Mostly Racin' Stuff

                                             By Tom Avenengo

                                               Volume # 198


Special notice:


From last week:  “Next week, around Tues/Wed, as long as I’m up to it, we’ll be heading north to get some more stuff out of my house, and again, if I feel up to it a trip or two to Eastern States.  We will be heading back to Florida the Monday after ESW.  So, sad to say, don’t expect a column for the next couple of weeks.”


Well, sad to say, my cardiologist but the kibosh on me traveling north – especially by car.  The fear of me getting blood clots is the main reason.  So, no ESW for me.  Gonna be the first time since I can’t remember when, when I was not there for the three days. 





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.


I’m not sure just how much will get done on this weeks column.  I started I ton Monday, and I suppose I had maybe ¾ of it done, then when I went to close it out, rather than hit “yes” to save it, I hit “no” – and poof!  Gone into wherever things disappear to.  SUPPOSEDLY there are ways to retrieve a document that had not been saved.  Uh huh.  Maybe for computer literate folks, but not for this dummy.  Had some good stuff in it, too.  Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug.


While on Facebook on Monday, I came across a video from one of those talent shows.  A young man did an excellent version of the Garth Brooks song, “If tomorrow never comes”.  More than likely, it will be towards the end of this weeks column.  But, me, getting a little sentimental when hearing the words, I changed some of the wording to some thoughts about my wife:


Sometimes late at night
I lied awake and watched her sleeping
She's lost in peaceful dreams
So I turn out the lights and lay there in the dark
And the thought crosses my mind
If she should not wake up in the morning
Would she ever doubt the way I felt
About her in my heart ?

If her tomorrow never comes
Will she know how much I loved her
Did I try in every way to show her every day
That she's my only one
And if her time on earth were through
And I must face this world without her
Is the love I gave her in the past
Gonna be enough to last
If her tomorrow never comes

'Cause I've lost loved ones in my life
Who never knew how much I loved them
Now I live with the regret
That my true feelings for them never were revealed
So I made a promise to myself
To say each day how much she meant to me
And avoid that circumstance
Where there's no second chance to tell her how I felt


More memories:


Mid to late 1968, the Arrow Shirt Company decided it was going to move from Chester, NY to Atlanta, GA.  We could have gone south, but opted not to.  One day, while I was shopping in the Monroe, NY Grand Union, I came across Charles Prideau, a supervisor with the GU.  I first met him when I worked part time, after school, in the Pearl River, NY GU, and he came in as our Grocery Manager.   I asked him if he was looking for any help, and I guess I hit him at the right time.  A produce manager was going to be needed in the Greenwood Lake, NY store.  I went there as the produce manager on January 13, 1969.  At the time, we had four kids and I started out making $145.00/week.  I would stay with Grand Union until June 26, 1996, when my son, Eric, drove me to Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, NJ.  On the 28th, I had five arteries by-passed.  That ended my working career, since I went on disability and then made the lateral move to retirement on my 65th birthday.

I’d have to say that there were  couple of factors that lead to problems with those arteries – years of heavy smoking, and once the GU came out with that deep fried chicken in their deli departments, well, lets just say 5hat deep fried chicken always tasted so good when I ate lunch.




Racin’ stuff:


In no way at all do I feel ashamed about having tears of joy in my eyes when I received the email from Dick Jordan and USAC, below.  In it is the message that a friend of mine, one Nick Fornoro is going into the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame.  To know Nick is to love him, that’s for sure.  I just wish I had met him earlier in life than when I did.  He was such a sweetheart and loving person!


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                     OCTOBER 22, 2014






 Tulsa, Okla. is the site for the annual January inductions for the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame. This year's inductees, to be announced this weekend during the annual "Gold Crown Midget Nationals" at Tri-City Speedway in Granite City, Ill., comprise a mix of drivers and car owners whose names will be enshrined in the hall which is presently housed at Angell Park Speedway in Sun Prairie, Wisc.


The inductions are part of the festivities surrounding the annual "Chili Bowl" Midget spectacular at the Tulsa State Fairgrounds and they will be held on Friday, January 16.


Alphabetically, this year's inductees are: Chuck Arnold, Nick Fornoro, Mike Gregg, Steve Knepper, Freddie Meeker, Norm Rapp, Jim Whitman and Ashley Wright.


Arnold, of Stamford, Conn., who served as the USAC Western States Midget Chief Steward from 1975-1981, won the 1954 NASCAR Midget title and finished as the runner-up the next year. In 1952 he was named "Most Improved Driver" in the American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC). He recorded 14 feature victories in USAC National competition before his driving retirement in the early 1970s.


 Fornoro, of Rockaway, N.J., began racing in 1947 and before retiring in 1956 won the 1950 ARDC and 1953 NASCAR Midget titles. After his driving career ended he became one of the country's premier chief starters and during the period from 1956-1992 he served in that capacity for ARDC, the ATQMRA TQ Midget series and eventually for Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) at their high-profile championship events. His sons Nick Jr. and Drew also became champion Midget drivers.


