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Tribute to Gary Patterson


Gary Patterson was one of the original Outlaws, traveling from track to track before it was fashionable. As a true independent, he answered only to himself. He raced what he wanted and where he wanted, seeking the biggest challenges or the biggest purse. But, no matter where he was found, he lived and raced only by his choices. No promoter, no race car owner, and no sanctioning group had a leash on "GP". He was among the most well-known sprint car drivers in the world, revered in some quarters, considered in more controversial terms in others. Nonetheless, he was universally recognized and respected for his driving talent at every track from Knoxville to Adelaide. Regardless of his politics, he stood for hard, wheel-to-wheel, give-no-quarter, competitive racing. "GP", "The Preacher", was one of Northern California's favorite sons. And even though he ran on everything from mile ovals to bullrings, the scenic 1/2 mile Calistoga Speedway was one of his favorites. He raced Calistoga by choice. Even the 1983 accident that ended his life was the result of his own choice - to take his chances with the wall rather than take out another driver along the way. He lived by his own decisions, he raced by his own decisions, and was never afraid to face the consequences. He respected other people's choices. He expected no less than the same respect for his own. Gary Patterson was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1998. (Contributed by Steve Lafond)

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