Mostly Racin' Stuff
By Tom Avenengo
Some personal/family stuff:
My wife, who left us on July 3, 2014.
Remember, photos can only be seen on the New England Tractor/Race Report website, which is linked to at the end of my columns.
Notice the date of this week’s column – 9/11? It was on 9/11/1960 that Joan and I said our marriage vows. Yes, 54 years ago. Gee, but I miss her!
Just a heads up: The “automatic” Social Security lump sum death benefit is not really a gimmie. I was told my wife does not qualify. Today, I get mail from SS and really can’t figure out just what the hell it means. But, I’m willing to wager that all these “illegal’s” that are getting on SS will most def qualify for those benefits. Unbelievable!
A week or so after the wife arrived, we invited Sgt Redfern
for Sunday dinner. He lived alone. When he arrived at our apartment, his first
question was where was our TV? Heck, we
didn’t have one yet. After dinner we
went to his place and he gave us a TV he had in his garage. I believe it was a Hoffman console. Only thing wrong with it was that the end
piece on the picture tube was held on with tape, and on occasion, one had to
move it a little to make the TV work.
Believe it or not, that TV ended up in
On November 22, 1961, our first child - a
daughter, Judith Ann, was born in
OK, some bad news:
I’ve been contemplating my future. Surely with the wife gone, I can’t afford the house we shared these last 10 plus years. Yes, there are options, and Chapter 7 looks like the one I’ll be taking. Not too happy about this, but – ya gotta do what ya gotta do, you know?
Plans are now, mainly due to some health
issues I’ve been having, to head to
With this column, it will be my last for a little while. So, keep an eye out on future Thursdays for their return, ok?
Nice move by Michael Gurda and OCFS for those that were in attendance last Saturday for a show that got rained out. I wasn’t in attendance, but from what I can see, when you hand in your wrist band, you can get the money off for various things – like Eastern States tickets or any race in 2015.
On the down side for ESW – my son, Eric, told
me he was going to order 3 tickets for ESW.
If I wasn’t able to make it from
Any idea as to how many more idiots will
attempt to climb up on the fencing that overhangs the race track, like the
idiot did this past Saturday night at
There was an email sent out on Tuesday to the Yahoo! Race History group by Gordon White asking about the whereabouts of the famous Indy race car “Basement Bessie”. My doing a quick search turned this up:
Region Racers – Russo-Nichels Special – “Basement Bessie”
Posted: May 26, 2007 in Uncategorized
Region Racers at the Indy 500 — The Russo-Nichels Race Team
By: Wm. LaDow
Daily Trackside Reports from
Published in the Post-Tribune — May 26, 2007
At the age of 15, Ray Nichels went on the road as a midget car crew chief, racing
at tracks across
But those years were just a pre-cursor to what became a legendary Indy and stock car racing career.
After he returned from World
War II and married the love of his life, Eleanor Govert
of Griffith in 1947, Ray already had his eye on Indy car racing. In 1949, Nichels joined the Indy car race team of Carmine “Babe” Tuffanelli, whose shop on
Russo and Nichels
ran 11 races in the 1949 AAA schedule, but had a falling out with Pritchard,
beginning with the August 20th race at
In less than a month, Nichels left the Tuffanelli team.
It was then that Ray made up his mind that he would no longer leave his racing future in the hands of other people, especially those who lacked vision. So Ray with his buddy Russo, decided that if they couldn’t get their hands on a car like the M&D No. 99, then they would build their own.
As 1950 began, Ray Nichels spent the daylight hours delivering heating oil for
the Kovsi Fuel Oil Co. and Paul Russo earned his paycheck
as a welder. But in the evenings, Nichels and Russo
pursued their dream to race their own hand-built creation in the 34th running
At night, the two could be
found in Paul Russo’s
They started the project constructing the frame, thinking that if they could get it built, they might be able to lease an Offy engine on a percentage basis once they got to Indy.
