Racin' & Internet Stuff:

                                                                                  By Tom Avenengo

                                                                                      Volume # 34




Over the years I’ve seen my share of bad accidents on the racetracks that I’ve been to.  I’ve seen some that looked bad and weren’t – like the time my grandson was thrown out of his Kart in front of the whole field, and no one hit him.  The Kart – that’s another story.  I’ve witnessed some accidents that proved fatal, too, to the driver.  How Shane Hmiel survived the accident he had last weekend, at Terre Haute, is beyond belief.  Yes, he had some serious injuries, and as of Tuesday, things were looking pretty good.  So far the surgeries have been very successful.  I was going to give you the link to the You Tube video, but it’s been taken off.  What happened was that his Silver Crown car bicycled up on it’s outside wheels, came back down on all four, then bicycled again, and hit the concrete wall cage first, at a high rate of speed.  Quite a bit is being discussed on this over on the Track Forum, and if interested, you can read it all if you go here:  http://www.trackforum.com/forums/showthread.php?142537-Shane-Hmiel-accident-in-Terre-Haute


Note # 1:  As of Tuesday evening, it was up to 13 pages – 14 by Wednesday


Note # 2:  Somehow, the video, on youtube, is back up.  Not sure for how long, but here’s the link, below.  Warning:  It is a very scary looking accident.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Txca5xYVFiM


Note:  I don’t know if this will work – a link to a special Facebook page for Shane:  http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/Shane-Hmiel-Road-to-Recovery/156856564346848




Are you into racing from “back in the day”?  Do you live in the New York/New Jersey/Pennsylvania area?  Might you know where Hazleton, Pa is?  Have you ever heard of Stan Lobitz?  How about the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing – EMMR?  Their website can be found, here:  http://www.emmr.org/

This coming November 14th, the annual Lobitz Movie Party/Auction will be held at the Lobitz Catering Hall, which is located at 700 Carson St. in Hazleton, a block or so off of PA Route 309.  I did a quick search for the Hall, and found this link:


The map, on the upper right shows you where it is located.

Things get started fairly early in the day, like around 9:00 AM, and continue all day long, culminating in a sit down dinner that starts  around 5:00.  The auction benefits the EMMR.  One never knows just who might show up, as far as racing folks go.  Lots of vendors in the house, too.  Also I believe the ARDC has a meeting and election of officers at the Hall, during the day.  You can also expect a lot of “chop busting” to go on during the auction.  There is an “open” bar and lunch is also served.  Usually there are some old Indy 500 movies shown prior to the auction.

To give you an example of how long it might take to get there, it takes an hour and a half from where I live, in Port Jervis, NY.  We take I-84 West to I-81 South.  I get off for Route 80 East, then the first exit, for PA Route 309 South.



Wow!  Fifty-one entrants for the Cup race at Charlotte this coming weekend!


I hope that “Sink hole” doesn’t decide to return!


Going back, in time:

Note:  Most of the following information was found here: 



Covering the days of October 8th to October 14th.



Eddie Rickenbacker ... Born ... An American fighter ace in World War I and Medal of Honor recipient. He was also a racecar driver and automotive designer, a government consultant in military matters and a pioneer in air transportation. Rickenbacker raced in the 1912, 1914, 1915 and 1916 Indianapolis 500. His only finish in the race was in 1914 when he finished 10th. In the other three races, he did not finish due to car failure. Notably, in the 1916 race, he started on the front row in 2nd place.


Travis "Spider" Webb... Born ... AAA driver, ran 6 Indy 500's


Jack McGrath... Born ... AAA driver from the 1940's & 50's, ran 8 Indy 500's. He was killed in the final race of the 1955 season in Phoenix, Arizona.


Bill Elliott... Born ... A former champion of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Elliott was inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America on August 15, 2007. He won the 1988 NASCAR Winston Cup Championship and has garnered 44 wins in that series. He had two Daytona 500 victories, and a record four consecutive wins at Michigan International Speedway during 1985-86. He holds the track record at both Talladega and Daytona International Speedway with speeds of more than 200 mph. Elliott won NASCAR's Most Popular Driver Award a record 16 times. He withdrew his name from the ballot for that award after winning it in 2002.



Pat O'Connor... Born ... AAA / USAC driver from the 1950's. He was killed in the 1958 INDY 500.


Jan Opperman won the Western World Sprint Car race at the Manzanita Speedway , Phoenix, AZ. The event was marred when veteran driver Jimmy Cox was fatally injured in a consolation race. Cox , 42, a 20-year veteran from San Diego that came out of a 1-year retirement, died in a two car mishap that also caused serious arm injuries to Dub May.




Ralph Liguori... Born ... NASCAR Grand National, USAC Midget, Sprint, Silver Crown & Indy Car Driver from the 1950's, 60's & 70's. He competed in the USAC Championship Car series from 1957 to 1971 making 61 starts. His best finish was 2nd place at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Speedway in 1970. 1966 was his most active year, when he made 7 starts and finished 28th in the National Championship. He attempted the Indianapolis 500 six times (1959, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1967, and 1968) but he failed to make the field each time. Liguori continued racing well into his 70's and won a minor race in 2000 at 73 years old.


