Racin' & Internet Stuff:

                                      By Tom Avenengo

                                           Volume # 30




Although the wife and I had learned about a planned 50th Wedding Anniversary party for us this past Saturday, we were nicely overwhelmed by the amount of friends, relatives, offspring and others that joined us in our celebration.  Mother Nature blessed us with a perfect day, weather wise.



There are all kinds of rumors floating around the Internet about some tracks closing.  The latest was one I just had seen on Tuesday about the Whip City Speedway now being up for sale.  Off hand, I think it’s about six tracks that I’ve read about.



On Wednesday night, prior to sending this in, I was watching a couple of things on TV – switching back and forth.  The hapless New York Mets and America’s Got Talent.  At around 9:30, between innings in the Mets game, there was a commercial about the “Eve of Destruction” that will be held at OCFS this coming Saturday night.  It’s no wonder they get big crowds for that show.  Guess it pays to advertise, huh?



Some of my thoughts:


A few days ago, the tire rules for Eastern States Weekend at the Orange County Fair Speedway were announced.  In a way I’m glad that the tire rule has been opened up, to an extent.  Certain American Racer tires and Hoosier tires can be used for qualifying.  Once qualified, the Orange County American Racer tire must be used for the feature races in the Modified, 358 Small Block, Sportsman and Pro Stock events.  At least now race teams do not have to purchase the OC tires until they qualify, which can save some race teams a nice bundle of cash.

As for the rules for the 358 Small Block events – motor wise – nothing yet.  And, as for the Sportsman class, I have to imagine that the OC rules will apply – whereas both “Race” and “Crate” engine powered cars can compete against each other.



Going back, in time:

Note:  Most of the following information was found here: 



Covering the days of September 10th to September 16th.





Sammy Sessions... Born ... Sessions was one of the most likable race drivers to come out of the state of Michigan and obtain national prominence. Born during the depression days of the middle thirties, Sam started racing outboard boats at the tender age of 14 and moved into stock cars in 1958 at the now defunct Hastings racetrack. Next on Sam’s driving list were the supermodifieds in which he earned the point championship at the now defunct Grand Rapids Speedrome, along with winning a 200-lap national championship supermodified race at South Bend. In 1963 San won 100 lappers at Sandusky, Shangri-La and Delaware. 1964 brought victories in a 50 lapper at Toledo, 100 lapper at Sandusky, and a 150 lapper at the Grand Rapids Speedrome. Nicknamed, the "Little Tiger" Sammy was one of the many Michigan drivers that dominated the early supermodified days at Oswego. The fan popular Sessions drove Pete Webster’s Bingo 151 super to three feature wins in a row early in 1964 before taking the car out of the ball-park in turn one in a spectacular crash. The following season Sessions began a USAC racing career that saw him successfully compete in Champ, Sprint and Midget divisions, the highlights being a top five finish in the '72 Indy 500 as well as the 1972 USAC Sprint Car Championship. He continued in sprint cars for a number of years and also became a top snowmobile racer. He died when he suffered a heart-attack during a snowmobile racing accident in Alexandria, Minnesota in 1977 and subsequently crashed into a tree, dying instantly when a branch decapitated him. Real name was Allen Dale Sessions.


Buzz Gregory... Died ... USAC Sprint and Indy Car driver from the 1960's.




It was on September 11, 1960 when this writer married the love of his life – Joan Marie Rose.  This past weekend we had a great celebration of that event at our house.  Yes, it was a great and fast fifty years!


Johnny Herrera ... Born ... Best known for racing in the World of Outlaws sprint car racing series. In 1986 Johnny was named World of Outlaws Rookie of the Year. Herrera's career in the World of Outlaws has lasted twenty two years. Johnny has several feature event wins with the World of Outlaws as well as wins in USAC and ASCoC competitions.