Tools for the project were simple. For a layout table, they used the floor. For a blueprint, they used a large piece of cardboard with the plans drawn in pencil. When they needed to come up with alternate sketches, they used the floor and the walls. For a straightedge, they used the lid of a suit box. For a band saw, they used a hacksaw (and promptly went through 64 hacksaw blades cutting the frame.) Necessity was truly the mother of invention.
When it was finished, the
Russo-Nichels Special had to be completely dismantled
before it could make its journey to see sunlight. Then it was on to
Once they got to the
Their first task was to find
race wheels and tires, and they were fortunate that Firestone offered to loan
them both. Once their presence at the
When they were ready to qualify, they pulled the Russo-Nichels Special in line. Wilbur Shaw, president and general manager of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, walked up to them and sharply asked, “What are you clowns doing?” With the look of two kids who’d just built a soapbox derby entry, they announced, “We’re here to qualify!”
Shaw gave the Russo-Nichels Special a long gaze, seeing no front grill, a
temporary fuel tank and not a drop of paint anywhere. He paused and then said,
“You don’t have a number. You can’t qualify without a number.” Nichels and Russo looked at each other for the longest
moment and said, “Wilbur, we’re broke. We don’t have a buck between us. We
can’t afford to have a number painted on the car in time to make the race.” In
the true Hoosier spirit that is the
Starting in the seventh row the Russo-Nichels Special went on to capture the imagination of the American racing public by running with the leaders for much of the day, before the rain-shortened Indy 500 ended at 345 miles. The Russo-Nichels Special soon became affectionately known as “Basement Bessie” as it was campaigned on the AAA Championship Trail during the 1950 season, running 13 races, capturing two victories, seven top-fives and nine top-tens.
In December, Nichels with defending Indianapolis 500 Champion Johnnie Parsons behind the wheel, subbing for an injured Paul Russo, won the first ever Indy car race at the newly built Darlington Raceway. Parsons and the Russo-Nichels Special put on a spectacular show for all 10,000 spectators to witness. He lapped the field, finishing the 200-mile race in an impressive one hour and 54 minutes, for an average speed of 104.651 miles per hour.
One of the most incredible aspects of the 1950 season for Paul Russo and Ray Nichels was the season-long performance of their hand-built basement creation.
Had Russo not been injured
with in the AAA race at
Had it not been for the need to use two other drivers to replace the injured Russo, “Basement Bessie,” would have worn the crown of a champion.
Born in a
Note – check out the link for an excellent photo of the car.
Former F1 champion Michael Schumacher leaves hospital for home
A new weekly feature for a few columns, anyway:
Race tracks that are no longer around:
Alcyon Speedway - (
(aka: East Windsor Fairgrounds, Acella Speedway)
1/2-mile clay oval (6/11/1965 - 8/23/2002
Harmony Raceway - (near Brainards) 5/8 Mile D-Shaped Dirt Oval and a 1/4 Mile Dragstrip
Hinchliffe Satdium - (
Note: As I’m doing this column, there are plans for a show this coming Sunday, 9/14, at Hinchcliife, with some exhibition “races” being held.
Ho Ho Kus
Hope Chapel Lincoln Field
Former OVRP Dirt Oval runners:
Not much to report on this week.
At U/R in 360 Sprints, Davie Franek was 14th in the regular feature. In the 13 lap Kevin Ward, Jr. Shoot out, he was 3rd.
Bobby Hackel, IV
was 13th in the Modified feature at
Alex Bell was 20th and Hunter Bates 22nd in the Sportsman feature at A/S.
Chuck Alessi was 3rd, Josh Pieniazek 5th, Joe Kata 16th and Emily VanInwegen 18th the CRSA 305 feature.
JB Morris was 4th in the 4
Cylinder advanced feature at
Jacob Hendershot was 4th in the 270 Micro feature at Linda’s.
Wyatt Clark was 3rd in the All Star Slingshot feature at Accord.
