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John Hale, 1929-2019


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#1 pmodwrks

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Posted 04 August 2019 - 01:27 PM

John Hale, owner of Santa Ana Raceways, passed on Friday 8/2/19 after a long battle with dementia.

 

He was the owner of Santa Ana Raceways, a model maker at Cox and created the Ferrari 206SP and Chaparral 2D bodies for them. Always an innovator he designed the Iso-Fulcrum chassis for Cox which was copied by every chassis maker in slot car history.

 

He will be long remembered for the July 4th weekend 28-hour Enduro races held at Santa Ana Raceways. After the shop closed in 1969 he was working innovating R/C Cars and holding the Sunday races at the Briggs Cunningham Museum in Costa Mesa, CA.

 

He owned Hales Hobbies until 1972, when he went to work as a world-renowned Ford Model T restorer, building the only Model T to win at the Pebble Beach Concours.

 

Many notable racers called Santa Ana Raceways their home track: Reedy, Husting, Morrisey, Gilbert, Tabor. Many spent their offtime during the week tweaking and tuning for upcoming competitions. Gene Husting set the very first sub-second scale 1/4 mile run on the strip at Santa Ana Raceways - .999 secs.  Jim Russell, Bud Anderson, Barris, Roth, and others were often seen in the shop.

 

Champion of Chamblee sponsored an "Around the World in 80 Hours" promotion for which John built a hand-routed round track in the parking lot. The slot cars ran for 80 hours and set numerous record, not to mention showing off the durable slot cars by Champion of Chamblee.

 

When John had spare time he volunteered his automotive knowledge and experience at AAR working with Dan Gurney and the guys there; all were big-time slot car enthusiasts and visited the shop whenever they could take time away from racing the Eagles.

 

John's wife, Dee Hale, is doing well in Yorba Linda, CA, at 97 years of age.

 

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Thank you to everyone who made the shop and the history of slot cars possible.


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Chris Hale




#2 scaleuser

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Posted 04 August 2019 - 07:49 PM

Great to hear Dee is doing well.

 

Santa Ana Raceways is where I first raced and learned to scratchbuild. John mentored me and made sure I had the latest parts. I was there during the time with Tom Tabor from whom I copied and learned much.

 

To my recollection, most of the other big names Chris mentions had moved on to other tracks and came back to SA for big races. The other name I most remember was Jim ? (fubb). Among other things, he was a motor builder arm winder who showed us juniors how to do our rebuilds.

 

Of course, I remember you, Chris, and your brother.

 

Thanks for posting this.

 

Donald Latch, now in Richmond Virginia


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#3 Roy Lievanos

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 12:27 PM

It is very sad to hear the passing of John Hale.
 
I started slot car racing at Santa Ana Raceway at a young age. John and Dee were very kind to me and is most likely why I still race today. I have great memories of those days and even still have my first place trophy from SAR.

I went to school with both of his sons which was across the street from the track. Lost touch with Chris when the track closed in the late '60s. Through Slotblog we found each other some 50 years later and reminisced in a nutshell.

It's nice to hear Dee is doing well at 97. Our condolences go to the Hale family.


2017 Western States " Retro Hawk F class " Champion
2017 USRA Div 1 Nats " F class " Champion
Thank you John and Dee Hale -Santa Ana Raceway circa 1968

#4 Cheater

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Posted 06 August 2019 - 12:33 PM

I've been looking for an obituary for John to bring into this thread, but have not yet found one yet.

 

If anyone finds an obit for John, please point me to it.


Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#5 pmodwrks

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 08:00 AM

I spoke to Dee, my mom, and they won't be putting a obit in the local paper or anything at this time.

He will be interned in the National Veterans Cemetery in Riverside, CA, with full military honors.

Thank you to everyone who contacted Dee and my family regarding his passing. The outpouring of love has been comforting to our family during this time of grieving.

Thank you,
Chris Hale

#6 Cheater

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 11:13 AM

Thanks for that info, Chris. Obituaries are being published less often now than in the past.

When there is one, I do like to bring it over to Slotblog for the additional info it usually contains.
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Gregory Wells

Never forget that first place goes to the racer with the MOST laps, not the racer with the FASTEST lap


#7 pmodwrks

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Posted 29 October 2019 - 07:55 PM

For those who asked, there will be a service for John Hale at Calvary Chapel in East Anaheim, CA, on November 9, 2019, at 2 PM.
Chris Hale





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