Gregg, of Washougal, Wash., is also a member of the Colorado and Belleville (Kans.) High Banks Halls of Fame. An eight-time champion of the Rocky Mountain Midget Racing Association (1977-78-79-80-81-82-84-87), he recorded significant victories in the 1981 Belleville Midget Nationals and at the Seattle Kingdome in 1984. The 1973 USAC "Rookie of the Year," Mike notched four victories in USAC National competition. He also was the 1971 WMARA "Rookie of the Year."


 Knepper, of Swansea, Ill., a member of a legendary motorsports family, is an eight-time champion of the Midwest Auto Racing Association (MARA), taking titles in 1986-87-89-90-92-96-2002-03. He began driving in 1981 and two years later won the 1983 St. Louis Auto Racing Association (SLARA) title. In 1988 and 1998 he scored wins in the prestigious "Belleville Midget Nationals" in Kansas and in 1992 he won the "Hut Hundred" at the Terre Haute (Ind.) Action Track.


Meeker, of Fairfield, Conn., was NASCAR's 1955 and 1956 Midget champion and promptly retired at the end of the 1956 racing season. Somewhat of a rarity by capturing titles driving both Offy-powered and non-Offy machines, he was a frequent competitor with the American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) and the Northeastern Midget Association (NEMA).


Rapp, of San Francisco, Calif., competed in the Bay Cities Racing Association (BCRA) Midget wars for two decades and also participated in a number of events in the Iowa circuit. Since 1955-he has operated a parts supply business which has now become a large inventory for owners seeking vintage Midget parts.


Whitman, of Paramus, N.J., earned NASCAR Midget titles in 1957 and 1959. During 1957, while driving for legendary car owner Ken Brenn, Jim scored five feature wins in 23 starts.


Wright, one of the most accomplished Midget car owners in USAC's early history, fielded cars for Shorty Templeman, who helped Wright earn the 1956 USAC National car owner championship. At the annual "Night Before the 500" classic in Indianapolis, they scored victories in all three feature events that night! In 1957 Wright served as the race organizer for the popular "Tangerine Midget Tournament" in Florida which featured 11 races at eight different venues. The owner of the Hardwood Door Company of Chicago, his cars were driven by many of the era's biggest names.




On Facebook on Wed, 10/22/14


Of course!  After I leave the area and move down to Florida!  DAMMIT!


Pat Palladino‎United Racing Club




For Immediate Release 10/21/14


The United Racing Club is pleased to announce that the Club will return to Orange County Fair Speedway in its return to the sprint car scene in 2015.


The club will be part of Orange County’s Saturday Night Lights show on August 22, 2015 as the 360 Sprint cars will take on the big 5/8th mile located in Middletown, New York.


“I’ve always liked racing there and I look forward to going back to Orange County,” stated United Racing Club driver Jason Clauss, of Boyertown, Pennsylvania.


Constructed in 1857, OCFS is the oldest continuing operating dirt track in the United States, a place rich in history and another United Racing Club driver is eager to make a return.


“I like the wide racing surface and always enjoying going to such an historic race track,” added driver Mark Bitner, who races out of Trenton, New Jersey.


Anyone interested in scheduling races or sponsoring the United Racing Club in 2015 and beyond, may contact Curt Michael at 302-344-1882.


Fans can follow all of the news and announcements concerning the club via its Facebook page under United Racing Club or on twitter @URCClub.




NHRA stunner: Jimmy Prock out as John Force’s crew chief




Charlotte’s Dirt Track Gets New Surface



Nikki Carroll set fast time and won the USAC midget feature at Rougemont, N.C.  To date, that makes him the youngest driver to win a USAC feature, with him being all of 12 years old.  Kinda scary, huh?


Did you know that Jeff Gordon has won every Cup race that he’s won, with the number 24?  Did you know he’s the only one to win a Cup race with that number?  Thanks to Gary London making mention of this in the AARN.


Stewart-Haas Racing switches teams of Kurt Busch and Danica Patrick


Just a little:  "The team is swapping the crews of Kurt Busch and Danica Patrick after this week's race at Martinsville. With both drivers not in title contention, it's an opportunity for the teams to work with their new drivers in race conditions before 2015."




Green Flag: Waterford Speedbowl Expected To Remain Race Track Following Foreclosure Auction




2014 Eastern States Weekend Attendance Poll


Note – a majority of the comments, so far are really not from people that will not go due to lack of passing.



Jefferson Lambert.  You know him?  He has a column in the Hard Clay program.  This coming weekend, he'll have a booth set up behind the grandstands selling driver cards.  Check out what he has.





Do tracks turn profits?



Former OVRP Dirt Oval runners:


Jacob Hendershot finished 5th in the 270 feature at Linda’s.

Molly Chambers was 11th in the 600’s at Bridgeport.

Anthony Perrego was 4th at Penn Can in their Modified feature.

Danny Buccafusca had a 3rd place in the All Star Slingshots at Borgers.

Davie Franek was 4th in the URC feature at Grandview.

Billy V was 30th in the SDS race at Brockville.

Brad Szulewski was 16th in the ROC Sportsman race at Penn Can. Joe Kata was 3rd, Josh Pieniazek 8th and Emily VanInwegen 11th in the CRSA 305 feature.

Kenney Johnson was 8th in the NEMA Midget feature at Thompson.


Coming up:

Eastern States is this weekend.   This will be one of the very few I’ve missed over the years.


