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Ward-Built Pratt Sprint Car

Ward-Built Pratt Sprint Car
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Los Angeles, CA. - Rick Goudy, the 1978 California Racing Association sprint car driving champion, requested information from me about the 1967-Ron Ward-built sprint car that he drove for Bill Pratt in 1974-76. It now carries No. 11 when Rick bought the car in 2014 to restore it. He said an old fan of his informed him on Facebook about the location of the car in Southern California. I used info from CRA Yearbooks that I edited from 1968-75, my CRA records and the 1973 USAC Yearbook, plus input from CRA fans. A thumbnail summary of the subject car accomplishments.

RG in 75 at El Centro with Pratt

SUMMARY OF FEATURE WINS:

The subject sprint car had a total of 21 main event victories—all in CRA events. Six drivers won main events in the car as follows:

Steve Chassey – 1; Billy Wilkerson – 2; Tony Simon – 6 + 2 later on = 8 total; Don Hawley – 1; Rick Goudy – 8, and Billy Allen – 1.

The subject sprint car was built in So Cal during 1967 by Ron Ward, younger brother of Rodger Ward, a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner (1959 and 1962). The original car owner was plumber Kenny Worth, of San Gabriel. It had a Chevy engine when it raced in CRA events.

NOTE: - Kenny Worth won the 1962 CRA owner championship with his No. 12 Chevy; his driver Colby Scroggin, who was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 2012, won the 1962 CRA driving crown. Their 1962 championship sprint car was built by CRA car owner Charlie Famighetti, of Lomita, who had Allen Heath as his driver for years. Billy Wilkerson, a 2004 National Sprint Car Hall of Fame inductee, also drove the Famighetti-built K. Worth sprint car later.

YEAR BY YEAR RECORD FOR THE 1967 RON WARD-BUILT CHASSIS:

1967 – K. Worth's new R. Ward chassis did not win any features. It finished 52nd in CRA car owner final points. John Kellar raced it once in 1967.

1968 - K. Worth used No. 24 on the Ward chassis and raced twice - February 24-25, 1968 at El Centro. It scored 8-points for position 81 out of 98 cars with CRA points. Then it became K. Worth No. 9 and was raced for Worth by driver Steve Kennick at Ascot on April 13, 1968. He started the 50-lap main 16th and finished 18th after getting up to P. 9 on L 12 and dropping out with 18 laps. Next race for the Worth No. 24 was Aug. 10, 1968 at Ascot. John Kellar drove Worth's car (back as No. 24). He started in P. 7 and finished 14th—a DNF-(handling problem).

Note: Bill Pratt & Bill Bartley were co-owners of a Mobil gas station for a couple of years at this time and owned a No. 84 CRA sprint car driven in 1968 by Colby Scroggin and sponsored by A-1 Tire Service in El Monte. It was a 1965 Hank Henry-built chassis that was the ex-Lehotsky & Singh No. 91 and then No. 3 and No. 21 in 1967. Drivers such as Hal Minyard won many features in that car before Pratt & Bartley bought it from L & S.

1969 – The K. Worth 1967 Ron Ward chassis ran part-time as No. 24x (because the new Don Edmunds-built Warren Lange & George Farmer Chevy had No. 24.) Billy Wilkerson drove Worth's No. 24x and it scored 34 owners points for P. 44 in final owner points out of 92 cars with points. Stan McElrath drove Bill Pratt's No.12 (the Hank Henry-built ex-No. 84 Pratt & Bartley Chevy) and the car finished 16th in final owner points with 188 points.

1970 – As the No. 16 Bill Pratt Chevy, the ex-No. 24X Worth Chevy built in 1967 by Ward, scored 156 CRA points for P. 13 in CRA owner points out of 90 cars with CRA points. Pratt's driver was Jack Austin and he finished 15th (of 78 drivers) in CRA driver points with 141 points. Austin drove Pratt's Hank Henry-built No. 16 during the first part of the 1970 season. In race 15 (of 26 CRA races run in 1970) CRA raced for the only time in history at Craig Road Speedway, in North Las Vegas, NV on July 11, 1970. At the start of the trophy dash, Pratt's Henry-built No. 16 hit the front straight wall hard at the right front in a crash with Dick Zimmerman. Pratt scrapped the nearly totaled No. 16 Henry chassis after this wreck. Only the tail was salvaged and Pratt sold that Henry-built tail to car owner Dick Woodland to use for his No. 86 H. Henry-1965 built car (the ex-Tipton & Wright Chevy driven by Dick Fries for two seasons as No. 20 and No. 2).

