Mostly Racin' Stuff  

By Tom Avenengo  

Volume # 234



This week’s photo:




He was one of my favorites, and also a favorite of my late wife.  I first recall him racing a midget that had two BMW Motorcycle engines in it - the Maier Special.  That was way back in the mid-late '40's. A daughter of his, Anne, married the son of Nick Fornoro, Sr - Drew Fornoro.  She has been doing "PR" for A.J. Foyt for quite a while now.  His name:  Russ Klar.

More names of drivers that thrilled me way back then, will appear further down in this weeks column.




Special from me:





Racin’ stuff:

I find it very hard to believe that as of this past Monday, it's been 22 years since Davey Allison left us.  Where does the time go?





Found on Jayski:


Wise leaves #98 team: 


Josh Wise tweeted Monday morning, "I have parted ways with Premium Motorsports. The team and I did not share the same goals moving forward.". The team was recently purchased from Phil Parsons by Jay Robinson.(7-13-2015)


Driscoll resigns from Armed Forces Foundation: 


Patricia Driscoll, the former girlfriend of NASCAR driver Kurt Busch, has resigned as executive director of the Armed Forces Foundation in the wake of allegations that she mishandled foundation money, Outside the Lines has learned. FBI and IRS officials began investigating Driscoll and her oversight of the nonprofit, multimillion-dollar foundation following an Outside the Lines report on May 22. The report detailed a host of questionable practices during her 12-year run leading the Washington, D.C.-based entity, which has ties to multiple sports-related entities and athletes. Driscoll is also facing a federal whistleblower complaint filed by a former foundation employee. The Armed Forces Foundation is a charity that aims to help veterans in need. Last week, the foundation's board of directors placed Driscoll on administrative leave, and it accepted her resignation on Tuesday night. A foundation spokesman declined to comment but issued a statement noting the foundation's accomplishments and thanking Driscoll for her work: "We are appreciative of Patricia's 12 years of service to our armed forces, veterans, and their families." Driscoll could not be reached for comment, but a statement issued Wednesday through the foundation attributed to her said, "I am proud of what we achieved during my time at the Armed Forces Foundation. Especially as it pertains to PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder] and TBI [traumatic brain injury], the foundation is saving lives by creating awareness and helping veterans find the services they need before taking tragic and drastic steps such as suicide." The foundation has hired a series of outside lawyers in recent weeks, and it began an internal investigation and authorized an independent forensic audit -- both of which remain ongoing, the spokesman said.(



Superspeedway qualifying format to be used at Indy, Michigan: 


NASCAR officials told NASCAR Sprint Cup, XFINITY and Camping World Truck Series teams on Wednesday that it plans to use the superspeedway qualifying format at Indianapolis Motor Speedway next weekend and Michigan International Speedway next month. Beginning in May at Talladega Superspeedway, there were two rounds of qualifying with drivers turning one timed lap. The top 12 advanced to the final round. Each driver took a warm-up lap, the timed lap and a cool-down lap before returning to pit road. Last weekend, the format was scheduled to be run by the Sprint Cup Series at Daytona International Speedway, but rain forced the field to be set per the rule book by practice speeds.
Based on a random draw at Indianapolis, vehicles will line up on pit road for the first round -- rather than nose in or nose out in a pit stall -- and NASCAR will release drivers at a predetermined interval. The sanctioning body reserves the right to have more than one vehicle on track at a time. It's likely that two vehicles will be on track at the same time, but the second vehicle won't impede or help the one it follows on track. Following each lap, NASCAR will impound vehicles, and there will be a 10-minute break between rounds. Only during that break may teams make adjustments, and they will only be allowed to adjust tape and use a cool-down unit at that time. The final round qualifying order will be set from slowest to fastest speeds in the first round with starting positions 1-12 determined by the fastest laps in that second session.(



Stewart disappointed in season; not planning to retire: 


#14-Tony Stewart participated in a NASCAR teleconference on Tuesday and talked about a variety of issues:

