sedans because of their amazing looks and practicality. Plus, high end collectors tend to shun them in favor of convertible sedans and phaetons.”

“I sincerely appreciate the way the SEMA Action Network (SAN) has consistently been the voice of the old car hobby over the years,” Darrell adds. “This organization is fighting to allow the old car hobby to survive in the face of modern technology and other realities. As someone who cares about the environment, I'm glad modern cars have been made more efficient, safer and pollute less. But, there aren't too many old cars like my Toronado left on the road. They'd all be scrapped if the system were left unchecked. The SAN has pushed for common sense legislation for the car hobby and has carefully avoided partisan politics, which I find quite refreshing these days.”

Your kind words and continued support are truly appreciated, Darrell! Hopefully the Packard of your dreams will be yours one day.


This email was sent to: go-mango@att.net by san@sema.org
SEMA Action Network | 1575 Valley Vista Dr | Diamond Bar | CA | 91765 | United States


The SEMA Action Network (SAN) is on the move this summer to let motorsports participants and fans know about the “Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports (RPM) Act”—the Congressional bill that clarifies that street vehicles may continue to be converted into race cars used solely on the track.
Up next is the inaugural Rev'n Rods & Heartland Music Tour. Join us July 17–22 for six days of the hottest rides, the coolest cars and the brightest stars! The event is a thrilling combination of car shows, a driving tour and nightly concerts. SAN representatives will be on hand to explain why the future of racing is at risk, update visitors on the current status of the RPM Act and let the community know how they can help protect racing.
Each day’s events will feature a car show complete with vendors, exhibits, food and beverages with admittance free to the general public. Every night will end with a ticketed concert featuring the legends of country music. Owners of hot rods, street rods, motorcycles and classic automobiles are encouraged to go on tour with Rev’n and Heartland for one stop or even the whole trip. Each registration includes two free nightly concert tickets per vehicle.
The details for each stop are as follows:

July 17 – Nashville, Tennessee at Fontanel featuring Sammy Kershaw, Aaron Tippin & Collin Raye
July 18 – Southaven, Mississippi at Landers Center featuring Restless Heart
July 19 – Cape Girardeau, Missouri at A.C. Brase Arena featuring Terri Clark
July 20 – Bowling Green, Kentucky at Beech Bend Raceway Park featuring Pam Tillis
July 21 – Bean Blossom, Indiana at Bill Monroe Bluegrass Festival Center featuring James Otto
July 22 – Indianapolis, Indiana at Indiana State Fairgrounds featuring John Michael Montgomery
Visit http://www.revntour.com/ for more information. Those in attendance are invited and encouraged to stop by the SAN booth to learn more about the RPM Act.


Legislative Front Lines


Click here for the complete list of Legislative Action Alerts.



Please credit the SEMA Action Network (SAN) when reprinting any content contained in this email.


SEMA SAN Strike Force


During its refurbishment, Jordan Steck prepares the engine bay of the ‘76 Ford Bronco Ranger belonging to her father Jason.



Although Jason Steck has bought and sold several old cars and motorcycles, no other vehicle has been able to command his attention like his ‘76 Ford Bronco Ranger. In fact, after nineteen years of ownership, he plans to keep it in the family for a very long time. “I want my daughter Jordan to be able to enjoy this machine as I have,” Jason says. When she was sixteen-years-old, Jordan wanted to drive it to school. However, she was not a fan of the color. Steck offered her a deal that included full restoration and blue paint if she would help with the project. “She agreed and off we went!” It took about six months and the pair did everything but the paint job. “When it was done, the Ford came out so nice that I was leery of letting her drive it and park it in the high school parking lot!” exclaims Jason. “But a deal is a deal, so I relented.” In fact, Jordan did not put one scratch on the vehicle and any of her friends that were caught slamming a door never got another ride.
These days, the Bronco often sits in the family garage since Jordan is away at college. “I drive it every now and again, but am finding it tougher and tougher to rebuild components and still meet the state’s emissions requirements,” Jason explains. Consequently, he was among a group of Californians who contacted the state legislature earlier this year in support of legislation that would have exempted motor vehicles prior to the 1981 model year from emissions inspection requirement. Current law requires the lifetime testing of all 1976 and newer model-year vehicles. The bill, if enacted into law, would have greatly benefitted Jason’s beloved Bronco. However, in a severe disappointment for the old car hobby, the California Senate failed to gain final approval for the bill prior to the June 3 deadline despite an overwhelming response from the enthusiasts statewide. “It has been difficult to keep the Bronco emissions compliant as there are fewer and fewer mechanics who know how to work on vehicles from this era,” Jason continues. “Hopefully, our lawmakers will reconsider and approve this bill next year.”
Glad to have you on our side, Jason! We’ll keep you posted if a similar opportunity to help your Bronco arises next session.





