When you think about what you want in an auto insurance company it’s going to depend on what they can offer you in the way of discounts, insurance rates, coverage and quality customer service. A smart consumer wants to get the best low cost auto insurance or cheap car insurance rate especially when insurance rates are not as low cost as they used to be. And with the ease of being able to go online and get free, cheap car insurance quotes in no time at all this shouldn’t prevent anyone from finding out just what is available to them in mere seconds.
Automobile or car insurance rates and quotes are never going to be the same for each company. There are a lot of variables between plans. And of course if you are already insured you can stay with your current auto insurance company or go with a new insurance company, but low cost or cheaper rates may be a very good reason to switch to another insurance company. Once you do become insured with any company and you have an accident or theft, for example, and you need to phone your car insurance agent you want to know that he or she’ll be available and ready to help no matter what your needs are and no matter what time of the day or night it is.
Many insurance companies do offer lower or cheaper insurance rates or more affordable rates than other companies with the very same type of policies. You want to make sure to out exactly how much the deductibles will cost and what conditions are attached to them. You also should consider the longevity with your current company, especially if you have a good record with them in case the length of your current insurance coverage plays a part in the rates you have now or other variables in your policy that might be different and more valuable to you than with any new company — even if it’s at a lower or cheaper rate.
Most, if not all, single line and multiple line companies offer discounts and other great benefits for carrying multiple car insurance policies and discounts for other lines of insurance in the same household.
For students, in the U.S. many insurers offer a good grade discount to students with a good academic record and resident student discounts to those who live away from home. Senior drivers are often eligible for retirement discounts reflecting lower than average miles driven in this age group.
You can also find a number of insurance companies that offer discounts to good drivers. This is another good reason to concentrate on driving defensively and keeping focused on your driving. Avoiding accidents will keep definitely your insurance costs down. Make sure to keep the kids quiet so you can concentrate on your driving. Keep them busy with quiet car games that are kept solely for this purpose or give rewards for quiet or good behavior. Every auto insurance company has low cost deductions; make sure you ask what they are.
If you haven’t had any accidents that were your fault and you are a good driver, then be sure to consider getting a higher deductible so you would pay out a larger amount of money in the event you do have an accident that is your fault but will still save on your insurance premium. You do want to compare and compare the cheap car insurance quotes that you do get. Some of them may be very similar but some quotes could be quite different. It’s surprising to see how much they can vary from company to company.
Teenage drivers who have little or no driving record to speak of will have higher car insurance premiums. But the young drivers are often offered discounts if they take further driver training on established or recognized courses. The UK has one called the Pass Plus scheme. In the US you may have to do a little more research. Some car insurance companies offer special discounts for women too so if you are female be sure to ask if they have any.
These are just some of the best tips that can help you save money on your auto insurance and give you some idea of what to ask and of what to look for when you’re trying to get a cheap car insurance quote. If you know of someone who wants to get cheaper car insurance quotes but they don’t have or don’t know how to use a computer, why not volunteer to help them get a few online cheap car insurance quotes. And remember you want to get the best quality car insurance with the cheapest auto insurance rates and the best customer service.
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In 1982 Walt James and a group of buddies resurrected the Western Racing Assn, a sprint car club that had folded in the mid 50s. It was to be a group of older sprint cars and midgets to show off the ingenuity of the early days of racing or, as he liked to say, the Senile Racing Group. He’d say, “We’re just a bunch of old blind guys who still love to go fast.” Also about 1981, Bill Huth owner of the Willow Springs Raceway, encouraged Walt to build a track for WRA and in 1982 the track was open for business. A very surprised Walt got to the track to find it had been named WALT JAMES STADIUM. Every year since on Thanksgiving weekend Walt and Dottie have hosted the WALT JAMES VINTAGE GATHERING. Bill Huth has said he will still have the 17th annual Walt James racing weekend this Thanksgiving.
My Life in Racing – Dan Fleisher
Excerpt – covering his initial and ongoing relationship with the WRA Vintage Group, beginning in 1987.
