In 1901, Frank Meguiar Jr. used an eggbeater to mix his first bottle of furniture polish in the garage of his Pasadena residence. It was the start of a family-owned business that now distributes automotive polishes worldwide and is heavily involved with vintage cars, one of the fastest growing segments of motor sports.
Barry Meguiar, grandson of the founder, is now president of the company and an active supporter of vintage and historic car racing, car shows and host of “Car Crazy” television and radio shows.
Tonight, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, he will present the annual Meguiar’s Award to Steve Earle, founder-producer of the Monterey Historics, one of the world’s most prestigious vintage racing and show car events held each August at Pebble Beach and Laguna Seca.
Earle created the concept of a different “honored marque” each year for the Monterey Historics. This year it will be Ford’s Racing Heritage, celebrating the manufacturer’s 100th anniversary.
Also being honored as “Treasurers of the Hobby” tonight will be Wally Parks, founder of the National Hot Rod Assn. and chairman of the NHRA Motorsports Museum, and the late Bill Harrah, a legendary Reno car collector.
“For years, the only ones publicized at car shows were the cars,” said Meguiar. “We felt there should be a forum to honor the people who have helped move the hobby forward, so we came up with our awards ceremony for individuals.”
Past recipients have included Bob Petersen, who started the craze in 1948 when he put on the first vintage car show at the L.A. Armory and now heads the Petersen Automotive Museum; Jay Leno, host of “The Tonight Show;” Bruce Meyer and J. B. Nethercutt, renowned Southern California car collectors.
Attendance is by invitation only.
Handing out awards to deserving people has been a way of life for the Meguiars. Barry’s father, Malcolm, and uncles, Maury and Mickey, began honoring Pasadena high school and junior college students with athlete-of-the-year awards more than 50 years ago and the tradition has been continued by Barry and cousins Mike and Frank to this day.
“Car Crazy,” aired at 4:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday on Speed Channel, consists largely of interviews with racing and vintage-car personalities.
“I’m just a car guy who loves being around car guys and listening to their stories,” said Meguiar. “I started my ‘Car Crazy’ show after listening to Carroll Shelby spin yarns about his racing days and figured that other car guys would love to hear them too.”
With the recent trend among younger drivers toward sports-compact cars, the company’s racing interest is centered on a colorful Ford Focus driven by Shawn Carlson, 20, of Riverside, to a national championship last year in the NOPI Drag Racing Assn. The four-cylinder car, painted a gaudy yellow, red and black, develops 850 horsepower and hits a top speed of 175 mph. The NOPI series will conclude Oct. 18-19 at California Speedway.
If the name sounds familiar, Meguiar’s has been involved in racing since it sponsored the late Ray Crawford’s car in the Indianapolis 500 in the late 1950s. Later, it sponsored Michael Andretti and Geoff Brabham in the Indy car series and also presented the Meguiar’s Grand Prix IMSA and Can-Am races at Riverside International Raceway before the track was closed.
Race driving has never been one of Barry Meguiar’s passions, but now, at 61, he is looking forward to racing a 2-year-old Winston Cup car for a few laps at California Speedway during the California Classics car show Sept. 6-7.
“I’ve gone to driver’s school and I think I can do it,” he said.
In a world of collector cars, Barry said his only one is a black ’57 Chevy Bel-Air, the first car he ever drove.
“I was 16 when I got it, and when I drive it today, it makes me feel like 16 again.”
Irwindale Speedway has so much activity to cram into Saturday night’s program that racing will start an hour earlier, at 6 p.m. Featured will be six monster trucks, a demolition derby, a Figure 8 race and 75 laps of super late model racing.... Ventura Raceway will showcase four classes -- VRA 360 sprints and modifieds, pony stocks and IMCA modifieds.
At Perris Auto Speedway, military personnel will be admitted free at all races for the rest of the season. Saturday night’s program will feature six divisions -- super stocks, street stocks, champ trucks, hornets and two dwarf classes -- main events to be raced on the half-mile dirt oval.
The 10th running of the Porsche Owners Club’s Tribute to Le Mans is scheduled Saturday at Willow Springs International Raceway in Rosamond. Le Mans veterans Bill Auberlen, Cort Wagner and Kevin Buckler are entered in the four-hour, day-into-night endurance race.
SCORE Turns 30
The historic Tecate SCORE Baja 500 this weekend will commemorate the 30th anniversary of the first SCORE desert race held in Mexico. The race itself is much older, having been produced from 1969 to 1974 by the old NORRA racing organization.
More than 260 entries, from powerful trophy trucks and open-wheel desert buggies to motorcycles and ATVs, are expected to start the 452-mile enduro from downtown Ensenada, starting at 6 a.m. Saturday. Larry Roeseler, of Hesperia, who had nine motorcycle wins before joining Las Vegas’ Troy Herbst to win his first four-wheel crown last year, will be back to defend his title with Herbst in the Terrible Herbst Motorsports Ford-powered Smithbuilt desert race car.
