Racin' & Internet Stuff:

                                      By Tom Avenengo

                                           Volume # 29




I know that no one reading this will have any objections about my dedicating this weeks column to my wife, Joan Marie Avenengo, and to our children, Judy, Sandy, Tom, Jr., Eric and Sarah. 

It was on September 11, 1960, when I married the love of my life, and this Saturday makes it 50 years of wedded bliss.  Our son, Eric, posted something on Facebook about this – wondering how we made it for so many years, and I had to respond with the fact that having five great kids surely helped us along the way.



This past Sunday, my daughter, Judy, and I went to the Racing Expo at Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, N.J.  It was at Hinchliffe, when this writer first saw auto racing – midgets, back then.  I started going there in 1946, thanks to my father, who was also a race fan.  How many times was I there?  Countless!  So many times in the years 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949 and New Years Day in 1950.  Yes, outdoor racing in Paterson, N.J. on New Years Day!  It was billed as the “Gasoline Bowl”, and was a show for midgets and what would replace those midgets after that event – stock cars.  My father was not a fan of the stock cars, so I never went back to Hinchliffe until last Sunday – a period of over 60 years.  Yes, to me it was a big change from what the eyes of a kid who was 9, 10, 11 and 12 years old, back then.  Back then, it seemed so huge.  After being there last Sunday, one has to wonder – where did they put 10,000 race fans? 

I’m working on an article about the Racing Expo, and will be out shortly.  Hopefully, it will have photos, too – as long as I can get them into my computer.  For some reason, I’m having a problem doing that.  Well I couldn’t get them in and neither could my son, Eric, so he took my camera to his house and got them into his laptop, and sent them to me, via e-mails, so some photos will appear.



Some of my thoughts:


The Internet has its good points and bad ones, too.  A lot of what is on it – especially on message boards and forums that pertain to motor sports can be taken with a grain of salt.  And, some is the truth, too.

Over these last few days I’ve been reading about the horrible conditions with the Rolling Wheels track up by Syracuse, for the race that was held on Labor Day.  Rolling Wheels is owned by those that run DIRTcar – World Racing Group.  I wonder just what the problem is between DIRTcar/WRG and the track, for so much to be said - against the track, and such poor track conditions?

There are many, many that feel that Rolling Wheels would be the perfect place to hold “Super Dirt Week” if it should ever leave the mile track in Syracuse.  After reading what I have, I kinda doubt that!


Another track that made the news, and not for the good, either, was Big Diamond.  I’ve read quite a few complaints about the track surface there, too.


And late on Wednesday, there was something on the Internet about Canandaigua possibly closing?  It was said that they were canceling the remaining 2010 events.  Hmmm?


And at Rolling Wheels, some changes made to their schedule for the weekend of September 25th and 26th, with the racing now all on the 25th, is also being reported.  Is WRG/DIRTcar in trouble?




Going back, in time:

Note:  Most of the following information was found here: 



Covering the days of September 3rd to September 9th.




Jerry Grant became the first USAC driver to break 200 miles per hour. He accomplished the feat in qualifying at the Ontario Motor Speedway , completing a 2.5 mile lap in 44.7 seconds. Roger McCluskey won the race.




Howard (Howdy) Wilcox... Died ... AAA driver from 1910 to 1923. Wilcox won the 1919 Indianapolis 500 after starting in the 2nd position. He died in a wreck in 1923 at the Altoona Speedway board track in Tyrone, Pennsylvania.


Bobby Grim... Born ... He won 12 feature races in USAC midgets and was one of the last to win in the ancient Offy. Bobby drove in the USAC Championship Car series, racing in the 1958-1969 seasons with 66 starts, including the Indianapolis 500 races each year from 1959-1968 except 1965. He finished in the top ten 30 times, with his one victory coming in 1960 at Syracuse. He won the 1959 Indy Rookie of the Year, despite finishing in 26th position and was the last person to qualify a front engined car for the race in 1966. . He was also the IMCA sprint car champion from 1955-1958 driving the famed "Black Deuce" Offy of Hector Honore.


Frankie Luptow won the IMCA Sprint Car race at the Dakota State Fair Speedway, Huron, SD.


Note:  Luptow found a lot of success driving a certain Sprint Car – The “Black Panther”.  More on these fabulous cars can be seen, below, in the “History of the Sport” section.



Fred Winnai... Died ... AAA driver 1927 to 1946.


