The Club

NARC is born out of the Owl's Garage in Calistoga
The Northern Auto Racing Club began as a concept during one of many serious "bench racing" session in the famous Owl's Garage in California in 1960. Louie Vermeil and his wife Alice took the club sanctioning body vision and created an organization that would promote open wheel racing at it's finest for years to come. Fred Hunt won the inaugural NARC championship. Before the decade was over NARC would crown champions Paul Worden, Marvin Faw, Wally Talbot, Bill Sullivan, Jess Purcell, Mike McCreary, and a young upstart by the name of LeRoy Van Conett. Sullivan dominated in the mid-60's (1964-1966) by nailing down three titles in a row - something few thought was even possible.
The Club Builds it's Personalities
The Northern Auto Racing Club really began to grow as an organization, expand its open wheel presence, and create some of racing's most popular personalities in the 1970's. Our drivers were "road warriors" and would and could compete anywhere and anytime with the best lead-footers in the nation. That same level of talent and competition translated into hard fought championship battles in California. Six different drivers claimed the NARC driving title in the 1970's, led by LeRoy VanConett with four. The only other multi-time winner was Billy Anderson who won it twice. The remaining championships went to Johnny Anderson, Jimmy Boyd, Billy Anderson, and Mike McCreary. Winning a NARC non-winged feature event was one of the toughest feats in the United States.
From the Old Era to the New Era
The 1980's represented a transition from the old racing era to a new one more concerned with increasing speeds and driver safety. The cars were getting lighter, the speeds were getting faster, and new track records were set on most NARC race nights. Top wings were introduced for the first time in 1986 at Calistoga Speedway, in a move primarily driven by the insurance companies who were experiencing huge losses due to injuries caused by violent crashes of barrel-rolling non-winged machines. The ultimatum was to put on a wing, or race without insurance (which wasn't an option.) Many old school race fans are still disappointed to this day about the move away from traditional non-wing racing. Either way, our sport received a huge reality check when we lost NARC superstars Gary Patterson (non-wing) and Dave Bradway Jr. (winged) in racing accidents.LeRoy Van Conett continued his dominance of the NARC point standings by claiming three more NARC championships. This gave him eight for his career. However, it also signaled a changing of the guard as a young Brent Kaeding established himself as a force to be reckoned with when he earned his first NARC title in 1982. Before the decade ended, BK pocketed four. Other NARC champs were Chuck Gurney, Rick Hirst, and Jason McMillen. In 1986, Baylands Raceway Park promoter David Vodden collaborated with other track promoters and created the Golden State Championship Series. With 410 cubic inch sprint cars running at several local tracks, the goal of this series was to unify the sport and crown a "King of California" sprint car champ. This became a series within the NARC series. Steve Kent was named the first "King of California", winning back-to-back crowns in 1986-87.
The NARC-Budweiser Shoot Out Series decade
The 1990's are best described as the Budweiser glory years for the Northern Auto Racing Club. The Anheuser-Busch Company backed the high-profile series and made running for the NARC-Budweiser Shoot Out Series and Golden State titles a very lucrative proposition. Purses were bolstered, the championship point fund grew accordingly, and contingency sponsors jumped on the bandwagon. Media exposure was off the charts! NARC-Speedweek became a reality and the schedule ballooned up to as many as 42-races a year, but the competition was tough. It was common to have 12 different feature event winners over the course of the season and finishing in the Top 15 in NARC-GSC points was not just a feat, it was an accomplishment worth cherishing.Overall, the 1990's were a decade dominated by Brent Kaeding and Tim Green as far as championships go. Kaeding captured eight, including seven in a row. Green earned the 1990 and 1992 titles, leaving everyone else to fight for second.
Politics and Change
The Northern Auto Racing Club stumbled into the 2000's when it lost some key hands-on "non-racing" personnel and racing politics began to enter the mix. NARC had too many generals and not enough soldiers working the front lines and folded up shop after the 2001 season - after 41 seasons. It was a sad day for open wheel racing. At about the same time, track promoters were in a power struggle to take control of 410 sprint car racing in California. It was imperative that the 410's continue to thrive as the promoters needed the cars to bolster their World of Outlaw shows - which typically travel with about 15 teams.John Padjen Motorsports stepped up and filled the vacuum by taking conntrol of the Golden State Challenge "King of California" series. He ran it until the 2010 season. A new era champions began to surface. Brent Kaeding still captured four King of the West titles, but he was joined by Ronnie Day, Tyler Walker, Jason Statler, Jonathan Allard, Tim Kaeding, and Sean Becker.
Everything makes a comeback!
Promoter Dan Simpson took over the King of the West Series in 2010 and ran it for four seasons. The series looked like it had turned the corner, but car counts and crowds began to slip as expenses continued to grow. The addition of several (alleged) "cost-effective" sprint car classes at local tracks began to dilute the fields as well. Prentice Motorsports Group (John Prentice & Brent Kaeding) purchased controlling interest of the King of the West franchise and assumed management of the series when Simpson bowed out after the 2013 season. PMG, an avid and very generous supporter of 410 c.i. sprint car racing, wanted to keep the 410 c.i. sprint car class "forward-thinking" to continue to grow the sport. IN 2017, PMG relinquished their interest in the series in favor of a return to a club-managed, and club-run sanctioning body -- the Northern Auto Racing Club. Jim Allen and Brent Kaeding, and an Advisory Board spearheading those efforts.The 2019 season was the Northern Auto Racing Club and King of the West 60th Anniversary of 410 sprint car racing in California. The series continues to grow, securing additional series sponsorship funds and creating promotions that generate greater fan involvement and entertainment.From a racing standpoint, it has been super entertaining. DJ Netto claimed his first championship driving his family's Netto Ag sprint car. Kyle Hirst, Bud Kaeding, Carson Macedo, Johnathan Allard, Tim Kaeding and Kyle Larson (yes, that Kyle Larson) have also claimed the championship during this decade.And that brings us to today! We thank you for your support of the Northern Auto Racing Club.


For the past 64 years, the open wheel sprint cars of the Northern Auto Racing Club and the King of the West series have entertained open wheel fans with an exciting brand racing.  The sounds of the powerful 410 cubic inch motors and the high speed wheel-to-wheel dirt track racing will make the hair stand up on your arms. It’s a thrill that is hard to describe and it’s why fans have followed NARC up and down the left coast for more than six decades.

And to be the best in the NARC series, you have to beat the best to be standing in victory lane at the end of the night. During the process, great teams and nationally recognized drivers have been born and many have moved on to super high-profile careers in national series such as NASCAR, World of Outlaws, and Indy Car. Drivers such as LeRoy Van Conett, Johnny Anderson, Gary Patterson, Jimmy Boyd, Brent Kaeding, Randy Hannagan, Tim Kaeding, Kyle Larson, Kyle Hirst, and Corey Day have built reputations that have gained them fans from coast to coast and in Australia.  And today, that tradition continues.

We welcome your family to our family and are appreciative that you have decided to become part of our history!