Arnie Knepper... Born ... USAC driver 1950's to 1983. He drove Midgets, Sprints and the USAC Championship Car series, racing in the 1963-1972 seasons, with 75 career starts, including the 1965-1969 Indianapolis 500 races. He finished in the top ten 21 times, with his best finish in 3rd position twice in 1966.


Ted Horn... Died ... AAA driver from the 1930's and 40's. Ted Horn has the best 9-year streak of finishes in Indianapolis 500 history. Over his Indianapolis 500 career, Ted Horn completed 1944 out of a possible 2000 laps (97%).




Jerry Weld ... Born ... Supermodified, Sprint and USAC Indy Car Driver from the 1960's. Brother of drivers Greg and Kenny.


Don Garlits ran the 1/4-mile in 5.636 seconds at 250.69 mph in his T/F dragster. This elapse time record would stand for another six years and the top speed record for 9 years.


Joe Barzda ... Died ... ARDC/AAA / USAC driver in the 1940’s and 1950's. Quit after Van Johnson's fatal crash in 1959, in which Joe was involved in. With brother Jim, he ran the Californian Speed and Sport Shop in New Brunswick, New Jersey, which fielded cars in lots of events, including CART and endurance racing.



Fred Comer... Died ... AAA driver 1923 to 1928. Killed in a crash at the Rockingham Board Track


Tony Willman ... Died ... AAA driver 1926 to 1941, died in a midget race at Thompson, CT.


Johnny Ritter Died. Standing just 5 ft 1 in (1.55 m) tall and weighing 135 lb (61 kg),[1] Ritter was "one of the best" board track drivers of his time, racking up an unequalled winning record. He scored five wins in a row at the Velodrome in Nutley, New Jersey and four straight at the Coney Island Velodrome.  At Castle Hill Speedway in the Bronx in 1940, Ritter won the 150-lap race from last place, an "unprecedented" performance for an outboard midget. He claimed the national flat track racing title that year, also, and the Heiserman championship in 1940 and 1941.  He was the track champion at the Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, NJ in 1946.

Ritter often won against opponents in larger and more powerful cars.

He was killed in October 1948 while changing a tire at trackside, when he was hit by another competitor.

He was inducted into the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 2003.

He was born in Austria, not Detroit, or Saginaw, Michigan, as is often mentioned.

Info on him from the HoF:

Originally from Saginaw, Michigan, Johnny started driving big cars in 1929. When the midgets became popular in 1934 Ritter took a liking to the smaller cars and switched to them for good in 1936.

His career blossomed after he headed east, becoming a mainstay in the sport from the middle 30’s until his death at the Medford (Massachusetts) Bowl in 1948 at age 37. In 1938 he placed 8th in the final standings at both Bridgeport, Connecticut and Castle Hill, (Bronx) NY. In 1939 he won Championships at Castle Hill and the Nutley Velodrome.

He was third in the AAA Eastern point standings as well.  During his career Ritter won five track titles, Nutley in 1939, and 40, Freeport, New York in 1941 and Paterson, New Jersey’s Hinchliffe Stadium in 1946.

His death came on October 12, 1948 on the 20th lap of a 200-lap event at the Medford Bowl. Ritter was changing a tire on the track apron when a midget racer crashed into him. Several people, including the track owner, George Hatfield, were injured as well.”

Note:  He was my favorite driver when I first started going to the races, back in 1946, and still ranks as my # 1 favorite, even today.



Drew Fornoro, son of Nofri (Nick) Fornoro, Sr. was born.  He went on to win many midget championships over his racing career.


Mark Dismore ... Born ... IRL driver from the 1990's and 2000's.


Duke Dinsmore... Died ... AAA / USAC driver from 1946 to 1960


John Denver, noted singer, Died when a plan he was piloting crashed.




Lucien Gerard Avenengo was born.  He was my father.  His love of auto racing was passed down to me.  That’s why you’re reading this, now.


Howard Wilcox ... Died ... AAA driver 1932 & 1933


Craig Breedlove drove his "Spirit of America" on the Bonneville Salt Flats to a new World Land Speed Record of 468.719 mph.


Fred Agabashian... Died ... Born in Modesto, California, Frederik was the son of a genious mathematician, and just like his sisters, he wanted to become famous. While they became singers, Fred choose to race. The colorful Armenian with the big smile and terrific personality began racing cars while in his teens. He won his first midget championship in 1937 with the Northern California Racing Association against such drivers as Duane Carter, Lynn Deister, and Paul Swedberg. Driving for Jack London, Freddie captured the BCRA crown in 1946, then switched to the George Bignotti racing team in 1947. He was almost unbeatable for the next two years and captured the BCRA title twice more in 1947 and 1948. Agabashian did not limit his driving abilities to midgets. He won in big cars and stock cars as well which earned him a ride at Indianapolis for the 1947 race. He competed at Indy on eleven occasions and is best remembered for his pole winning effort in 1952 in the unique Cummins Diesel. His best finish at Indianapolis came the next year when he placed 4th with relief from Paul Russo. After his retirement, Agabashian did color commentary for the 500 Radio Network. Agabashian was inducted in the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame.


