By May 27, 2018 Read More →

Legends of the Cruise 2018 – Jack McCoy

Jack McCoy
By Pete Hischier

In 1950 Jack McCoy’s family moved to a ranch in Ceres, CA and opened a tire shop on 9th Street in Modesto. Jack plowed a loop around the corrals and barn to race horses and later bicycles. This is where he learned his first lessons about suspensions and gear ratios. Jack began working for McCoy Tire and he bought his first race car, a ’36 Ford Coupe for $25 and stripped it down with friend Marvin Russell. They prepped the car raced it at Modesto 99 Speedway (now the home of the Stanislaus County Public Works Department on Morgan Road) under the name of Stoneage Jackson as the driver so that Jack’s parents would remain oblivious to the start of his racing career and he began to race regularly.

His parents soon became aware that Jack had been racing his Ford. Jack learned there was a local hotshot that was building fast Chrysler engines in winning cars. Enter Charlie “Mr. Mopar” Bell in Jack’s life and he abandoned the Blue Oval brand. This was the start of a life-long partnership between the two. Charlie left his job at the local Dodge dealership and partnered with Bobby Gaines to form Bell and Gaines Racing. Finally Charlie could build racing engines full time. Jack was required to race only Dodges or Plymouths if Charlie was going to build engines for him, which he did for the remainder of his career. Jack used to pull the engines from his race car and install them in his Plymouth coupe, which made him the fastest car on 10th and 11th Streets in downtown Modesto.

Jack campaigned his Mopars mostly on the West Coast (very successfully) until he ventured into the lair of NASCAR at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia to compete with his heroes like Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt. This departure from the West Coast led him to be the first driver from California to race a winged 1970 Dodge Super Bird in the prestigious Daytona 500. Jack won a record 54 races in the 1960s and 1970s in NASCAR’s regional series, known at various times as Grand National West, Winston West and Pacific Coast Late Model Series. He finished first in the final standings in 1966 and 1973. He and his wife took 2nd in the legendary Cannonball Express race across America in 37 hours, 50 min

Jack later teamed with friends, the late Chuck Billington and Don Monaco to build a Ford Flathead Lakester that topped 161 miles per hour at Dry Lakes in El Mirage. Jack balanced the racing with his work at McCoy Tire Co. and his home life with his wife, Peggy Joyce McCoy, and seven children. Jack passed away in 2009 and was a hot rodder till the end.

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