Dale Ebberts, of Canyon Lake, who drove solo to win SCORE’s opening race this year at Laughlin, Nev., will team with Ernie Castro Jr. of Newport Beach to challenge Roeseler-Herbst in a Jimco-Toyota. The two split the driving to win the San Felipe 250 in March.
CART at Night
The Centennial 250, Saturday night on the Milwaukee Mile, will be the first CART champ car race run under the lights. Paul Tracy, the defending champion and a three-time Milwaukee winner, has never driven in a night race in 13 years with CART.
“I don’t foresee having a problem racing at night, although I’ve never done it before,” said Tracy, who is tied for the CART points lead with Bruno Junqueira. “I think it’s going to be the same for everybody.
“We’ll just have to get used to the shadows and everything that’s going to be going on there. What we need to do is just focus on having a good race.”
Gil de Ferran earned $1,353,285 for his Indianapolis 500 win last Sunday, part of a record event purse of $10.15 million.... Japan’s Tora Takagi, who finished fifth, was named rookie of the year.... 1996 winner Buddy Lazier was awarded the Driver’s Trophy, presented to the driver who best exemplifies the character and spirit of the late Scott Brayton.
Seven-time supercross champion Jeremy McGrath heads a group of 13 members who will be inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame this year. Others include Tom Heininger, a race promoter and co-founder of Webco equipment company; Lin Kuchler, former AMA executive director; Scott Parker, nine-time Grand National champion; Jay Springsteen, three-time Grand National champion, and the 1981 U.S. Motocross des Nations team of Danny LaPorte, Johnny O’Mara and Chuck Sun.
Kawasaki jet ski riders Chris MacClugage, Dustin Motzouris and Dustin Farthing, after dominating the International Jet Ski Boating Assn. Motosurf Nationals at Oceanside, are gearing up for the World Championships Oct. 5-12 at Lake Havasu City, Ariz. In the recently completed nationals, MacClugage won the pro ski and Farthing and Motzouris finished one-two in pro runabout. MacClugage is defending world pro runabout champion and Motzouris the pro ski champion.
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This Week’s Races
*--* WINSTON CUP: MBNA Armed Forces Family 400
* When: Today, qualifying (Speed Channel, 11:30 a.m.); Sunday, race (FX, 10 a.m.).
* Where: Dover Downs International Speedway (oval, 1-mile, 24 degrees banking in turns), Delaware.
* Race distance: 400 miles, 400 laps.
* 2002 winner: Jimmie Johnson.
* Next race: Pocono 500, June 8, Long Pond, Pa.
*--* BUSCH: MBNA Armed Forces Family 200
* When: Today, qualifying (Speed Channel, 10 a.m.); Saturday, race (FX, 10 a.m.).
* Where: Dover Downs International Speedway.
* Race distance: 200 miles, 200 laps.
* 2002 winner: Greg Biffle.
* Next race: The Nashville 300, June 7, Gladeville, Tenn.
*--* TRUCKS: MBNA Armed Forces Family Truck 200
* When: Today, race (Speed Channel, 1:30 p.m.).
* Where: Dover Downs International Speedway.
* Race distance: 200 miles, 200 laps.
* 2002 winner: Ted Musgrave.
* Next race: O’Reilly 400K, June 6, Fort Worth.
*--* CART: Milwaukee Mile 250
* When: Today, qualifying (Speed Channel, 6:30 p.m.); Saturday, race (Speed Channel, 6 p.m.).
* Where: The Milwaukee Mile (oval 1.032 miles, 9 degrees banking in turns), West Allis, Wis.
* Race distance: 258 miles, 250 laps.
* 2002 winner: Paul Tracy.
* Next race: Grand Prix of Monterey, June 15, Monterey.
*--* FORMULA ONE: Monaco Grand Prix
* When: Saturday, qualifying (Speed Channel, 5 a.m.); Sunday, race (Speed Channel, 4:30 a.m.).
* Where: Monte Carlo street circuit (2.068 miles).
* Race distance: 161.304 miles, 78 laps.
* 2002 winner: David Coulthard.
* Next race: Canadian Grand Prix, June 15, Montreal.
*--* NHRA: Route 66 Nationals
* When: Today, qualifying, 2 p.m.; Saturday, qualifying, 9 a.m. (ESPN, 5 p.m.); Sunday, eliminations, 9 a.m. (ESPN2, 4 p.m.).
* Where: Route 66 Raceway, Chicago.
* 2002 winners: Bruce Allen (pro stock), Larry Dixon (top fuel), Del Worsham (funny car).
* Next event: Pontiac Excitement Nationals, June 15, Columbus, Ohio.