Wayne Weiler ... Died ... Weiler started as a dirt track driver in Arizona in 1951. He drove in the USAC Championship Car series from 1958 to 1961 with 19 starts. He finished in the top ten 10 times, with his best finish in 3rd position, in 1960 at Phoenix. Weiler competed in the Indianapolis 500 race in 1960 and 1961, with a best finish of 15th in 1961. Weiler retired from USAC driving following a severe accident in a sprint car race in Terre Haute, Indiana on June 11, 1961. He remained active as an owner and manager in auto racing up until his death.




Bob Sall ... Died ... AAA Sprint car ace who later became NASCAR's Eastern field manager.


Wayne Bailey, Top Fuel drag racer, died from injuries suffered in a crash at the completion of a 5.015, 289.94 qualifying run during the IHRA National event at Shreveport, Louisiana.



Track news – (for tracks in my area):



From their website:



October   16th


ENDUROS-$1000 to win!*




*Based on 25 entries for each division


Demo Derby-$1000 to win!*




                                                                           *Based on 25 entries for each division


“Run What Ya Brung”

$1000 TO WIN!**

**Based on 15 entries

Pro Stocks- 30 Laps


Pure Stocks- 30 Laps

Powder Puff Enduro


Powder Puff Pure Stock Race



Pit Gates open at 11 AM Spectator Gates open at 12

Adult Admission $12 Kids (11 & under) $3

Family 4 Pack $40-2 adult & 2 kids admission & $20 in food vouchers


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


Another weekend of racing on Saturday and Sunday, with Karts and Slingshots on Saturday and Bikes and Quads on Sunday.  The following weekend, there’s a practice session scheduled for Friday, the 22nd, then Kart and Slingshots on the 23rd and more Bikes and Quads on the 24th.  Saturday, October 30th the Karts and Slingshots run their last point show.

Novemberfest will be held on November 5th, 6th and 7th.  I’ll have more info on that event next week.



At times, I get questions:


Similar to this one, below.  I knew the late Eric Koster quite well, some years ago, when my son, Eric, worked for him, at Kneisel’s Speed and Sport.


Tommy - Have you heard anything on the "Potential" Eric Koster Tribute over the Eastern States Weekend?

I myself have heard nothing since that dreaded phone call that evening.

I have NO information regarding and was wondering if they were really going to even do anything?”


I did respond to that.  Last I had heard was that there was supposed to be a racecar driven around the track with some of his ashes being spread around.  That was said shortly after Eric passed away.  Hopefully that is still true.

I knew I did write something about Eric Koster in one of my columns, and part of what was written, back in my column from August 12th, was this:

“Note #2:  I found this on the Dirt Track Digest’s forum, what one person had to say about Eric:

Ive never met Mr. Koster but do have a simple but cool little story that we talk about to this day. We were in the pits at middletown in 2001 and we just happened to be watching Jimmy Hauser who showed up with a sweet looking car went out for hot laps,and pulled pitside and we witnessed the absolute fastest torsion bar change ever, lol, Eric was the man doing the changing and Im telling you Hauser was not off the track for 2 minutes. If any of you have pulled a bar out put a new one in and reset it to height it not exactly a 2 miute job. He makde it look like a routine tire change. lol. Also worth mentioning about that same car a tidbit on the side read something like this, Precisely designed, engineered, built and powered by Eric Koster, and how often in the modern era can one man say that. Must have been just an unbelievable mind and mechanic.”


That, in bold, above would be nice to hear over the PA system if they were to spread his ashes around the speedway!


Note # 1:  If I don’t get some expected info about Eric Koster and ESW, prior to my sending this column in, I should have something for next weeks column.


Note # 2:  At approximately 10:30 PM on Wednesday night, I received the information I was waiting for.  There will be a $500.00 Hard Charger award for the 200 lap Big Block modified race at this years Eastern States event.  It will be in memory of Eric Koster.  There will also be a special write-up in the Eastern States racing program on Eric.  Some family members will be in attendance.  I’m not sure about the spreading of his ashes, however.



Bill Boyle (Doctor Dirt) has a couple of things that he’s written up about OCFS that will be in the Eastern States Hard Clay racing program.  He told me I could add them to this week’s column, if I wanted to.  Enjoy!


A pre-release of what will be appearing in the Easter States edition of the Hard Clay magazine...enjoy the reading..

By Bill Boyle

Orange County Fair Speedway, a race track since 1919, first introduced stock car racing to their agenda in 1949, and the first regular scheduled Saturday night attraction in 1950 when the first champion was crowned.

