Kearny Bowl Hardtops

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Expand view Topic review: Kearny Bowl Hardtops

Re: Kearny Bowl Hardtops

by Gunny1951 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:59 am

Kearney Bowl/ Fresno Recreation Park- came across this site accidentally and so glad I did. I lived only a few minutes from Fresno Recreation Park which became Kearney Bowl near the corner of California and Valentine Streets and spent many a wonderful evening during race season on those fabulous(at the time)wooden bleachers watching what I considered racing legends throw clouds of dust and spewing marvelous smelling fumes for lap after lap. The whole experience is to this day completely unforgettable. Named like Pombo, Gegiean, Prickette, Vukovich, Boyajian.

I had serious hero worship going on and had no choice but to get involved. My dad raced jalopy before it became known ad Kearney Bowl, probably while it was still Italian Fun Park. I know he kept receipts from a couple of steak dinners he won for being the first car to roll over into the infield. And one photo-Black and white- of the new paint job he won for being first driver to hit the wall, a feat he swore he accomplished on the first turn on purpose. I don’t recall him racing there after the name changed to Kearney Bowl but we spent some absolutely wonderful time there even so. Attended elementary school nearby at Addison Rlemrntary where the talk Monday morning and lunch always wound up being about the weekend races at the Bowl.

One year -‘65or6 - Evel Knievel brought his daredevil show to the bowl. The show was really close to my birthday at the end of January and dad took me and him to see it for my b’day present. He was pretty impressed and we traveled to Barstow soon after that and I watched Evel get smashed in the heeel box by a speeding bike’s headlight as he attempted to jump straight in the air as it passed (NOT) under him. I believe his pelvis was fractured and I’m pretty sure he sang soprano for at least a day or two afterwards. I had the privilege of visiting The Vukovuch Bros garage quite a few times while young and recall seeing one of Al Unser’s Indy cars there as well as Billy Vukvich’s Indy cars- also a beautiful DeLaHaye sitting all the way in the back, uncovered except for the old tires, wheels and various discarded race car parts lying about on it.

Fresno back in those days was ALL about some custom cars and some race cars. We used to get the best chrome in the country done by Valley Chrome and California Chrome. And places like Hartounians’s and Martini’s would help you build up some fantastic engines. And going outta town toward Hanford you could stop at Don McCutcheon’s Welding and Machine shop in Easton and get some tubing whipped into a frame or nerf bars. Later on in years going a little south to Caruthers you could find awesome guys like Ray Elder and north a ways Blackie Gegiean in Fowler. Been gone from the area since ‘68 but my car memories from Fresno are the greatest.

Wish I had a time machine and could bring back Neil Averil, Soggie Sawgus, and Ken Coventry. I guess those days are long past. All of those old time Fresno natives truly led the way for racers and builders and designers of today. And people like Jerry Magnuson who still call Fresno home.

Re: Kearny Bowl Hardtops

by MikeS1957 » Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:03 pm

My family Dr. Wittie was the track Dr there for several years. I went with him and family several times and many more with my Dad. Always had a great time, Al Pombo was my favorite driver I always rooted for him. Went to the Clovis races as well, in the Rodeo grounds. Grandma lived just the other side of Clovis Ave from there and always complained about the noise. I loved it.

Re: Kearny Bowl Hardtops

by EILANDGIRL12 » Thu Feb 20, 2014 10:45 pm


On Saturday nights you’ll see a duel
Not with guns or swords but with men and fuel
The danger and expense they cannot justify
For these are the men of the Super Modifieds

It could be 6 laps, 8 laps, 12 or 20
If I were a driver one would be plenty
But all of the guys they take it in stride
For these are the men of the Super Modifieds

With the slow in the front and the fast in the back
You can see those tires burn down the track
When they hit the turns in a four wheel slide
These are the men of the Super Modifieds

There are a whole lot of “Hot-Dogs” with a whole lot of ponies
They’re all Real Men, there ain’t no phonies
Their craving for thrills cannot be satisfied
For these are the men of the Super Modifieds