Anthony Perrego was 7th, Tyler Boniface 20th in the Modified feature.
Johnny Illanovsky was 6th, Winter Mead 7th and Joey Bruning 14th in the Spec Sportsman feature.
In the “Hot Summer Night” race at Penn Can, on Tuesday, Anthony Perrego was 4th, Danny Creeden 15th, Billy V 20th and Tyler Dippel 24th in the Modified race, with Brian Krummel 8th, Johnny Illanovsky 10th and Winter Mead 17th in the Sportsman feature.
Remember, I’ll just make mention of some of the things that appear on the Jayski website, with maybe some exceptions.
Kligerman to test Indy Lights car - (9-10-2014)
Who has been too fast on pit road? - (9-10-2014)
Haas says Kurt Busch can test F1 car if - (9-10-2014)
Stewart, Harvick swap pit crews - (9-9-2014)
No Timetable for Stewart investigation to finish - (9-9-2014)
NASCAR Introduces Special Paint Scheme Elements For Chase Contenders - (7-15/9-9-2014)
NC Supreme Court hears CMS lawsuit suit: Bruton Smith and Speedway Motorsports get one more crack at
DAYTONA Rising September Project Update: During the last month, Daytona International Speedway continued to move forward with the $400 million DAYTONA Rising redevelopment project. Key areas of the new motorsports stadium are beginning to take shape. Below is a breakdown of key accomplishments since the last update as well as upcoming construction activities.
· Installed escalators and elevators at West and East ends of the project
· Ongoing masonry near the West end of the project as well as in the center
· Continued concrete pours on metal decks
· Ongoing steel deck and detailing throughout the project
· Began installation of curbs in West end and just east of the start/finish line
· Began pouring concrete stairs for the far west Injector
· Finalizing structural steel installation
· Finalizing initial development of neighborhood bars, guest services, bathrooms and bistro concessions
· Ongoing installation of HVAC systems in the West and East ends as well as just east of the start/finish line
· Ongoing demolition of the Turn 1 grandstands
Race fans can follow the progress of the DAYTONA Rising project by visiting www.DAYTONARising.com.(DIS)(9-9-2014)
Can money be allotted to help retired drivers? - (9-7-2014)
2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase Standings:
1) #2-Brad Keselowski [4 wins], 2012 points
2) #24-Jeff Gordon [3 wins] 2009, -3
3) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. [3 wins] 2009, -3
4) #48-Jimmie Johnson [3 wins] 2009, -3
5) #22-Joey Logano [3 wins] 2009, -3
6) #4-Kevin Harvick [2 wins] 2006, -6
7) #99-Carl Edwards [2 wins] 2006, -6
8) #18-Kyle Busch [1 win] 2003, -9
9) #11-Denny Hamlin [1 win] 2003, -9
10) #41-Kurt Busch [1 win] 2003, -9
11) #5-Kasey Kahne [1 win] 2003, -9
12) #43-Aric Almirola [1 win] 2003, -9
13) #47-A.J. Allmendinger [1 win] 2003, -9
14) #20-Matt Kenseth, 2000, -12
15) #16-Greg Biffle, 2000, -12
16) #31-Ryan Newman, 2000, -12
(ties are broken by wins, 2nds, 3rds, etc)
See the Chase Points Standings page (pdf)
And see OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Race & Points Report (pdf).(9-6-2014)
NASCAR considers changes to its souvenir business - (9-6-2014)
Nationwide expands sponsorship of the #88 Chevy - (9-5-2014)
NASCAR Revises National Series Qualifying
Friday, September 12th, 2014
** Last Night of Points **
Modifieds - Sportsman - Spec Sportsman
Pro Stock - Pure Stock - All Star Slingshot-Jr Slingshot
Pit Gate 4:30pm Spectator Gate 5:00pm Racing at 7
Saturday, September 13th,
2014 - All Steel Aluminum and
THE ANNUAL EVE OF DESTRUCTION
OUR NEXT EVENT:
Saturday, September 13
Holdover races for Sportsman and Pro Stock, World Formula Modified Tour, Twin Cam 4 Cylinders PLUS Sportsman, Legends, Bandolero,
Pro Stock, Street Stock,
4 Cylinder Advanced and Novice
Gates open at 2:30 pm
Hot laps at 4:30 pm
RACING at 6 pm
$6 Grandstand Admission!