Over those 60 years, many families have supported the Modified venue, be it grandfather, father, son, uncle or brother. Families like the Heotzler’s (Jeff, Ralph and little Jeff), Strupp’s (Sonny and John), Reutimann’s (Buzzi and Wayne), Van Horne’s (Carl and David), Bottcher’s (Bobby and Steve), Ricci’s (Mike and Rich Sr.), Harry and Steve Behrent, Tim and Tom Hindley, the Jashembowski’s (Frank and Ray) along with Danny and Alan Johnson and others have rode the landscape over those years..

But when it comes to longevity, there is one family that stands head and shoulders above all the others, and that is the Dodd Family who have been associated with Victory Speedway / Orange County since the years when they ran Sprints and Midgets at the 5/8th mile hard clay oval located in Middletown, NY..

The association with the arena starts in 1947 when Russ Dodd, then at the ripe old age of 35, climbed aboard a midget and took to the hard clay oval for a little bit of enjoyment during the summer months. When the track decided to run a few Stock Car races in 1949, Russ Dodd climbed aboard his friend Burt Fuller’s five window #88 coupe and challenged the invaders who wanted to be the first stock car driver to win at the fabled Speedway.

Enjoying the success he had in ’48 and ’49, Russ Dodd got serious in 1950, and finally took home his first checkered flag on May 28 and became the first Middletown, NY driver to win on his home turf. As reported, “Russ Dodd beat Cabral and gained his first feature since graduating from the driving school of 1947. The 5,000 fans in the stands gave the Flying Milkman a standing ovation.”

When 1950 was finished, Russ Dodd had officially visited victory lane seven times and became the first stock car champion ever crowned at Victory Speedway. As his daughter Joyce McLarnon explained, “Everyone had a chore to do for the race team, and mine was to take a quarter from him, run up to the novelty stand, buy a stick-on checkered flag, run back to the pits and put the checkered flag on the car. He really kept me busy that year.”

Russ Dodd ran until 1955 accumulating ten feature victories before hanging up his helmet at the ripe old age of 43. The Flying Milkman, a local favorite of the Orange County crowd, had settled into retirement.

When Russ went racing, his younger brother Stan Dodd wasn’t far behind and like Russ, raced a #89 coupe out of the Burt Fuller fleet. On September 6, 1952, the younger Dodd flashed to victory to add his name to the list of Dodd’s on the winners list. Like brother Russ, the Dodd boys loved racing, and would tow anywhere as long as it didn’t interfere with work. They would race at State Line Speedway in North Bennington, Vt. one weekend, and the following weekend in Morristown, NJ, or some other local track that was offering racing action.

Although Stan didn’t win his first dirt feature until 1952, there was a Saturday night when the local boys were taking a ribbing about being afraid to run against the big boys at Hinchliffe Stadium in Paterson, NJ. On June 13, 1951, Stan and the other yokels from Victory Speedway took their cars to the little paved bull track in Paterson, and Stan returned to the woods with the winner’s trophy and a pocket full of cash. Stan would win a total of four features in the three years at that he ran at Middletown.

Once his Uncle and Father retired to the rocking chairs, young Stan Dodd was fitted with a helmet, and took to the racing wars at what was now named the Orange County Fair Speedway. Always an avid competitor, Stan Jr. fielded cars in the 60’s, but could not shed the monkey from his back against the likes of Schneider, Malzahn, Ray Brown, Sonny Strupp and the other professional drivers who would invade the speedway. As a local boy, Stan Jr. was a favorite of the Middletown crowd. Like his Uncle Russ, Jr. ran the #88.

Now we come to Steve, son of Stan Jr., grandson of Stan Sr., and Russ was his Great Uncle. Having been born into a racing family, it was only natural that Steve would want to race. When he turned old enough to race in 1986, he went out and purchased a 1969 Chevelle SS that he saw a “for sale” sign on the car, removed the interior, and built a roll cage inside of the car. By mid-season, the car was ready for the track, and the team brought the car to the speedway and raced in the Rookie Street Stock division.

“Man was that car all over the place” recounted Steve. “We didn’t know what we were doing when we built the car. People would help us with parts, and we made them work on the car. But I drove the car the best I could and loved every minute of it.” In 1987, Dodd was forced to move up to the Novice Class Street Stock division, and with more expertise in how to build and maintain the car, him and the pit crew fielded a better car. Before the year was over, he would grace the team with a well deserved victory.

1988 would be a career definer for Steven Dodd. The speedway was starting a new division that could be used as a stepping stone to the bigger and faster Small Blocks and Big Blocks. It was called the Sportsman Division and had special rules. The car had to be older than 2 years, stock engine and a 2 barrel carburetor run on gas.

They purchased a car formerly run by Dom “The Iceman” Roselli, painted it white with blue stripes, and were prepared to use the Dodd #88 on the side. “Just before we started to paint the car, my father asked me to number it #22, and I did what he requested.”