 At Accord:


SATURDAY, November 1st

Sponsored by Liggan Insurance


4 Cylinder Enduro $1500 to win

4 Cylinder Demo Derby $1000 to win

Run What Ya Brung $1000 to win

Pro Stock $300 to win*

Pure Stock $200 to win*

Jr Slingshot $200 to win*

All Star Slingshot $200 to win*

Powder Puff


Pit gate opens at 11am - Spectator gate opens at 12 noon

Grandstand Admission

Adult $14 - Seniors $12 - Kids $3

Family 4 Pack $44 -  Indoor seating $20

Pit Admission $35




Five Mile:   National Quarter Mile Dirt Track Championship Weekend.

Friday, October 31st – Saturday, November 1st.



OVRP’s Dirt Oval:


Novemberfest information (October 31st, November 1st  & 2nd):



$500 to Win : $250 for 2nd : $125 for 3rd

*Must Run an Additional Class to be Eligible for Pro Classes


Found on the Dirt Track Digest Forum:





From Jayski:


Newman's car fails post-race inspection


UPDATE: The #31 car has cleared post-race inspection from Talladega; there are no issues. Race damage caused the rear to be low.(NASCAR)(10-21-2014)



Rockingham Speedway avoids receivership


UPDATE: The Rockingham Speedway, formerly the North Carolina Speedway, is going to be sold for the second time in less than a decade because its current owners have run into financial trouble. Back in 2012, Andy Hillenburg did what a lot of people thought was impossible and brought NASCAR racing back to a track that it left. The NASCAR truck series came back in 2013, but didn't get a race date this year. NASCAR also cancelled a minor league event there as well. Now we know the track has hit hard times. Court documents now show Hillenburg and his co-owners owe more than $4 million in loans and taxes, and the bank threatened to foreclose. To avoid that, Hillenburg agreed last week to sell or auction off the track. NBC Charlotte was unable to contact the owners on Monday, but court documents say there has to be a sale or auction in place by the first of the year, and a new owner in place by March 15, 2015. Hillenburg paid a little more than $4 million to buy the track at auction in 2007.(WCNC)(10-21-2014)



The Four drivers eliminated from Chase...comments - (10-20-2014)



Sad News - Raymond Beadle: Legendary drag racer and team owner Raymond Beadle passed away Monday following a heart attack, at the age of 70. Beadle gained fame as the owner-driver of the "Blue Max" Funny Cars in which he won three straight NHRA Funny Car championships from 1979-'81. His first title in 1979 ended Don Prudhomme's four-year reign in that class. He also won three IHRA championships. All told, Beadle won 13 NHRA nationalevents and appeared in 28 final rounds. He made the American Auto Racing Writers & Broadcasters Association's prestigious All-American team in 1980 with Shirley Muldowney and Bobby Unser, Johnny Rutherford, Dale Earnhardt, and Cale Yarborough. He and his Blue Max crew chief Dale Emery were among the 11th class of inductees into the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame and was inducted earlier this year into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in Detroit. Retired as a driver since 1987 and as an owner since 1990, Beadle had dabbled in cattle and quarter horses but recently had moved back to Dallas with his wife Roz. After he retired as a driver, Beadle transitioned to the role of full-time car owner successfully, building a championship-winning NASCAR team that won the 1989 Cup title with Rusty Wallace. He also fielded a World of Outlaws sprint car that was driven by Outlaws ace Sammy Swindell. Beadle's cars always carried #27 and he maintained an allegiance to Pontiac for much of his career in motorsports.(FoxSports)(10-20-2014)



Sprint Cup Driver Chase Standings:

[after Talladega, race 32 of 36]

drivers who won in round 2, automatically advanced to the Eliminator round

1) #22-Joey Logano [5 wins, 1 win in round 2] 3121

2) #4-Kevin Harvick [3 wins, 1 win in round 2] 3117, -4

3) #31-Ryan Newman, 3117, -4

4) #11-Denny Hamlin [1 win] 3100, -21

5) #20-Matt Kenseth, 3099, -22

6) #99-Carl Edwards [2 wins] 3099, -22

7) #24-Jeff Gordon [4 wins] 3093, -28

10) #2-Brad Keselowski [6 wins, 1 win in round 2], 3085, -36

Chase drivers eliminated after round 2

8) #5-Kasey Kahne [1 win] 3090, -31

9) #18-Kyle Busch [1 win] 3086, -35

11) #48-Jimmie Johnson [3 wins], 3053, -68

12) #88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. [3 wins], 3046, -76

Chase drivers eliminated after round 1

13) #47-AJ Allmendinger [1 win], 2163

14) #16-Greg Biffle [1 win], 2147

15) #41-Kurt Busch [1 win], 2146

16) #43-Aric Almirola [1 win], 2101

(ties are broken by wins, 2nds, 3rds, etc, with in that round of the Chase)

See OFFICIAL race results & points standings on the Official Race & Points Report (pdf).(10-19-2014)



Sprint Cup Driver Chase Standings - Eliminator Round Reset:

1) #22-Joey Logano [5 wins], 4000 points

2) #4-Kevin Harvick [3 wins], 4000

3) #31-Ryan Newman, 4000

4) #11-Denny Hamlin [1 win], 4000

5) #20-Matt Kenseth, 4000

6) #99-Carl Edwards [2 wins], 4000

7) #24-Jeff Gordon [4 wins], 4000

8) #2-Brad Keselowski [6 wins], 4000

Points are reset after each round. For the Eliminator Round it goes to 4000, no points for wins.

