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Old 09-21-2011, 09:32 PM   #1
Jerry Lee
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Default LARRY DECHANT - Retrospective

From what I've ever read or heard about Larry Dechant, he was a leader, a champion, an innovator, and a big influence in Colorado auto racing history. I can't even begin to list this man's accomplishments, so I'll tackle the few items I know.

Some of you guys out there raced with him and knew him well, so share your L.D. stories and stuff here, and we'll all learn about this Colorado legend. Some stats would be great, as I don't even know the year that he passed on.


(Chris Ertler collection) Larry Dechant was noted for this fast #100 Modified in
the early '60's at Englewood Speedway.




(J.L. McGuire collection) Larry Dechant became the first Figure 8 champion in the
region when the division made it's debut at Englewood in 1964. Dechant is also tied with
Bobby Jackson as the only two men to win a Figure 8, Late Model & Modified main event in
the track's history.




(Irwin Fogel collection) One of the great local battles of it's time.




(J.L. McGuire collection) Not sure of the year of this one, but I'm digging Larry's
Gremlin he ran at Lakeside Speedway. For a time, a lot of Larry's cars had the number 5 in it,
and had a nickname for the car on the side.




(J.L. McGuire collection) Dechant (right) wheeled Lee Bierbaum's Late Model at
Englewood in 1970.




(Stallsworth collection/John Verhoeff photo) Wayne Stallsworth #55 with Fritz Wilson
on the outside, battle with Larry Dechant #115, and Don Erickson #12 during Englewood
Late Model action in 1975.




(J.L. McGuire collection/Unique Photo) Larry wins the 1975 Olympia Beer Challenge
Cup in one of the many cars he called "The Ratler".




(Photo by Jerry Lee McGuire) Larry Dechant in an orange version of "The Ratler" (right)
dives to the inside to avoid this 1977 wreck in turn 3 at Englewood.

Last edited by Jerry Lee; 09-22-2011 at 11:24 AM. Reason: 8 Eastern, 7 Central
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Old 09-21-2011, 10:23 PM   #2
Jerry Lee
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Default Re: LARRY DECHANT - Retrospective

Courtesy of ARM member Rick Losh comes this late '60's pic of Larry Dechant's Late Model '57 Chevy nicknamed "Shagnasty".


(Archie Johnston collection)

Last edited by Jerry Lee; 10-18-2011 at 09:50 PM.
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Old 10-18-2011, 10:17 PM   #3
Jerry Lee
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Default Re: LARRY DECHANT - Retrospective

Here's a little more I've learned about Larry. If you find that some of my facts aren't straight, please correct me.......

Larry Dechant was the president of the Rocky Mountain Stock Car Racing Association in '64 and '65. He may have been the prez of that club in other years as well, but I'm not sure.

In 1964 the R.M.S.C.R.A. ran at Englewood Speedway. That year the club started running "Late Model type" cars on the track's new Figure 8 course. From what I understand, Dechant wanted to start a Late Model class at that time to run on the oval, but for whatever reason, the Codners wouldn't go for it. Dechant knew that a lot of fans would like to see these 'stock cars' compete on the oval as all the local tracks at the time were running a Modified only show on their ovals.

In 1965, Dechant and the R.M.S.C.R.A. club moved to the newly built Colorado National Speedway dirt track and started a Late Model class there. The Englewood Racing Association was then formed with John Tadolini as president to sanction the races at Englewood. When Late Model racing proved to be a popular sport on the oval at C.N.S., Englewood finally came to their senses in 1967 and started their own Late Model division to run on Saturday nights, while the E.R.A. continued their Modified shows on Sundays. Lakeside Speedway also started running "Late Model type" cars on their oval again at this time with their Compact class. (Lakeside ran a Late Model class for a short time in the '50's)

Dechant was right in thinking the public would like this type of racing on the oval, and the rest is history.

