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.   #500  -  This is our 500th weekday “Photo of the Day.” In the two and a half years that we have been posting them, the photo above is our favorite. It actually first appeared in a . It is especially meaningful to us at Coastal 181. It was shot by Cary Stratton when she was pitside at Belle-Claire (IL) Speedway with some of our very closest racing friends, Rick and Joyce Standridge. That’s Rick doing his thing. For us the image perfectly captures the incredible, irrepressible spirit of this country and its racing community. It is the image of total self-reliance, doing so much with so little. And you should have seen him go in the feature! (Coastal 181 Photo) four #499  -  Former New England photographer and modified competitor at Seekonk (MA) Speedway Craig Whyte moved South to stay warm. Here’s what he had to say about the skating match he recorded at Screven Motor Speedway in Sylvania, GA, this Feb. 11. “The driver on the left side is Brandon Sheppard from New Berlin, WI, and the orange car is Chub Frank from Bear Lake, PA, both World of Outlaw regulars. Tony Stewart won the sprint feature that night, and the track was frozen! We had a cold spell and temps were in the 20s. Thought I was back in Rhode Island.” Photo and caption by Craig Whyte, FOUR #498  -  Since the announcement of his rightful induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame, there have been legion images of Richie Evans floating around the Internet. In this particular shot from Trenton, however, the playful “Rapid Roman” seemed more interested in the kiss than in the silver of victory. Not sure about Pat Romano, the trophy girl. (R.N. Masser, Jr. Photo, Dick Berggren Collection) FOUR #497  -  It's a dozen years now since the great Lou Lazzarro died after pulling in from the feature at Fonda (NY) Speedway, but his image still burns bright. You could say there were four notable consistencies about "the Monk." First was that series of battered maroon bodies, always (and appropriately) number 4. Second, he was -- no contest -- the guy who had spent less to get to the races than anyone else on any given night. Third, he probably won the feature. And fourth was Blackie, his constant companion. How that Shepherd howled when Louie passed away. (Coastal181 Collection) FOUR #496  -  The surprised look on this woman’s face is because Rene Charland has just pinched her – yet another unsuspecting victim of the notorious jokester’s pranks back in the day. “The Champ” was also a four-time NASCAR National Champion in the 1960s. He is currently living in the Wilkinson Residential Health Care Facility in Amsterdam, NY. Apparently, when awake, he reliably asks the nurse to marry him. (Miller Photo) FOUR #495  -  He’s everybody’s buddy, as cheery as they come, but still Al Robinson is known as the Prince of Darkness. That’s because of his info-packed overnight performances announcing the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway. He also called the show at Watkins Glen for years, at New Hampshire, Shangri-La II and any short track lucky enough to get him. Here he is several years ago at a benefit for the Spalding Foundation for Injured Drivers, with buddies Ray Evernham and Ken Schrader. Last May, though, Al suffered a severe stroke and is still recovering. Now the Spalding Foundation, Shangri-La II and many of Al’s friends are getting together to throw a major fundraiser for him at Shangri-La on the weekend of May 11-12, 2012. For details on the event or to make a contribution, contact Betty Sherwood at the Spalding Foundation, . (D & J Fotos) 4 #494  -  Queen of the Tearoff? Think how many Amy Gray Swindell has stacked on those helmet posts! She toured the States each year with her standout racer dad, Elmer Gray. Here she’s shown getting Sammy’s hat ready in 1982. Thirty years later she’s still at it, keeping both Sammy and their son Kevin clairvoyant for their sweep of the 2012 Chili Bowl. (Dick Berggren Photo) FOUR #493  -  At the Seymour Family’s Racer’s Expo this year the theme was again largely for oval track competitors. However, a very welcome drag racing contingent appeared in force, including New England Dragway and Camco Racing Engines. Much to the delight of the roundy-rounders, Jon Wall lifted the lid of “The Boogieman,” a Blown 1934 Ford Funny Car, and answered a million question about what it’s like to take the green with 540 cubic inches of Ford big block up front. (Norm Marx Photo) four #492  -  Dick Mills was head-turnin’ ready for the 1967 spring opener at Lee (NH) Raceway and other New England venues. Like most builders of the day, he had stopped by the local junk yard for ideas, parts, and pieces. An airplane sitting there caught his fancy. He grabbed the landing gear hydraulics, plumbed it all up with backhoe controls, and his rail frame became springless. The engine was a ’57 Caddy with a four barrel, funneling power through an automatic transmission. The five-become-three window ’37 Ford shell was crowned with an early wing, and the sidepods covered the battery and three five-gallon GI cans for fuel. “The Invader” was way fast, but Mills never could develop its full potential. Apparently, the Tech Inspectors were not amused.
(Dick Mills Collection)
FOUR #491  -  In his book , Pete Lyons presents some reasons that New Zealander Denny Hulme, the 1967 FI World Champ, was nicknamed “The Bear”: A McLaren fabricator told me about one day proudly showing Denny an elaborate new throttle mechanism he’d worked up, guaranteed to operate smoothly without jamming. “The bloke picked it up and just twisted it with those big ’ands of ’is, and the bloody thing bent like a pretzel. I mean he knackered it. He gave it back and said, ‘Make it stronger and walked off.’” From , by Pete Lyons. (Pete Lyons Photo) FOUR #490  -  It has been unusually warm for February up here in the Northeast, and some of the people are acting little abnormal, too. ISMA Supermodified stars Scotty Martel and Chris Perley thought they would take in rare mid-winter round of golf. As you can see, Chris made sure that Scotty would be all set when he walked up to make his first drive. (Coastal Psychiatry Associates Photo) FOUR #489  -  This photo and caption comes from Walt Wimer, noted racing historian and everyone’s favorite resident of Butler, PA. Check out this car. That ain’t no flathead! Walt writes, “Altoona, PA’s great Johnny Grum passed away on January 27, 2012 at age 82. Grum saw it all and did it all when it came to dirt track racing from the coupes to Super-Modifieds, Sprints Cars, Late Models and even a couple of years in Street Stocks to close out his career. He started out in 1950 at the long-gone Tipton Speedway driving a 1940 Ford. Later he later became a front runner in the Modified coupes with the old Penn-Western Racing Association, running at such tracks at Greater Johnstown, Latrobe and Jennerstown. Later he teamed up with Windber car owner Joe Horner in the #46 cut down coupe Modified. In 1966 Grum heard about a radical Super-Modified car being put together by Harry Fletcher down in Maryland. The car was called the "sidewinder," a low slung Ford powered Super. It was quite different from what anyone else was running about the time of the transition from the Supers to Sprint Cars in the central PA area. With the # 66 "sidewinder" Grum won more than his share with victories at Port Royal, Hagerstown, Everett and Bedford.” (Walt Wimer Photography) four #488  -  It’s a beautiful thing. That’s the line up for the Golden Wheels event at the East Wenatchee Speedway in Wenatchee, WA. Pam Shatraw and the gang at Vintage Oval Racing magazine keeps everyone up on the wheel with vintage events across the country. They’re at . (Photo by Tom Hanna) four #487  -  In August 2010, 100-time modified winner, Jared Landers, showed up at Batesville (AR) Speedway, one of his home tracks, to take on the Lucas Oil Dirt Series’ “Topless 100” in a Super Late Model. He was on a mission. But on Saturday it rained out. Jared was up all night, fretting, obsessing about tires and setups. When the sun came up, it was blazing hot. But, when the green flag dropped, Landers realized he had a shot at it. And win he did, his first late model feature, worth ,000. In Victory Lane he was whipped – totally exhausted. “I don’t think I took a breath the whole race,” he gasped, descending to the track surface. And SPEED TV’s Dave Argabright reported, “Of all the interviews I’ve ever done, this was the first one not in the vertical mode!”
(C. Wesley Richardson Photography, )
four #486  -  When you go to buy a subscription to the new Speedway Illustrated magazine (), be careful if the Editor, Karl Fredrickson, is on the other side of the table. Granted, he looks kinda normal, but hang on for what might happen next. About ten years ago, he called one day and asked if he could borrow something for his racing effort. We said sure and he came over and took a whole dirt modified – for a year. More recently he called and mentioned, by the way, that he had just gone for an interesting ride – this time with the Blue Angels! But the most recent revelation really hit home. Seems he was in Las Vegas a few weeks ago and stopped by a barroom. Outraged at the cost of a drink, he asked about any specials. There was one, the Diablo, that offered four vodka tonics in one glass with a customer-friendly price sticker. He bought and dispatched it forthwith. Then he heard about the Stratosphere. Not the hotel itself, but the jump off the top – and someone told him his buddy Carl (with a “C” as in Carl Edwards) had previously done it. So up went Karl, and down he came via bungee….108 stories. You could say it was Diablo-fueled, but I think it’s something more ingrained – and much scarier!
(Norm Marx Photo at Seymour Enterprises Racer’s Expo)
four #485  -  Car owner Mario Fiore and his former driver, Reggie RuggIero, were inducted into the NEAR (New England) Hall of Fame a couple of weeks ago. The duo sure made some kind of music with the #44 East Coast modified. Arguably, their highest note came at the Race of Champions at Pocono in 1988. Following a qualifying snafu, the team started out back of the band, in 50th place. They won. The inductor, Bones Bourcier, speculates that they came up from deeper than anyone in NASCAR history. (Mario Fiore Collection) FOUR #484  -  Though In his mid-fifties, no question Sprint Car Hall of Famer Rip Williams can still stir up a cushion. But the Ripper is looking a little professorial these days with that graying ’stash and his hair parted in the middle. Maybe that’s because he’s often in class, teaching all his boys (Austin, Cody, and Logan) to be fast and safe in their sprinters. (John Dadalt photo) four #483  -  Lone Star J.R., otherwise known as Johnny Rutherford, was born in Coffeyville, Kansas. But most of his life has been based out of Fort Worth, near where he started racing modifieds in the 1950s. He quickly moved on to midgets, sprints and Indy cars, but not without some challenges along the way. In 1966, he broke both arms in an Eldora flip. Two years later he badly burned his hands at Phoenix, but undeterred, he went on to join that elite club of three-time Indy 500 winners. J.R. was also one of the first big-time racers to recognize the value of good looks and smooth talk. It got him a job as a television analyst when the driving career ended (ironically, in part because of an influx of good-looking, smooth-talking, well-monied foreign drivers). (Joyce Standridge Photo and Caption) four #482  -  It was conditioned clay, lovely ladies, and total testosterone at Reading (PA) Fairgrounds modifieds in the ‘70s Here are three of the best: Kenny Brightbill (L), Gerald Chamberlin, and Bud Olsen. (Coastal 181 Collection) four #481 - That ever-engaging Dynamite Dave Dion is now living in Florida, and he’s at it again. For decades the Northeast’s most popular late model driver and subject of our very popular book , by Dave Moody of MRN and Sirius Radio, Dion is on the Board of the Living Legends of Auto Racing in Daytona. LLOAR goes into high gear during Speedweeks. Dave invites everyone to the LLOAR autograph signing at the Shores Hotel on Feb 21, LLOAR’s fabulous annual banquet on Feb. 22 (), and the brandy new bus tour on Feb. 24. More info is at .

The previous Saturday (Feb. 18) there’s another cool event to take in. For the first time ever the town of Daytona Beach Shores is conducting a celebration to commemorate the North and South turns of the original beach course. LLOAR has contacted all living drivers who actually competed on the beach and many plan to attend, including Glen Wood and Richard Petty. There will be a beach parade down A1A at 9:00 a.m. for all race cars up to 1958 vintage (the last year on the beach course). More info on that event at .
Note the Surprise Special offer for on our home page. We’ll fire a copy off to you with no shipping charge (along with Dave’s classic driver card) so he can sign it for you. Be sure to meet him. They don’t make ’em like him anymore!
