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Born and raised in central California, Larry “Butch” Leal
was obsessed with cars from a very early age. What began
with field cars turned into hard work and new Chevrolets.
This took place when the golden era of drag racing was in
its infancy, and Leal joined with enthusiasm. He performed
well at the track with his early Chevys and had an impressive
number of wins before he was out of high school. His
success brought him plenty of attention and collaboration
with other big names in the sport.
In 1963, GM pulled out of the sport on an official basis.
As a result, Butch (at age 19) teamed up with Mickey
Thompson and joined the Ford camp, securing a ride with
the factory team and its new Thunderbolts for 1964. After
his success that season, including winning the Super Stock
(S/S) class at the 1964 NHRA US Nationals in Indianapolis,
Chrysler came calling, and Butch signed on to race the new
altered-wheelbase cars in match races for 1965, as the
NHRA did not have a class for these new “funny” looking
cars. While Leal dabbled again with Ford and Chevrolet
later, his relationship with Chrysler lasted well into the
following decades, running both Funny Cars and Super
Penned by talented automotive historian Bob McClurg,
who was there for it all, and featuring full collaboration with
the book’s subject, Butch “The California Flash” Leal covers
the span of his fascinating career during arguably the
most interesting era in drag racing history. Butch was an
11-time NHRA champion and 4-time recipient of Car Craft
magazine’s All-Star Driver of the Year award in a career
that spanned the 1960s through the 1990s. It’s all here, the
events, great vintage photography, and the stories from one
of the best storytellers the NHRA has ever known. Add this
entertaining volume to your drag racing library today.
• This is the first ever biography on Butch “The California
• It is filled with never-before-seen vintage drag racing
• Leal is a great storyteller; he shared many stories for
Author: Bob McClurg
Author Bio: Veteran automotive journalist Bob McClurg grew up in 1950s Southern California, where he was surrounded (and heavily influenced) by early hot rod culture. McClurg’s photojournalism career spans 40 years, writing and shooting for the most influential magazines as well as authoring books for CarTech. His previous titles include Diggers, Funnies, Gassers, and Altereds; Yenko; Fire, Nitro, Rubber, and Smoke; How to Build Supercharged and Turbocharged Small-Block Fords; How to Install and Tune Nitrous Oxide Systems, The Tasca Ford Legacy, and more.
Binding Type: Paperback
Illustrations: 135 b/w & 140 color photos
Dimensions: 8.5 x 11”