Q. New Hampshire is coming up on the docket for you. Do you feel it's a race that could spark something for you?
STEWART: Honestly, we're just kind of trying to get our program back on track. I don't know that we've circled any track and said anything right now. It's been a disappointing year up to this point. It seems like no matter what the package is, we seem to fight the same balance.
Q. Tony, you told me to tell people to leave off of [crew chief] Chad Johnston. Are you still feeling like you're making progress? Can you also mention how, you said you were struggling with the new package, how you would like to see NASCAR move forward on some of this?
STEWART: I don't know that I'm really good at giving direction at what NASCAR needs to do right now when we can't get our balance a little better than where we're at. You know, I still really like working with Chad Johnston. I don't feel like he's what's holding us back. There's something about the way this package is that just doesn't suit my driving style. So, you know, I'm holding him and the team back versus vice versa. So it's just a matter of me trying to figure it out, figure out how to go forward and get our cars better.
Q. You're involved with three other teams there at Stewart-Haas Racing, in addition to your own. From an ownership standpoint, do you believe that NASCAR is headed in the right direction with these rules packages?
STEWART: Yeah, I mean, anything that's going to make the fans happier, you know, put better races on is in all of our best interests. The part that's hard for the teams is the process, you know, changing this, changing that. All that cost comes out of our pockets. It doesn't come out of NASCAR's pocket. NASCAR decides they want to change something, we're the ones that have to spend the money to do it. They don't spend a dime to do it. That's the part that's hard. I think all of the owners will do whatever's in the best interest of making it better. I just would like to see NASCAR share some of that expense versus saying, Hey, we got an idea, we want to try this, then the teams have to spend all the money to do it.
Q. Tony, I wonder where you feel like the sport has the most momentum right now, where it's making the greatest strides, and where you feel like it has to make the greatest strides?
STEWART: I guess if I had to look and say what I thought was the greatest thing, it's seeing NASCAR as a whole work with the teams and the drivers and be more accommodating as far as having the Drivers Council, the RTA, them working with NASCAR the way they are. I mean, that's something in the 17 years I've been in the Cup Series I've never seen. it was all right to walk in the trailer and give them an idea, and that's as far as it always went. Now you're actually having meetings, working hand-in-hand with NASCAR. I think that's something that I've never seen in this sport, which to me is really exciting as a driver and owner. I think it's great. so, you know, as far as the flipside of that, I really don't know what the answeris for that. But, I mean, I definitely think that seeing NASCAR's involvement on the more personal side, I'd love to see Brian France show up at some of these council meetings and stuff, but I'm sure he's busy.
Q. How much longer do you see yourself [racing]?
STEWART: Right now I'm just trying to figure out how to get my car working, to be honest with you.
(Team Chevy)(7-14-2015)








From Track Forum:


Here's a very touching article on Davey Allison.  It's well worth the little time it takes to go through it.

Davey Allison died 22 years ago, a loss that still hurts and haunts






From the Dirt Track Digest Forum:

SDW 2016 and beyond


Note:  Quite a few different tracks being mentioned in this thread.  Somehow, I have a feeling it will still end up in what I consider "Northern" New York State.  So far more are against 6 or 7 different tracks, with points earned towards the championship.



From the AARN:


Preece Comes From The Rear ToWin Stafford’s ‘SK 5k’


‘Liquid Lou’ Cicconi Wins First Mod Feature On Dirt At New Egypt


Riverhead Raceway Sale Pending


Rich Blaney Memorial All Star Sprint Sharon Race Taken By Sheldon Haudenschild


Sesely Scores Improbable Win In Wall Stadium’s Garden State Classic


Jimmy Horton’s Bridgeport Score Extends Win Streak To 42 Straight Years

Otto Sitterly Stars In ISMAWinged Supers At Oswego Too


Stateline Speedway Remains Closed


Holland RoC Race Ends In Controversy; Emerling Scores


Borger’s TQ Reopening Won By Janisch; Marred By Bailey Crash


Szegedy’s Claremont VMRSRace Win Denied; Chris Pasteryak Declared Winner


And some more from this week's edition:


Is this year's SDW at Syracuse going to be the last one - or is there a chance that it could continue past 2015?   Per an article by Lenny Sammons in this week's AARN, it just might be possible for racing to continue (for a while) at the track.


Interesting news - Riverhead Raceway might very well have a new owner.  Ed Partridge and his wife, Connie, are attempting to buy the track from the previous owners, Barbara & Jim Cromartie.


The ARDC ran two features at the Bedford, Pa. Speedway last week.  In the first feature, only had 11 cars.  The second feature had 9, with Brian Gilmore & PJ Gargiulo being DNS.

What was worse, however, was that that ARDC notified the Mercer Raceway Park that they would only be able to have four cars for their show, so that was cancelled.  Main reasons:  Accidents and engine failures.