The order is set by the points standings after the last round.

(ties are broken by wins, 2nds, 3rds, etc, with in that round of the Chase)

See reset points for the Eliminator Round (Chase races 7-9) on the Eliminator Round Reset Points Standings page (pdf).(10-19-2014)



Congrats to Kyle & Samantha Busch: #18-Kyle Busch and wife Samantha announced on Twitter Saturday that Samantha is pregnant and expecting the couple's first child in May 2015.(10-18-2014)



From the AARN:


This week in AARN:


Mod Man Matt Sheppard Is ‘King Of The Can’


Oft Delayed USOpen At Lancaster Falls To Tony Hanbury


PennCan’s Wilcox Steps Back After Seventeen Years At Helm


Preece Wins NWMTBattle; Coby Takes The Title


Sprint Car Standout Bill Rose Heads For South Africa To Race


Waterford Speedbowl Is Sold At Auction; Novice Promoter Pledges To Maintain Racing


Curt Michael Wins URC Grandview Finale; Fumes Over Post-Race Interview Snub


Oswego Race Fan Dream: A ‘Supers Only Night’


Brockville Sweep: Johnson Wins Small Block, Big Block Mains InSame Car


Perley Takes ISMAThompson Finale; Seitz Outpoints Hard Luck McKennedy



Racin’ stuff on the Internet:


In past years, the URC was the United Racing Club.  For some reasons, they dropped the “Club” name and went another way, keeping United Racing, but changing club to “Company”. Now, it seems that those that had left the club, and went the other way, are not happy campers, and there’s problems coming up.  Quite a bit of friction between the two groups.  Most members, it seems are wanting to go back as the “Club”.

This was posted on Facebook, on Tuesday, 10/21/14.  I’ve copied it word for word, but have eliminated the names of a majority of the posters.




Sean Michael


I won two championships with United Racing Club and along with that came a lot of great memories. From of course winning races to going to Canada and having the club picnics to the absolute best banquets. Then it became the Company. What happen on Saturday night was a disgrace. You have a guy drive from 10th to the win and absolutely put the show on. Then the Company owners didn't allow Curt to be interviewed. Curt asked the announcer if he could thank his sponsors and was told no that he was instructed not to let him speak. WTF! Grandview should be ashamed that a situation like that took place at their racetrack!!!!! It's time for a change otherwise the Company is going to kill the traveling 360's. It's about there now!





 It was totally wrong not to interview the winner, who ever it may be. Fans bought tickets. How do you explain that to a little kid sitting in the stands who waited all week to see his favorite win a race?


Many360 drivers have told the company where to stick there "rules"and ideas and moved on to better things.Hate to see Curt leave,but he could be a bigger fish in bigger waters if he wanted to be .


such a shame !!!! only at grandview !!!


Bob Miller... Correct??


Yes Danny... and of course the husband of wife team of the Zimmerman's.


 Maybe Ernie Saxton would have something to say about the great Grandview not allowing a driver to promote his sponsors?


Wow... Kurt can and had run with the best...that's crap.he can't speak should have anyways


 Bob Miller is an asshole. Hope I can win and leave an interview some day


 I'll be listening Danny...


Been in a similar situation before. Only thing to do is just show up and keep winning. Congrats to curt on a stellar season.


YEAH!!! Thought Grandview was "SO PROFESSIONAL"????? I guess Bob Miller gets what he wants, even from the Rogers Family! I hope the CLUB way outshines the COMPANY! About time for someone to stand up to all the bullshit going on in racing today!


Considering how financially difficult it is to keep ANY sprint car team on the track, it is a bad decision to not let your drivers thank their sponsors. No sponsors means no Grandview and no "Company". People are letting a personal grudge with Curt and Bill cloud their judgement.


From a fans standpoint: I've attended a bunch of TOH 'events', over last few years I've stopped going to all except Speedweek. Reason is the greed! I have(had) kids under 17 in the 11-14 range always charges the adult price for kids over 12! Greed bullshit! Asked about this in a nice email response was everyone else does too! No they don't! Most tracks have discounted ticket prices for students and kids but not TOH events! Nope!


 I want to see Gene Franckowiak comment?!?!


Well fellas, here is my only comment.........When people show you who they really are........believe them.




From Track Forum:







No idea as to why I did not put this in any previous columns – DIRTCar vs Brett Deyo:


SDS news


Series is at Ohsweken Speedway on June 30th and Big Diamond Speedway on May 5 as of right now.


July 14th the SDS is heading to the Five Mile Point Speedway. Again everything is subject to change.


DIRTcar announces a show on June 16 at Grandview Speedway which will go head to head with @BrettDeyo at Big Diamond Raceway.


Retweeted by Mike Mallett




Mike Gurda interview:


Bill Boyle (Dr. Dirt) had his annual sit down chat with Mr. Michael Gurda, owner/co-promoter of the Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown, NY.  I say “co-promoter” because somehow, I think Howie Commander is some how involved still with OCFS.


