Ed Hale was truly a legend around Cajon Speedway. He passed away suddenly earlier today on September 27, 2005 in his El Cajon home. He was 67 years young. If you had to pick one driver whose name became synonymous with Cajon Speedway over...
Ed Hale was truly a legend around Cajon Speedway. He passed away suddenly earlier today on September 27, 2005 in his El Cajon home. He was 67 years young.
If you had to pick one driver whose name became synonymous with Cajon Speedway over the years, it would have been "Smilin" Ed Hale. Ed was at the track when the first stock car race was held way back on June 30, 1962. He was still there when they closed the gates at the end of the 2004 season. Ya, there has been a few years when he didn't race locally, but not too many. He drove claimer stocks, super stocks, figure 8 stocks, mini-stocks, modified sportsman, midgets, sprint cars, late model sportsman, and pony stocks. About the only racecar he did not compete in is the Grand American modified. Heck, Ed even helped build Cajon Speedway. At the time the track was being built back in 1961, he was a bricklayer and he constructed some of the ticket booths here.
Ed was a winner too. He has quite a record. He is the track's all-time leading main event winner with 159 career triumphs. The first came in 1965. The most he ever gained in a single year came in 1970 when he made 17 treks to the winner's circle divided among super stocks, modified sportsman, figure eights, and mini-stocks. He found his way to victory lane at least once every year over the ensuing 39 seasons with the exception of ten years (remember during some of those years he didn't race locally). He raced his way to eight track championships. The first came in 1970 and then again 1983 in the super stocks. He earned sportsman honors in 1993. He has gained five pony stock titles; those came in 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, and in 2004. .
Not only is he a winner on the track, the fans loved him and with good reason. He wasn't called "Smilin Ed" because of any scowl on his face. He was called "Smilin Ed" because of his ever-present ear-to-ear grin.
He was an innovator. One of his early super stocks was a station wagon and Hale relocated the steering wheel to the middle seat. For years he was sponsored by a local formal attire store so he wore a tuxedo over his driving uniform. It was his trademark for many years. His machine shop built and maintained a whole lot of motors that were used at the 3/8 mile paved oval over the years. Perhaps the greatest compliment that can be paid to Ed Hale the racer is that in all the years he has been building and maintaining motors for his on-track rivals, this writer has never heard one complaint from those racers about the quality of work coming out of or how they got treated at Ed's shop.
Ya, there have some on-track feuds with other drivers over the years -- the most infamous of which saw John Borneman and Hale bang fenders on many a Saturday night back in the early 1990's. But then they both came to the track every week to win.
Rest in peace, Ed. Your Cajon Speedway family is in shock.
Ed is survived by Pat, his wife of many years, 6 children and at least 19 grandchildren. He was born in Washington DC on March 12, 1938.