Clutch Burners car show brings young, old owners together
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
May 07, 2014 | 3511 views | 0 0 comments | 98 98 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Picnic in the park
More than 100 vehicles of various makes and models, all from 1972 or earlier, were on display at the 24th annual Picnic in the Park car show Saturday in Dr. Powers Park, hosted by Tracy Clutch Burners car club. Denise Ellen Rizzo/Tracy Press
view slideshow (4 images)
As a gentle breeze flowed through Dr. Powers Park on Saturday, Colby Haskell guided a bright red duster over her 1939 Chevy sedan at the 24th annual Picnic in the Park car show.

The car has been a common sight at the Tracy Clutch Burners car show for the past four years, and recently the 12-year-old Tracy girl inherited it from her late grandmother Jean Kraft.

It was one of her grandmother’s last wishes, Colby said, adding with a shy smile, “It’s bittersweet.”

According to Colby’s mother, Cynthia Haskell, the car originally belonged to Colby’s grandfather Ray Kraft. He was in the process of restoring it when he died. His wife decided to complete the project and show it in Tracy starting in 2010.

The sedan was one of more than 350 classic cars on display in the park Saturday and received special recognition.

Mike Conners, the president of Tracy Clutch Burners, which sponsored the event, said telling the histories of the cars is vital.

“It’s interesting to hear their stories,” he said. “It’s really a treat to talk to somebody else other than your own (car) club members. They’re a special breed of person. We know what it took to get our vehicles where they are (today).”

Throughout the park, onlookers saw a sea of shining chrome in a spectrum of colors and a variety of makes and models, all older than 1973.

Tracy resident Hal Zieska has been a fixture at the show for the past 17 years.

“Here, you get to see friends that you don’t see all year,” he said. “This is a very nice show. They do a really good job.”

Zieska — who spends eight hours a day in his shop — has completed several classic cars over the years, including the bright red 1955 Chevy Nomad he brought with him Saturday.

John Fruchey, the oldest member of the Clutch Burners, said he has found the show to be very popular with the community.

“It’s a friendly show,” he said. “We have a nice raffle, and people think conditions at the park are very good. A lot of folks like it. The colors of the cars show up a lot better in the sunlight, and at the same time they have shade with the trees.”

Taking the top awards at the show this year were President’s Trophy winner Jay O’Conner of Lodi for his 1961 Chevy Impala; Longest Distance Traveled trophy winner Bruce Peterson from South Dakota with his 1948 Buick special; and Hospice Award trophy winner Bill Nunn of Oakley for his 1955 Chevy Nomad. The club with the greatest attendance was the Boulevard Knights of Danville, which had more than 31 cars on display.

The club also presented outstanding recognition plaques to 25 show participants for the second year in a row.

Tracy Clutch Burners donated proceeds from the show to Hospice of San Joaquin and Tracy Interfaith Ministries.

Connors said club members are already planning next year’s show, which will mark their silver anniversary.

Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at or 830-4225.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet

We encourage readers to share online comments in this forum, but please keep them respectful and constructive. This is not a space for personal attacks, libelous statements, profanity or racist slurs. Comments that stray from the topic of the story or are found to contain abusive language are subject to removal at the Press’ discretion, and the writer responsible will be subject to being blocked from making further comments and have their past comments deleted. Readers may report inappropriate comments by e-mailing the editor at