Tony Bettenhausen ... Born ... AAA / USAC driver from 1941 to 1961. He drove in the AAA and USAC Championship Car series, racing in the 1941 and 1946-1961 seasons with 121 starts, including 14 in the Indianapolis 500. He finished in the top ten 74 times, with 21 victories. He won the National Championship in 1951 after recording eight victories and two second place finishes in fourteen events. He announced his retirement from all racing but the Indianapolis 500 after the season. He decided to return full-time for the 1954 season. He was involved in a midget car wreck in Chicago. He suffered head injuries after striking a concrete wall. He was in critical condition for several days. He prearranged to co-drive with Chicago Gang friend Paul Russo in the 1955 Indianapolis 500. They finished second. In 1958 he won the national championship and assured the title with a second place finish at Phoenix. He finished second in the national championship to Rodger Ward in 1959. Bettenhausen was killed in 1961 in a crash at Indianapolis while testing a car for Paul Russo. Bettenhausen was the father of three racing sons Gary Bettenhausen, Tony Bettenhausen, Jr. and Merle Bettenhausen.


Jimmy Gleason ... Died ... AAA driver 1925 to 1931. He was killed in an AAA National Championship race in Syracuse NY.


Ricky Rudd ... Born ... NASCAR driver.


It was on September 12, 2003 when we lost one of music’s greats – Johnny Cash.  That was a quick seven years!


Jack Turner ... Died ... AAA/USAC driver from 1955 -1963




Paul Russo won the AAA Eastern Sprint Car race over Tommy Hinnershitz at the Morristown Speedway, Morristown, NJ.

Note:  I tend to disagree with the above, since I was in attendance that night in Morristown.  I do believe the Paul Russo beat Bill Schindler in that race, not Tommy.  That kinda sticks in my memory banks since Schindler was fatally injured one week later in Allentown, PA.  I did send an e-mail to those that run the Wheels of Speed website, and I believe a correction is/will be made.  It has been.  Thanks, guys!  It was Russo, Schindler and Hinnershitz in that order.  That was also confirmed by Gordon White, a noted racing historian.




Jud Larson won the Hoosier Hundred USAC Champ Car race at the 1 Mile Dirt Oval Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis, Indiana. Jimmy Bryan was second followed by George Amick, Len Sutton and Don Branson.


Rodger Ward won the Hoosier Hundred USAC Champ Car race at the 1 Mile Dirt Oval Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis, Indiana. Don Branson was second followed by A.J. Foyt, Johnny Rutherford and Jim McElreath.




Rex Mays won the Indianapolis 100 AAA Champ Car race at the 1 Mile Dirt Oval Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis, Indiana. Mauri Rose was second followed by Emil Andres, Ted Horn and Tony Bettenhausen.

Al Putnam... Died ... AAA driver from the 1930's and 40's. Putnam was killed during qualifying for the first dirt-car race to be held at the Indiana State Fair.


Ron Shuman... Born ... A champion sprint car racer Shuman won the Turkey Night Grand Prix sprint car race four consecutive times from 1979 to 1982 and eight times in total and the Knoxville Nationals in 1979. He tried his hand at Championship Car racing in 1980 and finished in 11th place in his first race at Ontario Motor Speedway in April of that year. However, a month later he failed to qualify for the 1980 Indianapolis 500. The following year Shuman sided with USAC in their split with CART and Shuman entered in two dirt track races on USAC's "Gold Crown" Champ Car calendar, failing to qualify for one and finishing 15th in the other. The following season in 1982 Shuman notched his best Champ Car finish at the Illinois State Fairgrounds Racetrack with a 5th place and competed in two other dirt track Gold Crown races. He made another appearance in 1983 before the series ended. Shuman continued to race sprint cars during his foray into Champ Car. He was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 2003.




Jason Leffler... Born ... USAC and NASCAR driver.


A.J. Foyt won the Hoosier Hundred USAC Champ Car race at the 1 Mile Dirt Oval Indiana State Fairgrounds, Indianapolis, Indiana. Bobby Marshman was second followed by Jim McElreath, Len Sutton and Shorty Templeman.


Note:  A little more said about the Hoosier Hundred appears below in my “History of the Sport” section.





Track news – (for tracks in my area):


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


Nothing going on at the “Big A” this coming weekend, but look out for the following weekend.  I’m figuring it will be a real big show – the “King of the Catskills” racing event.


King of the Catskills


September 24th & September 25th

Rain Date 10/1 and 10/2

Friday’s Racing Program

Modifieds-100 Laps $7000 to win*

Pit Stop at lap 50

Sportsman-50 Laps $1000 to win*

Sr. Slingshots-20 Laps $500 to win*

Jr Slingshots-15 Laps $400 to win*


Saturday’s Racing Program

Spec Sportsman-50 Laps $3500 to win*

Pure Stock-30 Laps $500 to win*

Pro Stocks-30 Laps $500 to win*

                                     *Payout based on 25 car entry



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


This Saturday:

September 18th // Middletown Auto Wreckers | Spectrum Auto Body | Route 94 Auto Sales - EVE of DESTRUCTION – Demo Derby – FIREWORKS

Note # 1:  Last year this event was a complete sell-out, from what I have heard.  Somehow, I sure wish that the powers that be would schedule at least one open wheel class of race cars to put on a race of maybe twenty laps, or so, so the folks in attendance could see some real racing, and maybe, just maybe think about attending some of the races at OC in the future.

Note # 2:  This is basically it until Eastern States Weekend – October 22nd, 23rd and 24th.

However there is this:

October 16th // Open Practice for ALL Divisions | 12noon - 4pm | (Rain Date 17th) | Final ESW Tune-Up!

October 16th - 4pm | (Rain Date 17th) | Final ESW Tune-Up!

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

This coming Saturday:

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


Note:  Do you realize that admission for the races at Bethel is only $5.00?



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

No races this weekend at the Oakland Valley Speedway.



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

This coming Saturday:

Slingshot Nationals 50! Tour Race ~ $1000.00 to Win! $75 Pre Entry ~ $75 to take the Green ~ Plus Lap Sponsorship ~ Junior Slingshot National Tour Race! Entry Fee $25 ! SEASON FINALE . . . . .


The History of the Sport:

About the Hoosier Hundred – what it used to be like and what it has ended up as it is, today.  There has been quite a lot said about this event with the Yahoo!  Race History Group.  Here, below are just a few things that have been said.  Since it is quite interesting, and kind of long, I thought I’d put ½ in this week and more in my column next week. About the Hoosier Hundred

“I meant to write last Saturday Morning but forgot. I can remember going to the Hoosier Hundred on several occasions when it was "The Dirt Race of the Year" now all the tradition is gone and so are the drivers that compete at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I scored Jim Hurtubise in 1975. The cool air in the evening after Labor Day yet it was still warm in the daytime. It's truly sad what has happened to dirt racing. The drivers are still great but is it the fact that I'm older or is it the fact that the Indianapolis drivers don't run these races anymore. Let me know your thoughts.
Does anyone else feel a little sad that the Saturday after Labor Day is just another day and not the famed Hoosier Hundred?”


“Since I am lucky enough to live in the Indy area, I am privy
to the inside story of Open Wheel racing around here along with several
other RH members. In talking to the drivers I know that race at these tracks
who will share their thoughts (albeit off the record), they will tell you
dirt track racing has been harmed by the big wide right rear tire at the HH.
To run 100 laps at the HH takes a full fuel load which then puts a lot of
strain on the RR tire, which if pushed to the limit will blister badly or
blow out . Qualifying is everything at the HH. Start up front, finish up
front because of the lack of passing.

A secondary thing that hampers the HH is not being allowed to
work the track, The story told ( can’t confirm it is correct) is that the
horse trainers scream about watering or cutting the track. So, they race on
a dry slick track which blisters the RR. The last three winners of the HH
have started on the front row. Very little passing has thus turned the HH
into a follow the leader kinda race. This year’s attempt to make it a better
show did spice up the start of the second half of the twin 50’s making Shane
Hmiel pass 7 cars to get back to the front after running off with the first
50 after starting on the pole. If one changed tires, you had to go to the
rear. All but a handful did change tires. Thus Hmiel started 7th. He
quickly took back the lead from the ones who did not elect to have fresh
tires, although Russ Gamester did put up a valiant fight to stay in front
to….yes, you guessed it, to blow his RR tire.

So, no easy solution to the issue. USAC doesn’t appear to be
all that interested in fixing it either. The success they are having with
the off road truck racing has seemed to distract them from the open wheel
division. Rumor, yes, rumor has it the pavement series for USAC sprint cars
may be a thing of the past. They have already dropped the pavement midget

This is something that we can discuss until we run out of
breath, but until the sanctioning bodies do something about it, USAC open
wheel racing is going to be a ¼ mile dirt track series. This is not to
suggest it is an easy fix, far from it. I have rambled enough…..”


“You are right on with the large RR and USAC, and Kevin Miller is in La La Land. Dick King is turning over in his grave and we USAC supporters are dwindling. Dry slick tracks, make a smaller RR and make these tracks so they can get some bites. The stand would be packed if the days of Herk, Jud, AJ, Parnelli, and all the rest ran in the conditions of years ago!!! Tickets would be at a premium. When I was at my first race in 1966 at Springfield, Don Branson won but you couldn't get a ticket unless you knew a source. What a big loss for all of us racers. We see that the 500 and the Brickyard are dwindling in crowds and I could buy a ticket for 4 friends at the Brickyard July 6th on the end of the isle, in the shade in Stand A in the shade across from the pits, at the walkup window at the Speedway July 6th!!!!”


“We've covered this ground before. One of the great things about dirt racing
was that the tracks differed. Some were groove tracks, because of the
surface; others were cushion tracks, where there was both a high and a low
line, or many lines. With the advent of wide, sticky tires and big Chevys,
all tracks became groove tracks. The engine power and traction of the tires
threw off the cushion in a lap or two, reducing any track to one fast line.
Because of one this, slide jobs and other exciting passes became the
exception, rather than the rule. Wings and roll cages (the latter absolutely
necessary) ruined the aesthetics and what emerged had nothing to do with
what we all remember. Regarding the Indy stars, they can make more money at
a sales convention for a "motivational" speech than they can in a weekend of
dirt racing. Besides, many of their contracts rule it out. Sponsors won't
take the chance that something could happen to their "properties" and
compromise their ability to win the championship the sponsor is interested
in. I treasure my memories, but I'm also a realist. Both car and motorcycle
dirt oval racing as I knew them are gone. Sure, there are some big shows,
but they're not for me. There's still plenty of good racing. Yesterday's
Italian Grand Prix was a classic example. It made me feel like I was in the
8th grade again, I got so excited.”


“A major factor in the decline of these dirt races is that they are no
longer part of the National Championship. During its heyday, about half
of the races on the Championship Trail were on dirt and most of the top
drivers competed on dirt and pavement. Thus you'd likely see the Indy
champion tow into the fairgrounds and unload (back when Indy was a big
race), and the majority of the drivers in the event were Indy veterans.
At that time, to racing fans, these races had real importance in the
national picture, and you would no more want to miss the Hoosier
Hundred, DuQuoin, Springfield, or Phoenix, than you would skip Bristol


“The split of the dirt and pavement cars after 1970 I believe like you do was the
worst thing that happended to the dirt cars. Case in point, the Hoosier 100 used to be
the highest paying open cockpit race on dirt in the USA. And was one of the highest
paying races period in American circle track racing. Even after the split in 1971, for
the next few years some of the greatest names in American racing still drove the dirt cars,
including Foyt, Al Unser, and Mario Andretti.  The appearance of these stars, kept the
dirt car races at the Indy Fairgrounds relevant as big time events. But as these drivers got older, they were not replaced by the new stars of Indy racing, because almost none of
them ever drove on a dirt track in their racing careers, and certainly didn't need to after the split.
I remember what a great race it was the day Jackie Howerton beat Mario Andretti
and Al Unser in the Hoosier Hundred. The impact of that win for Jackie was much
greater because Mario and Al had each within the last five years won the Indy 500.

The only time I can remember anything remotely like that in recent times was
when Tony Stewart was the IRL Champ in 1997, and he still  made it a point to race
most of the dirt car races when he could. His stature after winning the Triple
Crown of USAC in 1995, the pole at Indy in 1996, and the IRL title in 97, gave him a
national profile that the dirt car division hadn't seen since the days of Foyt, Unser, and
Andretti in the 1970's.”


Former Dirt Oval (Oakland Valley Speedway) runners:


Rich Coons was 5th in the Sportsman feature at Bethel.

At Wyalusing, I see that Paul Quear was 9th in the 600 Micro Sprints.

Cori Tufano was 5th in the 750 Sportsman Micro Sprints at Whip City.

At Stafford, in the SK Light Modified feature, David Webb ended up 13th.

Nick Pecko was 4th in the Modified feature at Sundance Vacations Speedway.

At Utica/Rome, on Saturday, Michael Storms was 20th in the Modified feature while AJ Filbeck was 4th in the Sportsman feature.  On Sunday, Michael was 13th in the Modified race.

Tiffany Wambold was 4th in the Rookie 270 Micro Sprint feature at Borgers.

At New Egypt, Johnny Guarino was 6th in the Modified feature.

Davie Franek was 12th in the 358 Sprint Car feature at Selinsgrove.

Billy VanInwegen had a first at Autodrome Granby and a 6th at Autodrome Drummond in the Tobias SpeedSTR features.

In a non-points event at OCFS, Tim Hindley was 5th, Mike Ruggiero 8th, Jimmy Johnson 17th and Danny Creeden 20th in the Modiifed feature.  Corey Ziegler was a DNQ.  In the Sportsman feature, Brian Krummel was 2nd, Zack Vavricka 12th, Jason Roe 21st, while Anthony Perrego was a DNS.

The final points night at Accord had Jamie Yannone 2nd in the Modified feature with Danny Creeden 16th.  Greg Hastie was a DNQ.  In the Sportsman feature, Brian Krummel was 1st, Anthony Perrego 2nd, Mike Ruggiero 7th and Brad Szulewski 10th.  Kyle Rohner won the Spec Sportsman feature with RJ Smykla 10th and Kayla Smykla 17th.



Accord points:


So how did some of those that ran at OVRP’s Dirt Oval do while racing at Accord in 2010?

In the Modified class, Danny Creeden was 14th, Clinton Mills 17th, Greg Hastie 22nd, Jimmy Johnson 28th and Tom Hindley 30th.

In the Sportsman class, Brian Krummel was 1st, Anthony Perrego 2nd, Mike Ruggiero 7th, Brad Szuleski 19th and Kyle Armstrong 37th.

In the Spec Sportsman class, Kyle Rohner was 1st, Kayla Smykla 14th, Jason Roe 15th, RJ Smykla 24th and Matt Hitchcock 29th.



More racin’ stuff:

When I do these columns, and check out to see how those former Dirt Oval runners do, I go to various track websites.  Some tracks and organizations are excellent in being kept up to date.  Others are not so good at it.  Wonder why?  And is it so difficult to have a “Results” link – and have it updated?




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



Video time:

While checking out the Internet, I came across this video, below.  It features Johnny Guarino, one of those that had raced at the Dirt Oval at Oakland Valley Race Park – a Kart track that has turned out quite a few good drivers that have advanced up the ladder, in racing - into bigger cars.  Johnny is in the black car with the orange # 9 on it.  He finished 2nd on this night, at the New Egypt Speedway, on the last Saturday in August.



Other (non racing) news:


In some of my past columns I’ve made mention of some possible problems that might arise with Electric cars.  It’s still not very clear as to how they’d be charged, where and what kind of plugs they’d be using.  Some are looking into battery exchange programs, like when you run out of gas for your gas grill and go exchange the empty propane tank for a full one.



From 9/10


Special Report: Power struggles: charging tomorrow's cars

In parts:

But even as these shiny new vehicles take to the road, serious questions remain about the infrastructure -- or rather, the lack of infrastructure -- to charge them. In an echo of last century's battle over the best fuel source, the way in which the coming fleet of electric vehicles will be recharged has yet to be settled -- and all the proposed models have flaws.

Some experts believe EVs should plug in at a driver's home or workplace. Others back a global network of roadside recharging stations. One prominent company is pushing the idea of petrol station-like outlets where you can zip in and quickly switch your almost-dead battery for a fully charged one. Another group advocates avoiding "pure" EVs and the problem of charging infrastructure altogether, focusing on cars which use both electricity and gasoline.”

“Will the charging infrastructure be able to keep up with all those new cars? The question is critical. "If it's too difficult to charge an electric vehicle, too inconvenient, the customers will not buy them," says Christian Feisst, managing director of business development for smart grid at U.S. networking giant Cisco Systems. "Today a lot of the work is around battery technology and the behavior of customers. There is not a lot of work done around the charging technology, or the charging process itself, nor how to manage charging."

“The swap station model's main selling point is speed. Charging an EV battery can take up to eight hours. By switching batteries instead, that wait is reduced to three to four minutes. The company says its business model -- a subscription plan which covers the use of switch stations, the lease of a battery and the electricity used -- cuts a large cost item, the battery, out of the upfront price tag for the car.”

I read almost every comment/thought that was with this article (they appear at the very end, just scroll down and numbered 134 as of 9/10).  Some excellent points were brought up.



Don’t be surprised if this is just the tip of a gigantic “Iceberg” with lots more to follow:

States cutting benefits for public-sector retirees

In part:

TRENTON, N.J. – The security guards at the headquarters of New Jersey's pension fund have never seen anything like it before: lines of public employees extending out the door and into the street.

Day after day, workers come in droves to apply for retirement. They often line up before dawn.

The rush has been set off in part by Republican Gov. Chris Christie's campaign in this cash-strapped state to make government employment — and retirement — less lucrative.

Since 2008, New Jersey and at least 19 other states from Wyoming to Rhode Island have rolled back pension benefits or seriously considered doing do — and not just for new hires, but for current employees and people already retired.”





Is this true?:





  1. Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT)
  2. Senator John Ensign (R-NV)
  3. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA)
  4. Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner
  5. Attorney General Eric Holder
  6. Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL)/ Senator Roland Burris (D-IL)
  7. President Barack Obama
  8. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
  9. Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) and the rest of the PMA Seven
  10. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY)


Note:  On # 10 – Charles Rangel – He wins.  Go figure!

NY Rep Rangel wins primary, despite ethics charges



Closing with these:

I kid around quite a lot.  I received these, below, on Wednesday, and figured – what the heck – something to go along with us celebrating our 50th Wedding Anniversary.  Enjoy!


You have two choices in life: 
You can stay single and be miserable, 
Or get married and wish you were dead. 


At a cocktail party, one woman said to another, 
'Aren't you wearing your wedding ring on the wrong finger?' 
'Yes, I am. I married the wrong man.' 


A lady inserted an ad in the classifieds: 
'Husband Wanted'. 
Next day she received a hundred letters. 
They all said the same thing: 
'You can have mine.'


A woman is incomplete until she is married. Then she is finished. 


A little boy asked his father, 
'Daddy, how much does it cost to get married?' 
Father replied, 'I don't know son, I'm still paying.'


A young son asked, 
'Is it true Dad, that in some parts of Africa 
man doesn't know his wife until he marries her?' 

Dad replied, 'That happens in every country, son.' 


Then there was a woman who said, 
'I never knew what real happiness was until I got married, 
And by then, it was too late.' 


Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence


If you want your spouse to listen and 
pay strict attention to every word you say -- talk in your sleep. 


Just think, if it weren't for marriage, men would go through life thinking they had no faults at all. 


First guy says, 'My wife's an angel!' 
Second guy remarks, 'You're lucky, mine's still alive.' 




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