(Photo Dion Family Collection)

four #480  -  That’s Mario Andretti next to the Mataka Bros. ARDC midget at Thompson (CT) Speedway. He finished third that day. Mario reflects in his 1994 biography, ANDRETTI, “If I had stopped and really reflected on the danger just once, I probably never would have stepped back in a race car. As realistic as you wanted to be, you almost didn’t want to think about it. I was driven by something different. I was driven by the desire to win at all costs. But I didn’t want to know what the costs were.” From ANDRETTI, by Mario Andretti, with Foreword by Paul Newman. FOUR #479  -  This Photo of the Day comes to us from popular Speedway Illustrated and Coastal 181 journalist Joyce Standridge, who describes a bit of international travel with her racy husband, Rick. “Six times we went to England to race what they call Formula 1 Stock Cars. They resemble our sprint cars but are much heavier and they entertain the crowds with "contact" racing. It's not demo derby, but it's certainly not dainty either. We met racers from all over the world and always had a wonderful time with our English hosts, too. Although we haven't been over since 2002, we understand that people still ask after Rick. Maybe it's because he gained the nickname "Rollover Rick." You can kinda guess how he came by that. However, he also is the highest finishing American ever in the 40-year history of the World Final with an 11th place run in 1996. Considering how different the racing is and how there's very little time to adapt–and how many Dutchmen tried to ram him into the fence (succeeding a couple of times), 11th is almost like winning!” (Mike Greenwood photo) four #478  -  Time for everyone to lose that winter funk, get into the garage, and get ready. You can bet this guy is. (John Dadalt Photo) FOUR #477  -  He was only 16, but Glen Andrews had quick wits.  At Oxford Plains (Maine) Speedway in 1951, Roger Eliot replaced Stan Dodge, the regular starter who missed only this date in three years.  At the end of the feature, Eliot was a little too enthusiastic about waving the checkered.  He stepped out into the path of fourth-place finisher, Buster Burt.  Burt tried to swerve, but he clipped Eliot before crashing mightily into the grandstand wall.  Andrews, who was coming off the fourth turn, saw the carnage and purposefully flipped his car to block the track.  Unfortunately, Eliot was pretty beaten up.  He died in the hospital that October.  From OXFORD PLAINS SPEEDWAY – the First Three Years, 1950-1952, by Floyd “Zeke” Trask. four

#476  -  New York State Stock Car Association’s Hall of Fame honored Walt Mitchell a week ago.  Walt won over 300 features over a 35-year run.  You’ve got to be one talented gasser to do that, and in order to do it as both and owner and driver, you have to be pretty enterprising, too.  Walt told a story about the time he took his daughter for a dental check-up.  Turned out she needed some major work – 00 worth, with a 0 down payment.  That was huge back then, but Walt said “no problem.”  He made sure to run Fulton that weekend because they paid 0 to win.  He and his daughter were right back in the dentist’s office bright and early Monday morning. (Dave Dalesandro Photo)

FOUR #475  -  This was June 23, 1955 at Reading (PA) Speedway. Reading had its way of wadding up cars, even back then. Where do you think Moose Moore’s driver’s seat ended up? Moose had everything back together the next weekend. He was busy minding his broken arm and multiple abrasions to face and body. (Photos Michael Ritter Collection) FOUR #474  -  It was one emotionally charged moment when Rick Eckert chugged into Victory Lane at the Dirt Track at Charlotte last November. His twelfth-place finish secured the WoO late model championship, and he was met with an embrace from Barb Vest. Barb’s husband Raye, a popular and successful business man and late model team owner, died in 2009, having supported the Eckert operation for many years. Rick said, “He was the best car owner any driver could ask for. He loved racing more than anyone else I have known.” (David Dalesandro Photography) four #473  -  In 1957, two years after his father’s death, Billy Vukovich Jr. was collecting autographs at the indoor midget races in Oakland. Here he’s catching up with roadster-era hero Bob Veith. Ten years later, Billy won the Californian Indoor Championship for himself. From , by Tom Motter. (Russ Reed Photo) four #472  -  Any Supermodified fan in the world can tell you about the Rowley Rocket’s amazing racing resume. But to watch Chris Perley drive is a whole different matter. He seems unencumbered by the normal demands of homo sapiens – things like having to back off going into a turn. Is he the best winged Super driver…ever?
(David Dalesandro Photography)
four #471  -  Stan Lee (L) was one of those early midget guys who was also into flying. In fact, he was Continental Airlines’ top-ranked pilot. It is said he made big bucks flying shuttles to Southeast Asia during the Vietnam era. Good thing, because he likely spent a ton on his very fast #66 USAC midget. Here he is in victory circle with driver Mel Kenyon at Ascot in February 1973. That’s promoter J.C. Agajanian in the cowboy hat, but, quite understandably, Stan seems more interested in the trophy presenter, June Wilkinson. From , by Bill Hill. (Dick Wallen Productions Collection) four #470  -  If ever a race course was AC-DC, it has to be Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY. The spiffy half-miler was built by Joe Lesik in 1965 and hosted amazing asphalt modified competition. By the mid-seventies, the facility, then owned by Chuck Richards, was covered with clay and became a Friday night Mecca for the center-steer dirt mods. But in 2010, the identity crisis continued, and Bruce Richards swept away the dirt. Right from the get-go, the fan base did not react well to the second-time-around asphalt. Howie Commander, majordomo of the legendary Lebanon Valley Speedway, appeared last fall with dump trucks and graders and will offer up broadsliding once again this summer. As good guy Dave Dalesandro’s recent photo shows, dirt really is beautiful in the Capital District of the Empire State. (David Dalesandro Photography) four #469  -  Michael Ritter of MiBest Collectibles has lots of neat memorabilia. But this image really seems over the top. It’s Allentown, PA, with the sprinters right before the War, likely 1939. Much has been written about the oft-tested bravery of the drivers in those dusty days before belts, cages, and fire equipment. Not so much has been discussed, however, about the apparent eagerness of the fans to get right on top of the action. (Michael Ritter Collection) four #468  -  Few racing fans are unaware of the huge records built up in seasons past by East Coast dirt tracker Glen Fitzcharles (L) and South Dakota’s own Doug Wolfgang. But the one who really raised the eyebrows at the Coastal 181 booth at Motorsports 2012 in Oaks, PA, this past weekend was Glen’s granddaughter, Shayna Texter. The 95-pound 20-year-old motorcyclist is beyond fast on bikes. Just some of her accomplishments in 2010 alone were becoming the first female ever to win a motorcycle Grand National Event, capturing AMA's Most Dedicated Rider Award, and sweeping the CNG main event on the storied half-miler at Knoxville, Iowa.
(Frank Simek Photo)
four #467  -  When you think of East Coast car owner/chassis genius Bob Judkins, it is hard not to envy his energy level. At how many races have you seen those racy red 2x modifieds dominate over the years? How many stellar shoes have sat in those seats: Jim Hurtubise, Jerry Marquis, Ed Flemke, Fats Caruso, Bugs Stevens, Gene Bergin, Kenny Shoemaker, etc., etc., etc. And the beat just goes on. Last summer Bob and wife Angie towed all the way up from Edgewater, FL, with the current 2x to run a show at Seekonk (MA) Speedway, just a couple of laps from Providence, RI. Bob’s grandson, Ryan Preece (R), had the honors and hustled the family hot rod to a seventh-place finish. (David Dalesandro Photo) four #466  -  One of the most competent of all the East Coast dirt trackers in the 1950s was Steve Danish of Cropseyville, NY. The garage owner started racing later in life than most but exhibited world-class talent as both a builder and a driver right from the start. Somewhat an Eddie Flemke of the clay, Danish often policed younger and overly enthusiastic competitors. Some considered him a bit stern. However, it sure seems he was enjoying this day at a Go-Kart event on 9/9/61 in Meco, NY. The photographer, Frank Simek, speculates that he must have gotten a deal. FOUR #465  -  Englishman Len Terry looks on while Dan Gurney tries out a mock-up cockpit of what would become his F1 Eagle. He went on to win the 1967 Belgian Grand Prix. It thus became the first and only car produced in America to win a Formula 1 race in the modern era. From , by John Zimmerman. (AAR Archives) four #464  -  Liverpool, New York’s good guy, Irish Jack Murphy, is frequently observed overseeing the action at ISMA super shows these days. But for the summers between 1949 and 1970, he was looking out of the cockpit of supers and modifieds, dirt and asphalt. He was sumthin’. He’s shown here confidently carrying his Shamrock #6 into turn one in his time trial for the 1973 Oswego Classic. He got to the track too late to even warm up. So, he heated his tires with an acetylene torch and off he went. He set third-quick time. From , by George Caruso Jr. with Carol D. Haynes. FOUR #463  -  The late Jack Thomasson (L) of Spray, NC, also known as Perk Brown, was one red hot racer in the Southeast back in the 1960s, especially aboard Bill Mason’s #45 Chevy coach modified. He must also have been a pretty engaged father. Here Perk Brown Jr. gets to accept the victory kiss after one of Dad’s legion wins at Martinsville. From DUST TO GLORY: The Story of Clay Earles and the NASCAR-Sanctioned Martinsville Speedway, by Morris Stephenson. four #462  -  Jim Chini’s photographs are treasures of preservation. Here, in one image, he is able to capture the astounding driving competence of “Lone Star J.R.” Johnny Rutherford is wheeling the MOOG St. Louis #2 to a sixth-place finish at the Sacramento mile in 1965. Note the stoic calm of his posture and gentle but confident grip on the wheel, while the chassis twists and that Offy screams for Heaven. From , by Tom Motter. (Jim Chini Photo) FOUR #461  -  Even during his days behind the wheel, Ned Jarrett was known as “Gentleman Ned” for his sensible, measured demeanor. That did not mean he was not on the gas. He ran his last race on October 30, 1966 as reigning champion. That day at Rockingham, he accidentally triggered his fire extinguisher and was forced to make an unscheduled visit to the pits. He got third anyway. From NASCAR LEGENDS, by Don Hunter and Ben White. (Don Hunter Photo) FOUR #460  -  Sprint car superstars, Doug Wolfgang (L) and Brad Doty were ready to go in early March 1985 at Devil’s Bowl Speedway down in Mesquite, TX. On January 20 and 21 they will be together again, signing their books, and , along with author Dave Argabright, at the Coastal 181 display at Motorsports 2012 . Wonder who will sell more? But to get them going, you could ask them who was faster. From LONE WOLF, by Doug Wolfgang with Dave Argabright. (Max Dolder Photo) four #459  -  “Rapid Ralph” Denson was a journeyman flathead racer from Mexico, NY. He got caught up with supermodifieds in the early 1960s. What he remembered most about his racing days at Oswego “was coming out of it alive, I guess. I had two accidents, and they were good ones.” This one sure qualifies. He hit the pit entrance. (Gater Racing News 1969 Oval Racing Yearbook) FOUR #458  -  It’s the Brothers Reutimann, Buzzie and Wayne, of the ultra-popular and successful racing family from Zephyrhills, Florida. They were close this day at Nazareth Speedway up in Pennsylvania back in the seventies, Buzzie in his Dave Cruickshank #00 and Wayne aboard Rich Marinelli’s M-1. They still are close and will be joining the Coastal 181 display at Motorsports 2012 in Oaks, PA next week. . From , by Lew Boyd.
