Update With Steve Truchan
(November 28, 2010) - Gary and I made our way back for a follow-up visit with Steve Truchan this morning. We had visited with him nearly a year ago to view all of his beautifully restored race cars that he has in his collection. When we left that day, he had one car sitting in the back of his place in pieces. He told us then that it would be his next project. Gary recently heard that Steve had the car done so we decided to go back and see the finished product.
The car is the Todd Gibson ‘Flintstone Flyer’ Super Modified and Steve has done another masterful job of making it another fine specimen within his collection. When the dust cover is removed and the car is rolled out for Gary’s camera, the purple #0 is shining but Steve has his dust cloth getting it ready for the pictures that Gary is about to take. Steve tells that Todd won a ton of races and some championships with this car at tracks like Oswego N. Y. and Sandusky & Toledo, Ohio. He figures the car weighs about 1500 pounds, so with the 355 C. I. Chevy motor, it had to be a pretty potent race car. Another job well done by Steve!
(more Gasper photos below)
The last time we visited Steve’s shop we met Paul Mollick and he was there again this morning. Paul was full of race stories from his Midwest stock car racing days so he kept us entertained with them. It seems that Steve has a very popular hangout since we always meet some new people when we get to visit his place. Today we met Cass Casmir who is involved with the Model T hill climbs so his stories were fun to listen to also. Of course Steve added some good stories too so we came away happy after enjoying a bunch of racing memories from the past.
Just before we left for our second gig of the day a couple more guys came in and the crowd was still telling race stories when we left. As we told Steve goodbye till next time, he told us to come back anytime. From past experiences, I’d say he might get a return visit from both of us.
We were to meet our popular flagman, Steve Parkes this morning, as he is a regular visitor to the Truchan shop. I think he just got off of a midnight shift at work so he might have needed some additional sleep. We’ll catch up with him next time.
Next we were off to visit Chuck the Patchman in Dyer. While Gary had done a story and photo shoot with Chuck Alm, I had never been to see his collection of racing patches. We met him at Truchan’s on our last visit and he had invited us to come over to see his collection. Gary made it and I didn’t.
On our arrival, he took us into his garage and it is something absolutely amazing to see! The walls are covered with racing patches of all sorts. Drivers, sponsors, organizations, tracks, museums, speed shops, etc. On Gary’s visit Chuck told that he had over 600 at that time. Today he is up to over 2700 different patches. It’s a hobby that he started back in the 70’s and he continues to build it with great satisfaction.
Chuck was telling about how he gets them and stories about people that he trades with and his favorite ones and ones he knows about but hasn’t gotten yet. He spends a lot of time on E-bay looking for new ones all the time.
Soon after we got there he presented me with a framed collection of patches that he had duplicates of. I think there are about 30 different ones encased in a nice frame. He surprised me with one that he had made up about my race team so that was an extra special thought for me. He gave me a couple extras of them and said they were for me and my driver. So, Adam has a gift coming from Chuck and I’m sure it will go into his career memorabilia collection.
Next we went inside the house where we met his wife Nancy. Then it was into Chuck’s office where he has a few more patches, some die cast cars and personal pictures. This is when I learned that Chuck was a race driver in years gone by. He raced stock cars at the old Raceway Park in Blue Island, Illinois. He also told about trying the dirt at the old Broadway Speedway in Crown Point. From our past conversations, Chuck knew that I have a beer can collection. Sitting on his desk he had a 1984 Indianapolis 500 beer can. He picked it up, handed it to me and said ‘put this in your collection.’ I really felt guilty taking it but he insisted that I should have it. This was a great gesture on Chuck’s part and I certainly didn’t expect this to happen!
With the stories being told by the three of us our time soon slipped away and it was time for Gary and I to head back to our homes. We said our goodbyes to Chuck and Nancy and thanked them for their hospitality and gifts he had given me. They too told us to come back again.