KENNEDY: California Coast


LOS ANGELES — We encountered 1978 CRA sprint car champion Rick Goudy and his brother-in-law Rich Cordsen, who now lives in Illinois and has been married to Rick’s sister, Bonnie, for decades.

Cordsen was one of many 1981 CRA rookie drivers. He drove John Meyers’ No. 88. The pair made the trek from Rick’s home north of Santa Maria where he moved his family in the early 1980s. Goudy, 68, used his Cerritos JC and Cal State University-Long Beach mechanical/industrial engineering degrees to make specialized parts for the NASA manned space shuttle and space station programs. The busy grandfather and father of three, including daughter Shannon (a school teacher) and Rick Jr. (an engineering like Rick), seldom attends races.

Goudy won the 1967 CRA Rookie of the Year title at age 21, driving the No. 21 Baker & Artrip Chevy. On April 27, 1968, the rising star suffered burns over 40 percent of his body in a sprint car crash on the final lap of a 50-lap feature at Ascot Park. He was running second to Bob Hogle’s Morales Bros. Offy when he crashed.

Fire crews saved him, but he suffered near-fatal first, second and third burns on his arms, hands, legs, feet, chin and neck that required multiple skill grafts. Surgery removed the tip of his right index finger. He spent four months in Gardena Memorial Hospital and was out of racing the rest of 1968. CRA mandated roll cages starting with the 1970 season and fuel tank bladders became mandatory, which reduced fire incidents.

Goudy returned to racing in 1969, driving the No. 4 Sinclair Crosley to second place in NMRA-TQ Midget points. He won a season-high eight three-quarter midget features. In 1970, he stepped up to full midgets and won the URA championship driving Don Cumberworth’s No. 41 Offy.

In 1971, Goudy drove Stan Lee’s No. 66 Continental Airlines Offy in USAC and his 10 starts resulted in 23rd place in USAC national points. On May 15, 1971 Goudy won a heat race in his return to sprint car racing at Ascot the Don Edmunds-built No. 83 Glen Swinney Chevy.