Motorsports Industry, Open Wheels — March 17, 2018 at 4:47 pm

EARHoF 2018: Butch Jenkins


Elma Hall of Fame (03-17-18) Butch Jenkins (recieved by son) 4960

EARHoF inductee Butch Jenkins

B Andrew Kunas

This inductee is being enshrined posthumously, as he passed away suddenly at just 36 years of age in 1970.

This gentleman, who was known as a family man personally, was remembered by most at the track as a car owner, having only raced a few times himself. He found it better to have someone else piloting his stocks and later modifieds around the Elma ½-mile and other Northwest tracks including SeaTac, Spanaway, Portland, Eugene, Port Angeles, Roseburg and Yakima along with a trip or two out to Idaho.

He was already into racing and fielding cars before he met his wife Lovena in 1960. After marrying they moved to the Camp Grizdale. Though it was a logging camp, one walking into the camp, located about 50 miles north of Shelton, would be surprised to find a hotbed of racing enthusiasts, as one news clip believed to be from the mid 60’s noted that at least three other cars were either driven, partially owned or maintained by residents of Camp Grizdale, including Bill Skaggs.

Low on resources for the car as they had five children between them, they cut cedar and sold it during the winter for money to put into the race car.

A driver by the name of Rebel Jackson was piloting the car in the late 50’s. Many a race was won, including the 1960 Silverdale championship race in 1960.

A later meeting at Camp Grizdale resulted in Herb Moran piloting the car as the No. 33 for a number of years at that track before Bernie Klinkinbeard drove another as the No. 29 at the Elma ½-mile. Throughout the 1960’s the team was known for their strong consistency and hard work.

His wife Lovena often watched from the grandstands, but was still involved for the track, for a time writing up results for the Racing Wheels Newspaper that was circulated all around the west coast. The kids, even at a very young age, were into dad’s racing and it became a family thing to bring everyone to the race track. Oldest son Russ became dad’s right hand man at home, helping out in the shop.

The racing operation was low budget, but the cars were fairly simple as they were generally stock. Lovena, sitting in the stands, knew that when she saw one of their crewmen running out to the parking lot with tools in hand, someone’s car was about to be robbed for something as simple as a battery, and it was often her car they went after.

A surprise medical problem resulted in this inductee losing his life early in 1970. He was known for being a kind and caring family man, and he and his family enjoyed being at the races and hanging out with everyone. Though his life was cut short, he had a positive impact on the racing community and many still miss him to this day.

Accepting on his behalf, his wife Lovena and son Russ, please join me in recognizing this 2018 inductee into the Elma Auto Racing Hall of Fame, Gene “Butch” Jenkins.


Back to EARHoF photos

Comments are closed.