(Photo Richard Marinelli Collection)
four #457  -  Our friend, the highly polished photographer John Dadalt, sent along this image to torture us for not being headed for Tulsa.  As of last Friday (January 6, 2012), 261 competitors were on the way to Chili Bowl, version 26. Share the pain! FOUR #456  -  In Brian Donovan’s book , Scott talks about walking up to the pay-off window after his first Grand National start. “It was the guys who were racing more of less in my bracket – the ones with no financial backing. Bob Colvin was handing out 0 or 0 apiece to these guys to get home on. Colvin would give them the money and have them sign their name for it. I went over and got in line. When my turn came at the window, Bob Colvin looked up and said, ‘Nigger, you better git yo’ ass back up that road.” (Photo from DUST TO GLORY – the Story of Clay Earles and The NASCAR-Sanctioned Martinsville Speedway, by Morris Stephenson.) four #455  -  Derek Daley had a ways to go. Here he was in 1969 at 16, driving his first car, a ’52 Ford Anglia. He would advance through the Indy 500, the Grand Prix of Monaco, and the 24 hours of Le Mans before writing , a book, says Mario Andretti, that “teaches lessons it took guys like me years to learn.” (Derek Daley Collection) four #454  -  Mark Donohue won the 1972 Indy 500, a first for the Penske team. After the 1973 race, however, with all the tragedy and the loss of his friend Swede Savage, Donohue announced his retirement from the driver’s seat. However, the winds of change would blow again the following year. On December 14, 1974, he married Eden White, moved to England, and prepared for the 1975 Formula One season, now with a Penske PD1. For the Austrian Grand Prix, they switched to a March. He was fast and was turning over 150 mph on the long pit straight when the left front blew and the car ramped over the guard rail. He was conscious afterwards, talking to Eden, Mario Andretti, and others before bowing to incredible head pain. He was rushed to the hospital and into surgery to remove a blood clot, but he died the following Tuesday night. From , by Michael Argetsinger. (Eden Donohue Rafshoon Collection) FOUR #453  -  Four-wide drag racing isn’t exactly new. This is York (PA) Dragway in July 1969 when Bill Jenkins dusted off Dyno Dan Nicholson, Steve Kanuika, and Ronnie Sox with a 9.84 second pass. “Grumpy Bill” will be signing his newest book for us at Area Auto Racing News’ MOTORSPORTS 2012 show on Saturday, January 21 in Oaks, PA. From , by Doug Boyce (Jeff Tinsley Photo) four #452  -  Who can really say whether the racing was better 65 years ago at Martinsville, VA, than it is today? But, as Red Byron (L), winner of the first race, and Bill France Sr. so aptly demonstrate, the head gear sure was cooler. From DUST TO GLORY: The Story of Clay Earles and the NASCAR-Sanctioned Martinsville Speedway, by Morris Stephenson. four #451  -  A sight to warm a racer’s heart in December. That’s the fabulously fast – and intimidating – Devil’s Bowl Speedway in Mesquite, TX. The sprawling facility tests sprinters and late models weekly on a track that runs up and down hill. Note how high the backstretch is relative to the front. Incredibly, this year will be its 40th under the steady leadership of Lannie and Beverly Edwards, who are busy at the moment prepping for their little off-season gig in Tulsa, the Chili Bowl. (Photo by Coastal 181) hpot #450  -  At the time they were the big boys. And they still are to anyone who ever saw them race. Leaning on the aero package is Bill Slater, the New England-based weekend racer who won everything available to win. He almost always was aboard a black coupe with dramatic yellow lettering, #V8, “the Connecticut Valley Rocket.” In the middle is Ed Flemke, asphalt modified racing’s acknowledged professor, as so well articulated in Bones Bourcier’s book . He’s wearing one of those wonderful Judkins 2x jackets, a big collector’s item these days. And on the right, topped and tailed in clothes he may now choose to forget, is Pete Hamilton, fresh off his victory in the 1970 Daytona 500 in the Petty Enterprises #40 Superbird. (The late Neil Murray Collection)
FOUR #449  -  When the motors shut off, the shouting got started. It was a NASCAR Busch Series show at IRP in 1988. New Hampshire driver Dale Shaw (L) certainly has the attention of Mark Martin (far right with his crew chief) after the main event. The two were dicing it out for third on lap 173 when they collided. Martin recovered with a seventh, while Shaw was in the basement at 25th. From by Rick Houston. (Dick Conway Photo) four #448  -  Frank Kurtis, the shy 6’4” metal worker from Los Angeles, became likely the premier and most prolific race-car builder in the country in the early post-war years. He built just about every kind of vehicle imaginable, including this streamlined and canopied Novi in 1946. Marvin Jenkins hustled it to International Class D records at Bonneville. From KURTIS-KRAFT – Masterworks of Speed and Style, by Gordon Eliot White. (Mark Dees Collection) four #447  -  Brad Doty’s just-released STILL WIDE OPEN – Enhanced and Expanded, with Dave Argabright, includes this image. Brad comments, “Oops…this little miscalculation came at Lawton, Oklahoma, in 1982. I heard later that Sammy Swindell hung this photo in his trailer with a sign that read ‘My hero.’ Sorry, Sammy!” From , by Brad Doty with Dave Argabright. four #446  -  That’s Herb Thomas (R) with Smokey Yunick and a trophy girl in 1954. Smokey writes about the photo, “Me and Herb after a win…they said posing for a photo was in the contract, so I made myself look pretty.” He continues, “Herb was never in the running for America’s male sex symbol, and his interviews after he won won’t be copied.” From ,
by Smokey Yunick.
four #445  -  When Art Ingels and Lou Borelli built the first Go Kart in Los Angeles in 1956, they used a surplus two-stroke engine atop a simple tubular chassis. What a craze it started. The ultimate evolution of their creation is the SuperKart, now raced worldwide. They house 250cc twin cylinder engines and can reach 160 miles an hour. From , by Joao Diniz Shanches. (Author Photo) FOUR   #444  -  Following some serious motorcycle flat tracking, Rick Mears first got into four-wheel racing with sprint buggies at Ascot in Los Angeles. Here he’s landing from flight over the infield jump. They say he and brother Roger were both terrors. From RICK MEARS THANKS: The Story of Rick Mears and the Mears Gang, by Gordon Kirby. (Mears Family Collection) four #443  -  Brit Mike Hawthorn worked his Cooper-Bristol for all its worth in this turn at Goodwood, England, in 1952. That same year he debuted in Formula One. He won the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans after being involved in the grisly wreck that killed 85 people. From (Louis Klemantaski Photo, Klemantaski Collection) four #442  -  Some pictures are worth a million words to the racing enthusiast. Such is the case with this Leroy Byers shot of Jud Larson in Chet Wilson’s “Offy Killer.” It was 1963, and the way-brave Larson had just returned to the ovals following a four-year recovery from a heart attack. He had lost none of his style, as he shows here, confidently riding out his win at an IMCA event at Muskogee, Oklahoma. Note the driving suit, the lap belt, the roll bar, and the unfiltered injection. From , by Donna Wilson.
(Leroy Byers Photo)
FOUR #441  -  Bob McCoy has had one seriously full and colorful life, as his wife Lynn writes in their cool new book CIRCLE OF IMPACT – The True Life Events of a Brave Action Figure. Bob was hot in everything he drove, whether stock cars, open wheelers on the dirt, or roadsters on the Bonneville Salt Flats. He even tried rodeo. On April 22, 1978 he invited his whole family to watch him take on the infamous bronc Rio Hondo. It was quite a show. Bob caught the stirrup with his boot on the way down and spent a very long time in the crash house with 16 busted bones. From , by Lynn McCoy. GPIT #440  -  Since buying Bristol Motor Speedway in 1996, Bruton Smith has doubled the capacity of the racy half-mile. In August of 2008 a sell-out throng of fans performed a crowd wave recorded by Guinness as the biggest ever. From , by Ben White. (Nigel Kinrade Photo) FOUR

#439  -  Her name is Mercedes Harris and even at age 17, she’s winning in dirt mods around Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico big-time.  Here’s what she has to say: “From the moment I came home from the hospital I was around race cars.  My brother Billy Roy raced for years and then stopped to help me out as much as possible.  You can thank my dad for my name – and my mom for letting him name me after a car.  And, believe it or not, my middle name is spelled “Chasy,” but pronounced “chassis.”  You can say I was doomed from the start!” (Photo - Glen Blasdel Collection)

four #438  -  It was a sight to warm a racer’s heart as the modifieds lined up for the “Thunder on the Thruway” event at the rejuvenated I-88 Speedway in Afton, NY, last June. However, the thunder soon brought the rains, and a painful chunk of the 2011 season was lost to the horrible flooding in the Northeast. (Dave Dalesandro Photo) FOUR #437  -  Morgan, Minnesota’s Dick Forbrook is in the Knoxville, Jackson (MN), and Kossuth County (IA) Hall of Fame. No wonder, with all his wins in supers and sprinters back in the ’60s and ’70s. Only once did Dick drive with fenders, racing six events in three days, sprint cars by day, the late model at night. Chasing races from Lincoln, NE, to Des Moines, he capped the stunning weekend run with a 100-lap late model show in Omaha. Dick’s son Guy is a legendary sprint car crew chief, inducted into the Knoxville Raceway Hall of Fame in 2009. (Photo and caption by Chad Meyer) FOUR #436  -  Seems that just about every old-time shot of rim riding with wire wheels at Reading (PA) Fairgrounds features the Flying Dutchman, Tommy Hinnershitz. However, Joie Chitwood, shown here, was no stroker either. From SAFE AT ANY SPEED – The Great Double Career of Joie Chitwood, by Jim Russell and Ed Watson. (Bruce Craig Photo) FOUR #435  -  It must have been a comfortable feeling driving for Ford during their “Total Performance” years. Here is the 427 candy they brought to Riverside, CA, and made available to their teams in 1965. From , by
Dr. John A. Craft. (JD Craft Collection)
four #434  -  Ferrari plunked a six-cylinder engine into a Kurtis 500D Chassis for the Indy 500 in 1956. It was quite a machine. The appointed driver was a 50-year-old Brickyard rookie, Giuseppe “Nino” Farina, also the world driving champion. They were unable to get up to speed in time to qualify before the rains came. From THE FERRARI. by Hans Tanner. four #433  -  Bummer. Surely Vic Rothe thought he had it in the bag. He led 72 of the 75-lap midget feature at Kansas City in the Carl Badami Offy in the fall of 1942, only to ventilate the engine. He was looking a bit forlorn afterwards, hanging on to a busted connecting rod. It was the final event before the racing ban for World War II. After a tour in Europe, Rothe resettled in Memphis, TN, and raced mainly the V8-60 before heading off to Korea. From ,, by Bill Hill. (Vic Rothe Collection) four #432  - Willie Hunziker won this, his first KCMARA feature at Topeka, KS, in 1957. He had a short but colorful career, his enthusiasm often livened with alcohol. One night at an IMCA midget race in Shreveport, after he had had a couple of pops, he tried to get back in his car after a restart, but fell out the other side. The officials took him out for the night. A liver ailment took him out forever in 1961. From , by Bill Hill. (Tim Malone Collection) four #431  -  Tommy Ivo had that showmanship from the start, and it paid off. He was the first Californian to go on tour to the East, and promoters were delighted with the kit he brought with him, even in the early ’60s. Check out his glass-walled hauler, race car inside, road car atop. From , by Tom Madigan. (Photo Tommy Ivo Collection) FOUR #430  -  A very comely Scottie McCormick congratulates Johnny Beauchamp at the end of the very first Daytona 500, February 1959. But it was an unofficial celebration, and three days later the actual victory was awarded to Lee Petty. From , by Bob Zeller. (Photo ISC Archives) four #429  -  On November 15th, Troy Bissoneau towed his family’s beautifully kept Walter Beletsky sprinter to New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The occasion was a press event announcing a multi-year project to build a North East Motor Sports Museum on the property. Working closely with Ric Mariscal and R.A. Silvia of the popular Pronyne Museum in Pawtucket, RI, NEMS will be a huge asset in preserving the deep history of racing in the region. Dick Berggren has been the sparkplug behind the effort and has enlisted the support of the local community as well as NHMS management. That’s Dick on the left, Ken Smith, RA Silvia and Pete Von Sneidern holding the building’s architectural rendering, Dick Batchelder, Ric Mariscal, Ricky Craven, and Lew Boyd. For further info: and . FOUR #428  -  The great late Ralph Blackett of Des Moines, Iowa, leans the Jim & Helen Utt #30 against a serious cushion during the 1967 IMCA Winter Nationals held every February in Tampa, FL. According to a former Utt crew member, on this race day it rained several inches the morning of the event. By that afternoon they were racing. Jim & Helen Utt are 2009 Kossuth County Racing Hall of Fame inductees. Ralph Blackett was inducted into the Knoxville Raceway Hall of Fame in 1986.
(Photo and caption courtesy of Chad Meyer)
four #427  -  Steve Schweitzberger was really manhandling his sprinter at the Nebraska State Fair in 1975. The over-worked right front looks like it’s asking for a smaller left rear! From , by Bob Mays. (Joe Orth Photo) four #426  -  The first Daytona 500 was in 1959 and it was green all the way and relatively uneventful until its amazing three-wide finish. The next year there was a relaxed look in the pit area. The calm would go away on the first lap of the first 100-mile qualifying race, however, with a six-car tangle that saw Tommy Irwin go for a swim in Lake Lloyd with his ’59 T-bird. From , by Bob Zeller.
