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Mike Croley
08-30-2009, 09:00 AM
There are obviously many factors in deciding who the really great drivers are . But for Colorado short track stock car racers my vote would easily go to Ronnie McDowell . Ronnie was originally from Pueblo and raced ar Beacon Hill , but he also ran regularly at Pikes Peak Speedway and Sportsmans Raceway Park in Colorado Springs . He also ran at the Turf Club , Colorado Springs International , Pikes Peak Hillclimb , as well as every other track in the state . He also often raced out of state , and raced in New Zealand during the winter .

Ronnie was known for his black 57 T-bird with a 427 Ford engine that he ran at Beacon Hill and Sportsmans . At the same time he had a black modified that he raced in the Springs and Denver . Later he would form a partnership with Jim Willy of Colorado Springs ,, and the cars were always yellow # 119 . This was by far the most productive time in Ronnies' career , he and Jim dominated Southern Colorado stock car racing .

I have records that indicate as of 1975 , Ronnie had 174 feature wins . Since he raced for another 10 years after that , his feature total was way over 200 . And who knows how many championships . Another point to consider is that because of totally inverted starts , Ronnie won almost all of those races from the last 2 rows . I was lucky enough to be able to watch Ronnie at his best , and week in , week out , there just wasn't anyone better . In fact , i'm not sure i've ever seen anyone as good as he was on a short track . Very smooth , yet very aggressive .

Mike Croley
08-30-2009, 09:11 AM
Here are a few more photos of Ronnie McDowell . The black modified # 19 is a car he raced in the mid 1960s , ran it at Beacon Hill in Pueblo , Sportsmans , and in Denver . The yellow 1969 Camaro # 119 in victory lane was at Pikes Peak Speedway . The final photo is Ronnie at Beacon Hill avoiding a spinning car . The lead car in the photo is the great Paul Elder .

webby
08-30-2009, 10:14 AM
Oh man... I love that 69 Camaro. Perfect looking stock car.

Great stuff, thanks for sharing. :up:

VintageBuzz
08-30-2009, 10:14 AM
There are obviously many factors in deciding who the really great drivers are . But for Colorado short track stock car racers my vote would easily go to Ronnie McDowell . Ronnie was originally from Pueblo and raced ar Beacon Hill , but he also ran regularly at Pikes Peak Speedway and Sportsmans Raceway Park in Colorado Springs . He also ran at the Turf Club , Colorado Springs International , Pikes Peak Hillclimb , as well as every other track in the state . He also often raced out of state , and raced in New Zealand during the winter .

Ronnie was known for his black 57 T-bird with a 427 Ford engine that he ran at Beacon Hill and Sportsmans . At the same time he had a black modified that he raced in the Springs and Denver . Later he would form a partnership with Jim Willy of Colorado Springs ,, and the cars were always yellow # 119 . This was by far the most productive time in Ronnies' career , he and Jim dominated Southern Colorado stock car racing .

I have records that indicate as of 1975 , Ronnie had 174 feature wins . Since he raced for another 10 years after that , his feature total was way over 200 . And who knows how many championships . Another point to consider is that because of totally inverted starts , Ronnie won almost all of those races from the last 2 rows . I was lucky enough to be able to watch Ronnie at his best , and week in , week out , there just wasn't anyone better . In fact , i'm not sure i've ever seen anyone as good as he was on a short track . Very smooth , yet very aggressive .

Great article & photos, Mike! I never had the pleasure of seeing Ronnie in action or any of his sharp looking race cars...my loss. Please keep your photos and articles coming, as they are most enjoyable for us who are not that familiar with the central and southern Colorado drivers, race cars, & teams. ~VB

Mike Croley
08-31-2009, 08:38 AM
I've found some information that Ronnie had 197 Feature wins near the end of 1975 . There were 6 more weeks to race at that point , so between the three tracks he normally raced at , theres a good chance that he surpassed 200 Feature wins even before the 75 season was over .

Mike Croley
08-31-2009, 12:39 PM
Here is a photo of Ronnie taken at Englewood Speedway .

Mike Croley
08-31-2009, 12:41 PM
I'll try that Englewood photo again .

Mike Croley
09-02-2009, 09:17 AM
Ronnie also raced in the Pikes Peak Hillclimb several times . Here he is in a Mustang , he also ran a Plymouth Road Runner one year .

Mike Croley
09-02-2009, 09:21 AM
This is one of Ricks' photos of Ronnie McDowell winning at Colorado Springs International Speedway in the Thompson Mustang . I think this around 1984 .

