Wondergem owned one of the race cars at the track Saturday, but not the one involved in the crash, Read said.
Wondergem is a former sprint car driver who after retirement provided a race car for his son and then for another driver, said Bob Burbach, the announcer at the Marysville racetrack, who said he first met Wondergem 21 years ago.
"Wondergem was a racer in the purest sense of the word," Burbach told the Marysville Appeal-Democrat. "I knew Dale personally as a kind, gregarious and positively motivated individual."
The Wondergem family declined to comment to The Associated Press on Monday.
Chase Johnson, a senior at Petaluma High School north of San Francisco, is an accomplished race car driver whose father, grandfather and great-grandfather were also champion drivers at the Petaluma Speedway, where Chase was last year's series champion.
"There are no words to express our sorrow. Our family has been racing for four generations and loves the sport that has now brought us so much pain," Don Johnson, the driver's father and victim's uncle, said in a statement on behalf of his family.
The sprint car circuit, where small, high-powered vehicles race on short dirt ovals, is considered a stepping stone to higher level circuits like NASCAR. Many drivers start racing when they're as young as 15, as Chase Johnson did.
Saturday's crash was the second fatal accident at the Marysville Raceway Park in three years. In August 2010, Merle Shepherd of Rio Linda was killed during the Big Rig Trucks exhibition when his truck collided with another vehicle.
Marysville Raceway officials did not immediately return requests for comment Monday.