Drag Boat and Water Speed Record Racer Memorial

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Bucko
Site Owner
Posts: 9

In 1975 I was at Nimbus Lake near Folsom with Ron Lange (who owned "Monkey Business") and Bill Paddock, who was a Hondo boat dealer in Sacramento. We watched Buster Brownfield's fatal crash in his boat "Zip Code." When he left the line, the nose went straight up. He got out of it, then back on it and got the same result. Nose went straight up again. On about the third or fourth time, he stuffed it. No debris. Nothing. He just vanished. He hit his head on the deck. The chute deployed, but got wrapped around the motor and went 50-60 feet down. About four minutes later they got him to the surface. I looked at Bill Paddock and said, "What happened?" His reply, "His plate was rolled all the way up. He tried to set the boat on sheer horsepower." [I hope you enjoyed the picture I sent you of Caselli's boat. I took that at Tulsa Raceway, 9/13. A guy from Missouri owns the boat. I saw Caselli race at Oakland in '71 or '72.]  (Mark Hoffman; Grove, OK)

April 30, 2014 at 9:15 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Bucko
Site Owner
Posts: 9

I was friends with Buster Brownfield. I was there when he crashed and months later when he passed away. He never regained consciousness from the moment of the crash. As to the date of Buster's crash, I think it was Labor Day weekend and it was a sanctioned race event. The lights became in-operative so several of the guys decided to do exhibition runs for the crowd. Buster of course was one of those guys. When he crashed it really wasn't at a top speed but torque took the boat over and he was never able to straighten it out. His chute was snagged on the motor and he was pulled down. There was some delay on the rescue because the recovery team had partially stood down because the racing was postponed until they could figure out how to fix the lights. Buster was the 3rd or 4th exhibition run. He was taken to what is now UC Davis hospital in Sacramento. He remained there for about 2-3 weeks. He never regained consciousness. He was transferred to a Kaiser Convalescent hospital where in about 3 weeks they took him off of the ventilator and he breathed on his own. That lasted about two weeks when he had a heart attack and passed.  Buster and I shared the same birthday only he was 10 years older than me. He is buried at Sierra Hills Memorial Park at Greenback Lane and Verner Avenue in Sacramento County. I knew all the people that Mr. Hoffman mentioned, in fact Bill Paddock built our Hondo for racing. We were all friends with Don Brandon, Ted Holder and other Sacramento-based drag boat drivers. My father in law, Blackie Carpenter, drove a 454 Chevy flat bottom Hondo. I'll be 70 this year and except for losing friends, racing was an exciting time in my younger life. Never had enough money for more horsepower because you kept on going to the next level. Gosh it was fun. Thanks and I hope this sheds a little light on Buster as he was quite a guy, a character and a fearless racer. (Bill Roberts, Roseville, California)

August 2, 2014 at 12:07 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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