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 14
2ND ANNUAL FALL FLING CAR SHOW
All Star Slingshot National 50 Tour $1000 to WIN! 24+ cars entered, $75 entry, 50-lap feature, and $75 to take the green!
All divisions racing! RRTT: 1,5,6,8
** BREAKING NEWS!~** A secret sponsor has come forward with $500 more cash and throwing it into the National 50 payout!
What this means is ... the winner will still win $1k but now from 2nd to 21st the payouts are increased! For example for 2nd - an additional $100 will be paid out ~$600 for 2nd! For 3rd & 4th we added an additional $50, and then 5th to 14th we've added an additional $25! And to take the green flag in the National 50 - you will receive your payout back $75!
plus NEMA LITES Series
Up Next - Grandview Speedway
Inc. September 12th, the night before the Freedom 76! Can Steven Drevicki extend his point lead? Will Alex Bright continue
his hot streak to 4 wins? Will we have a new face in
From Track Forum:
Explain To Me
Note: What make the Penske cars so much better?
From the AARN:
Mr. & Mrs. Friesen - Stewart & Jessica (Zemken) Run One-Two In Utica-Rome’s Cole Cup
Preece Heads To Race Of Champions As One Of The Favorites
ISMA’s Star Classic To Lou Cicconi Despite Late Race Scare
Big Diamond’s ‘Coalcracker Goes To Invader Matt Sheppard
Rain Halts Several Tracks; Track Championship Races Decided By Default
From The Rear, Bloomquist Wins Eldora’s WoO LM World 100
Tow Trucks Play Role In Hollland Modified Title Chase Outcome
BD Motosports / Brett Deyo Signs Three Year American Racer Tire Pact
Kevin Ward’s Team To Race One Last Time At Ohweken, Will Then Sell
Johnson: Hendrick team found faulty helmet cooling system
Orange County Fair
FOR RELEASE MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 8
WRISTBAND CREDIT TOWARDS FUTURE RACE MEETS
AT ORANGE COUNTY FAIR
MIDDLETOWN, NY (September 8)……..When a sudden downpour ended racing almost as soon as it started Saturday night, September 6 at Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown, New York, the track announced a means for attending fans to redeem their identifying wristbands for full credit towards the purchase of tickets for the Saturday, September 13 EVE OF DESTRUCTION special event, the upcoming October 24-26 53rd Annual Eastern States Weekend, or any race meet in 2015.
Fans with September 6 wristbands may redeem them at the Speedway Office for a voucher that then can be used towards purchasing future events tickets. The Speedway Office will be open the day of the event fans wish to attend, or Wednesday through Saturday during business hours. Call 845-342-2573 for additional information.
The final weekly program at
Advance sale tickets for the EVE OF DESTRUCTION!!! are available at the Speedway Office and online at the Orange County Fair Speedway website.
Tickets for the 53rd Annual
Eastern States Weekend presented by Arkel Motors and
Dupree & Monroe Attorneys, Friday through Sunday, October 24-26, are also
on sale. Be sure to check the official
MEDIA MEMBERS: Credentials requests for Eastern States Weekend should be made to Bobby Armbruster at 201-323-2913, or BArmbr6493@aol.com. Deadline is October 12, 2013.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SEPTEMBER 9, 2014
After a "shakedown" run
of 190-MPH on the famous
Those who are acquainted with Damion Gardner know that he will not quit pushing and
rather than rest on his laurels at 202.38426, he wanted more. The area was being pestered by some light
rain followed by cross winds that caused some concern, but
205+ and it is not over yet. Instead of packing up the car and the tools
and heading home, Gardner and the crew are headed back to the salt for some
more passes on Tuesday to wrap up the three days of wonderful speed history. Full details on today's exploits with be forthcoming this evening or first thing Monday morning,
but here is a little hint.