The third race out, Dodd took an early lead, and raced to his first open wheel victory. “The car was easier than driving that Chevelle, and we really settled down in the driver’s seat.” “Settled down” was to soft a word as Dodd ran off eight feature wins in route to the newly created Championship. Like his Great Uncle Russ, Steve was the first champion in a new division.

Then came the big 50 lap feature at Eastern States weekend for the newly formed Sportsman, and competitors from most of the DIRT sanctioned tracks were on hand for the big $1,000 to win feature. “Some of those outsiders gave me a run for my money” stated Steve, “but in the end, it was my win and my trophy.” That was win number nine for the season.

Being forced up to the Small Block ranks in 1989 because of the championship, Dodd settled into the new division without changing gears. “We had a heck of a season and took home Rookie of the Year honors, but alas, not a single win. We had a lot of seconds and thirds, but it was the year when Modified drivers Danny Johnson and Brett Hearn battled tooth and nail every week and left nothing for the pure Small Block racers.”

In 1993, the Dodd Racing Team built their first Modified and went racing against the cream of the crop big block drivers. Showing his ability to compete at the highest level of racing at Orange County, Dodd constantly challenged the best drivers that the track had to offer, and in the final rundown, was voted the Rookie of the year. It took Dodd five years, but on July 25, 1998, Steve added his name to the list of drivers to checker in the Modified division along with Grand-pa Stan and Great-uncle Russ.

Over the years, Steve has continued his assault on the hard clay oval, picking up eight Modified wins along with two Small Block features, including his mid-summer victory this year. “I really look forward to the Eastern States 200. We finished 7th last year, and this year were looking for a top five placement.”

How long will the Dodd’s continue to grace the local track?? Until there aren’t any more Dodd’s. From the first championship by Russ Dodd, to the current competitor Steve, there have been Dodd’s around Orange County Fair Speedway for over 50 years…..and there are no plans to end that in the foreseeable future.




By Bill Boyle

The Gurda family has had a presence at the Orange County Fair grounds for almost 60 years, but there appears to be little that the general public knows about them. Recently, I had a chance to talk to Mike Gurda IV, the current director of the facility, to discuss the past, the current and the future of the historic tract of land that lies in Wallkill, NY.

In the beginning, the Fair Grounds were owned by the Orange County Agricultural Society which was formed in the early 1900’s as a place to hold the annual Orange County Fair, a tradition that holds true to this day. It was a Trust that was owned by individual shareholders.

In the early 1950’s, a local businessman and attorney Michael Gurda II took interest in the local plot of land, and because he dabbled in stocks and properties in his spare time, approached the Trust to see if he could purchase shares in the facility. Through the 50’s Mike II continued to purchase shares until the family had amassed a majority of the property. Today, there are more than 300 shareholders, but the Gurda’s hold the controlling interest.

As Mike IV explained, “The Fair Grounds comprise 32 acres of prime realty, which includes the 5/8th mile Speedway and the grandstands. This is owned by the Trust. M+W Realty purchased two adjoining properties consisting of the drive-in which abuts the speedway, and the tract of land overlooking the fairgrounds and runs to the rear of the shopping center off of Route 211. All three properties cover 92 acres, with 60 acres owned mostly by the Gurda’s.”

“My Grandfather was active in running the place until the late 80’s when he became ill. It was then that my Father (Michael Gurda III, also a local Attorney) became active with the Trust, and when my Grandfather passed away in 1992, he stepped in as Director.”

With two Attorneys’ in the family, one would think it would only be natural for the next generation to enter those ranks. “I wasn’t interested in the legal profession” reiterated Mike, “and I enjoyed building things. I would spend the summer working for my father and overseeing the annual fair, and during the winter months I’d do construction work building houses.

“I remember when fire destroyed one of the buildings on the property, and my Father decided to replace it with an arena that could be used year-round. At that time, I was racing motorcycles and enjoying myself as a young adult. I would think of the arena as my own playground when it wasn’t being used. My friend Keith Jacobsen and I would take our motorcycles and race indoors. We had a ball.”

In the late 70’s Stanley Gurda, Mike Gurda II’s brother, promoted the racing at the lightning fast hard clay oval during it’s heyday of crowds and race cars. Then in 1982, Glenn Donnelly and his DIRT organization approached the Gurda’s about leasing the Speedway and promoting their own brand of racing. It was a long term lease, and it took a load off of the families shoulders. Now they could concentrate on the annual fair, and the leasing of the arena without the hardships of preparing a race track weekly. DIRT was happy, and the Gurda’s were happy.

“Yep, DIRT brought in a new Sportsman division to develop new drivers, and I was rearing to go. In 1988 and 89, I drove a Green #13 at the track. I then decided that I was better at Motorcycles then stock cars, so I hung up my helmet and retired back to the office.

“It was around 1991 that I thought it would be fun to hold some races indoor during January when the arena wasn’t being used. So we organized some races on Saturday nights, and what started out as a lark, somehow turned out to be a money maker. That lasted 18 years, and we’d still be doing it today if the Township didn’t put a halt to it last year.”