“I’ve written a 570 page bio for the benefit of my three grandsons and I wanted to share one section. The attached is a 4-page document. The bio is entitled "My life in Racing" followed by a subtitle "Sitting in the Seat of a Hot Offy Midget." Hope you enjoy this portion. Regards, D”
How it started: In June of 1987, Chabot volunteered my services to help formulate the upcoming (2nd) Banquet in October. I met with Ray Swann, one of Punky’s aforementioned friends. He’s a great guy, warm, sincere and we hit it off immediately. As mentioned earlier, he owned the 1946/47 Rocky Mountain Midget Association (RMMA) Championship winning Offy Midget previously owned by Miles Spickler and driven by Roy Bowe. It was meticulously maintained, sporting #3 on its red painted tail, with glimmering chrome wheels.
Ray participated in the planning of the first Banquet and I was under the impression I was just going to assist him this time around. NOT! During lunch at the Tally Rand Restaurant in Burbank, he handed me a folder and said, “Here you go Dan.” I considered this a major challenge and wasn’t about to fail. I arranged the entire affair, which was held once again at the Ramada Inn. Fortunately, it was a rousing success and eventually led to greater opportunities for me within the club, as you’re about to read.
Board meetings were held on Thursday evenings at the Bunker once per month. In January 1988, Niday decided his three-year reign as President was enough and opted to step aside. Nominations for President were opened but nobody stepped up to the plate. A few members were asked if they’d be interested but all said, “No Way!” I was asked the same question and answered “Yes.” However, Niday continued asking others, implying I wasn’t capable of handling the job, or possibly that I wasn’t part of the ‘Bunker clique,’ which really pissed me off. Pardon my French!
Fortunately, Dickie Reese, an accomplished Midget driver during his career, page 177, he could still handle a racecar high against the cushion (a racing term), officially nominated me. When all was said and done, I became WRA’s third President, following Walt James and Niday. I remember getting home later and calling my latest ‘date’ Mary Morley (Stu Morley’s ex-wife, page 298) with the exciting news.
Other than Chabot, none of the members had any knowledge of my background or talents and didn’t know what to expect. On the other hand, I knew what I could do, not bragging mind you, just expressing self-confidence. Inwardly I said, “Now I’m going to show you As_ holes.”
Backdating slightly to 1987: WRA wanted to provide members unable to participate in the arduous season traveling series with a local facility to run at. Local really meant about 70 miles from the greater L.A. area. James and Chabot carved out a 1/3-mile dirt track from the baron sand at Willow Springs International Raceway, located 17 miles north of Lancaster and seven miles west of Highway 14. Once a month or every six weeks from November to March, members would brave nature’s elements, heavy winds and sometimes extremely cold weather, and run their cars all day, to their hearts content, not just the short designated time afforded by track promoters. These were called FUN DAYS, but they weren’t always fun. They could be PAINFUL, DANGEROUS and EMBARRASSING!
In my first official act as President on Valentine’s Day of 1988, I handled the Pit Steward and Flagman duties at our initial Fun Day. During the first heat race, Niday’s car ran over the wheel of Punky’s racer and flipped. The centrifugal force of the flip threw him onto the track from the open cockpit, dislodging his helmet in the process. I ran across the track to the stricken driver, sat on the ground, his head in my lap until his wife Elsie and the ambulance arrived. He was transported to the hospital, but tragically succumbed later that afternoon from the trauma. A Gilmore hero was gone. That was PAINFUL!
It was time for enormous fortitude and a test of my talents to insure the club not only survived the crisis, but to restore everyone’s faith in themselves. Fortunately I succeeded and the club went on to greater success.
After Cal’s death, we were determined to upgrade the safety rules regarding helmets and seat belts. We needed to show the insurance companies that we were doing “due diligence” by enacting new measures. It was a battle because many members thought vintage drivers should match vintage cars, i.e., old Cromwell style helmets that offered little protection if any, single lap belts and ordinary clothing, like ‘T’ shirts. It took years of arguing but eventually we changed rules covering all of the above, including ‘Snell’ approved helmets, rated fire protective clothing, and the installation of shoulder harnesses or Sam Brown belts.
The Snell Foundation, founded in 1957, established guidelines after testing newly designed safety equipment. They tested each manufacturer’s helmet for strength and durability. Once approved, the manufacturer could apply the Snell sticker to each unit produced. The fire protection uniforms were rated from one to five, five being the most proficient.
Reese was from the old school and didn’t like the new helmet rule one bit. He stated he could get a better feel for the racecar wearing the old style helmet, which only covered the ears with the leather covering, by hearing the engine, knowing when to let off and get on the gas pedal. Joe Gemsa felt the same way and refused to participate in WRA events thereafter.
