Today’s inductee into the Racingkc.com Hall of Fame began racing the year he turned 16, which happens to be 1974 the same year I turned 16. I have heard him called old man but then we discovered I was 11 days older, so I won’t call him that name. We even went to junior high school together only to depart after the ninth grade for different high schools. When he went to school and was not at home working on the race car it led this driver becoming a 1976 graduate of Winnetonka High School.
His first race car was a 6-cylinder race car he bought for $500. His favorite tracks were the ¼ mile Riverside Stadium and the original half mile Lakeside Speedway. They both were fun tracks to race at he did not have a preference between them. He would choose Riverside over the current Lakeside Speedway though. He raced on dirt from 1974 through 1985, then one year on the asphalt at I-70, and in 1999-2000 he raced at I-35 Speedway in Winston. He has raced figure eight at Riverside Stadium and would have been champion in either 1976 or 1977 except to qualify they were one race short.
He loved when Larry Kaster started the Street Stock class at Riverside Stadium. He was the 1981 Street Stock Champion at Riverside Stadium and the Central Auto Racing Boosters Most Improved Driver at Lakeside Speedway in the Street Stocks in 1984. He was always one of the top drivers in the Street Stock class at the time.
One of his first Street Stocks was a Blue Chevelle car number 62. We think he bought the car from my neighbor, Terry Deckman (not Billy), remember this is two 60-year old’s trying to remember history. Terry raced the car twice and stuffed it into the Riverside front straight wall on the white flag lap leading his second and last ever race. That was enough for Terry he sold it to our inductee. While he competed in the #62 he also raced the #153 in competition with his brother in the #53. His older brother earned the 1988 Modified Championship at Lakeside Speedway.
The driver we are inducting into the Racingkc.com Hall of Fame today is mostly known for driving the yellow race car #30, Dennis Gann. In his time, he was the driver to beat in the street stock class.
Dennis grew up along Chouteau Traffic Way and has been a truck driver most of his life. When his home was taken to expand Chouteau, he moved to a house on Parvin Road. He is not done with racing as he and his brother Pat are putting together an E-Mod. He misses the nights they would sit out back at Riverside and party until the sun came up the next morning.
Probably the best story was the night at Riverside they broke a driveshaft during the heat race. In a story that surely tells you how time has changed they borrowed a driveshaft from someone’s car who was parked near the pit gate. Before printing this story, I checked, and the statute of limitations has expired on the borrowed and never returned driveshaft. Oh, the good old days of racing! Congratulations Dennis Gann our latest inductee into the Racingkc.com Hall of Fame.