Milepost #962

February 13, 2020

By Bill Pumford, Image from Russ Keller Collection

CRESTLINE RACING AT ORANGE SHOW SPEEDWAY: This week’s image is a photo of a vehicle racing at the Orange Show Speedway in April of 1961. The photo is from a negative acquired by Russ Keller on eBay. A rather unique picture. The car pictured was sponsored by Ace & Walt Garage and Marty’s Union Oil Service Station both from Crestline. The Ace & Walt Garage was located on Crest Forest Drive where Davis Auto Body & Paint is now, and Marty’s was located on the corner of Crest Forest Drive and Highway 138 where the Top Town Garage is now. Both places were in Top of the Hill (referred to as “Top Town” today). The Ace & Walt Garage has a famous but a rather sad part in the history of Crestline. Euro Luigi (Ace) Bertolo was shot to death in May of 1962 right outside his garage in Crestline. Robert Choate committed the crime in view of several witnesses, and he was convicted of second-degree murder. In 1970 Robert Choate was released from prison and was granted the right to have a new trial but died in a motor vehicle accident before the trial could begin. His brother, Walt, carried on with operation of the garage until his death in August of 1974. The murder of Ace is covered extensively in Russ Keller’s annual talk entitled “Murders with a Crestline Connection.” Other notable Crestline residents that raced at the Orange Show Speedway’s ¼ mile track were Hal Minyard in Indianapolis-type sprint cars and midgets in the 1950’s and 1960’s, Dan Paulus in the Street Stock class in 1970’s and 1980’s and Jim Arnold running in Super Modified class in the 1980’s.

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