I should note here – I did put the part about clay being put down on OCFS over on the Dirt Track Digest forum.  Some not too nice comments about the clay, the track and Mr. Gurda, himself, have appeared.


The interview – Dr. Dirt is shown as AARN.  I know in the past his interviews have appeared in the Hard Clay ESW program along with the AARN:


By Bill Boyle

As we head down to the final turn of the 2014 racing season, I once again sat down with Mike Gurda, the General Manager and owner of the Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown, NY to discuss the current and future status of the activities around the 5/8th hard clay oval.

AARN – Once again, a rumor is floating around about the track going to a “Specials Only” format in 2015. Can you shed any light on that rumor?

Mike Gurda – “Like you said, it’s only a rumor. I sometimes wonder where these rumors come from. No, there is no truth to the rumor. We are actively working on the schedule for next year, and it will contain a few differences from the past schedules.

“After having conversations with different groups of drivers, the consensus is that they would like to have some time off during the summer to be with their families. To accommodate them, we will be shutting down racing on Memorial Day Weekend, and also on the Fourth of July weekend. This will give them the break that they are looking for. Statistically, those are low attendance dates anyway.

“Additionally, we will be presenting more Small Block races next year than we had this year. In fact, we will be making them the headline division on two occasions when the Big Blocks are sitting idle. It will be a bigger purse and longer feature compared to their normal races.

“With the short fields were having in the Modified features, we will be opening up the starting field to include SBM’s, paying an incentive to the first SBM taking the checkered flag.”

AARN – Every year, Howie Commander adds clay to his Lebanon Valley track during the off season. You have not added clay during your tenure as promoter. What is the reason for that?

MG – “That’s an easy one. Orange County Fair Speedway is nothing but clay. No matter where you dig on the fair grounds, there is clay down to a depth of ten feet. It doesn’t matter if you dig in the pits, on the racing surface, or even behind the 31st lap, there is nothing but clay. So all we have to do is turn the surface over and mix the existing clay. In fact, we could sell clay if we wanted to and never impact the racing surface.

“Now, LV is a dirt based track with two feet of clay on the surface. Based on what is lost during the racing season, Howie has to bring in new clay yearly to replace the racing surface. Like I said, we have at least ten feet of clay below the entire surface, and we can replace the surface from anywhere on the grounds. A few years back, another promoter added clay from the bottom of a lake that didn’t bond well with what was on the track. When we took over, we removed that sandy clay from the surface and restored the old racing surface. It has worked well.

AARN – It was cited on Brett Deyo’s web site that his organization and you met recently to announce that his open event would be scheduled for Tuesday night April 7, 2015. Then during the same week, DIRTcar announced that they would no longer sanction any events at a speedway that also was scheduling a Deyo event. This appears to affect OCFS and Big Diamond only, as both are sanctioned by DIRTcar and each ran a Deyo show this year. They went so far as stating that those two speedways will have to make a decision about which direction they wanted to go in. What kind of impact does that have on OCFS?

MG – “First off, DIRTcar has not contacted me concerning the impact of scheduling a Deyo event. Secondly, there is not a contract signed yet with Deyo about his April event. Thirdly, I will not make any decisions concerning that matter until after the 2014 racing season is over. But I will say this, the Deyo show will not allow sail panels. They tore up the track last year and created too much dirt and dust for the fans to really enjoy the show. I am concerned about the longevity of racing at OC, and will make the best decision to support that view. OCFS has a history that will keep it going.”

Gurda would not comment beyond that despite additional inquiries. No decision until AFTER racing season is over. But knowing Mike Gurda, he is not a man who likes being told what he can and cannot do with his own race track. He has told me in the past that he is the one who has to pay the $160,000 in taxes each year, and he will do whatever he has to do to accumulate the funds needed. Knowing that, I would assume that Gurda will go forth with the highly successful Deyo show, and also with the year-end Eastern States weekend. If that means a split with DIRTcar, so be it. He has successfully run Eastern States in the past without DIRTcar sponsorship, and can and will do so in the future if he has to. Those are my thoughts, and not Mike Gurda’s. We will have to wait until after the season is over to hear about what Gurda is going to do.

AARN – What happened to the dual track event that was supposed to happen in 2013?

MG – “That is still in the works, and Howie and I will have discussions about it over the winter.”

AARN – Howie Commander was recently cited as saying that $2.50 hamburgers are one of the keys to a successful race program. Do you have any comments on that?

MG – “I don’t run the concessions at OC and I really don’t want too. Each Saturday night, we employ close to 100 people to get the races done. I don’t have time to add another 40-50 people to the payroll to support concessions, and double that during the annual fair. Rob and Joanne Maxwell have the concession, and the family has had it for better than 50 years. Amen to them.”

AARN – Now that your Motorcross track is up and running, can you comment on how successful that is, and what impact does it have on your time versus the 5/8ths mile track.

MG – “Let’s take the second part first. I spend an equal amount of time at both tracks, so nothing is being neglected at either one. We have been drawing 50-75 riders each Wednesday for the open sessions at the Motorcross track. This past weekend, we had our sixth and final race of the year, and drew close to 400 riders, and about 1,000 spectators. It was an eventful season, and we see nothing but expansion for next year.