Mike Croley
09-09-2009, 08:49 AM
This photo is one of Ricks' showing Ronnie McDowell on one of the frequent road trips , this one at I-70 Speedway .

BillyK41
09-25-2009, 07:17 AM
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Ronnie drive a white Camaro at Century 21 Speedway during the time that it was open? I distinctly remember seeing the 119 on a fast Camaro there, but I remember the car being white instead of yellow.

rapid30
09-25-2009, 08:24 PM
Ronnie also drove the #32 Monza bodied modified at Lakeside for Steve Davis of Pueblo, this car was sold to the McIntyres and I think they put Dad, Jim's Vickie body on it and the younger brother, Timmy drove it until his untimely death.
Bruce

Mike Croley
09-26-2009, 05:19 AM
Billy ,i do remember a white version of the car , i don't remember why it was painted white .

Rapid30 , i hope somebody can come up with a photo of that Monza , i never got to see it .

Mike Croley
10-25-2009, 05:50 PM
Here is some info on Ronnie from the Pikes Peak Speedway program .

carc7
10-26-2009, 05:55 AM
Is Ronny still around?:confused:

Mike Croley
10-26-2009, 06:12 AM
No , sadly he died about ten years ago .

parrot
10-26-2009, 08:56 AM
Unfortunately the racing world lost Ronnie in August of 2001 at the way too young age of 57. While perhaps best known for his accomplishments in late model stock cars, my first memories of him were during his formative years at the old Pueblo Speedway in Southwest Pueblo during the early sixties. This "the other black #19" coupe was one of his better early cars. From The Pueblo Star-Jouirnal, 1962.

dannyracer6
11-03-2009, 05:11 PM
HEy, do you guys remember Ronny's little yellow and black 61-62 nova? I remember watching him at old Raceway park and it looked like there was no one who could beat him. He would start at the back and lap the field, sometimes passing two and three cars on a straightway. That car was unreal. Unfortunately I did not get to see him much in the 70s since we moved away in 1972. I also remember Larry Martin, who set fast time so many times at PPS that he was almost automatic. I think I remember Carl Foster expermenting with a power glide once in his red and white 55. Also Glen Bowers brought out a 57 Plymouth with a 273. The time I saw it, he blew a head gasket and finished the race with a car full of steam and smoke. How many of those former guys are still around. I think I read that Carnes is still there, but gosh, there were so many in those late 60s early 70s before it went to the new Bonecelli track out on 94. Ah those were the days......

Dan

Mike Croley
11-04-2009, 05:52 AM
I do remember Ronnies' little Chevy ll . There is a picture of the car on the Sportsmans Raceway Park thread .
The 56 Plymouth that Glen Bowers and Roy Roa had was a great looking car . It ran pretty good , but they seemed to have a lot of small mechanical issues .
Larry Martin , Carl Foster , Larry Carnes , and Ronnie McDowell sure dominated the fast qualifier spot . But then Bill Clarke , Dick Heikes , Jack Gabardi , Ray Daniels , Alvin Browning , Ron Cogdill , and Mike Bonicelli had some pole runs too .
Many of the drivers are still in the Springs .

dannyracer6
11-04-2009, 10:04 PM
It is too bad that after PPS and the other track out on 94, went away, nothing really happened in CS until the now defunct New PPS. Such a waste of good talent, but then nothing stays forever accept these Forums. Some folks get old and pass on, others just quit racing when it gets too expensive for the weekend warriors we all use to be. Memories are really great, and I have fond one's of the old place at PPS. Don't forget old BECK, the PPS announcer...He was the best I ever heard. Kept things alive with his humor. Mike, were you pretty tight with Bill and his crew. I am trying to put together some of my memory to figure out if I knew you. There was a guy who worked at Daniels Chev. with Bill and Me , HE worked at the end of the ally side of the shop and specialized in rear Dif work. I cant remember his name , but he crewed on Bills car, the Green 55 Springs Realty sponsored car. I do not want to get too personal but could you have been around about that time. I think it was 1969.

Dan

will6er
02-17-2010, 09:11 PM
One year Jim and Ronnie didn't get their car finished in time and Ronnie drove Bill Clarke's old Ford at Pikes Peak Speedway for a few weeks and still was in the top ten at the end of the year.