Note:  Things surely are not looking too good for the ARDC from what I can see.  I still feel that for them to survive, they'll have to go to some cheaper power plants.  Heck, they're basically just running short tracks, now, so I'd have to figure that competition would still be pretty good - IF they get more cars.


I see where Lou Cicconi won his first modified feature - that one coming at New Egypt.


I noticed the name Jeff Richardson as finishing in 10th place in the 358/Sportsman feature., at Bethel.


Jim Kepply,  73,  Emidio J. Camilli, 83, Barbara Wayne (mother of AARN's Robin Ervin, Tom Eriksen, born in 1955  and Michael R. Argetsinger, 70, were six names listed from motor sports that have left us.


On the next to last page in this week's edition, there was a photo of Shelby Harper, the 2015 Ms. Motorsports, upside down, in mid air in her 600 Micro Sprint at Kutztown.  also, there was a photo of some 178 Quarter Midgets on the front stretch of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, prior to them taking a lap around the famous track.







Former OVRP Dirt Oval racers:


Kenney Johnson was 6th in the USAC DMA Midget feature at Bear Ridge.


A.J. Filbeck was 2nd in the 602 Sportsman feature at U/R.


Mike Mammana won the Sportsman feature at Big Diamond.


Joey Bruning was 5th and Winter Mead 6th in the Spec Sportsman feature at Accord.


Johnny Gurarino was 6th in the 358 Modified feature at New Egypt.


Brad Szulewski was 10th in the Modified feature at 5 Mile.


Davie Franek won the 358 Sprint feature at the Lincoln Speedway, then was 5th in the 358/360 feature.


Kolby Schroder was 19th and Kyle Armstrong 20th in the first Modified feature at Lebanon Valley.  In the second feature, Kyle was 3rd, John Virgilio 17th and Kolby 23rd.

Matt Pappa was 2nd and John Virgilio 26th in the Sportsman feature.


Tyler Dippel was 6th, Alex Bell 19th and Bobby Hackel IV 23rd in the Modified feature at A/S.

Hunter Bates was 13th in the Sportsman feature.


Cody Bleau was 14th in the Sportsman feature at Fonda.


A.J. Filbeck was 6th in the Sportsman feature at Glen Ridge.


Molly Chambers was 16th in the 600 Micro feature at Kutztown.


Jacob Hendershot won the 270 Micro feature at Hamlin.


Rich Coons was 2nd and Kyle Redner 6th in the 358/Sportsman feature at Bethel.

Joe Morris was 4th in the 4 Cyl Advanced feature.


L.J. Lombardo won the modified feature at OCFS.  Mike Ruggiero was 6th, Tim Hindley 8th, Anthony Perrego 10th, Mike Kolka 14th and Billy V 18th.

In the Sportsman feature, Joey Bruning was 5th, Zack Vavricka 6th, Matt Janiak 7th, Anthony Falanga 9th, Doc Young 10th, Joe Conklin 14th, Matt Hitchcock 22nd and Brandon Finley 23rd.  Joe Falanga was a DNQ.

Tim Hindley was 2nd, L.J. Lombardo 4th and Tom Hindley 7th in the 358 Modified feature.

Josh Pieniazek was 7th, Emily VanInwegen 8th, Brian Krummel 9th, Billy V 10th, Joe Kata 21st and Danny Hennessey 25th in the CRSA Sprint feature.

Note:  There was a massive pile up on the first lap as they entered the third turn, and only four cars actually made it through.

Scott Goodrich was the winner of the Sprint feature.  For him now at OCFS, he has won features in Big Block Modifieds, Small Block Modifieds and Sprint cars at OC.


Checking the paper, it looks like that about covers those that are/were former runners at the OVRP's Dirt Oval from their racing last week.




Midget Racing from "Back in the Day":


Some of the drivers that used to race the midgets - and some later on in the Sprint Cars, up in the Northeast, where I was raised.  In some cases, some great drivers would pass on to the "Speedway in the sky", while racing.  Yes, I've seen that happen to more than I would have liked to, but, back then, it sure wasn't a safe "Occupation".

