Mostly Racin' Stuff

                                             By Tom Avenengo

                                               Volume # 193




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!


More memories:


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 Montvale, NJ some years later when we gave it to my father. 

On November 22, 1961, our first child - a daughter, Judith Ann, was born in El Paso, Texas.  She was such a great baby!  A good eater and an excellent sleeper.  As she grew a little older, she loved sitting in front of the TV and watching Montovani.   Judy really spoiled  us with being such a goo d little girl.  When our second child, Sandra Lucienne was born, we surely didn’t expect the fun we’d have with her.  She was completely the opposite of her sister – sleeping wise!


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 Florida on the 16th of September.  Plans are to make a short return in October to take some things out of the house and take them down to Cape Coral, where I’ll spend most of my time.  Yes, I do plan on coming north during some of the summer months.

With this column, it will be my last for a little while.  So, keep an eye out on future Thursdays for their return, ok?



Racin’ stuff:


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 Florida, that would give him and Catherine a little more room.  But, upon finding gout that the price has gone up to $85.00 for the three days, he’s opting to just buy two.  Methinks that’s a $10.00 increase in the cost over past years.  Bet the purse stays the same, though.


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 Richmond?  What is remarkable is the fact he was able to climb that fence without security seeing him.



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

Speedway Sightings


By: Wm. LaDow

Daily Trackside Reports from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Published in the Post-Tribune — May 26, 2007

Speedway, Indiana



At the age of 15, Ray Nichels went on the road as a midget car crew chief, racing at tracks across America. From 1938-1948, the drivers of the Ray Nichels prepared midgets (campaigned by his father Rudy Nichels) were Ted Duncan, Tony Bettenhausen, Johnnie Parsons, Paul Russo, Mike O’Halloran, and Ray Richards (All members of the Midget Racing Hall of Fame.)


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 Vincennes Avenue in Blue Island was home to two brand new state-of-the-art Kurtis-Kraft 2000 Indy cars. Charlie Pritchard, a salty, aging racing veteran, ran the Tuffanelli operation and hired Ray to be the chief-mechanic for Paul Russo’s Indy car, the No. 19 “Tuffy’s Offy.”


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 Springfield, Illinois, when they first spotted the new Kurtis-Kraft built Meyer & Drake No. 99 car being campaigned by Murrell Belanger. Both were convinced that the design of this car was revolutionary and pushed hard to get Pritchard to have Tuffanelli to buy it. But Pritchard failed to grasp the coming changes of Indy racecar design and wanted no part of the M&D No. 99.


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 of the Indianapolis 500.


At night, the two could be found in Paul Russo’s Harrison Street basement in Hammond. After darkness set in, they became racecar builders. Some nights they were mechanics. Some nights they were engineers. Some of those nights they were chassis men. But every night, they were racers!


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 Indianapolis.


Once they got to the Speedway there were no garages left for them to house their car, so they set up operation in a small tin shed with a cinder floor near the Marquette Welding Shop and readied themselves to qualify.


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 Speedway was known, they were good-naturedly kidded by their friends in the racing fraternity. In the midst of great racing stories about the likes of Wilbur Shaw, Mauri Rose, Bill Holland, Sam Hanks, national champion Johnnie Parsons and others, the one story around the Speedway that wouldn’t go away was about the two guys from the Calumet Region who had to “take their car apart to get it out of the basement it was built in.” No less than Indy 500 veteran Russ Snowberger joked that when Russo and Nichels came to Indianapolis, “all they brought with them was some Magnaflux paper, and they had borrowed the rest!”


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 Indianapolis 500, Wilbur Shaw said, “You boys qualify … then you get a number painted on this car right away and send me the bill.” That very afternoon the boys qualified for the most prestigious auto race in the world.


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 Phoenix finishing his season and had been the driver behind the wheel for the last three races, Paul would likely have won the AAA Indy Car National Championship.


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 Hammond, Indiana basement, the Russo-Nichels Special now rests in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall-of-Fame Museum.


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:




Bryar Motorsports Park - Road Course and Oval(1/2 Mile ?). Now site of New Hampshire Motor Speedway.







Alcyon Speedway - (West Side Pitman) 1/2 Mile D Shaped Oval.


Amatol Speedway - (Hammonton) 1926 - 1928. (aka: Atlantic City)


Arney's Mount








Capitol City


Delaware Township


Dover Speedway

East Windsor Speedway - (near Highstown) 1/2 Mile Semi Banked Dirt Oval. Possibly a Hosuing Development now.  East Windsor Township, NJ

(aka: East Windsor Fairgrounds, Acella Speedway)

1/2-mile clay oval (6/11/1965 - 8/23/2002


Flemington Fairgrounds Speedway - Off Rte. 31. Raced as NASCAR Sanctioned 5/8 Mile Asphalt Oval in 1990's, also hosting the Race Of Champions for Asphalt Modifieds. Ran previously as a 5/8 Mile Square Dirt Track hosting Big-Block Modifieds. Now a Shopping Mall.


Harmony Raceway - (near Brainards) 5/8 Mile D-Shaped Dirt Oval and a 1/4 Mile Dragstrip



Hinchliffe Satdium - (Paterson) 1/5 Mile Oval used intermittantly from 1934 - 1951.


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




Maple Grove






Mount Holly


Old Bridge Stadium - 1/2 Mile Paved Oval, 1/5 Mile Paved Oval and a Dragstrip.


Penn National


Roosevelt Stadium


Ruppert Stadium


Tom's River Speedway - 1/4 Mile Dirt Oval March 1950 - October 1950. The track was located off of Whitty Road. Toms River, NJ


Trenton Fairgrounds - Now a Museum. The Backstretch Inner Dog Leg is still visible, and now a Public Street. Once was home to the Race Of Champions for Asphalt Modifieds.