When Donnelly sold his DIRT organization to Boundless Motorsports in the late 90’s, they kept their lease agreement with the Fair Grounds and continued to promote the races. But after five years, Boundless wanted changes to the lease, and a new group wanted to try their hand at promoting the facility. Enter JoAnne Chadwick and Corey Reed. They had idea’s to enhance the level of racing at the track, but they ran into the worse weather in 30 years, losing a third of the races to rain and cold. It was too much to recover from, and Boundless had reorganized and was now called the World Racing Group. They wanted to return to promoting the races, and inked a multi-year lease.

When that lease was completed after the 2008 season, WRG approached the Fair Grounds about gaining a new lease, but the points of the deal could not be ironed out. Mike Gurda IV, who was now running the show after his father retired, said “I could pay more rent running the place myself than what WRG was willing to pay for the lease, and I told them that. I sat back to think the deal out, and I contacted Howie Commander concerning the alternative. We had known Howie since I was a kid, and we had a long relationship with him and the communications between us were good. Having talked to Ken Sands, who was the Operations Manager for WRG at the track, he promised that he would stay with OCFS if a deal could be worked out. Howie convinced me that we were strong enough to promote the races, and he would help should we run into problems.”

“I was brought into racing at OCFS, and I expect to see racing here for a long time. Every time there is a change at the top, all I ever hear are negative comments about OCFS closing up. Well, that’s not true, nor has it ever been true. I have always known that there would be racing at Orange County Fair Speedway, and I can assure you that there will continue to be racing at OC for many years to come.”

“I’ve been asked why the Fairgrounds are for sale. There are things that I would like to see done to enhance the grounds, but in today’s environment, those funds are not available to us. The grounds need an infusion of new cash to enhance the buildings and grounds. I’d like to see a Civic Center built on the grounds, an amusement park that could be used year-round, and a sports arena to support the community and other things. Those venues would create a cash flow that would support the upkeep at the property, and allow the fairgrounds to move forwarded in the future…including the support of the 100 year old race track.”

“We’ve had a few nibbles to date from race related enterprises, but nothing solid to date. I would expect it to take a few years to complete any deal.”

“Yes” concluded Mike Gurda IV, “I foresee the speedway existing forever, with or without the Gurda family.”


The History of the Sport:

Something a little different, this week.  While I was on the Track Forum, I came across a thread about “Who's the Luckiest To Have Survied A Crash totally UNHURT?”  Wow!  Some pretty scary looking accidents were linked to in the thread.  But what was a surprise to me was a link to the Charlie Musselman accident that he had at Langhorne on September 1, 1957.  I was there that day, and to be honest, I truly believe that Musselman (himself – not in the car) was as high in the air as I was in the stands.  Fate was kind to Musselman that day.  Had he not been thrown from that Sam Traylor owned, Orange # 77, Sprint Car, chances are that it would have ended up with him being fatally injured.  Two photographers, Walter Chernokal and Ray Masser, captured a lot of photos of the Musselman accident.  Most photos show both the Sprint Car, as it was flipping, and Musselman, as he was in the car, then tossed out, like a rag doll, as he sailed up and over the flipping car, with him coming to rest, on the track – basically unhurt.

Check out the photos, here:  http://autoracingmemories.com/forums/showthread.php?p=849



Former Dirt Oval (Oakland Valley Speedway) runners:


Not much to report on this week.

At Borgers, on October 8th, Tiffany Wambold was 8th in the 270 Wingless feature while Luke Shostkewitz was 5th in the wingless 600 Micro feature.  On October 9th, Tiffany was 6th in the 270 Micro feature.

At Rolling Wheels, in the Sportsman race, Anthony Perrego was 23rd.

At Five Mile, in the Supernationals, Clinton Mills was 16th and Jamie Yannone 25th in the Modified 50 lap feature.

Up in Syracuse, in the Sportsman race, Anthony was 13th, while Tim Hindley was 29th in the Modified 200.

At Sundance Vacations, Nick Pecko was 12th in the 150 lap Modified feature.


For sale:

My son, Eric, still has the dirt modified for sale:

2006 Teo, Complete car minus engine. Kirkey full containment seat, Winters rear, Bert transmission, inboard starter, profile steering, parker pumper, wilwood hubs. $5000.

Interested?  Send me an e-mail at:  ygordad@yahoo.com or send him one at:  ema19us@yahoo.com




More racin’ stuff:

NASCAR’s point standings – two ways – as they used to be (still should in my way of thinking), and how they are with the “Chase”.

