Jim Van Natta

Jim and wife Doris at the races in Perris

Jim with a car he was once involved with as a young man.

Jim at Perris

Jim on tour checking a CRA car

Jim and Doris after a snack run at Perris

Jim and Doris at a race somewhere

Jim and Ellen Ellis

Jim and Rickie Gaunt

Jim with Chris Holt

Jim at Perris

Jim and Mike English

Jim Van Natta was one of the good guys! They don't get any better! He loved sprint car racing and went as often as he could right up to the end of his long and fruitful life. He always had positive things to say about people and racing in general as he used his golden years to stay involved by seeing the races. The last few years he missed some races because it wasn’t easy for him to drive at night. He still stayed in contact with his racing world and whenever we spoke, either at the races or on the phone, his interest was dialed into what was happening and why things were the way they were. He never failed to ask how I was wherever we met and meant it.

Although he had personal hands on experience in racing, as a driver and crewman and more, my memory of his great stories is very poor, but I know he was very involved over the years and the stories he told were amazing. He never bragged but quietly told about his history and the fun he had. We met at Ascot in the “old” days and became better friends when the CRA tours started as we ended up in the same restaurants and motels along the road. His desire to be a spectator was very intense and he never stopped enjoying the fun and sharing it with everyone.

He had a long and close relationship with CRA racer Cary Faas and his family. As Cary moved away from the So Cal racing scene, Jim always had a line on what he was up to and wore Faas racing jackets and t-shirts to the races. His wife Doris shared his love of racing and rarely missed a race or the many trips he took.

I have cherished my time with him and his wife Doris as the years rolled on and knew he was slowing down the past few years, but losing him and his friendship is a sad thing for me. I didn’t think it was time for him to go, but time passes and so do the best of us! I always will remember his smile and warm conversations and will never forget what he gave me, pure friendship with no strings. Rest in peace Jim, you were a big part of my trail through life.

Updated 7/15/17

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