CALISTOGA, Calif. – Calistoga Speedway’s all-time race winner and one of the track’s most popular drivers, Leroy Van Conett, has been named Grand Marshal for the 2014 Louie Vermeil Classic on Labor Day weekend, Aug. 30-31.
Known as the “Dragon from Galt,” the soft-spoken Van Conett won more races (31) and more Calistoga Speedway championships (1969, 70, 75, 77, 78, 80, 81 and 84) than anyone in the history of the half mile oval, many of which were claimed from a starting spot at the rear of the grid after out-qualifying all the other cars in the field.
“Many of Leroy Van Conett’s victories were in traditional sprint cars without wings and after he had carved his way through field from the back of the pack,” noted Tommy Hunt, Calistoga Speedway promoter. ‘It was the kind of racing that Louie Vermeil loved the most, so we thought it fitting for Van Conett to preside over the race we hold every year to honor Louie.”
Van Conett was inducted into the inaugural Calistoga Speedway Hall of Fame and also was enshrined in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1999.
The Louie Vermeil Classic, one of Calistoga Speedway’s most anticipated weekends of the year, features sprint cars of the USAC/CRA tour and the USAC Western States midget series, making the two day event the only time all year that fans have a chance to see non-wing racing on the half-mile oval.