Along with the photo of Russ Klar, there were names like Johnny Ritter, Bill Schindler, George & Johnny Rice, Lloyd Christopher, Len Duncan, "Ted Tappet", whose real name was Phil Walters, Ed "Dutch" Schaefer, "Iron" Mike Nazaruk, Bill Baker, Tony Bonadies, Bob & Stan Disbrow, Tony Romit, Steve McGrath, Bert Brooks, "Dee" Toran, Vernon Land, Walt Fusco, Walt Fair, Art Cross, Al Keller, Charlie Breslin, George Fonder, Ray Nestor, Henry Renard, Chet Gibbons, Joe Barzda Johnny Ringger, "Pickles" Bicklehaupt, Buddy Chase, Johnny Zeke, "Jeep" Colkitt, Nick Fornoro, Jim DiMarco, Ralph & Harry Sheeler, Charlie Miller, Ernie Gesell, "Wild" Bill Holmes, Red Redmond, Ernie McCoy, Fred "Jiggs" Peters, Andy Furci, Walt Walasek, Bill Claren (Who's still alive and down in Florida, I believe, and has a radio show), Vic Sloane, Rex Records, Larry Bloomer, Lew Volk, "Wimpy" Erwin, The Fanelli brothers, "Doc" Shanebrook and Larry Shurter. 

And to top it off, a majority of those names would all appear at any night at any given speedway, to thrill the fans and try to win a feature race.


And if it wasn't for some car owners, a good many of those listed above would never have been on the track.  Owners like Caruso, Curtis, Hickey, Hough, Van Nostrand, Cressbaugh, Gordon, Allen, Wheeler, Willets, Plakstis, Stevens, Schloeder, Gertler, Eckert, Hull, Fray, Sperling, Bourgnon and Caccia.

Then there were those that owned the cars they drove, like Ritter, Barzda, Land, Toran, Frick, Shanebrook and DiMarco.

Some were single car owners, while other had up to five cars on a trailer!


Yes, back then, they would race anywhere from 3 to 5 to 7 races a week.  Some would get "paid" to race elsewhere, too.  And what's even more remarkable, there was very little sponsorship back then, either.  If there was a name on a car, it was usually the owners name on the hood, and the drivers name close by the cockpit.

And there were quite a few various engines that powered those midgets back then, too.  Ford V-8 60's, Outboards, Cycles and of course, the Offenhauser engines, too.

Yes, it was a LOT different "Back in the day".




Press Releases:



NEWS FROM                                                                                                             

Orange County Fair Speedway                                                                                   

239 Wisner Avenue                                                                                                    

Middletown, NY10940 



Mike Gurda







Rescheduled Charlie Loder Memorial race previously postponed


MIDDLETOWN, NY (July 13)......The Charlie Loder Memorial race for the Small-block Modifieds, postponed from June 20, is just one of the exciting highlights of the Saturday, July 18 racing program at the historic five-eighths-mile Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown, New York. In addition to the first-place prize money, the winner of the 25-lap Loder Memorial feature will earn a guaranteed starting slot in the October 24 Eastern States Small-Block Modified race. And for some added spice, the top-ten drivers in Small-Block Modified points will race in a one-on-one elimination, with the winner taking home $551 courtesy of the Loder family and friends.


It’s a full night of racing that also includes the Big-Block Modifieds, Sportsman, Rookie Sportsman, Street Stocks, Thunder Trucks, and the Vintage Modifieds. If that isn’t enough action on the Middletown Hard Clay, the Sportsman will race in two 15-lap features instead of the usual single 20-lap main.


Preliminary heat races will set the fields for all competing divisions’ feature races.


Falanga Trucking is the evening’s sponsor.


Admission prices for the July 18 race meet remains at $14 adults, $12 seniors, and $1.00 for children 12 and under. The full night of racing begin promptly at 6:30 pm.


Information for all Orange County Fair Speedway action is available at the speedway website,, or at the Track Office. Call 845-342-2573 during business hours.



Upcoming: July 22–August 2 -- The 175th Annual Orange County Fair!  





... and this is the seal of the Confederate States...


Trivia question:


In Indy 500 history, this driver completed 1944 laps out of a possible 2000 laps (97%).  Any idea who that driver was?

Note:  Answer will be in next weeks column.




Music video:


Sorry, no "Music" video this week, so how about an Abbott & Costello with a Midget race car?





Other News:


First in Fox News First: New poll shows Hillary way under water in swing states





This week's joke:


Two police officers responding to a domestic disturbance with shots fired arrive on scene. After discovering the wife had shot her husband for walking across her freshly mopped floor, they call their sergeant on his cell phone.


       "Hello Sarge."




       "It looks like we have a homicide here. "


       "What happened?"


       "A woman has shot her husband for walking on the floor she  had just mopped."


       "Have you placed her under arrest?"


       "No sir. The floor is still wet. "






Until my next column – next week


Columns are available on the Dirt Track Digest at: at Contributing Columnists




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