ROSEVILLE, Calif. – For local dirt track sprint car and midget enthusiasts, the Louie Vermeil Classic at Calistoga Speedway in Napa Valley features a weekend of grassroots racing and a walk down memory lane.
While the focus of the weekend is the on track tight knit racing that fans love, it is also an event that recognizes the people who have dedicated their lives to the betterment of motorsports.
Officials with HMC Promotions and the Louie Vermeil Classic have announced that veteran motorsports announcer Gary Gerould will serve as the Grand Marshal for the 2016 running of the event.
While many stick and ball sport fans can recognize Gerould as the play by play voice for the NBA Sacramento Kings since 1985, his roots were firmly planted in the motorsports field in the late 1960s. Local motorsports fans were always at ease listening to Gerould’s smooth and controlled cadence while announcing racing events at West Capitol Speedway and Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico. His attention to detail and easy going style led him to covering auto racing events up and down the West Coast.
“I have always loved the atmosphere and scenic setting at Calistoga,” said Gerould. “All the top name drivers competed there and all wanted to find success on that track. Competition was always fierce and the battles between drivers like Van Connett, Boyd, Patterson, the Anderson brothers and Hank Butcher were classic.”
Television was always a natural fit for Gerould and his motorsports knowledge. During his vast career, Gerould covered everything from sprint car, Indy car and NHRA events on television. Gerould was on pit road for ABC’s coverage of the Indianapolis 500 from 1990-1999 and 2002-2004. Even though he is best known for covering motorsports, Gerould has also called NFL games and was hired by NBC to cover the 1988 Summer Olympics.
In 2014, Gerould was inducted into the Calistoga Speedway Hall of Fame. The event is emceed by his son Bobby. Gerould’s passion for motorsports trickled down to his son Bobby, who has been the voice of the Louie Vermeil Classic since the inaugural event. Like his father, Bobby started announcing local dirt track sprint car races that has led him to television jobs. It will be a unique situation for racing fans when both Gerould’s will share the microphone at this year’s Louie Vermeil Classic.
“I am extremely flattered by being selected the Grand Marshal of this year’s event,” said Gerould. “I’ve always felt like I’m just a racing fan who has been blessed with some amazing opportunities. I am really looking forward to Labor Day weekend and witnessing some great dirt track racing.”
The ninth annual Louie Vermeil Classic is scheduled to take place Sept. 3-4 at Calistoga Speedway.