“There have been questions about what we do with the money we make from that track, and I can answer that easily. I don’t put it in my pocket. It is used to keep the big track running and to offset upgrades that we make to both tracks. We hope to have grass in place for the Motorcross track for next year, and if you check out the big track, you’ll notice that the outside wall around the oval has been painted for the first time in years. And let me tell you, that’s a lot of paint. Now we want to start working on the grandstands for next year. Power washing and painting the half grandstands.”

AARN – Are there any changes to this years Eastern States Weekend?

MG – “Not really. On Friday, we have time trials and heats for the Modifieds, plus a full show for the Sportsman cars capped off by their 50 lap feature.

“Saturday is highlighted by a full show for both the Small Block Modifieds and the 305 Sprint cars. The SBM’s will contest a 100 lap feature while the 305 Sprints race for 25 laps. On Sunday, the Street Stocks will be running heats and a feature before the keynote running of the 53rd annual Eastern States 200.”

And so wraps up another successful year of racing at the Orange County Fair Speedway, and plans for a successful 2015 agenda.

When lunch was finished, Mike Gurda picked up the tab and joked “I paid for the lunch from the money we made at the Motorcross track.” Will the world ever be the same? Mike Gurda made a joke. LOL

Thank you Mike for once again being candid about the goings-on at Orange County Fair Speedway.



Link to DTD Forum:




Press releases:


NEWS FROM                                                                                                             

Orange County Fair Speedway                                                                                   

239 Wisner Avenue                                                                                                    

Middletown, NY10940 



Mike Gurda










Big-Block Modifieds Time Trials and Heat Races Also on Friday


MIDDLETOWN, NY (October 15)……..The Sportsman division, powered by restricted engines, will be the Friday, October 24 headline attraction during the 53rd Annual Eastern States Weekend (October 24-26) at Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown, New York. This year’s racing weekend is sponsored by Arkel Motors and Dupee & Monroe PC.


A talented lineup of top Sportsman drivers from Orange County and other Northeast dirt tracks will battle for the trophy and top prize money in this prestigious 50-lap championship event.


The field for the feature race will be set by time trials, heat and consolation races. The driver turning in the fastest time will earn a cash bonus from Middletown Carting. In addition, the fastest six drivers will compete in a special Cash for Dash race, sponsored by Halmar International.


The DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds will also take to the Middletown Hard Clay on Friday, with time trials locking in the fastest six and heat races to determine additional starters in Sunday’s 200-lap race. The Modifieds will have a final chance to qualify during consolation races prior to the main event on Sunday.


Fast time in the Modified ranks will earn a cash prize from WLR Construction, and the top-six time trialers will race in a Dash for Cash also sponsored by Halmar International.


Friday track activities begin at 4:00 pm, with the spectator gate opening at 2:00 pm. Consult the Orange County Fair Speedway website,, for a complete


Advance tickets for Friday or the entire Eastern States Weekend as well as camping and parking permits are available at the Speedway Office Wednesday through Saturday during regular business hours, or through credit card sales (Visa and MasterCard) by calling 845-342-2573. Additional ticket and event information is posted on the official Orange County Fair Speedway website,









Small-Block Modifieds and 305 Sprint Cars Star on Saturday


MIDDLETOWN, NY (October 15)……..The Small-Block Modifieds, powered by 358-cubic inch engines, will be the Saturday, October 25 headline attraction during the 53rd Annual Eastern States Weekend (October 24-26) at Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown, New York. This year’s 38th Annual Eastern States Small-Block Modified Championship Presented by Arkel Motors and Dupee & Monroe PC race will be 100 laps in distance.


A star-studded lineup of top Small-Block Modified drivers from the entire Northeast dirt track Modified circuit will battle Orange County’s weekly competitors for the trophy and top prize money in this prestigious event.


Since its inception in 1977, the Small-Block Modified race has had several different formats, having been run at 50-, 75-, 100-, and 150-laps distances. The field for this year’s 100-lap race will be set through time trials and heat races, with the final starters coming from consolation races all run prior to Saturday’s main event.


Two drivers, Brett Hearn, Orange County’s all-time race winner and eight time Small-Block Modified point champion, and twice Small-Block Modified titlist Danny Johnson have won more than one-half of the previous 37 races in this annual fall classic which dates from 1977. Hearn has 14 Eastern States Small-Block Modified victories to his credit, while arch-rival Johnson has won this race five times. Other multi-time winners include the late Doug Hoffman (four victories), Kenny Tremont (three), and Jeff Heotzler (two wins).


Single Eastern States Small-Block Modified champions include 2013 winner Stewart Friesen, Jimmy Phelps, Billy Decker, Jerry Higbie, Alan Johnson, Dickie Keiper, Mike Petruska Sr., Harry Behrent, and Anthony Ferraiuolo IV.


Saturday’s card is one of the busiest in all auto racing. In addition to the Small-Block Modified Championship 100 race, they will be joined by the 305 Sprint Cars, with timed hot laps and qualifying races leading up to their 25-lap Eastern States Championship feature race. To cap off the day’s activities, the big-block Modifieds will get a last practice session during a break in the racing action.







