About - CHURCHFIELD RACING... As much about us
as anyone cares!!
About - Gary's First Build The 1953 Ford F100 Hot Rod Build
About - The Family The family in detail and images
About - Time... The latest hot rod projects and builds
About - Church... Getting too old to give a damn!!
Churchfield Racing was a a product of love and desire...
In the Spring of 1999, Gary Churchfield was returning from a baseball game in Indiana PA. Gary was the catcher playing for Plum Boro High School. He was a good player and knew baseball inside out. He followed the major teams, had his favorites and would often sit in front of the TV and critic, question and defend the game, and manager decisions. He was indeed a product of his father who taught Gary the game from 7 years of age till almost 15, when he entered High School.
It was on this Spring day that Gary decided to take a left-hand turn in his life. While the bus was traveling home from the game, it passed through a little town located on Rte. 286 in Indiana County. There in that town lies Challenger Raceway. At that time Challenger was one of the premier dirt tracks in the area. It drew large crowds to watch Sprints, Late Models and Street Stocks roar around the 3/8 mile oval. The track was a challenge to race, Basically the tight turns and up - down hill straights made racing the track a "challenge". Little did he know, that would be the location of his first win!!!
When Gary walked through the front door at home his first words that afternoon were, "Hey Dad, have you ever been to Challenger Raceway ??" Well, now as I think about it, maybe I could have saved my sanity and Gary's college fund if I simply said NO !! But I knew about Challenger and had often talked about taking a trip up there someday. Well I did not say NO and the rest becomes history.
Now I still had time to snuff out this part of Gary's future. I did not have to take him there and visit the pits or watch the racing. I could have taken him to another ball game but that seemed like the bad thing to do. Gary was changing almost every day, he was not enjoying the game of baseball anymore. He constantly complained about his coaches running the game "politically correct". He was concerned that his senior year (2 years away) was going to be a bust on the ball field. To add to the mix, the PA State School Board made the decision that all students must do a major project and present this project to school staff members for additional credits toward graduation. So, after visiting Challenger, Gary wanted to build a "pure stock" racecar.
Churchfield Racing was now a reality. The build began two months later when I had Gary's first racecar, a 1978 Monte Carlo, towed home. The car was a parade vehicle that looked like Jeff Gordon's number 24...Jeff was not one of Gary's favorite drivers. In fact Gary was a Rusty Wallace fan, and he scolded me for bringing home a Chevrolet. This became the High School Senior Class project and that was how I explained it to his Mom...
She had no clue we were ever going to actually race the thing. Gary barely had a drivers license, and he certainly, in her mind, he was not going to become a racecar driver.
THOSE MAGICAL RACING YEARS - The reality of racing 1999 - 2006
Today: January 2014, Gary has a home, a family and responsibility. He is a machinist at Matts Machine Co. here in Plum Boro.
His daughter, Haley is his pride and joy, an extremely happy, healthy little girl.
His family lives in a modest home in Plum Boro with two acres of mostly wooded lot. His back yard is home for turkey, deer and many other creatures of the woodland. You may see an occasional fox in his back yard. No bears, yet!! Gary's back deck is perfect for viewing the animals that bad down and pass through his property.
He still owns a couple of Hot Rods and has all his shop in tact. But most of the time he simply does family vehicle maintenance.
Will he ever race again? Probably not during my life time. Considering the state of this union, probably never again. The great days of dirt track racing have come and gone. Or at best they are no longer affordable to the simple God loving, hard working, average American.
Gary had his fun...now he must settle for the long haul; giving his loving devotion to his wonderful family. It takes time and lots of love to capture the best life has to offer. The rewards will come...sometimes only in small fleeting moments.
Please continue...look at the build pages and our Family Page. Click any of the page links
posted above...return to the About Index any time by clicking on the ALL ABOUT button.