Check out the first ever biography on the popular drag racer, Butch “The California Flash” Leal.
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 Stockers.
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.
Chapter 1: El Camino Le-al!
Chapter 2: Giddy Up, Giddy Up 409
Chapter 3: Beginning the Year with One Brand and Finishing it with Another
Chapter 4: Thunderbolts and Lightweights
Chapter 5: Funny Looking but Fast
Chapter 6: When Funny Business Becomes Serious
Chapter 7: Put a Dodge in Your Garage
Chapter 8: Match Racing Mickey’s Mustang
Chapter 9: Back to Bowties
Chapter 10: “Hello Chrysler, This is the Flash Calling!”
Chapter 11: Duster Do x 2
Chapter 12: The Most-Feared Car in Super Stock
Chapter 13: The Direct Connection Era
Chapter 14: The Flash Gets Hooked on Golf
Chapter 15: The Horizon
Chapter 16: The Rod Shop Years
Chapter 17: Leal Family Scrapbook
Appendix: Butch Leal’s Racing Accomplishments