How they still should be:

2010 Sprint Cup Driver 'Classic' Points Standings:
[after Auto Club, race 30 of 36....the OLD way]:
rank, car#, driver, points, behind
1) #29-Kevin Harvick, 4312
2) #24-Jeff Gordon, 4081, -231
3) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 4040 -272
4) #14-Tony Stewart, 3973, -339
5) #18-Kyle Busch, 3951, -361
6) #99-Carl Edwards, 3938, -374
7) #11-Denny Hamlin, 3919, -393
8) #31-Jeff Burton, 3886, -426
9) #2- Kurt Busch, 3850, -462
10) #17-Matt Kenseth, 3778, -534
11) #39-Ryan Newman, 3656, -716
12) #33-Clint Bowyer, 3647, -656
13) #16-Greg Biffle, 3625, -665


And, the “Chase”:


Jimmie Johnson




Denny Hamlin




Kevin Harvick




Jeff Gordon




Tony Stewart




Kurt Busch




Carl Edwards




Jeff Burton




Kyle Busch




Greg Biffle




Matt Kenseth




Clint Bowyer









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



Some of my thoughts:


Question:  When one writes article and/or columns, should one refrain from getting on the case of, say a speedway?  If not, how far should one go?  If you’re a faithful reader of my columns, you might have noticed something a little different on these last few columns - no mention in “Track news – (for tracks in my area):” on one of the tracks that’s pretty close to my home – OCFS.

Well, if you recall, a few columns back, I went back a year and copied what was in my column about OCFS “missing the boat” by not having run a couple of open wheel racing car features when they held their “Eve of Destruction” night in front of a packed house, back in September of 2009.  I also made mention of that on more than one occasion.  My feelings were that since the place has been so “empty” on Saturday nights, it might be worth a try at holding an open wheel racecar race – letting those that were packed into the stands be able to see what was normally held on Saturdays during the racing season.  How well I can recall that to get a good seat on a Saturday night, you really had to get to the track way before race time.  Over these past years, that’s not so, anymore – you can get there at race time and almost have your choice of any seat.


Well, during this past “Eve of Destruction”, such a race was held – although it was, in a way, quite a secret.  Now why do I say that?  Well, there was a post, I believe on Facebook, from a driver, and he didn’t know of that race.  OK, there were only five cars and I believe it was a race of only five laps.  From what I’ve read (I was not in attendance, having to attend a wedding for a niece that day) one of the tracks announcers, Joel Murns, was on the “Mic” and was telling all those in attendance that what they were seeing, was what happens at OCFS every Saturday night.  From my talking to some of those that were in attendance, I gather that the “race” was pretty well received by the crowd.


So me, being me, came out and said something, on Facebook, to the effect that those at OCFS woke up and did actually have an open wheel car race during the “Eve of Destruction”.  Was I wrong in saying that – about being woke up?  I really don’t know.  But what I did suggest, over a year ago, was done – although quite secretive.  But it was done.

My making mention of someone being “awake” kind of got some feathers ruffled, and I heard from OCFS, on Facebook, in no uncertain terms.  I won’t put on here exactly what was said, just the last part, which was:  We do not need you to say ANYTHING avbout the speedway."

So, since then, I’ve followed their wishes, until this week, when I did put in what Bill Boyle (Doctor Dirt) has written up for the up-coming ESW program.


Just thought I’d let you know why any OCFS news was missing.  I’m just glad that an attempt was done, with an open wheel race during the EoD night.  Hopefully, some new race fans were made.  Time will tell, I suppose?


I’ll be at OCFS for Eastern States Weekend.  Will you?  Got our seats – Row “N” seats 44 & 45 in the half covered.  If you’re there, stop bye for a visit!  “Mother Nature” had best behave that weekend!




Video time:

Going back up in this week’s column, I had this – from October 12th:


John Denver, noted singer, Died when a plan he was piloting crashed.”


Here are a couple of videos of John from the “Wildlife Concert”.






Note:  The young woman doing the back-up singing is Pat Hawk.




Other (non racing) news:


From 10/10:


Govt: No call for Social Security increase in 2011

In part:

As if voters don't have enough to be angry about this election year, the government is expected to announce this week that more than 58 million Social Security recipients will go through another year without an increase in their monthly benefits.

It would mark only the second year without an increase since automatic adjustments for inflation were adopted in 1975. The first year was this year.”

“The cost-of-living adjustments, or COLAs, are automatically set each year by an inflation measure that was adopted by Congress back in the 1970s. Based on inflation so far this year, the trustees who oversee Social Security project there will be no COLA for 2011.”

"Costs of living are inevitably going up, regardless of what that formula says," Pomeroy said. "Seniors in particular have items such as uncovered drug costs, medical costs, utility increases, and they're on fixed incomes."



Officials in 50 states launch foreclosure probe

In part:

WASHINGTON – Officials in 50 states and the District of Columbia have launched a joint investigation into allegations that mortgage companies mishandled documents and broke laws in foreclosing on hundreds of thousands of homeowners.

The states' attorneys general and bank regulators will examine whether mortgage company employees made false statements or prepared documents improperly.”

“"This is not simply about a glitch in paperwork," said Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller, who is leading the probe. "It's also about some companies violating the law and many people losing their homes."

"What we have seen are not mere technicalities," said Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray. "This is about the private property rights of homeowners facing foreclosure and the integrity of our court system, which cannot enter judgments based on fraudulent evidence."