You can see and meet the "World's Fastest Sprint Car Driver" this Saturday night when he returns to the cockpit of the Mark Alexander #4 in the USAC/CRA Sprint Car Series at Perris Auto Speedway.
Everything, including the historical 205-MPH pass is being shot for an exciting documentary titled, "The World's Fastest Sprint Car." The made for TV production is being written, directed and produced by Surf N' Sprint and will be shot by the award winning racing specialists from LoudPedal Productions. You can take a sneak peek at the documentary at the following link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gp1JvkD9aaI&feature=youtu.be
Damion Gardner would like to thank the following for making this enormous task possible: Surf N' Sprint, Frankland Rearends, J. Milano Co., Shaver Engines, Lucas Oil, ARP, FK Rod Ends, Weld Wheels, Yak Graphics, Schoenfeld, Waterman, Simpson, Willwood, Kinsler Fuel Injection, Advanced Racing Suspension, Maxwell Industries, Victory Race Cars, Beast Chassis, Maas Powdercoat, Kenny's Components, Santamauro Racing, Lee Power Steering, Butler Built Seats, Schroeder, Brown & Miller, Champion Spark Plugs, System 1, Barne's Systems, Eibach, TSR, Indy Race Parts, MPD, Beaver Stripes, K&N, Jessel, Comp Cams, Donovan, Seals It, LoudPedal Productions, KMD Racing.
Watch for more follow ups on this noble effort in 2014. You can also check out what is going on by visiting the Damion Gardner Fan Page on Facebook. The pages of Steve Watt and Loudpedal Productions will also offer their takes on all the high speed happenings.
To hear Damion Gardner's 2013 interview about driving the "World's Fastest Sprint Car" with Shawn Wood on the Dirt Track Channel, please click on the following link: http://thedirttrackchannel.com/Webcast/tscsAug1313.mp3
Media, to contact any of the principals in this endeavor, please contact Scott Daloisio at email@example.com or call 909 226-7768.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE SEPTEMBER 10, 2014
Jim Hurtubise won five consecutive USAC National Sprint Car races at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track during one stretch from 1960-1962!!!
It's been 52 years and 137 more USAC Sprint races and nobody yet has been able to match Hurtubise's feat. AND - it won't be challenged next Thursday night (September 18) when the "Jim Hurtubise Classic" returns to the half-mile dirt oval after having been rained out August 29.
is riding a one-game winning streak in the AMSOIL USAC Sprint cars at
The September 18 race is the 150th for the USAC Sprint cars at the venerable Vigo County Fairgrounds. It could be pivotal in the 2014 race for the 2014 series title.
whose only two Terre Haute Sprint wins came 21 years apart (1993 and 2014),
leads the series with a five-point cushion over Brady Bacon, who has yet to
score at the Action Track. Clauson, whose initial
USAC Sprint win at
One driver still seeking his first 2104 victory is Jerry Coons Jr., who won the 2013 running of the "Jim Hurtubise Classic."
2014 AMSOIL USAC National Sprint Car Standings: 1-Dave Darland-1,520, 2-Brady Bacon-1,515, 3-Bryan Clauson-1,480, 4-Jon Stanbrough-1,428, 5-Chase Stockon-1,297, 6-Justin Grant-1,230, 7-Chris Windom-1,206, 8-Tracy Hines-1,195, 9-Robert Ballou-1,085, 10-Hunter Schuerenberg-1,067
This week’s photo:
Note: I keep forgetting – to see the photos, you have to go to the New England Tractor Race Report website which has a link at the end of my column!