The cars don’t look like things of the past
They’re built to go and go very fast
Five feet high are 4 tires layed on their sides
These are the cars known as; the Super Modifieds

These men have a hunger that consistently yearns
To take the lead coming out of the turns
When they get injured they never cry
For these are the men of the Super Modifieds

They go through the straights at a hundred plus
Anyone can see they have the guts
To keep their foot on the gas to stay side by side
Yes, these are the men of the Super Modifieds

They don’t freeze when they hear of Tolan and Keys
There ain’t nothing that would bring them to their knees
They know that death rides close by their side
For these are the men of the Super Modifieds


Re: Kearny Bowl Hardtops

by EILANDGIRL12 » Thu Feb 20, 2014 10:41 pm


I happened to stumble across this website when I sat down with my first cup of coffee this morning. And although it made me realize that I am indeed getting "older" (as I was able to place myself at many of these places) it brought back many wonderful and warm memories; and with them a smile. I wondered how many others have memories of the legendary vintage racing and the rival between the Master Al Pombo and Marshall Sargent. There never has been or ever will be racing like back in that era... Crowds of 10-12000 people would gather to see which would take the checkered first. The thrill was like no other. I remembered driving home (Fresno)with my mom and dad down the road lined with the majestic palm trees that looked so gynormous to me then. I no longer call Fresno home but have resided in Kerman the last 9 yrs...

Ironically, the road that I used to take with my mom and dad to Kearney Bowl all those yrs now takes me home. Its hard to describe the feeling that comes when I drive down Kearney Blvd and those same majestic Palm trees still line the road. The same ones that did all those yrs ago. It made me wonder how many others have memories of the historic racing era and if they would be willing to share their stories. I did not write the poem titled THE MEN OF THE SUPER MODIFIEDS but thought who ever did had an incredible way of describing these legendary men.
daddys 12 diecast.jpg

Re: Kearny Bowl Hardtops

by sjvalleydave » Tue Feb 18, 2014 3:10 pm

That was Clyde's car..Back then Everett was running a white 17..

Re: Kearny Bowl Hardtops

by JRW » Sun Jan 19, 2014 8:06 pm

Here is a photoshopped pic of Pickett's car. There was one more car I remember. I remember nothing about it other than the wing topside had a picture of a giant frowning orange. Maybe this is it?
Clyde Prickett Car.png

Re: Kearny Bowl Hardtops

by sjvalleydave » Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:46 pm

Could have been Clyde Prickett, of the Prickett family who is the Coca Cola dist here in the valley. Never remember Everett with a Coke sponsered car...

Re: Kearny Bowl Hardtops

by JRW » Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:28 pm

I distinctly remember a beautiful red car running at Kearny Bowl sponsored by Coca Cola. It had Coca Cola all over it. I am thinking this was Everett Edlund. Anyone know for sure? Anyone got a pic? (That is about my only memory of the track. It closed the year after I attended my first and only race there.)

Kearny Bowl Super Modified YouTube below:

Re: Kearny Bowl Hardtops

by Av8rdan » Sun Mar 24, 2013 8:35 pm

Oh man this is GREAT! I was at Kearny Bowl as a kid most nights in the summers when I grew up in Fresno. Even though we lived way out by where Fashion Fair is now, my dad, Louie Pimentel, loved airplanes so we would head over to Chandler Field across the street on a Saturday afternoon, and watch the planes land. As it got dark, we'd go the Bowl and have some hot dogs, and he had beer. Was a very cool way to spend time with a father. I ended up as a auto racing photographer at Madera Speedway, Kings Speedway, Clovis Speedway, Ascot, Laguna Seca, PIR and all points in between. But it all started at Kearny Bowl.

Re: Kearny Bowl Hardtops

by JOSEGUNN » Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:51 pm

Of all the empty land around "The Bowl" to build the projects, they had to pick "The Bowl." What "smart" govt. official think that was a great idea?