Willett? Willis

dannyracer6
02-19-2010, 07:49 AM
Hey Mike,
Are you still in the Springs? Have you ever made any contact with Bill Walter in past years? Last time I saw him was in 1998. Would really like to make a connection. Planning to be in the Springs this summer 2010. Going to look up some old friends if any are still around. My wife went to school at Palmer with Bill, His wife, Rhonda and her family were friends of my wife's parents. Rhonda's dad had a trucking company out on Cheyenne Road. I built an engine once in his shop. Bill had the green 55 Springs Reality sponsored car in the 60s, and a little red Nova in early 70s. Not sure when he quit. I rubbed elbows with a lot of those early guys, and sure did like to see Ronny run. I only remember his little Nova and the Yellow 68is Camaro.

Dan

Mike Croley
02-19-2010, 10:11 AM
No , i left the Springs in the mid 70s . I haven't seen or heard about Bill for a long time . My best friend was Rondas' brother Craig . I knew the whole Paddock family very well . Until recently i still had my green Walters 83 racing jacket , unfortunatly it got lost in a move .

Mike Croley
02-19-2010, 10:13 AM
One year Jim and Ronnie didn't get their car finished in time and Ronnie drove Bill Clarke's old Ford at Pikes Peak Speedway for a few weeks and still was in the top ten at the end of the year.

Willett? Willis

I think Ronny could have been competitive in any car . He was sure something . It didn't hurt to have Jim Willy building and tuning the cars though .

dannyracer6
02-19-2010, 03:40 PM
Mike,
I cant think that we did not cross paths then. I remember "little Craig" well. We, My wife and i spent many evenings at the Paddock home. I remember when Delbert bought Eileen her new pink Cadillac. I hope to be able to find Bill again. If I knew how to get in touch with him I would. We were great friends.

Dan

highboy-xlt
03-05-2010, 06:46 PM
I am starting to build scale replicas of some of the cars/drivers I used to see at Pikes Peak Speedway and Beacon Hill.

Here is one of Ronnie's cars. I remember he drove predominantly yellow Camaros. But one summer I saw him driving this white one at Beacon Hill. The decals are homemade. I used the photo posted here as reference.

http://images51.fotki.com/v174/photos/9/1608949/8290278/RonnyMcDowell01-vi.jpg (http://public.fotki.com/highboy-xlt/short-track-builds/ronny-mcdowell-01.html)Hosted on Fotki (http://www.fotki.com)

http://images41.fotki.com/v9/photos/9/1608949/8290278/RonnyMcDowell03-vi.jpg (http://public.fotki.com/highboy-xlt/short-track-builds/ronny-mcdowell-03.html)Hosted on Fotki (http://www.fotki.com)

Mike Croley
03-06-2010, 08:17 AM
Thats excellent work .

Pat Channel
08-18-2010, 02:59 PM
I just registered on this site after searching for Ronny McDowell. First thing I see is a picture of the black modified Ronny ran at Beacon Hill, PPR and Englewood in the 60s. I was Ronny's biggest fan which caused some problems since my dad, Merle Channel, Roger Nelson and Walt Pickard ran the 34 modified at that time. Walt of course drove the red 34. Mike, I also saw a photo of Roger with Bill Yolotz you posted.

I watched Ronny race all through his lifetime. I can still hear the PA, no matter what track it was, his intro... NUMBER 119 RRRRRRRRONNY MCDOWELL!! Cheers and boos alike would follow. It was so fun watching Ronny race from the back all the time. He did in fact end up with over 350 feature wins. Ronny perfected the "brake check". Especially in turns 1 & 2 at Beacon Hill, if someone was keeping up with him, he would brake check them hard and as soon as they ran into him he used the momentum to end the challenge they thought they were making.

Had Walt Pickard not gotten injured and had to quit racing, I think he would have maybe cut Ronnie's feature winsx in half. I can remember in the 60's Walt didn't like Ronny a whole lot. Here was this young, underage actually, kid starting to knock Walt off his throne as the top driver from Pueblo. I actually sat in the concession stand at Beacon Hill, Walt owned the track then, with them both one Saturday afternoon in 1985, a few hours before the track was to open, and told them of my memories of the 60's and they both laughed so loud. They had become very close friends. The Pueblo Chieftain ran a story of Ronnie's death, and the reporter went to Walt's house to ask him about Ronnie, and in the article told how Walt had tears in his eye's when asked about Ronnie.

My memories of Beacon Hill are some of my fondest. After the races the crowd could go to the pits. I always went by Ronnie's pit and of course the 34, but there was a great old guy there - Lou Wilshaw - I would make a bee line for his car and can remember him picking me up and putting me into his rac car. When it was time to go home my mom always knew where I was. I sure would like to see any pictures or hear any memories of Lou.

Mike, thanks buddy, you made my day!

webby
08-18-2010, 04:30 PM
Hey Pat...

