The Gear Grinders Car Club Story

Over 85 years of comradery, racing and good times

Prior to joining the SCTA, the Gear Grinders of Bell were an established car club located in Bell, a small town southeast of Los Angeles. Although not a SCTA founding club of 1938, the Grinders join the association in 1940 and have been one of the top clubs since. Prior to the club joining the SCTA,  Gear Grinders raced in events ran by the Muroc Racing Association, the Russetta Timing Association, and at Harper and El Mirage dry lakes. Early racing was a side-by-side contest, with sometimes as many as 4 cars at the sametime, with the winner crossing the finish line first.

We will be expanding this section with a decade-by-decade photo and and key events, people, fastest times, successes and involvement with the SCTA.


When going slow is not an option.
We are a club first but racing is in our blood

2021 was another year of hard racing, a handful of new records, and steady member participation captured the Southern California Timing Association’s (SCTA) No. 1 Club Points Championship. The Gear Grinders are a family oriented racing club with many record holders that are second or third generation racers. One of the largest SCTA member clubs, Gear Grinder members currently hold many records both at El Mirage Dry Lake, The Mojave Mile, Muroc Dry Lake, and the legendary Bonneville Salt Flats. The Gear Grinder is also proud of the large number of motorcyclists members earning SCTA records and points.


Become a SCTA member with the Gear Grinders
The Gear Grinders car club meets on the first Thursday of every month;
Meeting place to be determined.

Come be a part of 85+ years of rich tradition and history with the SCTA.
We welcome both cars and motorcycles.
Guests and prospective members are always welcome to attend, no charge. Families welcome.
Contact Dan Chilson at (951) 757-7692 (cell) or

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Historical Roster Gear Grinders Historical Roster 082021
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Club Chronology Club Chronology
Gear Grinders Car Club History

The Gear Grinders of Bell were founded in the mid-30s. Jim Lindsley, Burke LeSage and a handful of other hot rodders decided to form a club.  A meeting  was called and the Gear Grinders of Bell was founded.  Not sure how many were in the club at first but the numbers grew in the next couple of years.

The club members were going to the dry lakes and running their cars.  Racing at the lakes was a challenge as there were only a few rules and basically no safety requirements for the cars.  In 1940 they joined the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA).

There were several dry lakes they ran on in the 1940’s including Harper, Muroc, Russetta and El Mirage.  During WWII, the military took over many of the lakebeds for emergency landstrips.  El Mirage would be the sole dry lake available for racing and continues to be today.

In the early days only roadsters were allowed in SCTA.  The early classes were roadsters, modified roadsters, lakesters and streamliners.  Coupes & Sedans would eventually be allowed after World War II (1948) and Motorcycles several years later (1950).

As the sport grew and the speeds increased, there was the need for a better race course, so SCTA went to Salt Lake and after much talking between the state of Utah and the racers they came to the agreement to use the Bonneville Salt Flats for one event in 1949.  The event was such a success that to this day the Bonneville Nationals Speed Week has become the event that folks all over the world gather to run their their race vehicles.

Over the years the Gear Grinders Club members have been key players in both the SCTA and the Bonneville Nationals, Inc. (BNI).  This includes club member participation on the SCTA Board, the BNI Board and as volunteers helping at both the lakebeds and Salt Flats in key positions needed to help run the events.  Like all other clubs this is donated time.  There are 10 other clubs in SCTA that add support and duties to all events.

The competition between clubs for the number one award is always close each year.  Points and new records are what every club strives for 6 times a year on a dry lake in southern California from May to November.  Speed Week at Bonneville is not part of the points race.

Many volunteer hours are still part of the club duties.  Every club has assigned duties and positions that are required to allow a successful  timing meet.

The Gear Grinders are one of the largest clubs with nearly 100 members.

Looking back at the early members and today’s membership it is awesome to have a club of this size and realize how many club members have set records over the years, the club has some members with over 60 years of membership, and hearing some of the stories about the early years is a treat.

Join us.