Jan Opperman... Died ... Race car driver known as "The King of the Outlaws". Two time starter of the Indianapolis 500, finishing 21st in 1974 and 16th in 1976. Legendary sprint car driver. Winner of the prestigious Tony Hulman Classic, Terre Haute Action Track 1976; National Supermodified Champion 1971, Knoxville, Ia.; Two time National Supermodified Champion 1971 & 72, Phoenix, Az; World Dirt Track Champion 1973. Critically injured in the 1976 USAC Hoosier 100 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis. Resumed racing after a full recovery only to suffer a career ending injury at Jennerstown, Pa on June 20, 1981. He had several debilitating strokes and spent the final years of his life in a wheelchair being cared for by his 80-something parents. A man of strong spiritual belief, Jan Opperman was very popular with his fellow drivers, the media and fans. Jan Opperman was a larger-than-life dirt track racing legend who stormed on the scene in the late 1960's, dominated sprint car circuits throughout the 1970's and helped define the Outlaw movement.

Chuck Arnold... Died ... Arnold drove sporadically in the USAC Championship Car series, racing between 1959 and 1968, with 11 starts, including the 1959 Indianapolis 500. He finished in the top ten 3 times, with his best finish in 5th position, in 1959 at Trenton.




My sister, Katherine Lucienne Avenengo (Triebeneck) was born.


Jochen Rindt... Died ... Rindt was a German-Austrian racing driver. He is the only driver to posthumously win the Formula One World Drivers' Championship (in 1970), after being killed in practice for the Italian Grand Prix. Away from Formula One Rindt was highly successful in other single-seat formulae, as well as sports car racing. In 1965 he won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, driving a Ferrari 250LM in partnership with American Masten Gregory.




Jimmy Bryan won the AAA Eastern Sprint Car race at the Rutland Fairgrounds, Rutland, VT.

Jack McGrath won the AAA sanctioned Syracuse 100 on the 1 Mile Dirt Oval New York State Fairgrounds, Syracuse, New York. Mike Nazaruk was second followed by Bobby Ball, Paul Russo and Jimmy Reece.


Johnny Thomson won the USAC sanctioned Syracuse 100 on the 1 Mile Dirt Oval New York State Fairgrounds, Syracuse, New York. George Amick was second followed by Tony Bettenhausen, Rodger Ward and Jud Larson.




Donnie Allison ... Born ... A former driver on the NASCAR Grand National/Winston Cup circuit, who won ten times during his racing career, which spanned the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s. He was part of the "Alabama Gang," and is the brother of 1983 champion Bobby Allison and uncle of Davey Allison. Donnie was never a full-time NASCAR driver. Allison also competed in the Indianapolis 500 twice, finishing 4th and winning Rookie of the Year in 1970 and finishing 6th in 1971.



Lee Wallard ... Born ... AAA driver from the 1940's and 50's. Lee ran the Indy 500 four times 1948 - 1951. Wallard retired from racing after being burned in a racing crash, four days after winning the 1951 Indianapolis 500.


Chuck Rodee... Born ... USAC driver from the 1950's and 1960's. He won 35 career features in USAC midget competition. He drove in the USAC Championship Car series, racing in the 1957, 1958, 1960, and 1962-1965 seasons. He finished in the top ten 4 times, with his best finish in 5th position in 1965 at Atlanta. He had 16 career starts, including the Indianapolis 500 races in 1962 and 1965. He finished in 32nd in 1962 after crashing to avoid Jack Turner , and 28th in 1965. His career came to a halt on May 14th when he spun on his second warm-up lap during a qualifying attempt for the 1966 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race. The car backed into the wall exiting the 1st turn, and one of midget racing's great personalities was gone.


Larry Dickson ... Born ... A former driver in the USAC and CART Championship Car series. He raced in the 1965-1981 seasons, with 105 combined career starts, including the Indianapolis 500 in 1966-1969, 1971, 1978-1979, and 1981. He finished in the top ten 44 times, with his best finish in 2nd position in 1968 at Springfield. He was also a 3 time USAC Sprint Car Series Champion in 1968, 1970 and 1975. Larry won 43 USAC Sprint car races and was the all-time leader in the division until Tom Bigelow broke his record. In the years 1968-71 Larry and Gary Bettnhausen raced each other in what was billed as "The Larry and Gary show" or "Thunder (Bettenhausen) and Lightning (Dickson) exchanging the USAC Sprint Car title between each other during those years. Those were probably the most exciting USAC sprint car races of all time. Larry also ventured to Daytona to drive Richie Giachetti's Ford Torino in the Daytona 500, running in the top ten before the engine expired. Larry finished his career in the ToMax USAC Silver Crown car owned by his brother, Tommy and Max Brittain. He was inducted in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in the first class in 1990.


Johnnie Parsons ... Died ... Midget racer who went on to drive in 10 consecutive Indy 500's, finishing second in 1949 and winning in 1950. Johnnie began racing in open wheel cars in races run by the United Midget Association on the West Coast after World War II. In 1942 he won the abbreviated UMA Championship on the strength of 18 feature wins. In 1948 he won the third feature of the “Night Before the 500” midget program at the famous 16th Street Speedway. The following year, after starting 12th in his first Indianapolis 500, he finished 2nd behind Bill Holland and went on to win the National Driving Championship. In 1950 he was back at Indy, this time winning the rain-shortened race. He became a crowd favorite and competed in eight more 500's before retiring in 1958. Parsons has the dubious distinction of being the only Indianapolis 500 winner to have his name misspelled on the Borg-Warner Trophy. Silversmiths carved "Johnny" instead of "Johnnie." The error was corrected posthumously when the trophy was restored in 1991. Ironically, his son was named Johnny and though he ran at Indy 12 times, he never won the race. He was inducted in the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 2004. He was inducted in the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 1984. Parsons died before receiving notification that he was selected to the hall of fame.




Mike Calla... Born ... Founder of racing website wheelsofspeed.com.

Note:  Yes, most of the info in this section, every week, is from a part of the “Wheels of Speed” website.

Felix Sabates... Born ... NASCAR team owner.




Track news – (for tracks in my area):


Accord:  http://www.accordspeedway.com/

This coming Friday:

FRIDAY   September 10th - Championship Night! - Taylor Rental Night

$2000 to win 30 Lap Modified race, Short Track SuperNationals Qualifier plus Sportsman – Spec Sportsman, Pro Stocks – Pure Stocks-Lightning Sprints


OCFS:  http://www.orangecountyfairspeedway.net/

This coming Saturday:


September 11th // Superior Remodeling - Northeast Vintage Modifieds - Eastern States Modified Qualifier - Officials Race - M/SP/PRO/PS/V



Bethel:  http://www.bethelmotorspeedway.com/BethelMotorSpeedway/Home_Page.html

This coming Saturday:


Nostalgia Night

Dirt Sportsman, Pro Stock, BMS Modified, Street Stock, 4 Cylinder, Bandoleros



OVRP – the dirt track:  http://www.oaklandvalleyspeedway.com/


A pretty big race has been scheduled for the Oakland Valley Speedway (the Dirt Oval) for Saturday, September 11th


50 Lap NASCAR Style Charity Event

Saturday September 11th

At least $3317 guaranteed to be awarded in prize money, donation’s to the winner’s favorite charity in their name and to the Cuddebackville Volunteer Fire Dept.

More info can be found if you go here:  http://www.oaklandvalleyspeedway.com/2010/08/salute-fallen-heros-september-11th/



Hamlin:  http://www.hamlinspeedway.com/

This Saturday:


270cc & 600cc "MICRO MOUNTAIN NATIONALS IV" ~ $1000.00 to Win! (24 Plus Entries) Non-Handicap, Round Robin Time Trials, 30 Lap Feature. Pre Entry $75




The History of the Sport:

Another racecar – well, racecars, that is, are featured this week – the “Black Panther” Sprint Cars.  The “Black Panther” cars started out in 1939.  Quite a few notable drivers sat in those cars over the years, drivers like Carl Scarborough, Frank Luptow, Joe Sostilio, Russ Klar, Wally Campbell, Elmer George, Larry Crist, FredJiggs” Peters, Charlie Lutkie, Al Herman, Chuck Weyant, Johnny Thomson, Bill Brown, Ralph Ligouri, Bill Horstmeyer and others.

The history of those cars can be seen, in print and photos, if you go here:



Former Dirt Oval (Oakland Valley Speedway) runners:


At Lebanon Valley, Bobby Hackel IV was 15th in the 358 Small Block feature, while Kyle Armstrong was 3rd and Kolby Schroder 4th in the Sportsman feature.

Michael Storms was 5th in the Modified feature at Brewerton.

Sammy Piazza was 21st in the Coalcracker Small Block feature at Big Diamond and Mike Mammana was a DNQ.  Sammy also had a 2nd in the Sportsman feature and Mike a 14th.  Brad Szulewski was a DNQ for the Sportsman feature.

Jacob Hendershot was 7th in the Senior Slingshot feature at Wyalusing and 2nd in the 270 Micro Sprint feature.

Cori Tufano was 3rd in the 750 Sportsman Micro Sprint feature at Whip City.

Johnny Guarino had a 20th place finish in the Modified feature at New Egypt.

At Hamlin, Rick Casario had a 19th in the winged 270 Micro Sprint feature and credited with a 22nd in the wingless feature.  I found out why he was 22nd when I was at Hinchliffe Stadium on Sunday.  nuff said on that.  In the 600 wingless Micro Sprint feature, Luke Schostkewitz was 12th, Brittany Tresch 15th and Cait Chambers 21st.  Joe Kata had a 2nd in the wingless Rookie 270 feature.

At Selinsgrove, in the 358/360 Sprint Car feature, Davie Franek finished 2nd.

On Friday, at Borgers, Tiffany Wambold was 3rd in the Wingless 270 Micro Sprint feature, and on Saturday was 2nd in the 270 Rookie Micro feature.

Michael Storms was 21st in the Modified feature at Fulton.

At Utica/Rome, AJ Filbeck was 6th in the Sportsman feature.

At Accord, Jimmy Johnson was 7th, Danny Creeden 11th and Jamie Yannone 24th in the Modified feature while Greg Hastie was a DNQ.

Anthony Perrego won the Sportsman feature at Accord, while Brian Krummel was 4th with Mike Ruggiero 6th.  Kyle Rohner had a 5th place finish in the Spec Sportsman feature.

At OCFS, in the Modified feature, Mike Ruggiero was 10th, Danny Creeden 12th, Billy VanInwegen 17th, Tim Hindley 22nd and Clinton Mills 24th.  Corey Ziegler was a DNQ with his Small Block.  In the Sportsman feature, Matt Janiak was the winner, while Joe Conklin was 2nd, Brian Krummel 4th, Anthony Perrego 6th, Zack Vavricka 10th and Keith Still 15th.   From what I’ve read, this was the last Sportsman race for Joe Conklin.  I believe he wants to spend time with his son and he also coaches football.  It’s been a real pleasure watching Joe run the way he has with a Crate engine in his car!


Hey!  Hope I didn’t miss anyone!


OCFS points:

Here’s how the former Kart racers, that have run at OVRP’s Dirt Oval, did, point wise at OCFS this past racing season.

In Modifieds:  Danny Creeden 6th, Tim Hindley 12th, Mike Ruggiero 14th, Billy VanInwegen 15th, Clinton Mills 20th, Johnny Guarino 40th, Corey Ziegler 42nd, Michael Storms 51st and Jimmy Johnson 52nd.


In Sportsman:  Brian Krummel 1st, Joe Conklin 2nd, Keith Still 7th, Matt Janiak 9th, Matt Hitchcock 13th, John Lodini 16th, Bobby Hassenmayer 23rd, Anthony Perrego 25th, Doc Young 26th, Zack Vavricka 29th, Rich Coons 35th, RJ Smykla 47th, Kolby Schroder 48th and Jason Roe 55th.

Note:  As you can probably figure, some only had an occasional visit to OCFS over the racing season.


More racin’ stuff:

True, or not?   This past weekend, I heard from two parties that there would be no more racing at the Big Diamond Raceway, in Minersville, Pa.

And, per the Wall Stadium website, there will be no racing there until further notice.  You can read what the former promoter has to say by going to the website, below:



Oswego Speedway sold?  Just rumors, or fact?  Hard to tell when you visit their website. 

I’ve read that someone has seen a “For Sale” notice, in a magazine, for the Orange County Fair Speedway property, too.




Other forums/message boards and websites:


You might find some interesting reading if you go to the links below.


Track Forum: - http://www.trackforum.com/forums/


Frontstretch.com:  http://www.frontstretch.com/

Jayski: - http://www.jayski.com/

Open Wheel Racers3:  http://www.openwheelracers3.com/

Race Pro Weekly:  http://raceproweekly.com/

Racing on TV - http://www.racefantv.com/USTV.htm


Note:  Speaking of racing on TV – might you be interested in seeing how many might have watched NASCAR Cup racing over these last four years?

If so, check it out, here:  http://jayski.com/pages/tvratings2010.htm



Video time:

At times, I always go back to watch some of the Country singers – those that were popular years ago, when they all met for some impromptu sessions – with those sessions being recorded for the general public to see and/or being able to buy the CD’s/DVD’s.  Me, being a cheapskate, I just watch on them on Internet.

So, if you’re a fan of old time Country music, sit back, relax, and enjoy Gene Watson as he sings “Farewell Party”.  I always enjoy how the other singers in the room appreciate the talent from their fellow entertainers.  How many can you name that appear in this video?  And isn’t Lorrie Morgan a doll?  Stick around until the very end on this video for the standing ovation that Gene gets and the comments made.



Other (non racing) news:


From 9/2

Feds sue Arizona sheriff in civil rights probe    

PHOENIX – The U.S. Justice Department sued Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Thursday, saying the Arizona lawman refused for more than a year to turn over records in an investigation into allegations his department discriminates against Hispanics.



Found this on Facebook:

A-ha! Turns out that 6 months before Eric Holder launched his "probe" into Sheriff Joe, ICE did their own very thorough investigation (09/08). What did they find? That the Maricopa Sheriff's Office acted in full compliance with Federal law, including a ban on racial profiling. That its cases were "high quality". That Arpaio & Co. had ...an "excellent" working relationship with the Feds. And Holder's lawsuit? "Totally political", says a former Bush Admin. Civil Rights Division official now representing Joe. Very embarrassing revelation for Mr. Holder, and good news for all who respect the rule of law, and a strong symbol of its enforcement: Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

NOTE: Arpaio's lawyers just recently obtained this report via the Freedom of Information Act. Why was this neccessary? Did Obama's ICE refuse to hand it over? Such pettiness would not surprise us one bit.



New evidence undermines feds' case against Arizona


In part:

You've heard a lot about the Justice Department's lawsuit to stop the new Arizona immigration law. But that's just one part of the Obama administration's multi-front war on immigration enforcement in Arizona.

In addition to the drive to kill the new law, Attorney General Eric Holder is also suing the Maricopa Community College system in Phoenix, alleging it broke the law by requiring a job seeker to provide a green card before being hired. And on Thursday the Justice Department filed suit against the Maricopa County Sheriff's office, run by the flamboyant Joe Arpaio, as part of an extended investigation into alleged civil rights violations there.”

Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/politics/New-evidence-undermines-feds_-case-against-Arizona-705578-102106209.html#ixzz0yVIwdU4C


Note:  As you can see, some of that news started out on September 2nd. I haven’t seen anything else, since, really.




Suddenly, a raft of tax-break proposals from Obama


In part:

“President Barack Obama's proposed tax breaks for business sound like ideas that have enjoyed broad Republican backing in the past. But in today's toxic political atmosphere, he's unlikely to get much — if any — GOP help.

Still, his plans put Republicans on the spot, making it harder for them to say no to legislation they once embraced.”

Interested?  Check it out, here:  http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_obama_tax_breaks


Might you have any idea as to what these cities have in common?

Detroit, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Riverside, CA, St. Louis, Mo, New York City, New Orleans, Chicago, Birmingham and Miami-Fort Lauderdale?

Well, those are the ten most stressful US cities.  Oh, there are some good ones, too.  Interested?  Check it out, here:



Is this true?:

I’ve had this e-mail sent to me on a few occasions – a copy of a letter that was sent to our President from an MD.  True?  Maybe.  Possible?  Sure is.

Dear Mr. President: 
         During my shift in the Emergency Room last night, I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient whose smile revealed an expensive shiny gold tooth, whose body was adorned with a wide assortment of elaborate and costly tattoos, who wore a very expensive brand of tennis shoes and who chatted on a new cellular telephone equipped with a popular R&B ringtone. 
        While glancing over her patient chart, I happened to notice that her payer status was listed as "Medicaid"! During my examination of her, the patient informed me that she smokes more than one costly pack of cigarettes every day and somehow still has money to buy pretzels and beer. 
        And, you and our Congress expect me to pay for this woman's health care?  I contend that our nation's "health care crisis" is not the result of a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. Rather, it is the result of a "crisis of culture", a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on luxuries and vices while refusing to take care of one's self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance.  It is a culture based in the irresponsible credo that "I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me". 
        Once you fix this  "culture crisis" that rewards irresponsibility and dependency, you'll be amazed at how quickly our nation's health care difficulties will disappear. 




Closing with these:


Puns for Educated Minds 


The fattest knight at King Arthur's round table was Sir
Cumference. He acquired his size from too much pi.


I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it
turned out to be an optical Aleutian .


She was only a whiskey maker, but he loved her still.


A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class,
because it was a weapon of math disruption.


No matter how much you push the envelope, it'll still be


A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited
for littering.


Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.


A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall.. The police
are looking into it.


Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.


Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One
hat said to the other: 'You stay here; I'll go on a head.'


I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it
hit me.


The midget fortune-teller who escaped from prison was a
small medium at large.


When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of


Two fish swim into a concrete wall. One turns to the
other and says 'Dam!'


There was the person who sent ten puns to friends, with

the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh.

No pun in ten did.




May “Guardian Angels” sit on the shoulders of all of our race drivers and race fans, and guide them safely around the tracks!

Drive safe! 

As usual, you can reach me at:  ygordad@yahoo.com