Welcome to Auto Racing Memories! I have certified your membership so now you have full privileges and you can post pictures if you want to. For tips on how to post images check out these instructional videos (http://autoracingmemories.com/forums/showthread.php?t=25).

Looking forward to hearing more of your auto racing memories!

Mike Croley
08-19-2010, 08:47 AM
Glad you found this site Pat . Please post any more memories or any photos you might have . I remember Lou very well . When i was a kid i was at Sportsmans Raceway Park in the Springs every chance i got . And Ronny and Lou raced there every week . Thats when Ronny raced his black T-Bird ( i sure hope someone comes up with a photo of that car someday ) and Lou raced a 56 Ford . That was around 1964 or 1965 . I didn't get to Beacon Hill as often , but i still saw a lot of races there over the years .
I got to see some incredible drivers . I really think Ronny was one of the best i've ever seen , and i've been to a lot of race tracks in a lot of states . But he wasn't the only one with talent . The Southern Colorado tracks produced some real racers .

83x
08-20-2010, 02:53 AM
Mike
I think it was 1977 Ronnie won every main event at Pikes Peak
that year. He did have a Howe and every one else had their
stock chassis.
He ran ASA with Jay Ingles? (Jay owns Burts now) I think it was
some where in the early 80s back then ASA was the top short track
series. Jay told me they didn't have the equipment to be competitive
had to run used tires and a tired motor ect.
One night I was down at Beacon before they redone it, on the back
strech the tall weeds and sun flowers grew almost up to the track.
Ronnie won the main that night picked up the checkered flag and proceded
to go around the track. Some one I don't remember who pulled up beside
him and crowed him off the track he went down through the sun flower
field all you could see was the checkered flag bobbing up and down
above the sun flowers. With out missing a beat he drove back up on the
track at the north end drove around and got the trophy. If there was one
thing about Ronnie I think it was his sence of humor some of the things
he would come up with would crack you up. One night we were piting
beside him at CSIS I blew the motor I mean bad oil running out from
under the car after they had towed it in. Rocker arm even polked up
through the rocker cover. Ronnie standing there looking at it said
to me this mean your out or are you going try and make the main.
I got a picture of that black 19 he run at sportsman some where
but I can't find it.

Mike Croley
08-20-2010, 02:51 PM
I hope you find the photo of the black T-Bird . That car , Mike Wooleys' orange 55 Chevy # 50 and Bob Silvers' 57 Chevy #409 were three of my favorite cars from those days at Sportsmans . Sadly i don't have a photo of any of them .

jdl777
11-29-2010, 05:23 PM
It's great to find this thread online. Ronny had a GREAT page put together on the old Colorado Racing Memories website, which suddenly disappeared a few years ago (to my dismay since I had sent them 100's of old pics of Rick Carelli, McDowell, and others).

Anyway, I'm in Charlotte right now working on a new social media site for racers and race fans. I have friends in NASCAR (did some garage help for Morgan Shepherd, among other things) and we are hoping to create a central place for race people to share. Tonight I came across this site, and I must say it's very cool. Although our site will not have a forum like this, it's a great place to hang out and make friends with other racers around the world and talk with them in real-time. Just google pitzoom and you will find it.

Regarding Ronny....as a child, growing up near Co. Springs in neighboring Black Forest, Ronny fast became a big hero of mine. My brother was probably a bigger fan of Ronny's than I was (I liked that pink 8!!...and the Blue Max 38, the Chipmunk, and Ray Daniels), but who couldn't help but become a fan of a guy that would come from the tail end of the pack (back in the day when racers had to actually earn their victories the hard way) night after night after night?!

When I return home to Cincinnati I will get online and post some pics here. The only pic i have available is from my apparel store, so I apologize that it is on a tshirt image. This is a scan of a real photo we have with Ronny's autograph on it.

Enjoy! ~JD

...just found out i cant post images until my post count hits 10. So i cant post the image but if you google motorsports retro you will find us. Then click on Store and under tshirts, you will see a drop-down selector and find Ronny McDowell Pikes Peak Speedway on that selector.

webby
11-29-2010, 06:44 PM
...just found out i cant post images until my post count hits 10. So i cant post the image but if you google motorsports retro you will find us. Then click on Store and under tshirts, you will see a drop-down selector and find Ronny McDowell Pikes Peak Speedway on that selector.Welcome to Auto Racing Memories! I have certified your membership so now you have full privileges and you can post pictures if you want to. For tips on how to post images check out these instructional videos (http://autoracingmemories.com/forums/showthread.php?t=25).