(Photo from ISC Archives)
FOUR #425  -  Larry Phillips, the incredibly talented late model racer from Missouri, was also a serious motorcycle enthusiast. He’s shown here on a dirt bike at the Springfield Fairgrounds in the sixties. Along the way, while racing for NASCAR, he accumulated five Winston Racing Series Championships and 15 track titles. He succumbed to lung cancer on the first day of autumn, 2004, and 100 bikers led the procession from the church to the cemetery. From , by Kendall Bell and David Zeszutek. (Dennis Slane Collection) four #424  -  At Fonda this spring three of the most familiar faces in New York racing history reconnected at Fonda Speedway. That’s John “The Turtle” Grady, left; “Barefoot” Bob McCreadie, center; and “Jumpin’ Jack” Johnson, right.
(David Dalesandro Photo)
four #423  -  It was a day show at Tampa in 1985. Did Steve Chassey deliver that Genesee Beer Wagon into turn one or what?! That’s Tony Armstrong in the Ofixco Chevy in pursuit. From . (Bob Mays Photo)
four #422  -   In just one image, Dave Dalesandro captured the soul of it. That’s the “Cement Palace,” the time-honored quarter mile in Seekonk, MA. Here the NEMA midgets get some exercise on the night of the track’s annual ,000-to-win Modified Madness show. Stock cars and midgets have a million laps there. It opened on Memorial Day 1947 with the Bay State Midget Association, and a thorny character named Oscar “Cannonball” Ridlon won the show. The track was never for the faint of heart. Often when drivers first get up to speed, they have trouble finding the starter’s box because the constant centrifugal force from the bowl-like layout.
(David Dalesandro Photo)
four #421  -  Here’s one to ponder as the temperatures cool in the Northlands. Last weekend was the Duel in the Desert at Las Vegas Speedway’s dirt oval. David Allio sent us this shot of one of the 20 C-mains. 240 modifieds entered this year’s Duel, the biggest IMCA mod show west of the Mississippi. Missouri’s Terry Phillips towed back to Springfield with the trophy last year. (David Allio Photo) four #420  -  By 1957, NASCAR’s “Grand National” cars were becoming just a little tricked out. That year, Rex White introduced weight jacks. But in general, the cars weren’t all that ergonomic. Buck Baker worked a lot of hours to win the championship. Think what he went through just to win that 200-mile at Langhorne. From by Michael L. Clements. four #419  -  It was non-stop California Racing Association action at Ascot Speedway in Gardena, CA, the speedway noted for the world’s most heart-stopping sprint car drivers – and trophy girls. One of the stars of the CRA for a full 25 years was five-time champion Jimmy “Ozone” Oskie of Downey, CA. Jimmy was on the hammer, as he had to be to win 58 CRA career mains. But sometimes he was a little over the edge, as Brad Marvel noticed watching him flip in April 1985. From , by Buzz Rose.
(Jim Chini Collection)
four #418  -  Brian Hoar, aboard his gleaming Goss Dodge/RPM Engine ACT Late Model, dominated the time trials and feature at this year’s 49th annual Milk Bowl at Thunder Road (VT) Speedway. As usual, the weekend was awash in cars and pageantry: The race itself was highly competitive, though highly regulated, before yet another sprawling crowd. It’s curious to ponder that 46 years ago, in 1965, the Milk Bowl’s pole was earned by one tough cookie from over in North Haverhill, NH, named Ronnie Marvin. Driving his rudimentary square-top with a liberally carbureted flathead, Marvin’s time of 14.25 on the quarter-mile could well have gotten him in the show this year. (Cho Lee Collection) four #417  -  It was mutual admiration at Martinsville in October 1971. Canada’s Denis Giroux had arrived on NASCAR’s national modified scene with flare and flourish. It would all be sadly short-lived, however. Denis was critically injured in a horrible crash first lap, first heat of the 1974 Spring Sizzler at Stafford, CT, ending a once promising career. (Bill Balser Photo, Boyd Collection) four  #416  -  Dizz Wilson, second from left in Tampa in 1954, had three Central States Racing Association sprint-car owner titles. He worked on a shoestring, often scrounging cast-off parts at Indy. He’d typically let his drivers stay in a tiny trailer behind his home in Mitchell, IN. It was known as the “fertility wagon.” Dizz needed his full share of drivers. Here’s what Bobby Grim wrote about him: “Now there was a character! Dizz Wilson would sometimes show up at the track with three, four, five cars. One time over in Illinois he had five, and it was dusty as hell that day. When the race was over, Dizz got to loading his cars, and he only counted four. Where’s the other car? They got to looking, and found it crashed out of on one end of the track, clear out in the trees. Killed the driver outright, they said. They loaded the car and headed back to Mitchell. It was a tough deal in those days.” From , by Buzz Rose. (Merle Wilson Family Collection) four #415  -  Longtime sprint car, supermodified and (more recently) midget owner Stanley "Skip" Matczak and his Angie were happily married on Saturday, November 5, 2011, in Somersville, CT, near their home. Matcak currently heads the Dirt Midget Association (DMA) which runs at the 1/4-mile Bear Ridge Speedway dirt track in Vermont. The DMA was recently profiled as an outstanding and highly competitive low-cost series in a feature story in Speedway Illustrated magazine. Matczak is the founder and owner of Seals-it which manufactures a wide array of race car sealing products which are used in virtually every form of American motorsports. The couple will honeymoon in Hawaii. (Dick Berggren Photo) four #414  -  There’s just that special something about going topless. It works for cars, too. Here are the brothers Bartemy, Adam in the #X and Aaron in the #3 in late August at Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, NY. Those dirt cars on Airborne’s graduated pavement half-miler put on one cool show. (Andy Watts Photo) FOUR #413  -  In 1938 the champion of New Jersey’s lethally dangerous midget board track, the Nutley Velodrome, was Eddie Staneck, a huge winner in big cars and midgets. With all the carnage at the track, three investigations were undertaken as to whether it should be closed. Staneck was among its most enthusiastic defenders, claiming the ultra-high banked bowl was safer than a dirt track. Ironically, the next year Staneck died in this flip in the Rastelli Offy at the May 16th opener at Castle Hill, a dirt oval in the Bronx. From Midget Auto Racing History, Volume One, 1934-1942, by Crocky Wright. (Walt Imlay Archives) FOUR #412  -  After his last race of this season, the Oktoberfest at Lee USA (NH) Speedway, Bobby Glass hung up his helmet. It was not a move taken lightly. Glass had been behind the wheel for 55 years in every kind of short track car imaginable. His career was dotted liberally with wins, including in 2011. Shown here (Left) ready to go out for the feature, Bobby ended up getting bumped around a little but remained uncracked. Avoiding a huge pileup on the last lap, he snuck home just in the top ten. During the week Bobby was involved with just as an intense and integrated community as racers. He was a fireman in Revere, MA. Fittingly, when he got to that final finish line, he stopped and spun his tires in acknowledgement of his retirement. The car caught fire, and Bobby casually drove over to the fire truck. There were all kinds of celebratory hugs, as soon as the fire was extinguished. (Left, Coastal 181 Photo; Right, Lee USA Speedway Photo) FOUR #411  -  While Jay Trinca awaited his family’s arrival at Riverhead Raceway on Long Island, NY, on Saturday, October 8, an unimaginably tragic highway crash took place. Jay’s wife Keri and promising kart-racer son Jason, just 7, were killed. Jason’s sister Marialena (4) and brother Christopher (2) are in critical condition. A fundraising effort in the racing community has been formed to help the family. Please do send a note – along with some support if possible – to: Trinca Family Memorial Trust, P.O. Box 520, Ridge NY 11961. four #410  -  Among the very most popular of all New England racers are Anne and Goodwin Hannaford of Hollis Center, Maine. They’ve had cars for years and have consistently supported all those around them. The 2011 campaign, however, will have their name on it forever. Their 21-year-old driver, a real smoothie named Josh Cantara, took all the veterans to task and won the Star (NH) Speedway modified point chase. (Deb Dore Photo) fpir #409 - Don’t anyone even think about messin’ with the history of auto racing in Vermont. It’s got some big-boy guardians. On the left is everybody’s buddy, Cho Lee, a devotee with a collection (with mobile displays) of thousands and thousands of old-time photos. Bill Ladabouche, center, works tirelessly on an extraordinary treasure for us all to enjoy at . And the dude on the right, with the twinkle under those sunglasses, is Lloyd Hutchins. He’s got enough refurbished square tops and flatheads to run his own B-main. (Dick Berggren Photo) four #408 - That’s Russ Gamester going very fast in his Silver Crown car in turn four at this year’s Hoosier Hundred. It’s one photogenic event, but photographers beware. As Jim Donnelly tells us, “On the right side edge of the photo is the sign that I was able to duck behind just before getting machine-gunned by clods.” Jerry Coons won the race. (Note Tearoff on Jerry Coons 5-5-10) (Jim Donnelly Photo) GOUT #407 - Dick Monahan recalls this moment at the Labor Day 50-lapper at the Cheshire Fairgrounds in Swanzey, NH, in 1957. “That’s George Monsen, driving Dan Dexter’s black #178 flathead, taking the checkered, about to lap Charlie Zipp. In close second is the familiar #50 of Ernie Gahan, NASCAR National Modified Champion ten years later. The announcer, a young Boston University student named Ken Squier, quipped that George was 'on his way to the land of milk and honey.' He got ."
(Dick Monahan photo)
FOUR #406  -  Why does it seem that the worst things happen to the best people? Coastal 181 business associate and highly regarded motorsports publisher David Bull was severely injured in a motorcycle accident in California in late July. He broke his back and leg, damaged a number of internal organs, and remains in the hospital, though thankfully making a steady recovery. His large and fantastically supportive family have set up a website so that David’s friends, colleagues and customers can follow his progress. You can contact him at . Like so many others, all of us at Coastal 181 send him our very best wishes for a successful and speedy recovery. four #405  - Buddies. It was a quiet moment, 38 years ago, near the start of the second Spring Sizzler at Stafford (CT) Speedway. Hall of Fame driver and builder Hop Harrington was looking pretty academic with the pipe and that fatherly arm draped around fellow Hall of Famer, Fred DeSarro. Hop had just put together a beautiful, tricked-out #1 Pinto modified for Ray Hendrick, while Freddie was driving Lenny Boehler’s understated working man’s coupe “Ole Blue.” (Gene Frankio Photo,
Boyd Collection)
fur  #404  -  Just checkin’ to make sure you are paying attention.....................
