Services and Celebration of Duane's Life were Saturday, February 17th at Elkhorn Country Club in Stockton, Ca. At 2 pm. Directions: Eight Mile Rd. to Davis Rd, go south to 1050 Elkhorn Dr.
Originally Published Wednesday, February 14, 2001
By Scott Linesburgh
Record Staff Writer
Duane Borovec came to the sport of auto racing late in his life, but used his varying experiences and ability to work with people to build a reputation as a innovative track manager at Stockton 99 Speedway.
Borovec, 60, passed away at his Stockton home on Tuesday after a battle with cancer. He spent many years in broadcasting and advertising before getting involved in auto racing, including 18 years at KCRA-TV and ran his own company when not attending to Stockton 99 business.
''He was a very dedicated person,'' Stockton 99 media relations director Jim Shiels said. ''His heart was always in whatever he was doing.''
In his almost six seasons at track manager, Borovec helped form the successful NASCAR Tri-Track Challenge series for Late Model Sportsman and introduced racer-friendly initiatives such as holding practices on the Friday's before Saturday races to allow teams to test their cars.
Stockton 99 Late Model Sportsman director Ken Gross said Borovec, know as ''Boro'' to his friends, was a excellent track manager and a better friend.
''He will be sorely missed,'' Gross said. ''There's going to be a big void in my life. The racing fraternity has suffered a big loss. He was the rock. You could call him and he'd never fail to answer that phone. A true friend.''
Gross said he spoke to Borovec on the phone on Monday evening.
''He wasn't feeling well, but I told him we had a friendship to carry on and a speedway to run,'' Gross said. ''He said 'don't worry, I'll be there.' And spiritually, I know he will always be there with us.''
Borovec did not become involved in auto racing until the early 1990s and took over as track manager eight races into the 1995 season. But Borovec quickly proved he could pick up the nuances of the sport and was capable of listening to the ideas of others.
''He always tried to do what was right,'' said two-time Late Model champion Harry Belletto of Modesto. '' Each year he understood more about the needs of racers and how to run the track. Each year was better and better, and it would have continued to get better. It's a sad day for the racing community.''
David Philpott of Tracy, also a two-time late Model Sportsman champion at Stockton 99, said Borovec's varying experiences gave him a different perspective.
''In the racing community most of us are jumpy and set in our ways,'' Philpott said. ''Duane looked at it differently, and that was a good thing. He was open-minded and willing to listen if you had a complaint. He knew how to work with people.''
Chris Hunefeld, who along with his father Bob are co-owners of Stockton 99 in charge of the property, said Borovec's media experience was important.
''What stands out about Duane is that he brought us a media expertise that we've never had before,'' Chris Hunefeld said. ''There's a lot more business to a track than just racing. What Duane was good at was getting experts to handle the racing while he handled a lot of the other details.''
Bob Hunefeld said the idea to offer more practice time was designed to forge a good relationship with the drivers.
''Duane was a good, honest businessman, and he realized that was a good thing for both the drivers and the track,'' Bob Hunefeld said.
Borovec, who graduated from Washington State University, started at KCRA-TV in 1966 and left in 1984 to join an advertising firm and in 1992 formed his own company, DHB Media.
He spent a short time as the sports director at KCRA-TV and also worked in the news department and commercial production. Kent Pierce, who spent 27 years at KCRA-TV and started the same year as Borovec, said the two had maintained a close friendship.
''Boro could make anyone smile,'' Pierce said. ''If you took yourself too seriously, he could get you out of that fast. Duane was always a great communicator and friend, and I'll miss him.''
Borovec is survived by his wife Terri, son Bryan Borovec of Chehalis, Wash. and step-son Bill Womeldorf Jr. of Sacramento.
Note: The 2001 Racing Season at Stockton 99 Speedway is dedicated to the memory of our friend, Duane Borovec.
* To reach reporter Scott Linesburgh, phone 546-8281 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org