Redwood Acres Raceway
Redwood Acres Raceway Announces 2022 Hall Of Fame Inductees
Redwood Acres Raceway has announced the inductees into the track’s Hall of Fame for 2022. The second class of inductees features some of the top drivers the track has seen in the 80s, 90s and beyond and two men who were integral to the success of the raceway during its days as a dirt track.
Redwood Acres Raceway’s 2022 Hall Of Fame inductees are Clyde “Fergy” Ferguson, Jim Wilson, Leon Warmuth, Randy Olson and Vic Blanc. In addition, a group of posthumous inductees will also enter the hall of fame. These inductees include Curly Wright, Mike Cahill and Tom Dilling, three of the men who helped form the Six Rivers Racing Association in 1964. Two drivers, Fred Randall and Ken Wallen will also be honored as well as longtime raceway official Gerry Holtz.
Clyde “Fergy” Ferguson raced at Redwood Acres Raceway for more than 40 years. A fan favorite, Fergy was loved by race fans thanks to his tenacity as a low-budget racer and relatability as a locomotive mechanic and railroad engineer.
Ferguson’s number 21 car became a permanent fixture at Redwood Acres Raceway throughout the 70s and 80s. In 1981, Ferguson won the limited sportsman championship. When the track was converted to pavement later in the decade, Fergy made the transition racing in the super stock class. He continued racing through the 90s in the sportsman division and was a regular front-runner and winner. Although he came close to winning championships during the time, Fergy came up just a bit short.
Ferguson moved to racing the limited street division in the new millennium and in 2008 he won the division’s track championship. He is one of only four drivers who has the distinction of winning a championship at Redwood Acres Raceway on the dirt and on the pavement. Ferguson then tried his hand in the Thunder Roadster division for several seasons before hanging up his helmet.
Jim Wilson’s beginnings at Redwood Acres Raceway were humble. Wilson began working as an official in 1963 setting up the qualifying order and reporting qualifying times. Five years later, he was the flagman for the speedway, a role he would have for seven years. In 1975, Wilson took over as track announcer while also owning his own car.
In his 25 years of involvement in the sport, Wilson was elected as president of the Six Rivers Racing Association seven times. Wilson was involved in promoting and staging some of the biggest dirt track races in the region which attracted large crowds as well as the top dirt racers of the time to Redwood Acres Raceway.
Leon Warmuth is a name that is well-known in Humboldt County. He is the namesake and founder of Leon’s Car Care Center, one of the premiere auto shops in Northern California. While the family business has been a huge supporter of the racers and Redwood Acres Raceway itself, Leon Warmuth himself has played an important part in the history of the track.
Leon’s first experience at RAR came in 1956 as a crew member for Harold Hardesty in the NASCAR Grand National race that was held at the track that season. In 1964, the promoter of the raceway left town suddenly and unexpectedly. Several folks met at Leon’s shop and ultimately the Six Rivers Racing Associated was formed with Leon elected as the board member and treasurer. Thanks to Leon and the SRRA, racing at Redwood Acres Raceway continued through the 60s and 70s.
Leon’s Muffler was a proud sponsor for Jim Walker in the early stages of his career. As the years progressed, Leon’s business continued to bloom while the partnership with Redwood Acres Raceway stayed strong. Leon’s has continued to help bring top notch racing to RAR to this day and without Leon Warmuth’s contributions in helping create the Six Rivers Racing Association, it’s possible that racing at Redwood Acres Raceway wouldn’t exist today.
Randy Olson began his racing career at the age of 17. That number would be pivotal in his career as the number 17 became synonymous with Olson.
Randy was an immediate success in racing winning the track championship at Ukiah Speedway in his first full season in 1982. Olson competed regularly in open competition events all over the west coast and quickly became one of the top drivers in the region.
Following a successful season in NASCAR’s Southwest Tour Series where he placed eighth in the overall points, Olson became a permanent fixture in Redwood Acres Raceway’s super stock and later sportsman divisions. Olson won the 1990 super stock championship then won the sportsman division crown in 1991 and 1992. He is one of only three drivers to have won championships in three consecutive years at RAR.
In 1990, Olson won open competition events at Silver State Raceway and Redwood Acres Raceway enroute to the Tri-Western 300 championship. Olson won the Tri-Western 300 title again in 1991. In 1992, Olson won his second Tri-Western 100 at RAR. In 1996, Olson won the Tri-Western races at RAR and Shasta Speedway for his third championship. Olson won the Tri-Western event a final time at RAR in 1997. Olson was also back-to-back champion in the Tri-State Challenge Series in 1999 and 2000 scoring a combined nine wins.
Needless to say, Olson is one of the most decorated and accomplished short track drivers in Northern California racing history.
Vic Blanc was one of the top drivers at Redwood Acres Raceway throughout his entire career. Whether it was on dirt or on asphalt, you could bet Blanc would be at or near the front by the time the checkered flag drew near.
The lifelong Eureka resident will forever be remembered for his beautiful white and blue number 23 car sponsored by Pepsi. As immaculate as his car looked standing still, it went just as fast going around the track. Blanc won numerous feature events on the dirt at the Acres throughout the 80s and was the 1983 super stock champion.
As the decade continued, Blanc raced regularly on the dirt at RAR while also racing and winning on the pavement in open competition events at tracks throughout the region. Blanc’s biggest career victory came in 1986 at Shasta Speedway when he beat the top late model drivers of the time to win the Toby Elder Western 100.
Blanc continued to race and win at Redwood Acres Raceway when it was paved in the latter part of the decade before stepping away from the sport in the early 90s. Blanc will always be remembered for not only having some of the best looking cars but also for being one of the fastest drivers of his time in the sport.
All 2022 Redwood Acres Raceway Hall of Fame inductees will be honored Saturday November 5 during the annual champion’s banquet. The event will take place at the Redwood Acres Fairgrounds in the Home Economics building.
Submitted By: Matthew Sullivan