From Facebook on 9/10/14:
Pictured: Mike Jr. and Brian Caruso.
Some very interesting things said about the above car, on Facebook:
"Thanks to my friend Rick Powell for delivering one of my grandfathers original Caruso midget race cars that we purchased back and happy to have back in the family. Thanks to Roy Caruthers for letting me know it was for sale and Kim Baker from vintageracecarsales.com."
Mike Garabedian: "Priceless. Where was it?"
Ronny Dennis: "I'd love to see that car at Hinchliffe... ; )"
Ronny Dennis: "What year was that one run?"
Ronny Dennis: "Did Schindler ever run that one?"
This weeks racing video:
Sprint car flips video – at 2:05 a helmet comes off – something that should not happen!
Some non racin’ stuff:
Sure has been enough said about a certain banned football player, huh? Even his wife has come out with a statement. Make ya a wager – she’s pissed off because those millions are now gone, and she had visions of a divorce and big bucks somewhere down the road. Why she would even marry the idiot after the beat the crap out of her is beyond me – unless, like I said the money down the road.
Issa: Holder aide caught red-handed
"The administration official calling House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa’s (R-Calif.) office last week had an odd request.
Could the Justice Department get some help leaking information about the IRS’s scrutiny of conservative groups? asked Brian Fallon, a top spokesman for Attorney General Eric Holder.
Apparently thinking he had
reached the office of Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings (
After Issa spokesman Frederick Hill replied that Oversight Committee staffers would have to examine those documents first, the line went silent, and Fallon placed the call on hold for three minutes.
When he returned to the line, Fallon was “audibly shaken,” according to an account of the conversation that Issa recounts in a letter sent to Holder.
The Justice official then said there had been a “change in plans,” that no documents would be released on Friday and that the main reason for the call was to seek a thaw in relations between the department and Oversight Republicans.
Issa said it’s clear that the Justice official meant to call Democratic staff and argued the mix-up is proof that President Obama’s administration and Cummings have been collaborating to “prejudice the committee’s work through under-the-table coordination.”
“This highly partisan and combative approach to oversight by the department shows a disregard for the independent investigatory prerogatives of Congress and a deliberate attempt to influence the course of a congressional investigation,” Issa wrote to Holder, adding that it was “unseemly” for the department to favor one party over the other when it came to sharing information.
The documents, Issa added in the letter, are about Andrew Strelka, a former Justice attorney that once worked for Lois Lerner, the ex-IRS official at the center of the Tea Party controversy.”
This weeks joke:
Love the Irish – continued:
Patton staggered home very late after another evening with his drinking buddy, Paddy. He took off his shoes to avoid waking his wife, Kathleen. He tiptoed as quietly as he could toward the stairs leading to their upstairs bedroom, but misjudged the bottom step. As he caught himself by grabbing the banister, his body swung around and he landed heavily on his rump. A whiskey bottle in each back pocket broke and made the landing especially painful. Managing not to yell, Patton sprung up, pulled down his pants, and looked in the hall mirror to see that his butt cheeks were cut and bleeding. He managed to quietly find a full box of Band-Aids and began putting a Band-Aid as best he could on each place he saw blood. He then hid the now almost empty Band-Aid box and shuffled and stumbled his way to bed.
In the morning, Patton woke up with searing pain in both his head and butt and Kathleen staring at him from across the room. She said, 'You were drunk again last night weren't you?' Patton said, 'Why you say such a mean thing?' 'Well,' Kathleen said, 'it could be the open front door, it could be the broken glass at the bottom of the stairs, it could be the drops of blood trailing through the house, it could be your bloodshot eyes, but mostly....... it's all those Band-Aids stuck on the hall mirror.
Until my next column – whenever it might be!
Columns are available on the Dirt Track Digest at: http://www.dirttrackdigest.com/ (Click on “Recent Columns – and I hope it works!)
Where I also have some neat photo articles
I can be reached, via e-mail, at: firstname.lastname@example.org