WINNING MODIFIED RACING’S “DOUBLE” IS A TOUGH ASSIGNMENT! Five Drivers Have Won Syracuse and Eastern States in the Same Year


MIDDLETOWN, NY (October 15)……..The annual Syracuse 200 at the New York State Fairgrounds and Eastern States 200 at Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown, New York are dirt Track Modified racing’s biggest, most lucrative, and tradition-laden championship races. Since 1972, a dozen drivers have won both classic events, but only five accomplished the feat in the same year.


Floridian Emil “BuzzieReutimann won the inaugural Syracuse championship in 1972 as well as the Eastern States 200 that year. Gary Balough, also from Florida, won the double in 1977, while New Yorkers Danny Johnson (1997) and Billy Decker (1998) as well as New Jersey champion racer Brett Hearn (2012) have won both title races in the same year.


Additional drivers who have won both races but not in the same year include New Jersey native Jimmy Horton; Pennsylvania residents Frank Cozze, Ken Brightbill, and the late Doug Hoffman, as well as New Yorkers Jack Johnson, Bob McCreadie, and Alan Johnson.


In total wins, Hearn heads the list with six Syracuse 200 victories and ten Eastern States 200 triumphs.  Danny Johnson, two Syracuse wins and six Eastern States trophies, is the runner up in this category.


Led by Sprakers, New York’s Stewart Friesen, who just won this year’s Syracuse 200 for the third time, Hearn, Danny Johnson, Decker, Horton, and Alan Johnson are expected entrants for the October 26 53rd Annual Eastern States 200 Presented by Arkel Motors and Dupee & Monroe PC. They’ll be joined by at least 50 additional drivers seeking the top prize in the country’s oldest continuously-run championship race for dirt track Modified stock cars.




Contact: Julia Foy


Promotions/PR Coordinator - DIRTcar NE

315.834.2299 |


Brett Hearn working on three in a row at Orange County Fair Speedway


Grueling Eastern States 200 could drastically shake up point standings as Super DIRTcar Series heads into final rounds


WEEDSPORT, N.Y. - October 20, 2014 - There's no question as to which Modified driver has been dominant at Orange County Fair Speedway's annual Eastern States Weekend. Brett Hearn, of Sussex, N.J., has picked up 13 Super DIRTcar Big Block Modified Series victories at the Middletown, N.Y., track, ten in the Eastern States 200. This year, the two-time consecutive Eastern States 200 Champion is looking to make it three in a row.


"The last couple years have been awesome for us. It's still the track I learned how to race at first and, even though I don't go there that often now, it still seems to come back to me fairly quickly," said Hearn, who, in recent years, has made his weekly home at the Capital Region's Albany-Saratoga Speedway and Lebanon Valley Speedway. "I'd still have to say that, in some respects, we still have some of that home court advantage, even though I don't run there on a regular basis."


For Hearn, who watched from the grandstands as racing superstars like Will Cagle and Frankie Schneider found their way to Victory Lane, winning the historic Eastern States 200 is especially meaningful.


"That race has always been the second biggest race to Syracuse," said Hearn, who has found his fair share of success at Syracuse's "Moody Mile" as well, most recently claiming two consecutive Salute the Troops 150 victories in the DIRTcar 358-Modified Series. "I can remember going there and sitting in the fourth turn bleachers and watching Will Cagle win the 200."


The 2014 running of the Eastern States 200 will be especially important to Hearn, who currently is hanging onto third place in Super DIRTcar Series point standings. Point leader Billy Decker holds an 85-point advantage over Hearn and three-time series champion Matt Sheppard is 62 points ahead of Hearn. With just three feature races left in the season, each on the 150-point schedule, a strong showing at Orange County could launch Hearn to the point lead. Alternatively, a mechanical error in the grueling 200-lapper on "The Hard Clay" could mean the end of championship hopes for series top runners.


As Hearn looks ahead to the race that could be the turning point in the series, he says his Madsen Motorsports No. 20 team is focusing on tire strategy in one of the few races requiring pit stops


"It's a race that has a lot of tire wear, so you have to manage your tire wear really well," said Hearn, who has the reputation both for charging to first from the back of the field and for making it through the Eastern States 200 without a tire change. "That's really the biggest thing, to either be able to go the distance or to manage the tires so you don't wear them out before the end of the race, or if you have to change them and be able to pick your spots and come back through again."


Eastern States Weekend at Orange County Fair Speedway kicks off Thursday, Oct. 23, with inspection for all classes running from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Pit gates open at 9:30 a.m. and grandstand gates open at 2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 24, for qualifying rounds for Modifieds and Sportsman Modifieds. Green flag for the Super DIRTcar Series Eastern States 200 is scheduled for 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 25.




Eastern States Weekend


DATES : Thursday, Oct. 23, through Sunday, October 25


LOCATION : Orange County Fair Speedway, 239 Wisner Ave., Middletown, N.Y.


ABOUT THE TRACK: 5/8-mile hard clay oval track




Devil’s Bowl Speedway Moves Rescheduled Date to Sunday


Parade, forecast prompt officials to move finale to Sunday, October 26 at 1:00 p.m.