Looking forward to hearing more of your auto racing memories!

jdl777
11-29-2010, 08:42 PM
Welcome to Auto Racing Memories! I have certified your membership so now you have full privileges and you can post pictures if you want to. For tips on how to post images check out these instructional videos (http://autoracingmemories.com/forums/showthread.php?t=25).

Looking forward to hearing more of your auto racing memories!

Thank you! I see you are in Lakewood, CO. After a few years in the Springs, grew up in Arvada. Spent many nights at Lakeside, Englewood, Erie, and trips down to CCIS until it closed.

Come on over to pitzoom and promote this site...it's awesome!

JD

Lynn
11-30-2010, 10:32 PM
The car Ronny drove at Century 21 was an former NASCAR Sportsman Chevelle Jim Willy bought from Bobby Allison. At least I was told that the car was purchased to race at Century 21 and I-70.

Ronny hated that 70 or 71 Camaro in the first post. It wouldn't turn.

Before the 69 Camaro, he and Willy had a 68 Nova which was white.

Ronny used the number 19 on his cars. Willy used the number 1. So when they got together the number were combined to 119.

Mike511
12-01-2010, 02:21 PM
Ronnie, was definitely one hell of a racer, raced against him many times and it didn't matter what he was driving he always got the most out of the car!! Don't know it's well known but Ronny had a great sense of humor, one of his nicknames was "Goofy"!!

jdl777
12-02-2010, 11:47 AM
Here is that image I was referring to. I will post the original image here soon. I have to locate it on an external drive.

http://www.motorsportsretro.com/images/MOTORSPORTS/PC90Hoodie%20-%20Pikes%20Peak%20Ronny%20McDowell.gif

Also have an image of Ronny on track with Bill Clarke. Will post that soon as well.

That is my apparel site, motorsportsretro.com

I'm looking for more old speedway logos if anyone has any, on a program maybe, or decal, etc.

jdl777
12-02-2010, 12:46 PM
Ok here is a link to my album, which is where you can find the large images of Ronny. I will be adding more eventually so stay tuned there.

http://www.pitzoom.com/applications/my-action-shots/78-pitzoom-admin.html

Terryj
10-14-2011, 06:53 PM
I was fortunate to see Ronnies cars run from 64 to 68. The 56 Tbird and Nova were very cool!

Mike Croley
10-15-2011, 11:43 AM
I'm glad you found this site . No matter which track , or which decade , the guys on this site pretty much have all the history of Colorado short track racing covered . And a lot of racing history outside of Colorado too .
If you have any photos or stories from Sportsmans , Pikes Peak Speedway . or Beacon Hill , please share them . Especially if you can find a photo of that black T-Bird McDowell drove . Not very much has surfaced from Sportsman's yet , hopefully photos will appear someday . For some great photos of PPS , check out the posts by 83X and Mike511 .

83x
10-15-2011, 04:24 PM
I thought I had posted these. May be not

Terryj
10-15-2011, 10:00 PM
I have really enjoyed catching up and seeing all the photos. I think he ran the t-bird thru 1966 or so. Going from Ford to the Chevy Nova was a pretty big deal back then. The old Ford that is on its side was the first car I saw him race at Beacon Hill. All his cars were nice and they looked good every week.
So how did he die? Illness ? I saw a headstone in Canon City near where my dad and mom are buried with his name on it. Didn't know if it was him or not. Quite sad to hear he had passed.

Mike Croley
06-18-2012, 07:09 AM
I have really enjoyed catching up and seeing all the photos. I think he ran the t-bird thru 1966 or so. Going from Ford to the Chevy Nova was a pretty big deal back then. The old Ford that is on its side was the first car I saw him race at Beacon Hill. All his cars were nice and they looked good every week.
So how did he die? Illness ? I saw a headstone in Canon City near where my dad and mom are buried with his name on it. Didn't know if it was him or not. Quite sad to hear he had passed.

Sadly , Ronny took his own life years ago . I'm not certain where he was laid to rest , but it certainly could be the headstone you saw .
83X ( Bill ) once mentioned he thought he might have a photo of the Black T-Bird . Maybe one day he'll run across it and post it , there don't seem to be many photos of Sportsmans and Beacon Hill surfacing on this board yet for some reason .

Grit
06-26-2012, 08:44 PM
I am saddened to learn that Ronny has passed ,I lived to go watch him run at PPS I can still see that yellow #119 Camaro go around that track, he was just unbelevible in a race car, I may be wrong but i think at one time he had Firebird front body parts on the car. There was other great divers there also and some beutiful cars.