Note:  Somehow, even though some banks really screwed up, I don’t see much of a change, if any, on those homes that have been foreclosed on, and also for future foreclosures.

In part:

More Balk at Cost of Prescriptions

In part:

Growing numbers of Americans with health insurance are walking away from their prescriptions at the pharmacy counter, the latest indication that efforts to contain costs may be curbing health-care consumption.

A review of insurance-claims data shows that so-called abandonment -- when a patient refuses to purchase or pick up a prescription that was filled and packaged by a pharmacist -- was up 55% in the second quarter of this year, compared with four years earlier.”

“The trend is driven in part by higher out-of-pocket costs for covered medicines, pharmacists and Wolters Kluwer officials say. The average co-pays for brand-name drugs such as cholesterol fighter Lipitor rose to $28 a prescription this year, an 87% jump from 2000, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Some co-pays can be as high as $100.”


Note:  Been there – done that, myself.  Have you noticed more drug commercials on TV with the notice similar to:  “If you have a hard time financially” to call a certain number?  Been there – did that, too – to no avail.  You basically have to be on public assistance to get some kind of price reduction.




Is this true?:

Again, something I received in an e-mail:

MEXICO IS ANGRY! Three cheers for Arizona

The shoe is on the other foot and the Mexicans from the State of Sonora, Mexico
do not like it. Can you believe the nerve of these people? It's almost funny.

The State of Sonora is angry at the influx of Mexicans into Mexico . Nine state legislators from the Mexican State of Sonora traveled to Tucson to complain about Arizona 's new employer crackdown on illegals from Mexico . It seems that many Mexican illegals are returning to their hometowns and the officials in the Sonora state government are ticked off.

A delegation of nine state legislators from Sonora was in Tucson on Tuesday to state that Arizona 's new Employer Sanctions Law will have a devastating effect on the Mexican state. At a news conference, the legislators said that Sonora , - Arizona 's southern neighbor - made up of mostly small towns - cannot handle the demand for housing, jobs and schools that it will face as Mexican workers return to their hometowns from the USA without jobs or money.

The Arizona law, which took effect Jan. 1, punishes Arizona employers who knowingly hire individuals without valid legal documents to work in the United States . Penalties include suspension of, or loss of, their business license.

The Mexican legislators are angry because their own citizens are returning to their hometowns, placing a burden on THEIR state government. 'How can Arizona pass a law like this?' asked Mexican Rep Leticia Amparano-Gamez, who represents Nogales . 'There is not one person living in Sonora who does not have a friend or relative working in Arizona ,' she said, speaking in Spanish. 'Mexico is not prepared for this, for the tremendous problems it will face as more and more Mexicans working in Arizona and who were sending money to their families return to their home-towns in Sonora without jobs,' she said. 'We are one family, socially and economically, ' she said of the people of Sonora and Arizona.< v>

Wrong! The United States is a sovereign nation, not a subsidiary of Mexico , and its taxpayers are not responsible for the welfare of Mexico 's citizens. It's time for the Mexican government, and its citizens, to stop feeding parasitically off the United States and to start taking care of its/their own needs.

Too bad that other states within the USA don't pass a law just like that passed by Arizona . Maybe that's the answer, since our own Congress will do nothing!

New Immigration Laws: Read to the bottom or you will miss the message...

1. There will be no special bilingual programs in the schools.

2. All ballots will be in this nation's language.

3. All government business will be conducted in our language.

4. Non-residents will NOT have the right to vote no matter how long they are here.

5. Non-citizens will NEVER be able to hold political office.

6. Foreigners will not be a burden to the taxpayers. No welfare, no food stamps, no health care, or other government assistance programs. Any burden will be deported.

7. Foreigners can invest in this country, but it must be an amount at least equal to 40,000 times the daily minimum wage.

8. If foreigners come here and buy land... options will be restricted. Certain parcels including waterfront property are reserved for citizens naturally born into this country.

9. Foreigners may have no protests; no demonstrations, no waving of a foreign flag, no political organizing, no bad-mouthing our president or his policies
. These will lead to deportation.

10. If you do come to this country illegally, you will be actively hunted &, when caught, sent to jail until your deportation can be arranged. All assets will be taken from you.

Too strict ?

The above laws are current immigration laws of MEXICO !

Closing with these:


Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?

Why women can't put on mascara with their mouth closed?

Why you don't ever see the headline "Psychic Wins Lottery"?

Why "abbreviated" is such a long word?

Why doctors call what they do "practice"?

Why you have to click on "Start" to stop Windows 98?

Why lemon juice is made with artificial flavor, while dishwashing liquid is made with real lemons?

Why the man who invests all your money is called a broker?

Why there isn't mouse-flavored cat food? And who tastes dog food when it has a "new & improved" flavor?

Why they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?

Why they don't make the whole plane out of the material used for the indestructible black box ?

Why sheep don't shrink when it rains?

Why they are called apartments when they are all stuck together? if con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?

Why they call the airport "the terminal" if flying is so safe?




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