73-year-old Williams wins at Petaluma
August 19, 2008
Appeal Staff Report
Local midget racer, J.R. Williams of Carson City won the Ford Focus Midget main event at the Petaluma Fairgrounds track on Saturday.
“It was pretty neat,” the 73-year-old Williams said. “We had hit the wall in practice and thought we were through for the night, but three friends pitched in and helped put the car back together.”
The initial damage that was spotted was the right rear wheel and the rear suspension. But, in their haste to get the car repaired and back on the track in time for the heat race, they didn’t notice a bent front axle.
“The car was all over the track in the heat, so I had to pull back into the pits and that’s when we noticed the axle and right front shock. Al Sutton of Carson City, and Marc DeBeaumont and Doug VanHorn of DMS Racing in Pittsburg (Calif.) really worked hard and managed to get the axle changed and me out into staging with about 30 seconds before the main event started.
“I got the lead at the start and held it for the race, fully expecting someone to pass me at any time. After the race ended, Al told me that I had a full straightaway lead over the second place car. It was quite a thrill.
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“A racing friend from Utah called to congratulate me and asked me when I had won my last main event, and after thinking a while I told him sometime back in 1962 or 1963. I still can’t get over it.”
Williams is currently in seventh in the point standings in Salt Lake City with just two more races to go in the season, and hopes to finish in the top 10 in the California Pavement Series as well.
“It’s been a pretty good year so far,” Williams said. “I had to miss a few races in the early part of the season due to some illnesses, but it’s all coming together now.”