sprint
Checkered

R.I.P. Don Flanders


Here's the famous 911 car driven by Gary W Howard and others. The hood was unique! Don Flanders was proud of this one that later became street legal.


Don with Wags


Don with his trailer


We collected money for the racers (Wagsbucks) on the night we honored his memory at Victorville


Don with Jack Gardner


Don's sister in law made a nice quilt for him in his honor.


Don supported David Cardey's racing


Don met Scott Burns in this pic and got involved in Scotty tring to start victorville and Orange Show. He was a significant helper until he passed on.


A little street fun here with the 911 car with the wheels up in front of his house.


# 911


Gary in the seat


# 911


# 911


# 911


# 911


White # 911


That might be me in the car at the Colorado Bell in Laughlin


And Thats Mrs Wags posing


# 911

Don Flanders was one of the most enthusiastic race people I have ever known. Back in the day of the 911 sprint car, he was excited about the performace of the car and we got to know each other during the racing times for it. One weekend I, along with alot of others, were invited down to San Diego for a little play day. He and Rich Bucheit (SP) had a hand in it that day and I remember we had to move locations once because of the law, so they drove the car on the streets to our next "race track" parking lot, before I got my turn. When it came, I buckled in and was having a ball going at least 200 miles an hour (maybe 25) around the little paved area marked off by pylons. I remember that day and especially the moment when I thought I broke the motor! I am flying along in pure bliss when suddenly the car went fat and powered down like it was hurt, so I pulled in. Everyone was laughing when I appologized and they showed me the RC controller! That's how they let you know you your ride was done, how was I supposed to know? That day forever sticks in my mind as stupendous, just to get a chance to floor a real sprint car. I later got track packing time in Tom Downing's car at Bakersfield on my 50th birthday, but it wasn't the same.

The car disappeared in San Diego and was converted to a street legal sprinter. Don too was MIA for a long time. Then one day he showed back up at the races and began contributing to the Wagtimes world. Each race he visited with me about many things, including sprint car racing and some drag racing, particularly at Lions Drag strip. He brought me some tapes of the long gone Lions drag strip to share and we zoned in on that enough that I returned his tapes and bought my own. His memories there were shown with that Flanders excitement that just flowed out of him, and I fully understood!

As time continued, he was a major Wagsdash contributer, and loved that race and what it meant to me and my group. He attended every one we had and always supported what we were doing. I remember one Wagsdash where he came by the Wagtimes booth as the Wagtimer's were counting up the record collection for the Lafond Jar of Change. They were all excited as it was up to a new record $900! Don quietly added a big bill to make it $1000, that was his way, and he was excited to help.

Don always came by to talk and several years ago he gave me his idea of how to help cut the cost of sprint car racing. Cick here to read. He was serious about this and sent me his plan all written out. He asked me to share it with several key people, and I did with mixed results. Some could see the wisdom and others couldn't. Me, the technical wizard I am, never could work it out in my head, but I knew there was merit. What he believed in is now in the starting stages with URA as Scotty Burns will have an unlimited Sprint Car class starting up.

Life has taught me how unfair it is and Don's passing brings me to my knees as I realize he is gone and so are his good works. He was always helping people as he had enough money to do that. He added to most of the So Cal racing events gladly when asked. In his early contibutions before he was asked for help a lot, he would give me some money for a particular driver he thought could use it and ask me to present it after the races that night. I did that regulary, but it wasn't long before I begin to suggest he could get more joy out of it if he did it himself. One day he gave me Wagsbucks and told me he had money for David Cardey and was going to go down in the pits to present it! He really didn't want the attention! The next time I saw him, he said it felt good! From that point on he spent more time in the pits early in the day and hit the seats in the grandstands to watch the races, like me. You can't take the fan out of people like him!

Don's brother Ken wrote the next two paragraphs, about his start in racing. Don started out Drag racing running a 34 Willys Coupe against the greats of his time such as Stone Woods and Cook. Always on a budget, he held is own until something broke. Then came sprint cars as an owner of the # 911. Once again a low budget operation, and once again the money ran out, but the dream went on. A few years ago he put together an interchange for auto parts that many wrecking yards use today, also some of the Car Fax type websites use his data base.

So the money came in at a steady pace, allowing him to give back to sprint car racing, giving a hundred dollars here and there, buying a tire for a under funded team now and than, and much more.

Personally, he is another of those gone from us who I respected and looked forward to our next encounter and the pure joy they gave me. His smile, ideas and time sharing will be missed, he was very special to me and to many others, expecially in our racing community. Don Flanders will be missed by us all.

Updated 9/8/17


All photos © 2013 Mr. Wags Photos