Last edited by Jerry Lee; 10-18-2011 at 10:36 PM.
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Old 10-19-2011, 02:55 AM   #4
83x
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Default Re: LARRY DECHANT - Retrospective

I think this was 1963, Lakeside
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Old 10-22-2011, 11:13 PM   #5
parrot
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Default Re: LARRY DECHANT - Retrospective

83x thanks a whole bunch for that photo. I was hoping a photo of that car would show up someday. I believe that it is actually 1956, possibly 1957, that's pushing my old gray matter pretty hard, Larry's second year, to my knowlege, at Lakeside. A '34 Chevy coupe, white with red numbers. Remember once when he got into it on track with one of the Malloys. It quickly escalated to their version of a demo derby in the infield when they began running into each other. Fortunately the track crew broke it up before their cars were hurt too badly. After seeing that photo, went home to make a model of it. Fond memories.

Last edited by parrot; 10-22-2011 at 11:17 PM. Reason: diction
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Old 12-16-2011, 11:08 PM   #6
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Default Re: LARRY DECHANT - Retrospective


(J.L. McGuire collection) From a 1970 Lakeside program, here's Larry's super cool Corvair
Late Model. I think I once read or heard somewhere that it was a baby blue color.
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Old 06-05-2012, 10:28 PM   #7
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Default Re: LARRY DECHANT - Retrospective


(Ken Tadolini collection) Larry Dechant (left) picks up this win at Englewood in 1961.
John Tadolini is at the far right.
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Old 11-07-2012, 04:00 PM   #8
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Default Re: LARRY DECHANT - Retrospective


(J.L. McGuire collection) Larry Dechant's Modified from 1964. Larry was the president of
the Rocky Mountain Stock Car Racing Association that year, the very last season the club
ran at Englewood Speedway. Pete Stringer's #106 can be seen in the background.
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Old 05-05-2013, 01:45 PM   #9
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Default Re: LARRY DECHANT - Retrospective

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Lee View Post

(J.L. McGuire collection) From a 1970 Lakeside program, here's Larry's super cool Corvair
Late Model. I think I once read or heard somewhere that it was a baby blue color.
Baby blue/powder blue is correct, with a dark blue #5...
Powered by a chevy 427 c.i., it would FLY.
I can't verify this, but I was told by a reliable source, That undoing a strap here and a strap there, the Corvair body would come off and an Englewood modified body would strap on ...And away it would go...
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Old 06-25-2013, 10:26 PM   #10
tailpipe47
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Default Re: LARRY DECHANT - Retrospective

Quote:
Originally Posted by 83x View Post
I think this was 1963, Lakeside
I remember when this picture was taken. It was the picture that was put in the program center page. It was in 1960. The three men in the picture were Larry at left Tom center and my dad Art Pettes at right. I too am glad to see this picture because I haven't seen it for 53 years. The reason I know it was 1960 was because of the story about this little coupe. Larry built a new car that he began racing in 1960. It was the little 1931 coupe that is pictured at the beginning of this thread. When Larry started driving the '31 coupe his brother in law wanted to try driving one so they set up the '34 coupe and renumbered it to #74 for Ken McDonald who was married to Larry's wife's sister. Anyway Larry was doing ok in the '31 and was getting into the mains, but not winning anything. Ken on the other hand was timing well for a rookie and going nowhere in the races. One night Ken got that ol' chevy into the trophy dash and was too scared to drive it. Larry and Ken traded shirts and Larry drove the '34 and won the race. Instead of stopping for the trophy and pictures he drove straight into the pits. We could tell from the stands that it was Larry and so did some of the guys in the pits. The next week the '34 was #100 and the '31 was #74. Larry started doing real well and some of the other drivers didn't like that. After all, that was the first chevy to stand up to the old V8's. Elmer Sour challenged Larry and had his car torn down to see if it was legal. Larry did the same to Elmer, although he felt that Sammy put him up to it. He was the one in the points chase. (We will never know). Larry was found to have wrong gears in the rear end and was fined. Larry chose to switch to Englewood Speedway rather than pay. When he went to Englewood we had to groove the tires because it was dirt. It got paved the next year. That's how I know what year it was.

Last edited by tailpipe47; 06-26-2013 at 08:03 PM. Reason: I got Larry and Art reversed in my post
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