(Dick Berggren Collection)
four #403  -  Sitting proud and upright was the much-admired Don Branson at a USAC Champ Car race at Trenton in 1963. The masterful Illinois veteran racer loved the roadsters and exercised them with a gentle touch at ferocious speed. He died at Ascot three years later at age 46 in a double fatal also claiming Dick Atkins. (Ray Masser Photo, Ken Merrick Collection) four #402  -  Doggone dragster! Bob Muravez watches as his pooch Prince checks out the cockpit of the fabulous, twin engine “Freight Train” dragster in the mid-sixties. When Bob himself climbed in, his name changed to Floyd Lippencotte, Jr. That’s because his parents wanted nothing to do with racing, and certainly wouldn’t have appreciated Bob doing 200mph. From , by Tom Madigan (Bob Muravez Collection) FOUR #401  -  It’s May of 1967 at the Monaco Grand Prix. Chris Amon, in his first ride in a Ferrari, comes upon his teammate, 31-year-old Lorenzo Bandini, who would perish in the horrific crash and fire. Amon said in his biography, “It was a long race, the thick end of three hours, and it was very hot that day. I know by lap 75 I was actually starting to get cold in the car, which meant that I was totally dehydrated. I’m sure he went through the same thing and it was purely a lapse of concentration that caused him to run wide and hit the bales.” From , by Stewart Colding (Robert Daly Photo) FOUR # 400  -  Here is the old half-miler at Nazareth, PA, back in the early fifties. The old fairgrounds was never a garden spot, as shown here. In fact, it was the identity of grit, located right next to a cement plant. Under Jerry Fried’s strict promotions, however, the racing was good and lasted for nearly three decades. Fried even built a one-and-an-eighth-mile dirt oval alongside. That was purchased and turned into a fine asphalt miler, owned by Roger Penske. Sadly, however, as we chronicle in our book , both ovals eventually succumbed to “commercial development.” (Dale Snyder Collection) FFFFF #399  -  Oh to have been there! That’s turn one at the fabled former “Square,” Flemington (NJ) Speedway, back in 1950. Hank Rogers Sr. hauls it in, leading the pack in a heat race. (Dale Snyder Collection) HHHHH #398  -  Jon Stanbrough is an open air sprint car specialist from Avon, Indiana. He's twice National Non-Wing 410 Dirt Driver of the Year and two-time champ of the Indiana Sprint Week. They call him the "Silent Gasser" for his stealth attacks. But his turn entry at Terre Haute in 2010 was hardly muted. That right rear's really diggin'! (John Dadalt Photo) FOUR #397  -  “Johnny Two for Two.” On Sunday, October 2 Johnny Benson Jr. repeated last fall’s win at the Race Against Cancer ISMA 100 at Seekonk (MA) Speedway.
(). Turning laps in the 10.9 second range, he whupped the best in the business of supers. (RG Design {Robert Gill} Photography)
GOIU #396  -  In the pre-War racing boom, the midgeteers were racing everywhere, including indoors at the International Amphitheatre in Chicago. In 1941 Joe Gersich was hard on the handbrake, trying to stay clear of a flipping Carl Trottman. From , by Bob Sheldon. four #395  -  On Sunday afternoon, September 10, 1961, Utica-Rome (NY) Speedway opened its doors. As Rene Charland demonstrates above, however, the floor wasn’t quite ready yet. The asphalt had not cured properly, and cars spun everywhere, but Bill Rafter, 1959 NASCAR New York State Champ, kept it straight and took the cash back to Niagara Falls. Bones Bourcier details the subsequent years of racing at the facility in the brand new book . Coastal 181 produced the Limited Edition collector’s item for track owner, Gene Cole. (Rod Nacewicz Collection) FOUR #394  -  Coastal 181 historian Ed Duncan has a way of coming up with outrageous images. Long before Stafford (CT) Speedway was paved and became one of NASCAR’s showcase short tracks, it was a tattered half-mile fairgrounds track. In the early 1950s, a loose-fit local band of daredevils ran their “hot rods” through the dust and the holes. They were a creative bunch, as is well demonstrated by Ken Torrant’s early cutdown. How about that sail panel? (Ed Duncan Collection) four #393  -  Racing buddies Carl Oberg and Mark Alden are modified through and through. It now looks like they will end up a very credible fourth in the point chase at Thompson (CT) Speedway this season. They took some time out, though, a couple weeks back and took up to the Sylvania 300 at Loudon the beautifully preserved car nicknamed “the ghost rider” that the late Richie Evans was to run in 1986. Richie Jr., seated on the left rear tire, paced the Sprint Cup field in a very emotional moment. Next to Richie Jr. is his sister Tara and their Mom, Lynn. After Richie was killed, Lynn married Evans’ longtime crew member Billy Nacewicz, standing next to her. (Carl Oberg Photo) four #392  -  Even in the racing community, with its millions of members, that small number of legendary figures somehow always gets to know one another. Take this shot, from the unlikely location of Hudson Speedway in New Hampshire back in 1985. That, of course, is “The Intimidator,” conversing with the late Marvin Rifchin, the entrepreneur from Watertown, MA, whose company, M&H Tire, shoed winning race cars for decades and decades. (Nasty Neil Murray Collection) 4444 #391  -  A compelling aspect of racing over the years has been that, if you don’t take a car right up to its uppermost limit, you’re a stroker. But, if you go over it, you’re toast. That flavor has been lost in some recent forms of the sport, but it is alive and well in wingless sprint cars on dirt. How about this shot of top-shelf USAC gasser Damion Gardner at Kokomo during the Indiana Sprint Week in 2009? John Dadalt captures him right on that thrillingly precarious ragged edge. (John Dadalt Photo) our #390  -  Friend and dedicated racing historian Tom Avenengo reminds us that this September marks 49 years from the demise of Freeport, Long Island’s Bill Schindler. Tom writes, “On Saturday, September 20, 1952, auto racing lost one of its best drivers – Bill Schindler. He was fatally injured while participating in an afternoon AAA Sprint Car race at the Allentown, Pa., Fairgrounds half-mile dirt track. Back in 1936, when he lost a leg in an accident at the Mineola track, he vowed to never race twice on the same day, since he was scheduled to race twice on that day. He never did until that day in 1952 when he ran the Sprint Car at Allentown in the afternoon, and then was scheduled to run a midget that night at Hatfield, Pa. Len Duncan ended up winning the midget event.” Schindler is shown here in one of his many victory circles, this time with Johnnie Parsons and announcer/journalist Nat Kleinfield. From , by Keith S. Herbst (EMMR Collection) bbb #389  -  After sweeping the Lincoln (PA) Speedway championship in 1959, Roger Sowers showed up with a rear engine car. It didn’t work on that dirt as well as Jack Brabham’s Cooper did on the Brickyard in Indianapolis in 1961! From . FOUR #388  -  It was a tragic event that bore a wonderfully life-enriching institution. On May 12, 2000, Adam Petty, grandson of Richard and son of Kyle, was killed in a single-car Nationwide Series crash at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Five months later his family honored him with the opening of the Victory Junction Gang Camp in their home town, Randleman, North Carolina, to serve terminally ill children. From , by Ben White. (Nigel Kinrade Photo) FOUR #387  -  Who gave more to racing than the great open-wheeler Jim Hurtubise? Here Herk checks the radiator in the Sterling Plumbing Special for dirt clogs at DuQuoin in 1963. He ran 14 USAC Sprint shows that year and won at New Bremen, OH, and Lancaster, NY. Vintage Photo from USAC SPRINT HISTORY 1956-1980, published by Carl Hungness. four #386  -  How about Mike Perrotte, that promoter of Airborne Park (NY) Speedway. (See ). On Sunday afternoon, September 11, he held a 100 lap challenge for any big block guys to come in and show their stuff against the very racy small block locals. Perrotte decided to compete in a big block himself. Before the show he mused, “I know some of the guys might think it will be fun to wave as they go by me, but I’ll be out there trying to win just like them. Maybe I can surprise a few of them still.” He sure did. He smoked ’em. (Andy Watts Photo) our #385  -  Just as this year’s Indy 500 was decided on the very final turn (), so too was the 55th annual International Classic at Oswego (NY) Speedway. The winner, Otto Sitterly, an uncommonly competent supermodified wheelman, outgunned Canadian Mike Lichty for the closest finish in race history. Otto is shown here greeting third-place finisher Randy Ritskes in victory circle. Seeing the photo Otto says, “I can’t believe I just passed my teammate on the last lap and won the Classic. I’m trying not to cry!” (Dave Dalesandro Photo) FOUR #384  -  The recent Photo of the Day about Pappy Hough ( brought lots of comment. No wonder. Born in 1902, Roscoe “Pappy” Hough raced during most of the last century. Most famously, he owned a herd of midgets called the “Five Little Pigs” in the 1940s. He barnstormed non-stop and far and wide with these fast but unsightly creations, all of them stacked on one trailer, their five drivers often stacked into the back seat of the tow car. Pappy himself won a NASCAR Short Track Division crown in 1951 and subsequently worked on race cars in his Wayne, NJ, garage for the balance of his life. Frank Simek was at Grandview (PA) Speedway in 1995 to record the final time Pappy settled into the cockpit. (Frank Simek Photo) four #383  -  Reader John Dadalt, like so many others, says to keep an eye on Kyle Larson, shown here banzai-ing around Angell Park in Sun Prairie, WI. There are a lot of national strands in the red-hot 19-year-old from Elk Grove, CA. His mom is Japanese-American while his dad is Norwegian, British, and American Indian. Meanwhile, it appears Kyle can win with anything he jumps into. So far this year he is Copper on Dirt and Belleville Nationals Champ, and he has feature wins in Silver Crown, ASCS, USAC, and WoO sprints, and POWRI and USAC midgets. (John Dadalt Photography) FOUR  #382  -  It’s been about a year since we got some refueling from Rocket Rich Mersereau, late model and character standout. He’s always on a trajectory. Here’s what he says this September: “This photo is from Kalamazoo Speedway in April. The next lap I junked it, and we haven’t run worth a s--t since. Notice all the new safety features: no containment seat, see-through window net, a helmet that’s older than me. If you don’t want to get hurt in a race car, sit in the stands. There’s plenty of room.” (Mersereau Collection) FOUR #381  -  That’s Jack Zink (L) talking with his driver, Jimmy Reece, before the 1952 Indy 500. About five feet six inches tall, Reece had some trouble holding himself up in the seat and, given the enormous speed, not jabbing the brakes at the end of the straights. So, as he described to Bill Vukovich, “I put a speed secret in the cockpit…a Jesus bar. When I go into the turn, I push my left foot on that bar and pray to Jesus I come out the other side.” The John Zink Special finished in seventh place, on the lead lap. From ,
by Dr. Bob L. Blackburn
OUR #380  -  Here is an historic, but certainly solemn, shot from the old Westboro (MA) Speedway. It was 1962, and the Atlantic Auto Racing Association had just formed a new ‘bomber division,’ the first for A-framed cars in New England. The class was wildly popular, and early features started 33 cars, lined up three abreast. Identified so far are Bruce Tessier in the #8, Red Beeso in the #99, and Bob “Tucker” Sleeper in the #24 Chevrolet. No happy endings with this group. Tessier was killed in an ugly accident in that same turn three years later. Beeso, a character for the ages, died from fire burns in the seventies. And the fun-loving Sleeper drowned when his snowmobile broke through thin ice.” (Tessier Family Collection) four #379  -  Bummer. Joey Biasi had the URC field covered at Georgetown Delaware until lap 17 of the 25-lapper. At that point the rear tire stagger got hard to measure. (But look also at the top of the roll cage. Photographer Frank Simek says, “That’s what’s known as a New Jersey bar. Joey’s not a small person…and a few of New Jersey’s finest overseeing New Jersey’s racing decided this year to enforce a long-time rule that states the bottom of the top roll bar must be a minimum of 3” on top of the driver’s helmet.”) (Frank Simek Photo) FOUR #378  -  Jimmy Back, one of those ultra-swift late model standouts in the seventies, was a philosopher and partier as well. Father Grubba quotes one of Back’s pit crew: “It must be the sleep that makes me sick. I always feel pretty good when I go to bed.” THE GOLDEN AGE OF WISCONSIN AUTO RACING, by Father Dale Grubba. OUR   -  Pappy Hough and driver Phil Garrett work on the Cox Esso Service midget, prepping for the races at the Buffalo Civic Stadium in 1939. Look at that car. That same essential configuration of chassis and body sits in thousands of garages around America still today. Long live the straight front axle! From , by Keith Herbst. four #376  -  Look at this one twice. It was named “Suddenly,” a purple supermodified powered by an injected 427 Ford. The beastly creation was the hot setup in the early seventies with its owner/driver, Bill Bigsell, at Rowley Park Speedway. (That’s Australia). From ,
by Tony Loxley
four  #375  -  Fate – sometimes so random and consummately sad. On August 12, 1988, Jeri Rice, a 29 year old teacher from Tucson, dropped out of the races at Southern New Mexico Speedway. Her midget had developed engine problems, done for the night. Jeri walked across the pit area to her hauler to change out of her fire suit. A wheel from a stock car broke loose, flew high in the air, and killed her. From new , by Buzz Rose. (The Toops, Western Racing News Collection) FOUR #374  -  Many an old timer would say that Wally Stokes had to be one of the best ever. The Willoughby, Ohio, star was the 1948 Central States Racing Association champ with 25 wins in 27 starts on the dusty sprint car circuit. His wife Grace often did the highway driving, Wally curled up in the back seat. Such was the case on their way to a midget race in Illinois at 2:30 a.m. on August 21, 1949. Somehow Grace missed the turn but met the trees. She was badly banged up, but survived. Wally was thrown from the car and died. From , by Buzz Rose.
(Norm Stokes Collection)
four #373  -  A cool shot of Shelbyville, Illinois’ Wilbur Shaw at Indy in 1940 in the Boyle Maserati Special. He won, as he had in 1937 and 1939. But perhaps even more significantly, Shaw would really become savior of the Brickyard. The condition of the raceway, unused during World War II, was so deteriorated that owner Eddie Rickenbacker decided to close it. Shaw wasn’t about to let that happen and he persuaded Terre Haute’s Tony Hulman, owner of major food-producing and grocery interests, to take it over. That was in November 1945. The price: 0,000. From GENTLEMEN START YOUR ENGINES, by Wilbur Shaw. four #372  -  Couldn’t have been more than a couple of days after the launch of his new book at Utica-Rome Speedway in New York that Coastal 181 racing scribe Bones Bourcier was spotted at Angell Park out in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. Now, how did you say he got there? (Dori Noble Photo) FOUR #371  -  On Thursday night, August 18, Laura and Karin Fredrickson stopped in at Thunder Road Speedway in Barre, VT. They took their dad, too. He’s Karl Fredrickson, chief of everyone’s favorite magazine, Speedway Illustrated. Here Laura is telling Ken Squier how the big girls deliver a commanding “Gentlemen, start your engines!” Meanwhile, Karin was in the pits selling subscriptions. Apparently she walked up to a group of guys and told them, “My dad says this is the best reading in the bathroom and so you should have it.” Out came the bills.
(Speedway Illustrated Photo) four #370  -  So, after 40 years of friendship, we had a disagreement with Dave Lape last week. You see, David, one of the all-time most popular and successful racers at Fonda (NY) Speedway, has been racing there for 49 seasons. As of August 13, the “Night of Features,” he had 99 wins at the “Track of Champions.” That night David won the B Main, and he dismissively concludes his current total is 99 1/2. We looked at the trophy, and it quite clearly reads “Feature Winner”. We say he has 100.
(Otto Graham Photo) – and while you’re at it, check out Otto’s very cool site,
fur #369  -  Endicott, New York’s Jeff Ackerman takes care of things. One of his favorite possessions is this pretty little flathead square top, and there is quite the history to it. The car won the Fair Race at Syracuse in 1963, one of the six such events captured by the late Cliff Kotary, the “Copper City Cowboy.” It was one finely tuned rocket ship, weighing 1800 pounds with Kotary and fuel aboard. In more recent times, Jeff has won four vintage events at Syracuse in it, including the vintage Fair Race in 1995. (Coastal 181 Photo) FOUR #368  -  Some like to polka, some to play the ponies, but, for some Coastal 181 readers, life’s pleasurable pursuit is packing the track. High among them is racing connoisseur Bradley Poulsen of Greenleaf, Wisconsin. “There can be no greater fun than running laps at Eldora before the World”. (Bradley Poulsen Photo) FOUR #367  -  Here are two great racers, Tony Kanaan (L) and Dario Franchitti, sharing a laugh at Loudon a couple of weeks back. They are both at the top of their games, having come through some harder times of late. Tony is currently fifth in IZOD Indy points, while a red-hot Franchitti leads the parade. It seems like yesterday that Franchitti was struggling a bit to get up to speed in the Camping World Trucks and a very uninformed reporter in Martinsville asked him if he felt sorry for “stealing the ride from a worthy Southern late model racer.” (David Dalesandro Photo) FOUR #366  -  Coastal 181’s buddy Patrick Reynolds, down in Mooresville, has been very active with benefits for legendary racer Sam Ard who battles head injuries, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease. Sam was a multi-time Busch Series Champion who was terribly injured in a crash in 1984. Here’s a shot Patrick took recently of Sam with Kevin Harvick. If you want to find out how to help Sam, drop in on . And listen to Patrick, who hosts Motorweek Live at 7:00 PM ET on Racers Reunion Radio, . (Patrick Reynolds Photo) four #365  -  Is racing at Indy good for your health? Maybe so. Take a peek at Raul Boesel (L), Bob Harkey, and Steve Chassey. They appeared lookin’ fit as a fiddle after the very popular gathering of living 500 participants last May. (Jim Donnelly Photo) four FOUR #363  -  Poor Gabi Curry. The long-suffering Iowan mom has tried to be accommodating to her race-obsessed family. That got a little hard a while back when her husband Wayne flipped big time. Gabi started watching her two sons, Gerald and Wayne, with a bit more concern. But when her daughter Laura, pictured here, got upside down in her stock car, it was too much. Gabi stays home these days. It is quite unlikely she will be joining Laura, also known as “the Dutchess of the Dirt,” next month at the Boone Nationals! (Coastal 181 Photo) uh #362  -  The Queensland Family has polished its Deer Creek (MN) Speedway to quite the shine, and the multi-groove racing is a sight to behold. How many people in those grandstands do you think even knew what was above and behind them when Jeff “Buck” Monson captured this image? (Buck Monson Photography) four #361 - Midwestern promoter Joe Ringsdorf knows how to stir things up. You should have seen the first few laps of his “Night of 1000 Stars” at Hancock County (Iowa) Speedway on August 11, 2011. He started the 35 fastest IMCA mods, three deep for 50 laps. But you had to keep watchin’. After 25 laps, the race was stopped for exactly ten minutes, before resuming. Teams were allowed to come on to the frontstretch and do whatever they wanted to the cars in that time. Mechanical mayhem. Were the air guns, tires, fuel cans, and wrenches ever flying then! At the end of the subsequent 25 laps, leader Benji Lacrosse was still quickest and went home 00 richer. (Coastal 181 photo) four #360  -  Looking south along the backstretch of the 4/10th-mile Hancock County Speedway in Britt, Iowa, last week, it all looked pretty rural – especially with the corn rail, a natural fence if there ever was one. But don’t let that fool you. It was the “Night of 1000 Stars,” and the pit area to the north was pretty urban, buzzing with IMCA mods. Promoter Joe Ringsdorf had the stands to the west packed like kernels in the corn. (Coastal 181 photo) four #359  -  Jim Donnelly, Senior Editor at Hemmings and author of Coastal 181’s , is round the world with that camera of his. After the memorabilia show at Indy on May 27th, he was off to the Indiana State Fairgrounds where he snapped this cool shot of midgeteer Brad Kuhn in a Silver Crown car at the Hoosier Hundred. Don’t you just wish he also had sound? (Jim Donnelly Photo) FOUR #358  -  The Flathead – the cantankerous darling of racers in the ’50s. Properly bored, ported, and relieved, flathead blocks required hours and hours of handwork. Yet they were infamous for growing small cracks, rendering them useless. Here, “Reg” tries the benediction route as he begins testing a block by pumping in high-pressure water. From FORD FLATHEAD V-8 BUILDER’S HANDBOOK 1932-1953, by Frank Oddo. (Frank Oddo Photo) four #357  -  Eldora! Kenny Jacobs spirals atop Rick Hood (#14) on his way out of the park in an ASCoC event in 1989. From ELDORA SPEEDWAY: The Most Famous Short Track in America, by Bill Holder with Earl Baltes. (Bob Fairman Photo) four WD 356 One of the luckiest NASCAR Cup victors is Jeff Burton, shown here with wife Kim. Burton crashed mightily in the TransSouth 400 at Darlington on the first day of spring 1999, just as the caution came out for raindrops. Somehow he kept his smoking, steaming Exide Batteries Ford moving until the red and checker flew two laps later on #163, in a downpour. He got the trophy. From NASCAR Winston Cup 1999. four #355  -  This murky image shows all-time great IMCA sprint car driver Gus Schrader dueling with Jimmy Wilburn at the Iowa State Fair in 1941. Ironically, three months later Schrader, again battling Wilburn, crashed and died in Shreveport, LA. Schrader, age 46, had purchased a farm with his racing winnings and planned to retire at the end of the season. From 1990 IMCA Yearbook. FOUR #354  -  This bike shot was taken at Belmont (CA) Speedway in 1953. Motorcycle and car racer George Benson explains, “The faster the shoe slid across the surface of the track, the greater the friction and the higher the temperature would build in the steel shoe. On occasion the hard facing on a rider’s shoe would wear thin and sparks from the soft steel underneath the hard facing could be seen trailing behind a rider’s shoe in the turns. This resulted in a fast rider being dubbed a “Hot Shoe,” and riders in general referred to as “Shoes.” From . FOUR #353  -  Now there’s a couple! From , by Matt Stone
(Lyn St. James Collection
) fpur #352  -  May racers never forget Kara Hendrick. The pretty 22-year-old Californian, second in USAC TQ national driver standings, switched to full-sized midgets for 1991. On October 5, she got fast time in the USAC Western States Midget series event at El Cajon, setting a new track record of 15.75. Many thought she was on her way to the checkerboard that day, but fate turned ugly. On the second lap of the feature, Kara, now known as “Racing’s Angel,” flipped violently and perished.
From , by Buzz Rose.
(Mike Arthur Photo)
FOUR #351  -  Sometimes even the best of buddies get to banging. In March 1954 Bill Vukovich and his promising mentee Johnny Boyd both showed up at a 100-lap AAA midget race in Fresno. Boyd recalled, “To this day I don’t know why I did it. The juices were really flowing…I dropped down to where he was running and BAM! I ran right into the back of him… I thought, ‘Boyd, you dummy!’ Sure enough the next corner here he came. He didn’t even attempt to turn and hit me a ton. Then I got mad….” From , by Bob Gates. (Van Natta Collection) four Alton Palmer tosses his TEO into the old graveyard turn at Fonda (NY) Speedway, just as he has done for decades.  He is as natural to the aging Fairgrounds as the summer moon above the grandstand and the trees that line the backstretch.  He’s really motoring this season, though, as both he and teammate, ultra-racy Ronnie Johnson, have visited the checkerboard. (Dick Berggren Photo) FOUR #349 - With 500 feature wins and gaining, lots of folk consider Scott Bloomquist top dog. But is he also principal pooch? Better ask Buddy. (Dave Dalesandro Photo) FOUR #348  -  Who says that creativity has to be expensive? Bob Weber, promoter of Hudson (NH) Speedway, continues to have success with his “outlaw” hard-top class. You have to run a treaded American Racing Tire, you have to have a two-barrel, you have to have a stock snout, and you have to meet minimum right-side weight. That’s it. Any motor placed where you want, any body. These rules are designed so guys can go out back and dig out some old chassis – and peek under the bench for that motor that has just been sitting there under the tarp. NEAR Hall of Fame driver and popular veteran Pete Fiandaca revamped his car (originally built in 1986) over the winter rather dramatically, “using stuff from the pile.” He calls this version “the last of the cutdowns,” and he’s right that it has that old time, non-cookie cutter look. Peter calculates that the entire project cost him under 0, and the fans sure are abuzz about it. (Coastal 181 Photo) four #347  -  Curious how racers find a way to relax. Kasey Kahne spent his Cup days off last weekend by joining Kasey Kahne Racing Team drivers Paul McMahan, Cody Darrah, and Brad Sweet on Friday night for the Summer Nationals at Williams Grove. As usual, Kasey was fast, copping seventh-quick time. But in his heat race, he tangled with Craig Dollansky and cartwheeled right out of the place, big time. He was uninjured and received a huge ovation as he jogged back into the arena. (Dollansky did not receive as warm a salutation later in the evening when he was given an Outlaws provisional to start the main). Calm and collected as he may have been, Kahne was quite likely on the phone on Monday morning for a new chassis.
(Jack Kromer Photo)
FOUR #346  -  Larry Pearl of Newburyport Framers has framed lots of racing pictures for Coastal 181. But, being a photographer for many years, he has some really cool images of his own. How about this image he took of Graham Hill at Watkins Glenn in 1967? And how about the aero apparatus! We questioned Walt Scadden, our ever-patient and good-natured technical advisor, about it: “The car in question, I think is a Lotus Type 49, Colin Chapman design. He came up with this setup most call a hub-mounted high wing, Most other F1 builders followed suit. The reason for the high mount was simple: to get a clean flow. The mount to the hubs allowed the use of lighter springs because the downforce was being put through the hub to the tire, avoiding the suspension. The wing provided good downforce numbers, but the drag numbers were very high and any effort to support the struts by running arms forward made the drag too great. Chapman also experimented with the driver’s adjusting the wing angle while moving, with cables inside the upright struts. Because the wing was mounted to an active independent suspension, the internal stresses were incredible. There were a number of wing failures, one at Brands Hatch where a wing ended up in the crowd and fans seriously injured. By 1968, F1 officials had had enough and outlawed the deal.” our #345  -  When Rocket Man Ryan outperformed everyone in Saturday’s mod show and then Sunday’s Cup race at New Hampshire a week ago, it seemed like one cool, clean sweep. But a few days later NASCAR tech announced that there had been a little over-fishing going on. The #7 modified, owned by Bono Manion and driven to the winner’s circle in the last four events at NHMS, was disqualified for being beyond legal limits. (Don MacIntosh Photography) FOUR #344  -  Dick Berggren has done it all in racing. His photography and his columns are known internationally. His pit road TV reporting is unparalleled. And he was pretty racy in a sprint car, too. (Note the slight twist in his once-broken left arm!) But we bet you didn’t know how he became an announcer. It was up at the old Arundel Speedway in Maine in the sixties. Bergie was track photographer, and Russ Conway, another NEAR Hall of Famer, was co-promoter and announcer. At the start of the NESMRA supermodified feature, a rabbit ran out in front of the pack and was pretty much equally dispatched over twenty-some front bumpers. Russ quipped over the PA, “Well, I guess there will be no Easter Bunny next year.” At the end of the show, a grandmother and her tearful granddaughter approached Russ. The enraged lady ripped him a new orifice, wanting to know how he could be “so insensitive, such a monster.” Russ handed the mike to Bergie, and thus began a great career. (Don MacIntosh Photography) four #343  -  Rachel Gilbert of Laconia, NH, sure is a trip. She’s been a gearhead for years and has celebrated much of her 100th birthday at nearby New Hampshire Motor Speedway. First she toured the Magic Mile in the pace car. Then on July 16 she returned for the modified race, giving the “Gentlemen, start your engines” command. Clearly no one needs to tell her to start her own. (NASCAR photo) FOUR #342  -  Don Mac caught this shot at the Sprint Cars of New England show at Bear Ridge Speedway, Bradford, VT, on July 9. Former ISMA supermodified driver Randy Wimert, deciding to drop in on the Church of the Clay this season, flipped his sprinter on the last lap of the heat race. Experienced a racer though he may be, he had never flipped before, and, when the car landed on all four, he kept right on going. Unfortunately, the evening’s menu of misadventures had another course. Later that night, on the way back home to the state of Maine, a moose jumped right onto the highway in front of Randy’s Dodge Magnum. The roof of the car looked just like the wing of the sprinter. Both the car and the moose were totaled. (Don Mac Photography) four #341  -  Danny Bohn is one busy guy. So far this summer he’s won six times with his IMCA dirt mod – and once in asphalt mod at Bowman Gray. Whenever possible he’s also in the office of the Godfather Motorsports super late model, shown here, owned by Jim Gallison Jr and MRN and Sirius radio personality Dave Moody. Dave wrote the Coastal 181 book on Dave Dion (), while Danny’s grandfather, Parker Bohn, is featured heavily in the Coastal 181 book about Old Bridge (NJ) and Nazareth (PA) Speedways. Amazingly, the car that Danny drives at Bowman Gray was built in 1991 and had previously been raced both by Danny’s granddad Parker and dad Eddie. (Dave Moody Collection) four #340  -  That’s good Coastal 181 customer Doug Pepper in some kind of golf cart on steroids at Indianapolis. His home, Brisbane, Australia, isn’t exactly around the corner from our open wheel tracks, but Doug is fully in the know. Here’s what he has to say:
I’ve been 3 times to the Speedway, once in 2000 for the Brickyard 400, and the last two years to the 500. I’m in a club called National Indy 500 Collectors’ Club, and those Indy-based members really look after me. They run me around town to race shops, etc, and put me up. I love it. Top blokes! I attend other races while I’m there. Hoosier Hundred at the Indianapolis Fairgrounds, the Hut Hundred held down on the Kentucky border, at Haudstat, plus sprint car races at Brownsburg, IN. We don’t have all that kind of racing Down Under. I’m interested in early speedcars (midgets), sprint cars, and my favourite, Indy Roadsters. I don’t follow any other type of auto racing in OZ, except vintage speedway racing and vintage road racing, called GEAR Racing, meaning Golden Era Of Auto Racing. (Doug Pepper Collection) four #339  -  This very neat photo was taken at Selinsgrove, PA, on June 25, 1960 by Dick Monahan, a current neighbor of ours here in Newburyport, MA. Dick was a crew member on the unlikely creation, and here’s what he has to say: “George Monsen is about to take the brand new Dexter/Whitney URC sprinter out for its first hot laps. The car was built from scratch, using parts from a dirt modified. Standing behind the car are (l to r) Tinker Whitney (who built the engine), George Sedak (a fan), Linc Dexter and Dan Dexter. The URC officials hated the roll bar and the square tail, but the car won a feature and finished 3rd in the owner point standings. Monsen finished 4th in the driver standings and was named Rookie of the Year, while Linc Dexter and Tinker Whitney were named Mechanics of the Year. Don't you love the driving suit?” (Dick Monahan Photo)
#338  -  And this was just to add to the insult that so much racing felt from those soggy times last month. After waiting out the rains for a day and a half at the Autodrome Chaudiere, just south of Quebec City, Canada, the PASS Super Late Model guys finally got on the track for a Sunday evening show on June 26th. Travis Benjamin blew a tire and glided swiftly into the signage – and the water barrels. (Photos by Coastal 181’s esteemed webmaster, Norm Marx) 4 #337  -  Here’s another captioned photo from Mark McKeon, Coastal 181’s buddy in the Green Mountains of Vermont:  “So quiet and reserved that he’s called “The Silent Gasser,” Jon Stanbrough is best known for triumphs in non-winged Sprint Cars. He’s a two-time champion of the USAC Indiana Sprint Week, a five-time champion of the King of Indiana Sprint Series and a two-time track champ at Kokomo Speedway. He’s also no slouch wheeling an indoor Midget, having picked up a win at Toledo in 2008. He’s shown here at Ft. Wayne, a week after his Toledo victory in a Rick Daugherty-owned mount on a night when he finished third in the 60 lap feature, behind Liquid Lou Cicconi and Tony Stewart.” 4 #336  -  Last month all the big boys and girls assembled at the foot of New Hampshire’s commanding Mount Washington for the automotive Climb to the Clouds. Not surprisingly, world rally champ David Higgins out of the Isle of Man whipped all comers with his lavish Vermont SportsCar-prepared Subaru entry. Todd Cook towed out from Tempe, Arizona, with a super-trick rear-engine flyweight and hustled to an impressive second place run. The top speed of the day, however, was a local former roundy-round racer right out of neighboring Vermont. Sixty-nine-year-old Jerry Driscoll got to thinking 20 years ago that he was getting a little old for the bullrings – and he knew he was underfinanced. So he went out to his garage and welded up an understated hill-climb car, based largely on Corvette suspension parts. He bolted in a good ol’ small block and promptly became seven-time New England hill-climb champion. This year at Mount Washington he was pretty low key, hardly even a 9/16th wrench in sight. However, by the end of the day he had out-timed all 70 other competitors for the fastest time of the day – 114 mph, another record on the Mountain. (Dick Berggren Photo) 4 #335  -  How cool would it have been to have a “truckin’ teach” like Stephanie Stevens in first grade? The New Jersey-based degreed mechanical engineer, former ARDC midgeteer, and current 305 Sprint Car driver, is a first grade aide on her way to becoming a middle school math teacher. Here she gives her class some reading lessons, using, most appropriately, a Coastal 181 children’s book. All the lucky
kids that day also each got a tie-dyed crew shirt. (Stephanie Stevens Collection) 4 #334  -   May their stories be forever told. Here’s a shot of legendary Raymond Parks at the Lakewood Speedway Reunion in Dawsonville, GA, in 2009. On the right is Mobile, Alabama’s Gerald Hodges, “the Racing Reporter.” Gerald, himself once a “skeeter” owner, has penned some of the very few books written about short track racing in the Southeast. Subjects have included Gene Tapia, announcer Jimmy Mosteller, and . SOUTHERN SUPERMODIFIEDS, Vol. II has just been released. From (Hodges Collection) 4 #333 - Last Halloween we did a on Johnny Benson Jr. and his dad, Johnny Sr., an honored old time Supermodified name. Johnny Jr had taken a breather from weekly superspeedway racing, was trying out the Supers, and had just knocked off his first ISMA feature win, at Seekonk (MA) Speedway. This year Johnny is back, big time on the hammer. He is shown here ducking under a nosy #78 of Mark Sammut on his way to a third-place Midwest Supermodified Association show at Toledo (OH) Speedway on June 17. (RG Design Photo)#332  -  A beautiful beginning. That’s the very first Morales Brothers car, shown here in 1948 at the old Carrell Speedway at 174th and Vermont in L.A., a mile North of Ascot. Johnny Mantz is at the controls, and Walt James is in “Silent Six.” Mantz was a charger. Two years later he won the first Southern 500 at Darlington. He died at 54 in a highway accident. From Perris Auto Speedway Program – Oct. 18-19, 1996
(Richard Miller Photo)
4 #331  -  The methodology was a little informal when Scott van Buskirk got mid-race service at Southern Iowa Speedway in his IMCA car back in 1990. But that gas man was a pretty good shot. From the 1990 IMCA Yearbook (Gunilla Haglund Photo) 4 #330  -  Helio Castroneves, here with Julianne Hough, must have some kind of trophy room down there in Miami. On top of all the Kart-win hardware from South America and the IndyCar Series wins here and there for Roger Penske, now he has THREE Borg-Warners from the Brickyard plus the disco “Mirrorball.” From
, by Helio Castroneves.
4 #329  -  Danica Patrick, Simona de Silvestro, Johanna Long – all of you guys – better be careful of what’s coming down the road today! Coastal 181 modified driver, Blake “Sideways” and Ericka “Dzus Queen” Shepard are doing the right things with twins Colbie and Gracie. They’re not even a year, but in rides already.
(Dzus Queen Photography)
4 #328  -  Equally competent with words and images, racing journalist Mark McKeon sent along this photo and caption from coverage of a victory circle he clearly enjoyed. Here’s what he says: “Sammy Swindell has just won his second consecutive Oskaloosa Front Row Challenge at the Southern Iowa Speedway and is about to collect a check for ,000 on August 10, 2010. Although it’s already a warm, humid night, the trophy girls have rubbed baby oil on themselves and each other so that they would glisten even more in victory lane. It was a process observed in wide-eyed silence by a phalanx of fortunate photographers.” (Mark McKeon Photo) 4 #327  -  Here’s another great shot by the “Guy with the Hat,” Frank Simek. It is thought to be at the 1968 All Star race at Fonda (NY) Speedway. Left is Paul Marshall, a journeyman New York modified driver, and at center is Steve Danish, the honored standard bearer of fifties Sportsman racing in the Northeast. Right is Lambertsville, New Jersey’s, Frankie Schneider. Marshall and Danish were pretty much done behind the wheel by this time, but Frankie, as always, was something different. Born in 1926, he had already been NASCAR National Modified Champion (1952) and had won hundreds of features all over God’s creation. But he was really just getting going. He raced even up into his late seventies and was very supportive in the research of our book about Old Bridge, NJ, and Nazareth, PA, . (Frank Simek Photo) 4 #326  -  Great old-time NASCAR modified star and New England Hall of Famer Bill Slater wasn’t able to make it to the recent Norwood (MA) Arena Reunion, but his longtime buddy John Bain brought along something special. In John’s words, “We were done in Daytona, 1965 I think, and Bill went out and practiced in a 1960 Chevy Permatex car. When he came in for inspection, Pete Keller saw Bill’s old helmet. ‘You can’t run that here,’ barked Keller. ‘Go over to that booth, buy a new helmet, and tell them I’ll pay for it.’ That’s just what Bill did, and he gave me the old one to throw away, says John. No way I was going to do that. Today is the first time since it has seen the light of day in 46 years.” (Dave Dykes Photo) 4 #325  -  The guys and gals in URC have always played hard ball. October 5, 1986 on the commanding 5/8 mile clay at Bridgeport, NJ, was no exception. Here Bill Glenn in the #77, Kramer Williamson in the #8, and Buck Buckley sort things out. No one was seriously wounded. United Racing Club Annual Pictorial Yearbook, 39th Edition, 1986 (Tom Kelly Photo) 4 #324  -  George “Leon” Duray, the 1920s- era Indy driver, knew how to find the go pedal. In 1928 he set a lap record at 124.018 that lasted for nine years, a record for a record. A couple of weeks later, he took his Miller to the Packard proving grounds and ran 148.17 mph, setting a world’s closed course standard. It is rumored that he said the lack of guardrails at the facility didn’t bother him whatsoever, as he had no intention of using them. Yikes. From THE GOLDEN AGE OF THE AMERICAN RACING CAR, by Griffith Borgeson (Griffith Borgeson Collection) 4 #323  -  In the late1950s, when the cutdowns and early modifieds reigned unchallenged as the “A” divisions, a Sportsman division also ran at many Northeastern tracks. One of the fastest – and for sure prettiest – of the Sportsman cars was Jim Travers’ electric blue coupe. Built by New England Hall of Famer Marty Harty, the car – and its trailer – were both flyweights. Check out those old Ford hubs everywhere – and ponder the sonorous sweetness of a Flathead through stack pipes such as those. The car has recently been located and is being accurately restored by Howard Towne of Towne’s Early Ford in Dorchester, NH.
(Towne’s Early Ford Collection)
4 #322  -  In 1984 21-year-old Dave Blaney had one incredible, stunning season. Demonstrating even then his brilliantly polished driving skills, he won both the USAC Silver Crown Championship and the Rookie of the Year honors. Likely Blaney’s most impressive drive came in the 200-lap endurance contest at St. Paul’s asphalt half-mile at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Blaney had never even run pavement before, but he ground it out to a second place finish behind Marvin Carman. (From Silver Crown Championship Program, July 13, 1985, Indianapolis Raceway Park) 4 #321  -  In the TEAROFF on Climb to the Clouds (June 16), we talked about Colorado’s Jim Keeney’s entry. Unfortunately he had to cancel. However, the roster still overflows. How about this for a hill climb hot rod? Santa Clara’s Mike Ryan will attack the slopes of New Hampshire’s Mt. Washington this weekend with his racing Freightliner, a 14.7 liter turbo-diesel, a mere 1950 horsepower. (Vermont SportsCar Collection) 4 #320  -  Trouble at a country fair! That’s Brad Doty and Jac Haudenschild in a photo booth back in 1969. Clearly they were practicing for a million podium finishes. Brad’s fabulous book, produced with Dave Argabright, has been reprinted in enhanced and expanded fashion and is just now off the trailer. . (Ed Haudenschild Collection) 4 #319  -  The way they were. It’s NASCAR’s Sophomore Class in 1982. Sitting, L-R, are Rick Wilson, Morgan Shepherd, and Mike Alexander, while standing are Tim Richmond, Joe Ruttman, and Ron Bouchard. From BUSCH CLASH of ’82 – Daytona International Speedway Program. 4 #318  -  Nope, it’s not Joey. It’s Tony, back when the Smoke was a little thinner. He had just won his first career Winston Cup event, the 1999 EXIDE SELECT 400 at Richmond. From NASCAR WINSTON CUP 1999 – The Official Chronicle of the 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup Series Season. (UMI Publications) 4 #317  -  That’s Nigel Mansell, tough guy. The Englishman, looking a little ragged and unshaven, had been bedridden for two weeks with a world-class case of chicken pox prior to the 1988 Hungarian Grand Prix. Somehow he won the pole and ran up front, but finally dropped out from sheer exhaustion on lap 59. He whispered over the radio link, “I have never given up before and I’m so sorry.” From AUTOCOURSE, The World’s Leading Grand Prix Annual 1988/89. (Steve Domenjoz Photo) 4 #316  -  Lakeside Speedway regular Bobby Lane built innovative stuff with his father, Elmer, and brother John. In 1976, Lane, then 22, showed up with a Midwest Modified Sprint Assn. sprinter with a coil-over front end. It was pretty slick, the first one in Kansas City. Note the rubber brake lines – and the right front steering. (Photo from Official Program, Lakeside Speedway 1976) 4 #315 - You never know what is going to happen next at Gene Cole’s ultra-successful Utica-Rome Speedway in Vernon, NY. Deanna DeFazio is case in point. She had no idea what was up when she was asked onto the frontstretch on opening night. But Pure Stock Driver Mike Kazlauskas sure knew what he had in mind – and so did track management. As soon as Deanna accepted Mike’s proposal, fireworks were set off in the background. Is that cool or what?!? (John Clifford Photo) four #314  -  This neat looking little cutdown might have thrown some dirt around the Milwaukee area back in Fuzzy Fassbender days or torn around Olympic Stadium in Kansas City. But not the M & H asphalt tires. This was New Hampshire driver Lou Harton at Hudson, NH, in the sixties. Harton was a busy and popular shoe. He died in 1973 at Lee (NH) Speedway, when he slammed sideways into the concrete in a Pro Stock. (Paul Richardson Collection) four #313  -  It is hard to believe that it was May of 1999, already 12 years ago, that Open Wheel magazine was purchased by EMAP-Petersen Publishing. Sadly, another issue was never printed. Dick Berggren and his team had put out incredible racing journalism for the unfendered for two decades. Fortunately, much of the group, including Bergie’s current Airedale “Indy,” is involved in the re-launch of Speedway Illustrated magazine just this year. (Open Wheel Magazine, May 1999 ) h #312 Good guys, Don Miller (L) and Jim Donnelly have done Coastal 181 proud. The book they wrote for us, just won second place in the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association (AARWBA) annual Motorsport Book competition. Don has done about everything there is to do with speedy cars, and Jim is Senior Editor at Hemmings, the famous Bennington, VT, publisher of periodicals for motorheads worldwide. Here they are in April 2010, signing the brand new book at the Speedway Club at Charlotte. (Cary Stratton Photo) FOUR #311  -  And this is how the big boys do it. In 1981, dirt tracker Gary Huston smacked the wall a ton running on “the hard clay” at Middletown, NY. He went for a sky ride and then started flipping. He was uninjured, but likely felt somewhat tentative for a few days. From Open Wheel Magazine, December 1981.
(Bob Snyder Photo)
GOIT #310 -  In 1981, Canadian Junior Hanley got ’er dun. Shown here on his way to the Cracker 200 Championship at New Smyrna, he went back North for the regular season with some bounce in his step. He kept up the pace, and won 45 of 61 events (74%) and was top dog at both Mt. Clemens, MI, and Toledo, OH. (From 15th Annual World Series of Stock Car Racing Official Souvenir Magazine) four #309  -  Age-defying open wheel star Bentley Warren is truly pan-national. Based alternatively in Arizona and Maine these days, commuting regularly on his Harleys from Hell, he has raced everywhere. Over the years, some of his Supermodified rides have had that same kinda sketchy, baling wire look of his bikes. When he went to Indy in the early seventies, his friends tried to polish him up just a little bit. But, right before the 500, out came the duct tape. From 1974 Indianapolis 500 Yearbook, presented by Carl Hungness. (Jim Chini Photo) FOUR #308  -  Mudslinger magazine’s Gene Murphy described dirt late model standout Dennis “Rambo” Franklin this way in 2004: “Big as a vending machine, he’s more than the weekend warriors can handle… No other Carolina hot shoe is wooing the fans harder. Like wrestler Rick Flair, the fans are gonna love hating him for years.” That’s Rambo on the left with his Dad and crew chief, Dick Franklin.
(Gene Murphy Photo)
four #307  -  On April 29, 2011, the Rislone URC sprinters ventured down to Delaware International Speedway. Once again that beyond bionic, beyond veteran Kramer Williamson showed the kids the way around with yet another feature win. URC was back there again this Memorial Day weekend, and Kramer was twelfth. Early in the evening, PA-based photographer Frank Simek, “the guy in the hat,” caught Felicia Williamson steering her dad’s car into the pits. We wonder if it is legal to text from a sprint car in Delaware…..(Frank Simek Photo) FOUR #306  -  After 20 years of trying, Dale Sr. really wanted to win the Daytona 500. Before the 1998 running, he glued a lucky penny onto the dash. “Now, as Earnhardt put it, ‘the monkey is off my back!’ And he so exuberantly illustrated the fact by hurling a stuffed monkey across the press box.” From , by Michael Fresina. (NASCAR Illustrated Archive) four #305  -  One star-crossed image. That’s Buddy Taylor in Roger Carsten’s “Pacemaker Chevy” at Erie, CO, in 1971. Carsten died in a plane crash on the way to this event. Taylor, winner of over 200 sprint car shows in the Southwest, was killed at Manzanita in 1978 at age 52. From , by Bob Mays. (Leroy Byers Photo) four #304  -  Ed Duncan of Rowley, MA, has done tireless work preserving the traditions of racing in the Northeast. He was a major contributor to Coastal 181 books such as and . For many years, one of the most notable supermodified events has been the season-ending free-for-all at Star (NH) Speedway known as the Star Classic. Here is a shot of Billy Murphy warming up for the NESMRA-promoted event back in 1969. You can see that Murphy, “the Flying Irishman,” had a fairly rudimentary approach to the whole deal. He was just as unclad as the car, but he made an obvious effort to make sure he could go the distance with fuel. The popular Classic will return to Star this September, now that long-time promoters Bob Weber Sr. and Jr., have reassumed control of the facility. (Ed Duncan Collection) FOUR #303  -  Cool car, cool guy. For nearly two decades, Larry Pfitzenmaier of Sonoita, AZ, has maintained and campaigned the Simoniz Special at vintage events, much to the delight of roadster heads far and wide. The car, built by A.J. Watson, was raced from 1959 until 1964, and sits today with its original historical integrity. The car won two races at the Daytona Tri-oval in 1959 with a closed course record of 170.261 mph and took second at Indy the same year. If you run into Larry, be sure to ask him how Jim Rathmann describes a lap at Daytona in it. (Rick Falconi Photo) BBBB #302  -  Mike Joy (L) and Pete Falconi were talkin’ it up 25 years ago. Announcers at Stafford Springs Speedway in Connecticut, they were also competing in a media race. Mike, quite the accomplished driver in his own right, won it, while Peter remembers spinning out from over-aggression. While the Nomex may be on the shelf these days, the two are still in the booth big-time. Mike calls Sprint Cup action for Fox TV while Peter continues to entertain the fans at short tracks all over New England. (Falconi Family Collection) fjour #301  -   Bobby Allison is certainly best known for his NASCAR exploits, but there wasn’t much he didn’t exercise along the way. In 1973, he was a rookie at Indy aboard a Penske Racing McLaren-Offy. He qualified 12th quick at 192.308, but he blew on the first lap. As shown above, one of his crew members didn’t want to believe it was over. From 1973 Indianapolis 500 Yearbook, presented by Carl Hungness.
(Ron Burton Photo)
FOUR #300  -   As this is our 300th Photo of the Day, we decided to pick a car #300. Here’s Ken “Baltimore Bones” Marriott on his way to the NASCAR National Modified Championship in May of 1957. He used multiple rides for title including this tri-carbed Ford coach. In the fall the skillful but solemn shoe began building a car for Daytona, but the project was never completed. He didn’t go. In fact, he quit racing all together. We don’t plan to any time soon – watch for Photo of the Day # 301 next Monday! (Russ Dodge Collection) FOUR