I was putzing around on line today and found these jewels
[SIZE=“4”]Aaaaah?.the good ol? days.
The ?4? before it was the ?FOUR? and
Pete LaBree?s #39 Tornado car.
Pete was a great fabricator and engine builder.
I was honored and jumped at the chance to get
this ride when asked after Dan Daughtry moved on.
Here are a few more shots of the 39.
Sunshine Speedway ? inside of Mike Yate?s #94.
Sunshine Speedway ? Jack Caffee in the #20 on my bumper.
Sunshine again after a win.
Here is the only pic I have of Pete and he doesn?t
really show up too well in the middle of this collage
of pictures taken from the 1971 Sunshine Speedway Yearbook.
He is shown here sitting on the wall on the right side
of my Brother-in-Law, Kenny Faircloth. (the arrow points to Kenny).
Question for any Citrus County Speedway regulars / veterans;
I was told some years back by my good friend Larry MacMillan
that Pete LaBree was still campaigning a car at CCS.
I don’t think he still has the car but is Pete still around up there?
Has anyone seen him recently or know of his whereabouts?
I was hoping to see Pete or at least follow up on his whereabouts
at the Blast II but then ran out of time.
Jim I am surprised you didn’t say anything about the announcer in the next to last picture. And the last one isn’t that Kenny. Bob…
One of the greats, Gordon Solie…
Love seeing the old pictures, makes me think about my Dad.
Right on Rick! You win the pink banana. Bob…
That was a good picture of Butch Hirst, right side near the center. He was from Wauchula and got me into racing in 1964. Maybe I ought to be mad at him for that, but then, I would not have meet so many friends through the years. Butch lives in north Fla. and not in good health.
Great lookin race cars and awesome drivers in all of those pictures!!!
Gene…if you ever talk to Butch tell him about Richard and tell him I said, “Hello”! Sorry to hear of his health…he drove our car a few times (Pt. Charlotte) and was having some issues with his heart back then…really a nice fellow. Then his brother-in-law got sick and needed Butch to run a roofing business I believe…in north fla. Often wondered about him…had a lot of talent as a driver. Nancy Rowe
Nancy, I went to school with Butch’s sister. She still lives in Wauchula, and I will get his # from her and let you know. Butch is having a lot of trouble with his legs, and has a hard time walking, and yes, he was a very special person and a good driver. He won a lot of races around here.
Two of Butch Hirst - 1) At Golden Gate in 1964 and 2) as photgraphed by Don Bok at New Smyrna in 1968…
For some reason, if the photo caption is too long, the photo loads differently… don’t ask me why…
That photo of Wayne Reutimann in the #00 Sprint Car just above… I actually took that with an old box camera using just the light that was available… Shot from the bleacher stands at Golden Gate… Not exactly Gene Marderness-type quality, but I haven’t seen any other pix of this car…
Yeah Dave thats the only picture I ever saw of that car. I would have probably questioned it if you did have the caption on it. Bob…
[SIZE=“4”]Yeah I saw him there but only had so much time when I saw the
post before having to switch from racin to makin a living.
(I hate it when work interferes with fun stuff!)
As Rick said, Gordon was one of the greats. Some people
didn?t care for Gordon (including my better half) but I
always liked the man.
Gordon had a storied past in racing as a promoter,
announcer and track owner in the Tampa Bay area.
He along with Frank Dery was responsible for initiating
and providing many facets of racing here in the area
some of which include; NASCAR, the 200-Lap Florida
State Late Model Championship, USAC, IMCA, Hurricane
Hell Drivers and much more.
Following are a few pics of Gordon and other items
that you may enjoy, most of which are from articles
in the old Tampa Tribune newspaper.
These first two are the program and qualifying line up
sheet for 4 IMCA races brought to the Florida State
Fairgrounds in Tampa in 1959 by Al Sweeney.
Gordon was tapped by Sweeney to announce this
Mid-Winter Championship event which drew drivers
from all over the US.