Pratt, a union pipe-fitter by trade worked with sprinkler and fire protection systems. He promptly purchased the idle No. 24x Ron Ward-1967 built K. Worth sprinter and put his No. 16 on it. Pratt made the next CRA race a week later at Clovis Fairgrounds near Fresno. Austin finished the year in the 1967 Ward-built car for Pratt and did not win any main events in either the Henry or Ward chassis.

1971 – Pratt's now No. 14 Ron Ward-1967 built car with a spring front suspension scored 335 owner points and finished 7th in CRA owner points. The car won one main event (the first ever for the car) in event 14 of 26. It came on July 24, 1971 at the half-mile clay Corona Raceway (near Riverside) with 42 cars present. It was a 30-lap main and STEVE CHASSEY (who finished 11th in final driver points) drove Pratt's Ward chassis. He took P. 1 from Dick Zimmerman (No. 15 Bill Lyons Chevy) on lap 28 of 30 and won by two lengths over Zimmerman with rookie Lealand McSpadden third. It was 1969 CRA rookie of the year Chassey's second career feature triumph. It also was Pratt's second CRA main event win, but first with his Ron Ward 1967 chassis. The car had PRATT Chevy on the hood.

1972 – Pratt's now No. 7 Ward-built car won the 1972 CRA car owner championship with 755 points to runner-up Jack & Wilda Kindoll's JFK Co. Chevy with 721. Pratt's No. 7 had PRATT Chevy on the hood. A total of 71 owners earned CRA points. Pratt's No. 7 car won a season-high eight CRA features during the 33 race season. Glen Rea's No. 6 Chevy won six main events.

Pratt's Ward-built sprinter victories during the 1972 championship season were:

2nd for car – 5/29/72 Ascot 100 laps – driver BILLY WILKERSON (34 cars).

3rd for car – 7/1/72 Irwindale 30 laps – driver B. WILKERSON, who soon quit the Pratt ride for the No. 20 Bill Baffa owned Edmunds-built ex-No. 28 Don Peabody Chevy. (30 cars).

4th for Pratt's Ward-built car – 8/5/72 Irwindale 30 – driver TONY SIMON (28 cars). Note: in his third race for Pratt, Simon set fastest qualifying time, won the 4 lap trophy dash, then started the feature in P. 8 and won by a straightaway on the half-mile paved track on Rivergrade Road.

5th for car – 9/2/72 Irwindale 30 – driver T. SIMON (28 cars).

6th for car – 9/9/72 – Ascot 30 – driver T. SIMON (38 cars).

7th for car - 9/22/72 Clovis 30 – driver T. SIMON (24 cars).

8th for car – 9/30/72 – Ascot 30 – driver T. SIMON (45 cars).

9th for car – 10.28/72 Ascot Firecracker 50 laps – driver T. SIMON (45 cars). Simon started 11th and led the final two laps over laps 1-48 leader Stan McElrath. Simon won in a new track record time. Later in 1972 Gene Brown won Ascot's first non-points 50-laps Pacific Coast Open Championship - Simon drove Pratt's Ward-built car to a close second, only half a length in back of Brown.

Driver CRA final standings – Champion S. McElrath scored 761. B. Wilkerson finished third with 560 points and T. Simon finished sixth with 428.

OFFICIAL CRA TRACK RECORDS HELD BY BILL PRATT RON WARD 1967 CHASSIS AFTER THE 1972 SEASON:

Ascot Park – half-mile clay

1 Lap – 21.25 by Billy Wilkerson No. 7 Pratt Chevy on 5/20/72.

50 Laps – 18:51.83 by Tony Simon No. 7 Pratt Chevy on 10/28/72.

Bakersfield Speedway – then a quarter-mile clay

3 Laps - 41.79 by Steve Chassey No. 14 Pratt Chevy on 8/21/71.

Clovis Fairgrounds – half-mile clay

6 Laps - 2:3028 by Tony Simon No.7 Pratt Chevy on 9/22/72.

SGV Speedway, half-mile paved

3 Laps - 1:01.46 by Billy Wilkerson No. 7 Pratt Chevy on 7/1/72.

1973 – Bill Pratt's No. 1 Ward-1967 built car finished 19th in CRA owner points with 159 (85 owners earned CRA points). It won no CRA main events and set no NTR. Tony Simon started 1973 in Pratt's No. 1 at El Centro and raced in the consy. After El Centro, Pratt and Simon went east to race on the USAC national sprint car circuit.

