Tuesday, June 7, 2016

R.I.P. Don Graham

By Matthew J. Sullivan

Former Redwood Acres Raceway driver, Don Graham passed away over the weekend at the age of 72. Graham was a regular at the Acres during its dirt track days in the 70s. In 1988, Graham raced on the pavement in the super stock division.

Graham’s racing exploits included starting three NASCAR Grand National (now Sprint Cup) events. His best finishes came at Riverside International Raceway in 1978 and 1979 where he finished 22nd. Graham also made 55 starts in NASCAR’s Winston West Series scoring two poles, three top five finishes and 20 top 10s. He finished 10th in the standings in 1977 and eighth in the standings in 1978.

Graham’s career as a driver continued through the 80s and 90s, mostly in open competition events up and down the west coast. In 1994, Graham won the prestigious Rose Classic race at All-American Speedway. His career began to wind down as the decade progressed with 2000 being his final year of racing. He ran twice in 2000 in the Tri-State Series with a best finish of 13th at the Acres. Graham also made two starts in the Shell Tri-Track Series scoring a second place finish at Altamont Motorsports Park.

Don’s son, Eric also made a name for himself in racing. Eric raced in the street stock class at Redwood Acres in 1988 and 1989. Later on Graham made numerous starts in the North State Challenge Series and the Airport Auto Brokers Late Model Series. Eric was the 2001 series champion in the NSCS.

Don Graham will be remembered as one of the top drivers of the region as well as one of its toughest competitors. Race fans across Northern California join his family and friends in mourning.

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