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View Full Version : Profile... VELMAR ST. PETER Lakeside Speedway #11, The Early Years


parrot
04-20-2010, 03:12 PM
Throughout racing, drivers, owners and sometimes sponsors seem to have had long term connections with a certain car, often by car number. Velmar St. Peter was one of those, having been associated with the #11 car at Denver's Lakeside Speedway as owner, sponsor, pit crew or just a helping hand, from the fifties into the eighties. I began going to Lakeside Speedway in 1954 and remember most of his cars. Thanks to Steve St. Peter for allowing me to photograph some of his photos that I remembered from those early years. Here then is a remembrance of Velmar and the cars with which he was associated during that first decade.

First photo is 1953. Pretty hefty front bumper and cars were still running fenders. Pretty functional appearing exhaust system that, by rule then, must extend past the driver. Must have been painted white as it just about disappears against the south end of the west grandstand. Note that the infamous southwest stands haven't been built yet, that area still being part of the pits. Fritz Wilson, second from right, listed in program as both owner and driver, but obviously Mr. St. Peter, second from left, was involved. Fritz was also listed as driver in 1952, and in fact, an earlier photo of another #11 has very similar number style. That car was Frank Wilson's #11. (Yes! There was a third Wilson brother).

Love the next photo from 1954. Taken in someone's North Denver back yard. Not carrying V & C sponsor yet. (Velmar and his brother's shop) I should remember this car, but for some reason can't recall it. Similar paint scheme as previous year, but different colors. Fenders are gone and exhaust now exits under the frame. Velmar listed as co-owner with Jim McMarland. Driver for next three years was listed as John Miller.

My favorite #11 was from 1955. Unfortunately, that's the one photo from this era I haven't come across yet, at least with a paint job. There is an unpainted #11 under the Velmar St. Peter Album on this site which I suspect is the same car prior to paint. Both #11 and it's #111 twin were painted white with gold numbers trimmed in red. Great looking pair. I've included a photo of the #111 here, but also not painted yet. Appears to have been pieced together with a door from another coupe. John Stephens was listed as the driver.

Velmar was busy in 1955. In addition to #11, #111 and #45, (the Coors Lion car driven by Keith Lane), an ealy program also lists him as owner of a 4th car(?), #16 with John Stephens as driver. Those early season programs were a little iffy. In actuality, I believe that he had just the three with the #16 being shown as Don Clark's in a revised program, with John Stephens in the #111. The action shot shows both the #45 and painted #111. Others in that photo are numbers 114 Ed Carlson, 14 Ed Jackson, 6 Bruce Ruth, 3 Tom Gibbons, 96 Shorty Weitzel and what appears to be #10, Don Dunlap on the other side of Shorty.

The next photo is the 1956-57 version. I remember being disappointed that it no longer matched the #111. This car was now a bright light blue with yellow numbers trimmed in red. Appears to ave been roughed up a little, and in fact the next photo shows it on it's side in some on track action. Note the deuce grill shell. #96 unknown, but #63 is Bill Starks, and #1 is Bob Busheff.

The final V & C car for the decade was painted a silver blue with silver numbers trimmed in black and white, and was driven by Jim Malloy in 1958-59, then Bill starks for a few years beginning in 1960. By the time of this photo, the car was showing a few battle scars. For the post season open competition races, this car ran an ArDun equipped flathead.

Jerry Lee
04-20-2010, 05:28 PM
Nice piece BP, I was wondering about some of those V.S.P. cars! Here’s a Velmar St. Peter car I can add to your story. This one from the Irwin Fogel collection which has Shorty Weitzel picking up a trophy in one of Velmar’s cars from 1966. I love those shots of this car and the old Burger King that are in the Velmar St. Peter album.


http://autoracingmemories.com/forums/picture.php?albumid=284&pictureid=2161
(Irwin Fogel collection)

carc7
04-20-2010, 08:03 PM
Nice article, Bill! You didn't mention that the last car VSP had at Lakeside reverted back to the black and silver car that Sammy Sauer ran his last season (1977). Sam hurt the car badly late that year, and also his back. That crash cost Sam the 1977 RMMRA midget racing championship. He came back in early 1978 and of course was killed on May 20. The top half of that car wound up as the top of the car I owned since 2006 and just sold to Theron Bredeson.
That #11 Burger King car in the last picture with Shorty Weitzel was bright yellow with silver numbers. Marv St. Peter has a model of that car.

Really nice work, though, Bill. I look forward to your inputs! :applaud:

parrot
04-20-2010, 08:48 PM
Thanks, Paul. There were several black cars, or at least ran with black for several years, beginning sometime in the early sixties with Bill Starks I think. Mostly different colors were used for the numbers. I'm a little fuzzy on some of those years since I lived out of state for awhile. Remember one even had green on it. I'd forgotten that the Burger King car was yellow. LIke to see that model.

superstroke
04-21-2010, 08:03 AM
If you check out the Butch Hannah page under drivers, you can view the green and black #11 and the blue #11 as well. Both cars were sponsored by the Scotchman Motor Restaurant.

superstroke
04-21-2010, 08:23 AM
OOPS...I said those pics were in the drivers forum for Butch Hannah....but they are in the Webbys page under albums titled Butch Hannah

Thomas E
04-21-2010, 08:45 AM
The final V & C car for the decade was painted a silver blue with silver numbers trimmed in black and white, and was driven by Jim Malloy in 1958-59, then Bill starks for a few years beginning in 1960. By the time of this photo, the car was showing a few battle scars. For the post season open competition races, this car ran an ArDun equipped flathead.


That's a great photo of Jim Malloy. I personally met Jim (and Jerry) in 1962, and we remained friends. As we all know Jim died from the results of a very bad crash practicing for the 1972 Indy 500.

Best memories of Jim . . . Sweet 16, #5 Jet-Coupe, Tom Barton's red #1 CARC modified, #19 Edsel at CNS, and Jim's finishing 4th in the 1971 Indy 500.

Quick Time
04-22-2010, 09:26 AM
I sure remember the Bill Starks days in Velmar's cars. One holiday special show he sat on fast time, won the trophy dash, fast A heat and the main. I heard the payoff was $600, a whopper of a check.

In the late 60's early 70's did Velmar himself drive? I had left Colo by then but thought I heard he was driving....

Chuck

Mitch G.
04-23-2010, 08:47 AM
Parrot, awesome post, great photo's and story, man this is fun stuff to see!