Gordon at Phillips Field in 1961 preparing to call
the race for Dery Sports Promotions. Note the Spire
at UT visible in the background.
Gordon (far left) pointing out last-minute instructions
to the contractor in 1962 as the construction of
Golden Gate Speedway nears completion.
A promo shot of Gordon standing next to the 6? trophy
that he and Frank Dery have slated to give to the 1962
season point leader for Late Models.
I have a funny story about Gordon that I posted up
on the old Karnac board way back when I first found
this place a few years ago so those of you that already
saw it just switch now to another thread.
As most of you know Gordon was also heavily and successfully
involved in Pro-Wrestling in the area back in the day promoting
as well as calling the fights at such venues as the Fort Homer
Hesterly Armory in Tampa to the Bayfront Center in St. Petersburg.
When I begin having repeated success at the Gate Gordon
approached me with a promo idea to sort of bring the two
At the time there was a Russian wrestler competing and
having great success winning in the Florida Pro-Wrestling Tour
called The Great Malenko. (I have no idea if the guy was really
from Russia or not. He might?ve been from Ybor City for all I know.
All I do know is that at the time, he walked the walk and talked the talk).
Gordon?s idea was to have us swap roles in each other?s
formats, of course the overall intent being to draw more
gate to both venues.
Specifically, we were to put a ride-along seat in the
passenger side of our racer and strap Malenko in for a
ride-along in a real race.
Then conversely, I was supposedly to go three rounds
with Malenko at the Armory prior to a Championship event.
The whole thing was a put-on of course with my part in
the 3-round deal supposedly choreographed so that yours
truly could race another day.
There were a few taped promo?s then scheduled in advance
whereby we were supposed to taunt each other as being a
chicken, panty-waist, etc. and supposedly not being able to
sustain the rigors of the other guy?s sport.
This is all sounded great to me until Gordon introduced me
to the guy at the Gate one night before we were to start
the taped promo?s.
I?ll have to paraphrase his comment because I can?t remember
his exact words but right after introductions while patting me
on the shoulder he said something like; ?Jeem, my buddy?,
?You take me for ride, then I take you for ride huh??
Needless to say the event never came off; I was told it was
canceled due to an insurance issue.
Good thing cause the way I figure it, I probably would?ve
ended up drooling in a wheelchair unable to put whole
sentences together no matter how good the fight thing
Now thats funny, I remember the great Malenko. As I remember he was a real big guy. Jim you ain’t no little fellow but Malenko was BBIG. Gordon was my fav wheather wrestleing or racing. Wasn’t he inducted in the WWE hall of fame? Bob…
The Great Malenko was actually Lawrence Boris Simon and was born and raised in New Jersey… He was about as “Russian” as Fenton is… He was also not really that big… 5’10" and around 220 pounds, but he made up for that with great skills both as a wrestler and an “actor”… He was always one of Gordon’s favorites… After he retired, he ran a gym in Tampa for many years and trained many well-known wrestlers including his own son Dean who had quite a career himself and is now involved with the WWE as a scout and trainer…
Gordon Solie was a really great guy… We would talk every Saturday before the races and I learned a lot from him, especially the fact that racing at Golden Gate was “entertainment.” The last time I saw him was at the Gate back in ‘78… We chatted for a bit and when I told him I had just a few months left in the USAF, he told me to call him up in Atlanta since he was getting involved in Ted Turner’s new wrestling promotion that was going to bring Georgia, Florida and the Carolinas promotions together under one roof with weekly TV shows syndicated on that new thing called “cable”… My mistake… I never called him… I mighta become a wrasslin’ announcer!!!
I guess he looked big to me because I was a skinny snot nosed kid when I remember him. I think he came to the armory in Sarasota several times. I may remember him fro st Pete or Tampa, my dad and I went up from time to time. I guess I watched him on chanell 38 back then. thats the only station we could get then. I think Cable came to Sarasota about '69 or '70. I worked for Motorola installing movie boxies in probably '73. Where wer you in the early '70’s Dave? Bob…
PS: I got your DVD in the mail this afternoon…