For Immediate Release                                                                                                                                                                         DBS-102014-1


WEST HAVEN, VT – Devil’s Bowl Speedway officials have announced that the facility’s final dirt track stock car race of the season will have to wait for one additional day.  The Autosaver Ford/Springfield Buick-GMC “Vermont Freedom & Unity” event was postponed by rain last week and was initially rescheduled for Saturday; however, the makeup date has been reset to Sunday, October 26 at 1:00 p.m.


Two major factors contributed to the date being readjusted: another unfavorable weather forecast, and the 55th annual Rutland Halloween Parade in Downtown Rutland, VT.  The parade is one of the area’s largest and most enjoyable community gatherings each fall, and is scheduled for Saturday, October 25.


“Many of our race fans, competitors, and officials attend and even participate in the parade every year, including those that help us with our annual Devil’s Bowl Speedway float,” track co-owner Alayne Bruno said.  “Running our race on the same day as the parade would have forced some people to choose between the two, and we want everyone to be able to enjoy both events.”


Track co-owner Mike Bruno agreed, adding that a predicted four consecutive days of rain during the week would have made running on Saturday tougher.


“The Rutland community has been good to Devil’s Bowl, and we have fun supporting the parade, so it was a pretty easy decision,” Mike Bruno said.  “We also learned a big lesson a few weeks ago about how the clay on our new track surface holds water after rain, and waiting until Sunday will give us one extra day to dry it out so we can put a nice surface together.”


Officials also said that should the October 26 date be postponed again for any reason, the final attempt at running the event will be on Saturday, November 1 at 1:00 p.m.  The tentative November 1 date is also contingent upon ground conditions and forecasted weather and temperature patterns.


The Autosaver Ford/Springfield Buick-GMC “Vermont Freedom & Unity” event on Sunday, October 26 will feature a 100-lap Sportsman Modified race, the winged Sprint Cars of New England tour, a special event for the Bear Ridge Speedway Sportsman Coupe division, and Renegades and Mini Stocks.


Grandstand general admission is $20 for adults and free for kids 12 and under, with pit passes at $40.  Pit gates will open at 9:00 a.m., with the grandstands open at 11:00 a.m.  Hot laps will begin at 12:00 noon, followed by Sportsman time trials at 12:30 p.m.  Green flag racing action starts at 1:00 p.m.


Devil’s Bowl Speedway is located on Route 22A in West Haven, VT, four miles north of Exit 2 on U.S. Route 4.  For more information, visit or call (802) 265-3112.  Devil’s Bowl Speedway is on Facebook at and on Twitter and Instagram at @DevilsBowlSpeed; follow the action using the #DevilsBowl and #BattleAtTheBowl hashtags.



Contact: Justin St. Louis, Media Director                                                                                                     Email:


Cell Phone: (802) 355-3282                                                                                                                                            Track Information Line: (802) 265-3112






This week’s photos:


On October 23, 1920

Nick Fornoro Sr. was born ... Nick was the American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC) driving champion in 1950, and he was the first NASCAR Midget driving champion in 1953. After retiring, he went on to be one of the best starters (flaggers) ever, starting out here in the Northeast and eventually ending up as the flagger for two hundred consecutive Championship Auto Racing Teams Indy Car Series races (CART), serving in that position from 1979 to 1992. In 1993 he was the honorary starter for the Indianapolis 500.



On October 23, 1926

Larry Crockett... Born ... AAA driver who ran the Championship series in 1954. He was killed in a sprint car accident at Langhorne Speedway on March 20, 1955.  Photo below was taken at Reading, PA on 10/19/54, best I know.  This was the car Crockett was driving at Langhorne – the Engle/Stanko Offy.

Note:  I’m pretty sure that Nick Fornoro was the flagger at Langhorne, that day, too.




Some non racin’ stuff:


I, along with countless others, are trying to figure out how all this sh*t about Ebola has gotten so screwed up – whether it be in hospitals, by doctors or our lovely main stream media.


Music video:

Kevin Skinner - If Tomorrow Never Comes





This weeks joke:


The Last Kiss

Back on January 9th, a group of Pekin, Illinois

bikers were riding west on I-74 when they saw a girl about to jump off

the Murray Baker Bridge.

So they stopped. George, their leader, a

big burly man of 53, gets off his Harley, walks through a group of gawkers, past the State Trooper who was trying to talk her down off the railing, and says, "Hey Baby.....whatcha doin' up there on that railin'?"


She says tearfully, "I'm going to commit



While he didn't want to appear 'sensitive', George also didn't want to miss this 'be-a-legend' opportunity either so he asked..."Well, before you jump, Honey-Babe... why don't you give ole George here your best last kiss?"


So, with no hesitation at all, she leaned back over the railing and did just that... and it was a long, deep, lingering kiss followed immediately by

another even better one. After they breathlessly finished, George gets a big thumbs-up approval from his biker-buddies, the onlookers, and even the State Trooper, and then says, "Wow! That was the best kiss I have ever had, Honey! That's a real talent you're wasting, Sugar Shorts. You could be famous if you rode with me. Why the hell are you committing suicide?"


"My parents don't like me dressing up like a girl."


It's still unclear whether he/she jumped

or was pushed.



Until my next column – more than likely next week now.


Columns are available on the Dirt Track Digest at: (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: