Don Ronk 

Car #34

Don was a Playland and Sunset racer.  Like many area racers he spent more time at Sunset than Playland.  I remember him from Playland as I rarely went to Sunset until the mid 80's.

I visited with Don on the phone and asked him to loan me his scrap book.  Don graciously agreed to let me borrow it.  What a trusting man.  He didn't know me from Adam. 

Don  has a wealth of Playland and Sunset articles.  I scanned  almost everything he had with the exception of a few Sunset articles that he wasn't mentioned in.  He told me that most of the stuff was from Sunset, but this is a Don Ronk web page, so almost everything  goes in it.  Since this is an historical type of site, I did exclude some modern modified pics though.  I'm going to try to keep everything in order, but I'll probably fail at that.  Please excuse any mistakes and correct me if you can.

Don 1960 at Sunset, winning a trophy dash.  The trophy picture in 1960. Don's car in 1963. Don, upside down, hasn't even hit the ground yet.

The pic at the far right shows Don's #86 car in mid-air.  It's the only rollover he ever had.  He said "I had some help from the other guy!".

Looks like Playland 1964.  Don's car is the 55 chevy on the right.  Don Ronk1967 at Playland.  They had both coupes and the   The coupe is from 1964 and the 55 is from 1968.

These pics are from various years and mostly in order.

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I gave Don a homework assignment at the 2004 reunion in April.  He filled out the Playland Speedway Info Sheet. 

Donald Lee Ronk  raced at Playland from about 1961 to 1972. He drove a series of #34 cars which he also owned. He did drive other guys' cars on occasion including Ray Hopkins and Roy Robertson. He also had a couple of drivers: Paul Katzenstein and Steve Zdan. 

Tell us about your worst night of racing at Playland:

When Rex Baller claimed my 1946 Ford (Jeremy Franks owns it now).

When Jim Boyd claimed my 1955 Chevy.

Tell us about your best night of racing at Playland:

First night I won my first "A" feature in mu '34 Ford coupe #34.

Tell your favorite Playland story:

When an 18 year old kid spun me out coming out of turn three, I drove across the infield and with a sort of sideswipe move, ran him into the guardrail. His right front tire blew out.   I asked Lyle Cline how long I was barred for and he said that he had seen him spin out four other people in the same race!! So i didn't get barred.

When I pulled into the pits, the Kid's dad reached into the car to get me.  "Big Denny" from Richman's Auto Parts pulled the kid's dad away from my car.  He was standing with his hands on this guy's shoulders when one of the other guys on their pit crew jumped on Big Denny's back!  Denny just stood there and said, "Get off my back!"

Larry Gascoigne pulled the pit crew member off Big Denny's back.  Denny turned around with his fists doubled up and almost hit Larry instead of the Kid's pit crew member!

I recently obtained a copy of Don's in car race tape!! He may have been the first area driver to mount a super 8mm camera INSIDE the racecar. There are only about 10 minutes of footage but it is awesome to see the view from the cockpit of a '56 Chevy racing at Sunset Speedway in 1971!! 

Don furnished a number of articles as well.  Some are here. 


Courtesy of Don Ronk   Courtesy of Don Ronk   Courtesy of Don Ronk   Courtesy of Don Ronk 

  Courtesy of Don Ronk  Courtesy of Don Ronk  Courtesy of Don Ronk   

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