NOTE: Randy Wilkerson, son of Billy and close to the Pratt team, said Pratt and Simon re-engineered the Ward-built chassis, changed things around and it did not work as well as it did in 1972.

1973 SIMON – PRATT TEAM RESULTS WITH USAC IN NATIONAL SPRINT CAR SERIES:

Pratt's 1967 Ward-built car ran as No. 74 in USAC. It finished 39th in final USAC car owner points out of 65 owners with USAC points. It had Pratt & Whitacre Chevy, El Monte on the hood. Per the USAC 1973 Yearbook, Pratt's sprinter raced 13 times in the 41 races for USAC in 1973. Pratt earned 68 points and $1,860 in total purses (in 1973 dollars). Tony Simon, of Upland, scored 89 points and won $3,222 per the USAC Yearbook that listed drivers' top 12 finishes. His three best main event finishes were positions 7, 8 and 9.

Those best three USAC National Sprint Car Series results were:

3/25/73 at Reading, PA. Fairgrounds, half-mile clay 40-Laps – Simon & Pratt No. 74 finished in P. 7. Pancho Carter won the main in the Bowen No. 28.

5/5/73 at Terre Haute, IN half-mile clay 40 laps – Simon & Pratt No. 74 finished in P. 8. Joe Saldana won in No. 14 Weaver Chevy.

7/4/73 at Cincinnati, OH half-mile paved track 40 Laps – Simon & Pratt No. 74 finished in P. 9. Dave Roahrig won in rear-engine No. 35 sprinter.

1974 – Pratt's Ward-built car now carried No. 20 and finished fifth in final CRA car owner points with 524 out of 94 owners with points. Champion car owner Don Blair scored 1,023. Phoenix driver Bob Moore drove Pratt's No. 20 Chevy once at Irwindale.

Pratt's No. 20 Ward chassis won five of 34 CRA 1974 features. Victories were:

10th for car – 4/20/74 – Ascot 25 laps – driver DON HAWLEY won the 3 lap trophy dash and feature in Pratt's No. 20 (56 cars).

11th for car – 9/7/74 – Ascot 30 laps – driver RICK GOUDY (56 cars).

12th for car - 10/5/74 – Ascot 30 laps – driver GOUDY (53 cars).

13th for car – 11/2/74 – Ascot 50 laps – driver GOUDY (55 cars)

14th for car – 11/16/74 – Ascot 30 laps – driver GOUDY (47 cars).

Car had Pratt-Whitacre Racing team on the hood.

OFFICIAL CRA TRACK RECORDS HELD BY BILL PRATT 1967 RON WARD-BUILT CHASSIS AFTER THE 1974 SEASON:

Ascot Park – half-mile clay

1 Lap 20.62 by Rick Goudy No. 20 Bill Pratt Chevy on 11/16/74.

10 Laps 3:34.13 by Rick Goudy No. 20 Bill Pratt Chevy on 11-2-74.

50 Laps 18:51.83 by Tony Simon No. 7 Bill Pratt Chevy on 10/28/72.

Speedway 605-Irwindale – half-mile paved

30 Laps 10:28.35 by Tony Simon No. 7 Bill Pratt Chevy on 9/2/72.

2ND ANNUAL CALIFORNIA VS ARIZONA SILVER CUP CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL POINTS:

P 1 driver Rick Goudy 51 points & P 1 car owner Bill Pratt No. 20 - 51 points.

P 2 driver Ron Shuman 36 points & P 2 car owner Lowell Carsten No. 91A - 36 points.

ALSO, IN THE PRESTIGIOUS 7TH ANNUAL KEITH HALL MANZANITA SPEEDWAY, PHOENIX WESTERN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (A TRIPLE CROWN EVENT AT THE TIME WITH THE KNOXVILLE, IA NATIONALS AND ASCOT PARK PACIFIC COAST CHAMPIONSHIP) Goudy finished second in Pratt's No. 20 to winner Rick Ferkel in the Nicholson No. 0 during the October Saturday night finale.

Pratt RG Victory in 75 with Evelyn

1975 – Pratt's now No. 5 Chevy (Ward chassis) finished fourth in final CRA car owner points with 622. Pratt's No. 5 carried Desert Inn sponsorship on the hood. The champion winning car—the No. 19 Morales brothers Chevy scored 799 points.

Feature wins were:

15th for car – 3/16/75 Bakersfield Speedway 30 laps – driver GOUDY (28 cars).