Dirt Racer Magazine 2011 Volume 3 Issue 6
Photos from Phil Roberts courtesy of Scott Canterbury.





I’m a gearhead. I like cars. And for me, visiting the workshop or garage of another gearhead is great fun.

My friend Marty Beale of Davenport is involved in car cruises and likes stock car racing. So when Marty told me he has a friend who has some custom cars and is involved in stock car racing and asked if I wanted to visit this guy’s garage, I said, “Sure!”

Turns out Marty’s friend is former driver Don Dickey of Silvis. Though I hadn’t met Don prior to visiting his garage with Marty last year, I had seen him around various racetracks many times, and we had spoken to each other in passing. Don is a nice guy.

Don’s garage is a neat place with a couple of custom cars in it and lots of racing memorabilia. As I studied everything there like a wide-eyed kid in a candy store, he told me a little about himself.

Don, 61, was born Nov. 3, 1949. He first got interested in racing, he said, as a child when his father, who died in 1966, took him to the now-defunct
   Quad-City Speedway in Coal Valley.
<-click for old Arial photo

Don started racing at age 21, driving a yellow ‘61 Chevy in an entry level class at what then was called Quad City Raceway, located in East Moline. He won both the season championship feature and the points title his first year.
                                                                               (Click to enlarge)

He moved up a division and also into figure 8 racing the next year. “I didn’t like figure 8 racing, but it paid better than oval racing,” he said.  Ironically though, Don noted, he destroyed more cars on the oval than he did in figure 8.

Don raced eight years, the first six while he was single. One of his racing friends and fellow competitors in Street Stocks was Rodger Vergane. And he ended up marrying Rodger’s daughter, Rita.

Don and Rita have a son, Kevin, and a daughter, Dawn. Kevin, of Silvis, began racing a Bomber at age 15 in 1990 and most recently drove a Modified. Dawn is married to Rock Island Mod driver Doug Crampton. Small world, isn’t it?

Rita has raced, too, Don said. She won a powder puff race in Aledo in 1992.  Don works as a painter at McLaughlin Body Co. and used to paint racing chassis and an occasional car body on a part-time basis for the former M&M racecars and Tri-City Buggy. He also did painting for drivers like Gary Webb and Hershel Roberts.

Of the two cars in Don’s garage, my favorite is a purple 1956 Ford that Don bought in about 1992. Though it had just 59,000 miles on it, the car, equipped then with a six-cylinder engine, had been stored under a tarp in a back yard for 25 years. The pink body was rusty and needed lots of work.  Don bought it because, “I had a ‘55 Ford with a 427 when I was 18, so it’s like my second childhood.”  The ‘56 is perfect now and sports a 427 engine that Don bought from Ron Weedon’s crew chief at the time, Gene Freeman.

But while Don’s old cars were of interest, what really got my attention during the visit was his racing stuff: scores of racing photos, old copies of Hawkeye Racing News, rules sheets for things like the Speed Demons Racing Association’s Class B cars (coupes), trophies, die-cast cars and stories, like the one about the time Don loaned Ron Weedon an engine part from the car Don drove to work so Weedon could win a championship.

One trophy (it’s metal, not plastic!) that caught my eye had belonged to Benny Hofer. Dated 1959, it spelled his name as “Ben Hafer.” Not a laughing matter, I’m sure, for the late legendary driver, but a real collectors’ item.

The highlight for me, though, was Don’s stack of Quad-City Speedway track programs from 1951 that were filled with driver profiles, photos and ads for places like a Studebaker dealership.

When new, the 8 _ x 11 programs sold for just 20 cents each at the track. Don bought them for next to nothing at a flea market and said, “I don’t let them out of my sight.”  I don’t blame him; I wish I’d been so fortunate!

The management team pictured and listed in the programs for QCS, billed as the “finest track in the Midwest,” was composed of Ray Corey and M. Van Acker, co-owners; Mike Fitzgerald, general manager; Norm “Red” Thorp, track manager; and Bud Dawson, announcer.

Some of the many drivers listed might bring back memories for some of you: Charles Sundeen of Geneseo, car 34; Red Beals, 8; Bud Benner, 58; Ben Hofer, 65; Red Untiedt, 75; Jerry Rinehart, 47; Leroy Morehardt; Joseph Gustaf, 43; Ronald Weedon, 15; Lester Dykes, 82; Willis Ledbetter; Charles I. Moffit, 41; and Harlan Kahl, 45.

One of the programs also referred to Kahl, from Durant, as “Toothless Fosdick.” It explained that he had been a 26-year racing veteran, earning a few other nicknames over the years, but when he “showed up at Sterling with six teeth missing, most of them in front … the boys tagged him with a Toothless Fosdick sticker. And it stuck.”

Thanks, Marty and Don, for a walk down memory lane.

You may send comments, subject to publication, to Phil Roberts by e-mail at roberts@mchsi.com. Please write DRM in the subject line



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