Vineland Speedway - 1.5 Mile Road Course, 1/2 Mile Paved Oval, and a drag strip. Signifcant portions of the facility are still somewhat intact.



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 Glen Ridge.


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 Bethel.


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.




From Jayski:


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 convincing North Carolina judges it should be allowed to sue Cabarrus County over $80 million in tax breaks. A lower state court last year rejected the position of Speedway Motorsports Inc. A three-judge state Court of Appeals panel ruled unanimously in October 2013 that there was never a binding contract for the money to help build a new drag strip and make [Charlotte Motor] speedway upgrades. The N.C. Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday about whether the lawsuit was dismissed improperly, as Speedway Motorsports claims. Smith had threatened in 2007 to move the speedway if he didn't get the tax breaks.(see full story at the Independent Tribune)(9-9-2014)


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.

Vertical Transportation:

· 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


Can money be allotted to help retired drivers? - (9-7-2014)


2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase Standings:

[after Richmond, race 26 of 36]

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 Format At Talladega - (9-4-2014)



Coming up:






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 Middletown Auto Wreckers Present:







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!








Sat 9/13 Fonda Speedway - Fonda, N.Y.





Saturday 9/13/14:

   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!





Sept 13


Sat Night    Oswego Speedway

- Oswego, NY


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 Victory Lane? One thing is certain, ARDC Midget Racing at Grandview is always intense!




From Track Forum:


Explain To Me


Note:  What make the Penske cars so much better?





From the AARN:


This Week



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


Port Royal’s Rich Tuscarora 50 Won By Dominant Greg Hodnett


Rain Halts Several Tracks; Track Championship Races Decided By Default


From The Rear, Bloomquist Wins Eldora’s WoO LMWorld 100


Tow Trucks Play Role In Hollland Modified Title Chase Outcome


BDMotosports / 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





Press releases:


NEWS FROM                                                                                                             

Orange County Fair Speedway                                                                                    

239 Wisner Avenue                                                                                                    

Middletown, NY10940 



Mike Gurda









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 Orange County will take place on Saturday, September 13 when All Steel & Aluminum and Middletown Auto Wreckers present the EVE OF DESTRUCTION!!! Folks that enjoy motorized mayhem won’t want to miss this thrill-packed evening that includes crashes of all sorts, an organized Enduro Race (if there is such a thing), and general destruction.


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 Orange County website,, or call the Track Office at 845-342-2573 Wednesday through Saturday during business hours.


MEDIA MEMBERS: Credentials requests for Eastern States Weekend should be made to Bobby Armbruster at 201-323-2913, or  Deadline is October 12, 2013.       











            (Concord, CA, September 9, 2014)    The "World's Fastest Sprint Car Driver," Concord, California's Damion Gardner, saw nearly two years of dreams and hard work come to fruition when he broke the 200-MPH barrier not once, but two times in a sprint car at the Bonneville Salt Flats on Monday.  Not only can he be called the "World's Fastest Sprint Car Driver," but now the slender racer can also be called the only driver to go 200-MPH in a sprint car.


            After a "shakedown" run of 190-MPH on the famous Utah salt surface on Sunday, the table was set to make sprint car history on Monday.  Gardner started off the dramatic day with a sizzling pass that produced a speed of 194.19901 early in the morning.  It was his fastest ever pass at Bonneville. The crew then realized history was in its grasp and it was time to go for it.


            Gardner's second run of the day proved to be the one dream's are made of.  He blistered the salt and by mile two, his speed was 199.44424.  He was within arm's reach of the coveted 200-MPH.  One mile later, he did it! At the three mile mark he was at 202.25408 and his exit speed was 202.38426.


            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 Gardner went back out and he obliterated the 202 run with an amazing pass of 205.47318.


            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.  Gardner just went 211.58844 on his first run of the day!


            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.


            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:


            Media, to contact any of the principals in this endeavor, please contact Scott Daloisio at 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.


            Bryan Clauson is riding a one-game winning streak in the AMSOIL USAC Sprint cars at Terre Haute. Since Hurtubise's feat, only four drivers have even come close. Bubby Jones won four straight in 1979 while Roger McCluskey (1966), Gary Bettenhausen (1968-69) and Levi Jones (2005) put together three in a row.


            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.


            Dave Darland, 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 Terre Haute just came in July, is third in the standings, 40 points behind the leader.


            The Terre Haute race kicks off a busy week for the series, which travels to Rossburg, Ohio for the Saturday night (September 20) "4-Crown Nationals."


            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:


Brian Caruso:

"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"


Mike Garabedian:  "Priceless. Where was it?"


Caruso Midget Racing Museum:  "Mike Garabedian in was back in Connecticut"


Ronny Dennis:  "I'd love to see that car at Hinchliffe... ; )"


Caruso Midget Racing Museum:  "Thanks Ronny, I would love to bring it to Hinchcliffe. Wish I could be there."


Ronny Dennis:  "What year was that one run?"


Caruso Midget Racing Museum:  "1949 through the 60's"


Ronny Dennis:  "Did Schindler ever run that one?"


Caruso Midget Racing Museum:  "No, He just left and the original Duece was stretched. My grandfather bought the #5 from Bourgnon in 1949. A lot of great drivers drove it like Johnny Thomson, Dutch Schaefer, Tony Bonadies,Art Cross to name a few.”





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


In part:


"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 (Md.), Fallon said the department wanted congressional staffers to get documents to selected reporters so that officials could comment on them “before the majority” did.

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!


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