16th for car – 4/26/75 Ascot 30 laps – driver GOUDY (52 cars).

17th for car – 5/10/75 Ascot 30 laps – driver GOUDY (52 cars).

Goudy also set the fastest qualifying time in Pratt's No. 5 on 5/26/75 at Santa Maria Speedway and on 7/19/75 at Irwindale.

OFFICIAL CRA TRACK RECORDS HELD BY BILL PRATT RON WARD-BUILT CAR AS OF 12/31/75:

Ascot Park

10 Laps – 3:34.13 by Rick Goudy No. 20 Bill Pratt Chevy 11- 2-74

50 Laps – 18:51.83 by Tony Simon No. 7 Bill Pratt Chevy 10-28-72

Cajon Speedway, three-eighths mile paved track in El Cajon (east of San Diego)

3 Laps - :49.61 by Rick Goudy No. 5 Bill Pratt Chevy 5-31-75

1976 - Pratt's Ward-built car now carried No. 4 and it won three CRA main events with two drivers as follows:

18th for car – 5/22/76 Ascot 30 laps - driver GOUDY (39 cars).

19th for car – 6/27/76 Irwindale 30 laps – driver TONY SIMON (23 cars).

20th for car – 8/28/76 Irwindale 30 laps – driver SIMON (31 cars).

Goudy switched rides in 1976 and won eight CRA main events as follows:

4/17/76 Ascot 30 laps – in the Don Edmunds-built No. 1 Morales brothers Chevy (48 cars).

5/ 1/76 Ascot 30 laps – in the Edmunds-built No. 27 Leonard Faas Chevy (36 cars).

6/19/76 Ascot 40 laps – in No. 1 Morales (34 cars).

7/31/76 Ascot 30 laps – in No. 1 Morales (38 cars).

8/ 7/76 El Cajon 30 laps – in No. 1 Morales (31 cars).

9/ 4/76 Ascot first 30 laps of three 30 laps mains – in No. 1 Morales (39 cars).

9/18/76 Ascot 30 laps – in No. 1 Morales (45 cars).

1977 – Pratt's Ward-built car now carried No. 5 and won one CRA main event. That was:

21st for car – 5/21/77 at the new Mesa Marin Speedway – banked half-mile paved track in Bakersfield – 30 laps – driver BILLY ALLEN (38 cars).

That was the highlight of the season for Pratt's car and it faded in CRA point standings thereafter. It had no wins in 1978 and following years.

Randy Wilkerson said the Pratt Chevy outstanding engine builder was Bob Feltham, of Arcadia. He won CRA mechanic of the year honors in 1968. Randy said he drove the No. 28 Edmunds chassis once at a race in 1968 for Don Peabody. Shortly thereafter he joined the U. S. Army and spent time in Vietnam.

At some point in the late 1970s Pratt had a four-bar Edmunds chassis. He parked or sold the 1967 Ward chassis and used a Gary Stanton chassis (later became Challenger chassis) for many seasons.

Pratt's used No. 11 on his Stanton-built car from 1980 onward. His drivers were:

1980 – Bob Meli; 1981-Billy Van Meter, of Arizona; 1982-87 (six years) Danny Lewis, the son of Anne Wilkerson; 1988-P. J. Jones and Billy Wilkerson with Steve Ostling in No. 12 (Blair/Pratt equipment; 1989-91 (three years) Rip Williams and Billy Wilkerson with Ostling in No. 12; 1992-93 (two years) Ron Shuman in No. 11 (Anne Wilkerson-owner) and Ostling in No. 12 (Pratt).

NOTE: Pratt's final CRA main event victory came on 3/14/87 at the Ascot 30 lap event that was rained out with the field field lined up on the front straight and ready to push off for a 30-lap feature. When rain continued and prohibited racing, CRA paid off the main event as if it had been run. Because Danny Lewis was on the pole in Pratt's No. 11 Stanton chassis he was awarded the victory.

Pratt was born on 3/01/26 in Weed, CA and lived for years in Chico. He was a disabled WW II veteran and lived for decades in El Monte, CA. He died at age 80 on 3/28/06. Per his wishes, cremation followed and there were no services. He and wife Evelyn had a son and daughter. Evelyn, one of the first women in the pits at Ascot Park, drove a push/tow truck in the pits. She later became nationally famous as a sprint car pit steward with CRA, SCRA and USAC-CRA. She passed away at age 95 on 12/05/14 near relatives in Texas.