Butch Leal inducted into the Indernational Drag Racing Hall of FameMarch 12, 2015
Butch and his daughter Lisa Voss
Butch Leal inducted into the Mopar Hall of FameJuly 2014
Butch and Shirley Shahan
I have always been a big racing fan and had a fascination with cars. I feel fortunate to have spent my teenage years in Southern California in the late 60's and early 70's. I had the opportunity to go to several of the tracks to watch and race, that were the hotbed of the west coast drag racing scene. Lions, OCIR, the old Irwindale track, Ontario Motor Speedway, Palmdale and what I considered my home track, Pomona. I was there at "the Last Drag Race" held at Lions and the first Supernationals at OMS (and the first California Jam). During this time I got to see many of the racing greats.... Garlits, Grumpy, the Motown Missile, Sox & Martin, Bob Glidden (who came into the Ford dealer I worked at and bought parts for his Pro Stock Pinto) ..... it couldn't have been a better time to be involved in drag racing.
During this time, there were several drivers that stood out and caught my attention. One of them was Butch Leal. I am really not sure why, but his name is one that has always stuck in my mind as one of the greats. Oddly enough, he was one of the drivers that I never saw in the pits at the races!
Fast forward to 2005. I am still racing, still fascinated with cars and attend many races each year. I still see some of the greats in racing too but the list of them gets shorter each year. I was at one of our Mopar club meetings and was talking to our club photographer Mike Morris, who had just introduced me to a lady friend that was with him. He asked me if I had ever heard of Butch Leal.... I said "who hasn't?". That is when he told me that his lady friend P.J. was Butch's sister! I nearly fell over. Before long they got married. Just after Thanksgiving, he called me up at about 6:00 that saturday evening and asked if I would like to meet Butch.
I made the 30 mile trip in .... lets say a short time. Did I want to meet Butch Leal. That was like asking a kid if he wanted a candy bar.
Upon arrival, I was introduced to Butch and his wife, Donna. Several other Mopar guys were invited and were getting there about the same time I did. We all stood around talking about racing, cars, golf (we let Butch stray a little from time to time) and the old days. He was just like talking to the rest of the guys except he could out talk them all.
Later in the evening, Donna asked if I could show her and Butch some of the web sites I had built. I guess P.J. and Mike had told them about a few of them. We went to Mikes computer and I took them on a little tour of several of the sites and they were asking about whether or not I could do this, that or the other with a web site. Before you know it, we are discussing building Butch a web site.
Did I want to build Butch Leal a web site? That was two stupid questions in one day!
So here you are, Butch "the California Flash" Leal's web site. It is not completed yet and there are a lot of things left to do and many stories and photos to yet grace the pages. One thing else that will be here too..... a lot of untold racing history.
Sit back and enjoy your stay.
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