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Old 07-31-2009, 04:12 PM   #1
parrot
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Default Ralph Huntsinger

Chris Ertler had asked about Ralph Huntsiger, and while I don't have much, I did find a few action photos. When a car number is mentioned, a certain driver just seems to come to mind as being associated with that car. Ralph Huntsinger is one such Lakeside Speedway driver. I just always connect #49 with him. A search of lakeside Speedway programs shows that the Huntsigers (Ralph and Ben) were involved from 1955 into the early sixties. Sometimes as just owners with Eldon Miller as the driver for a few seasons, then with Ralph as the driver. I seem to remember the white cars with black numbers the most, but some photos show just the reverse, black cars with white numbers.

I don't remember the black '32 3 window from 1955. Eldon Miller listed as the driver mixing it up with #75 Dave Frazer in one of the Mt. Vernon Service cars, a team mate to John Palmer in #95. Others shown here are #55 Jim Snyder, and #135 Bob Harst, one of the few '35-36 Fords still racing in 1955. This is a photo of a photo that I took from the album of one of the pit crew members of the Palmers, so it isn't quite as clear as I'd like it.

Courtesy of ARM contributor CARC7, the Duncan Photo of the Huntsinger car, this time a '34 3 window, has come to a sudden stop against the flagman's barrier in a tangle with several others. #51 is Major Cooksey, and #22 is Ronnie Lee.

I think most have seen the CARC program "Remember When" action photo of the '34 5 window coupe from 1959. I cropped it down for my own photo album. This is one of the cars I remember, mostly because I thought the number style was interesting.

A couple of others come to mind, which I believe were shown on the old CRM site. They include both a '34 5 window coupe, year unknown, and a '32 5 window coupe from 1961. Both appear to be black. I'd like to find better photos of the Huntsinger cars, perhaps this little blip about them will stimulate some interest.
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Last edited by parrot; 08-04-2009 at 12:57 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 08-02-2009, 03:35 PM   #2
lakeside #29
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Default Re: Ralph Huntsinger

Parrot, Thank you for posting these photos. As I stated in an earlier post, Ralph Huntsinger was my boyhood hero.
In 1960 my Dad took me to my first Sabers show. The CARC had a club display that included Jerry Malloy's '32 5-window silver #16 with the flip-up body, the Jack Backman Sr./Bob Robinson #88 '32 Vic that was sponsored by Denver Bumper and had a lot of chrome, and Chuck Sorenson's '34 3-window orange #25 "Lil Two bits". I was hooked. As it turned out my mother worked with a lady, Helen Madonia, who's daughter Mary Lou was married to Bob Huntsinger, Ralph's brother. Her son Johnny Madonia was on Sorenson's pit crew. On Memorial day weekend of '60 I go to Lakeside for the first time, one night with my folks and the Huntsingers and the next night with Shirley Madonia and the Sorenson family. Shirley's dad John Sweetser had a Lakeside car #60 and her mother Eleanor drove in the powderpuff races. Bob and Mary Lou took me over to the Huntsingers garage where I met Ralph and got to check out #49. It was black and I remember it with yellow numbers. I got to go to the Lakeside fireworks show with them too. Ralph's mom used to stop by our house and pick me up on Sunday afternoon on her way to the races. We eventually moved away a my mom got a different job so I lost touch. That summer was pretty special to kid that was 11 going on 12.

Sadly Ralph passed away several years ago. Mary Lou left us as well and in todays newspaper was a funeral notice a Robert O. Huntsinger. I'm pretty sure that was Bob's middle initial.

Thank you to Parrot and carc7 for providing these photos, they are very much appreciated.

Ralph and his wonderful family made a big difference in a kids life. When I started racing I used #48, I didn't want use Ralph's number out of respect, he's the one that's remembered for it. Rest in peace Ralph, you're still my hero and I will never forget you and your family

Chris Ertler
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Old 08-04-2009, 01:36 PM   #3
parrot
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Default Re: Ralph Huntsinger

Glad you enjoyed those old photos Chris, hopefully some others of the Huntsinger cars will show up. I saw that obit of R.O. Huntsinger in the paper also. Had to be him since that's how he was listed, as owner or co-owner, in the programs. Wonder if any of the family kept their racing memorabilia.

I remember a Lakeside car with the flip-up body also at the Sabers show. Also the #88 Vic with all the chrome. Benefit of having a chrome shop as a sponsor. I remember one time (maybe that show?) where they even had a chrome hood top, grill shell and insert! Wonder if they got the 'best looking car' award that year. It sure got my vote. That's another car I'd like to find a better photo of. Jr. Denning told me once that his purple #98 was more or less what was left of that car. It was pretty good looking also.

Since you mentioned the #25 Sorenson car, here's a 1959 program photo of it along with the write-up. Met the Sorenson's son about a year ago up at my son's shop in Windsor and he said he'd try to find and send me some more photos.

I remember Eleanor Sweetser from the powder puff days, but when I checked my old programs, her name is listed, but with no car number. I've attached a photo of the #60 car from 1960 that I got from former racer Fred Floth. Wondered if that's the one you remember. (Not sure who that young lady is) Fred raced this car as a purple #99 for a few years, then it became Dan Forehand's #18. Lost track of it after that. BP
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Old 08-05-2009, 04:12 PM   #4
lakeside #29
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Default Re: Ralph Huntsinger

Parrot, Thank you once again for these photos. The Sorenson's car was definately a nice looking car. I seem to remember it got sold midway through the 1960 season and wound up at Englewood. I remember it coming back for the Metropolitan championship race that year as #125, the new owner just added the numeral one. You know, I don't remeber if I ever saw the Sweetser car. I think it was Shirley Madonia who told me her dad's old number was #60. I think I remember Mrs. Sweetser driving Rocco Blasi's #14 Toledo Scales car. The #60you posted could very well be the car, I just don't remember.

Many thanks, Sir, You've helped bring back a lot of memories that had been filed away for way too long.

Chris Ertler
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