About Gary's Speed Shop Owner, Gary Sevenans
Gary Sevenans was born in 1948 and raised in Southern California where he had his first taste of racing. As a teen a few friends took him to the races at Riverside Raceway and Saugus Speedway. Right from the start he was hooked. Just after seeing those first few races he became an avid race fan. He simply liked everything about it.
Not long after becoming a fan, Gary participated in his first race at Ascott Park in Gardena, California, 1966. He drove a '57 Ford and as rough starts go, a tie rod broke and caused him to crash into the wall along the front straight away. The track promptly replaced it "in his honor".
During the next several years Gary became a regular at Saugus Speedway. One of the things he learned about the Fords was that the '57 model had a much tougher front bumper. Because of this he added the front end sheet metal from the '57 onto a '58 Ford and then didn't have to replace that bumper as often.
He and his friends raced at Saugus every week for fun and experience until 1969 when Gary vacated the drivers' seat. Fellow racer Del Nourie replaced him behind the wheel and the #16 Ford began to place in the top three.
Sevenans racing ambitions began to broaden further as he upgraded to Ford Fairlane's and began to run at other Southern California tracks. Some of those tracks included Riverside, Whiteman Air Park , Bakersfield, El Cahon, San Gabriel Valley Speedway (Irwindale), Ontario Motor Speedway , Orange Show Speedway, Craig Road (Las Vegas, Nevada) as well as Ascott Park. Gary also built strong alliances with other drivers like Frank Deiny (founder of Speedway Engineering), Sonny Easley, and Chuck Becker Jr.
Gary recalled a night at Ascott when a '64 Fairlane he and Sonny Easley owned had an accidental run in with the winner of the race, "Sonny was driving and the wind shield mudded-up so he pulled in on the last lap. I sent him back out to finish the race. Meantime, Ron Hornaday Sr. came around to take the checkered and had pulled up to the start/finish line. Since Sonny couldn't see where he was going, he nailed the back end of Hornaday and did extensive damage to both cars."
In another promising-looking race at Ascott, the #16 Ford qualified second to car owned by Leon Ruther (veteran Winston West crew chief); Larry Easau driving. On the first lap the Ford took the lead going into turn one and stayed there the first ninety laps. They also managed to lap every other car in the field except Easau's. Unexpectedly, right after the 10-lap signal was given from the starter, the #16 headed into turn one and blew its' motor as if a hex had been placed on the car.
In April of 1969 Gary opened GARY'S SPEED SHOP in Burbank, California. The shop was a place for him to build and maintain his own race cars as well as assemble engines and sell speed equipment. Shortly after the business opened he married his high school sweetheart Patty and in 1970 the couple relocated and moved the shop to North Hollywood, California.
The early 70's saw the GARY'S SPEED SHOP race team competing with a strong '69 Ford Mercury. "The car would always run right up front, but it never won." said Gary. A race highlight of that season was a trip to Texas World Speedway in College Station, TX where Sam Beiler raced the '64 Ford Fairlane. (See pictures for more images from the 60's and 70's)
GARY'S SPEED SHOP was in business until early 1973 when it was burglarized and forced to close its doors.
Feeling like it was time for a change and wanting to get away from the congestion and smog of Los Angeles area, the Sevenans family of four (two children arrived in the early 70's) moved to Council Grove, Kansas in the early 70's. As a resident of Kansas, Gary owned and operated a Tire and Auto Supply store in Council Grove for approximately 19 years. He has also been involved with farming and ranching since the late 80's.
In an effort to get back into racing, GARY'S SPEED SHOP was reopened in December of 1999. Gary decided that Super Truck's would be a good area of racing to get involved with because the trucks are different and he also really likes the way they look as they race, like this one does.
The newest version of GARY'S SPEED SHOP, located at his ranch just outside of Council Grove, is where he now builds and leases Super Trucks. The shop also sells speed equipment for race cars and race trucks.
GARY'S SPEED SHOP Super Truck racing began in 2000 when one of Gary's trucks competed at Hallett Motor Circuit in Hallett, Oklahoma. Lyle Shepard from Manhattan Kansas drove the #16 GARY'S SPEED SHOP Ford and finished 8th after having some minor handling problems.
Early in the 2000 season Gary met Larry "Hippo" Hicks, an experienced driver and crew chief from Wisconsin. The two quickly became friends and Sevenans learned from and was heavily influenced by Larry's expertise in chassis set up. Hicks agreed to become the crew chief for the team and Larry's son Jason also came on board as driver of the #16 GARY'S SPEED SHOP Ford. The team raced in several Mid Am Truck series events held in Wisconsin that year and it was the busiest race season to date for GARY'S SPEED SHOP racing.
On the Chevrolet side of super truck racing, a man by the name of Greg Deatherage became a regular in the drivers' seat of the #97 GARY'S SPEED SHOP Chevy. Greg and his race crew teamed up with GARY'S SPEED SHOP and joined the Pro Super Truck series that year. Deatherage has been the most successful driver to date with GARY'S SPEED SHOP super trucks. When asked about Greg, Gary commented that, "Greg is a good driver, he has a natural ability."
GARY'S SPEED SHOP trucks have had a number of highlights throughout their 3 year existence; one of which was in 2001 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Gary was approached by Road America about the possibility of Nascar driver Dick Trickle racing one of the GARY'S SPEED SHOP super trucks in an upcoming event. Gary agreed and the #99 GARY'S SPEED SHOP Ford was specially built for the occasion. Gary commented that, "It was an awesome experience to work with Dick. He is a very down to earth, grass roots racer." He went on to say that, "during practice we made a few chassis adjustments and Dick just climbed out of the truck with a big grin."
The results of the #99 GARY'S SPEED SHOP Ford first race were fantastic as Dick went on to become the first place truck at Road America. To add to the success, Jason Hicks in the #16 GARY'S SPEED SHOP Ford was the second place truck at the same event. To add to the winning, the #99 GARY'S SPEED SHOP Ford took 1st the following weekend at I-70 Speedway in Odessa, Missouri with Jeff Klem in the drivers' seat.
Looking forward to 2003 and beyond, Gary continues to hope for a major sponsorship agreement. Regardless of whether or not a deal comes through, he plans to use his race knowledge and instincts to keep building super trucks. In addition to racing when he can, Gary also plans to establish and build a new super truck association called SUPER TRUCK ALL STARS.
GARY'S SPEED SHOP knows how to play, just watch them win.