The Elfie C.

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Lakeside Speedway logoI-70 Speedway logo

Elfie coming out of turn 4 at Lakeside

This was the car that started it all.  After hanging around the track (Lakeside Speedway) for a couple of years, I decided that I wanted to try my hand at this racing thing.  So in early 1991 I bought this car from Hank Thompson, this was the car that Hank won the 1990 Super Stock division championship with at I-70 Speedway.  But it didn't look like this -- it was skinned as a 1974 Chevelle.  The car was originally built as a dirt-track Sportsman car for another local driver of note, Mike Klem, by Cliff Lawrence of Kansas City, Kansas.  Mike drove this car at the old Lakeside Speedway.  The Cutlass and the Chevelle share some similar lines in the roof area, so the changeover meant that everything from the bottom of the quarter windows down was removed and replaced with 1977 Cutlass 'S' sheet metal and a nose from a 1977 Cutlass 442.  The name Elfie C. is from my maternal grandmother, Elfie C. Rowley, who was always doing more for me than I could have ever deserved.  She bought me a slot-car track back when they were first real popular, even though she could barely afford it.  I still have that track to this day.

Now that the body was reconfigured, we turned our attention to the drivetrain.  In the place of the small-block Chevy Hank raced we installed an Oldsmobile 350, with mounts and specialty parts from Dave Smith Engineering in Anaheim, California (now in Exeter, CA).  Two third members for the 9" Ford rear end were put together by Hank, since we planned on racing both Lakeside Speedway and I-70 Speedway, along with two sets of tires, as Lakeside and I-70 ran different brands.

Mike Scrutchfield, a local realtor and racer that taught me a lot about circle-track racing applied the black and blue paint and helped me out a lot during the year-and-a-half it took to complete the entire process of reconfiguring the car.  Also, assistance above and beyond the call of duty has to go out to James Ghrist (left) and Mike Calhoun (right), co-workers of mine at the time.  Without the assistance of Mike S., James and Mike C. the job of hauling the car to and from the track and preparing it to race would have been more than I could have done.

James and Mike - the best!

Finally, opening night came for us at I-70 in 1992.  It was the first time I had competed in circle-track racing, and they put me on the pole -- from the frying pan right into the fire!  But I didn't get overzealous, I actually brought Elfie home in one piece and began the process of learning by doing (not all of it the right way) that lasted through the season.  We did better at I-70 than at Lakeside, finishing 7th overall at I-70 and 19th at Lakeside.

After the 1992 season I decided to strip down the car and try to lighten it up some.  We had ran as much as 175 pounds over what we had to weigh during the season, and I felt that shedding some excess weight would help us be more competitive.  But the winter of 1992 turned quickly into the spring of 1993 and we weren't as close to being done with the changes as we should have.  That was all thrown out the window when the Kansas and Missouri Rivers overflowed their banks, cancelling Lakeside's season under some 20-plus feet of water.  We had also started to make plans for a Street Stock car (Grace), and those were washed out as she was under water like Lakeside, see Grace's page for the details.

1994 saw us finishing Grace and finally getting back to racing, with hopes of rebuilding Elfie as the season wore on.  We never got back to it, and after the 1994 season I turned my attention to the SCCA.  We have been trying to get Grace rebuilt for SCCA Solo® (autocross) & Club Racing (road racing) events, so Elfie has been waiting for a return to action.

Now that Lakeside Speedway has changed back to a dirt track, we've decided to rebuild Elfie in as much of the original configuration as we can and see if we can drive her in vintage events -- perhaps one day I-70 will be reopened and we can enjoy the thrill of the high-banks once again!  Once we have Grace finished and spend some time in SCCA Club Racing we'll have time for a full restoration.

1992 Statistics:
Chargers Division (NASCAR Winston Racing Series)

There are pictures of Elfie from 1992 on our photo page, and when we determine more details on this project, we'll be sure to post it on the Newsgram.  There are also the original specifications listed on our Circle Track Racing page.

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