One night during a Board meeting, Reese tried to pull the wool over our eyes by showing his old Cromwell helmet with a Snell sticker on the inside. For a moment, naive Dan fell for the ploy not realizing when Snell tested submitted helmets, they were battered by machines which obviously destroyed them. Duh! Eventually Reese relented and starting wearing a new helmet.
In addition to normal duties Presidents are entrusted with, I wrote and published the monthly newsletter. While my only experience in writing was the previously mentioned article or two for George Chabot, I found it rather easy, and lots of fun, typing out six or eight page issues. I was quite flattered when responses were positive, providing more confidence that I could publish a first-class product. I produced the newsletter for an astounding 17 years (204 issues) even after stepping aside as President.
I also produced and Emceed 13 banquets; one particular event I’m very proud of which stands out in my memory. I became friends with Dick Messer when he was General Manager of the Burbank Hilton Hotel, located directly across the entrance from the Burbank Airport. He offered to host the Banquet at his plush facility and I excitedly accepted. Dick later became the Director of the Petersen Automotive Museum in L.A., located across from the iconic May Company building previously mentioned.
The huge ballroom was beautifully decorated with black and white balloons shaped in an arbor design behind the podium, while checker-board runners adorned the white linen tablecloths with Hurricane styled lamps serving as centerpieces. Guests had their choice of Filet Mignon or Chicken Cordon Bleu, served by a highly competent staff of waiters and waitresses. Entertainment (a huge success) also highlighted the evening in addition to the Awards portion of the program and the yearly, hysterical ‘roasting’ segment by Ray Swann. It was a wonderful affair attended by 225 club members and friends, including Sam and Alice Hanks. How excited I was to introduce them and have our picture taken. I also designed a yearly souvenir Place Mat, a sample of which is shown later.
During this illustrious period, WRA flourished and became the most respected vintage club in America, as stated by K & K Insurance agent Bill Hill, who ‘covered’ our events. I increased and diversified the merchandise program to include additional wearing apparel, decals, pins, patches, license plate holders, coffee mugs, posters, magnetic door signs and dash plaques for car owners. From this program, the club derived a substantial amount of income increasing the treasury along with dues from upwards of 350 members residing in 13 states nationwide. Additional income came from ‘Tow Money’ received from track promoters.
Another promotional item I designed was a yearly 8 ½ x 14 flyer containing pictures of approximately 30 members’ cars, sporting both Valvoline’s ‘Say No to Drugs’ logo and ours. They were a big hit with the kids and improved our stature as a community minded organization, especially when participating at local schools during their anti-drug ‘Red Ribbon Day’ programs initiated by school districts.
More venues were added to the schedule, presenting 18 shows one year. Car counts increased and I didn’t want to be left behind so I purchased a second Midget from John Randuch, a gentleman’s gentleman, in his seventies, retired and very adept at restoring cars. He lived in Santa Rosa, about 400 miles north of L.A. Not wanting to tow an empty trailer all the way there, I borrowed Lou Leucart’s Ford ‘dually’ truck, meaning dual wheels on the rear axle. The cargo bed was large enough to hold a full-size Midget and once again, I wouldn’t have to tow a trailer. Also, I could run at 65 mph instead of 55. On the down side however, the gas-guzzling monster only got six miles per gallon and the fuel cost me a fortune, even at .25 per.
It was a two-tone blue Kurtis copy, #34, powered by a 1941 Ford V8/60 ‘Flathead’ engine. Flatheads were affectionately referred to as ‘the poor man’s Offy,’ still to this day. The good-looking car had with two Stromburg 81 carburetors protruding through the hood, covered by an aluminum filter. I never really liked that look but I’ll get into that shortly.
In 1990, I brought out my newly purchased treasure to Willow Springs, ready for the big time. I was cruising along the front straightaway ready to negotiate turn one when I realized I had no steering. E-gads! What do I do now mommy? A three-inch bolt holding the ‘drag link,’ the long connecting bar from the steering unit (Pitman Arm) to the front axle, came out. I was in real trouble. I hit the brakes but mind you, brakes on these cars aren’t designed to stop you, only to slow you down.
Even traveling at a reduced speed, I plowed into the hay bales lined-up at the top of the track. They were so positioned to prevent cars from going up and over the berm and sliding down the 20’ backside embankment. Fortunately I wasn’t injured and the car only suffered a slightly bent right front radius rod. A fellow club member, Dick Morris, was kind enough to repair the damage a few weeks later. That’s DANGEROUS!
On another occasion, Walt James asked if I’d like to drive his ‘Jimmy’ (GMC) six-cylinder powered Sprint Car. I never handled one of these behemoth machines (compared to a Midget) but I jumped at the opportunity. The car was a BEAST to handle and I spun-out not once, but twice in the same spot, the middle of turns’ three and four. That doesn’t sound so bad, except that I was sitting sideways in the middle of the track with oncoming cars approaching. Whew, they missed but were close calls. That was EMBARRASSING and I took a lot of ribbing.
Another PAINFUL moment occurred when my car caught fire in March of 1992. The carburetors overflowed and the highly volatile Methanol fuel hit the exhaust pipes and wham-o, fire. Of course it didn’t help considering I wrapped a rag around a leaky fuel shut-off valve in the cockpit that served as a ‘wick.’ I stopped the car in turn two, unbuckled the belts and jumped out. My paint leg was on fire and there was literally nothing left of my tennis shoe; we didn’t wear protective fire gear yet. Chabot retrieved what was left of the tennis shoe and eventually mounted it on a plaque with an engraved title, ‘Hot Shoe.’ It was presented to me at the year-end banquet and currently hangs on my wall.
I was carted off by ambulance to Lancaster’s Antelope Valley Hospital, with EMT’s pouring bags of cold saline solution over the open wounds. Doctors treated my burns, wrapped me up in gauze, gave me a pain shot, told to see my personal doctor the next day and sent me on my way. Lee Ferguson was kind enough to pick me up and return me to the racetrack where I was welcomed with sincere concern. Lee was taking care of me again, as she did at Gilmore Stadium.
While enduring treatment in the ER, the ‘Bunker Bums’ (Punky and the boys), loaded my smoke-covered racecar on my trailer and stowed my gear. I was ready to drive home. NO PROBLEM, because I didn’t feel any discomfort thanks to the pain shot. I drove the 70 miles back to the Bunker, unhitched the trailer and headed home to Culver City. The PROBLEM occurred the next day when I awoke. The shot wore off and I was in excruciating pain. Luckily I found a nearby clinic and bravely drove there.
Upon examining my wounds, the doctor, who looked like TV’s Dr. Marcus Welby, asked how I derived them. After my explanation, a slight smile appeared on his face. Turns out he attended races at Gilmore and knew exactly what Midgets were. He explained that I received second and third degree burns and when I garnered enough courage to peek; my stomach became queasy as I viewed the burned tissue, muscle and exposed anklebone. It was ugly folks. The doc applied special ointment, affixed a new dressing, wrote out a prescription and suggested I obtain crutches to keep weight off the foot. That was the first of many visits to his office and I used those arm crutches for six weeks.
The most inconvenient aspect of bandages and crutches was how to climb into and out of the bathtub. I couldn’t get the dressing wet so I had to climb into a dry tub, sit down on the cold porcelain and then drape my injured leg over the outside. Only then could I turn on the water. I faced the same problems getting out. It was a nuisance. As stated earlier, Willow Springs’ Fun Days were not always fun. The song, ‘WILLOW- WEEP FOR ME’ was an appropriate tune.:
From Carl Schulz
"Point of historical interest – there was a short lived racing organization named "Western Racing Association" in 1924 that was basically an organizational arm of the AAA Contest Board that ran basically class B events at various Western dirt tracks with a small travelling group of pros such as De Palma and Hearne joined by whatever locals could be brought in. there is every reason to believe that the pros would hold back to make a race of it for the local fans.
Here is what Don Radbruch had to say about it"
"San Jose Speedway -dirt Fairgrounds . Race on 9-1-24 De Palma, Hearne, and a few other hot shot Nat’l AAA cars and drivers, supplemented by a few locals. " The race was sanctioned by a rather mysterious group called The Western Racing Association; in 1924 this group raced at places like San Jose, Reno,Salt Lake City and Medford, OR. Several races at the Tanforan horse track a few miles SOuth of San Fran.All these races were AAA sanctioned so it is unclear why the WRA designation was needed. Maybe it was because some of the races were apparently ‘hippodrome’ and the AAA claimed it did not put on fake races." p. 56. Don Radbruch, ‘Dirt Track Auto Racing 1919-1941"
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