Racin' & Internet Stuff:

                                                                                  By Tom Avenengo

                                                                                      Volume # 39





This weeks column is being dedicated to someone I had the opportunity to have met just one time, sad to say – The late Lenny Calinoff.  Lenny left us back on December 1, 2004.  Lenny is the one that really pushed me into writing.  Yes, it’s his fault!  More about Lenny, further down in the column, in “Going back, in time”.




Next - # 1:

I hope every one of you had a Happy and filling Thanksgiving.  Ours was somewhat quiet this year with only seven for dinner.  What I can’t figure out is how come we don’t get much meat on turkeys, anymore?  And who in the heck is the idiot that changed the design of the cranberry sauce cans so that they can only be opened at one end?  It was so much easier when one could open them at both ends, and then push the sauce out.


Next - # 2:

In a press release I got on Monday, it said that its only 80 days until the northeast dirt modifieds start racing again – down in FLORIDA.  Sad to say, it will be a little longer than that for racing to return to our area.  Granted, there are some indoor events fairly close – Atlantic City and Rhode Island.  Both are quite a trip from the New York/New Jersey/Pennsylvania/Connecticut areas.  On top of the long trip, one might have to put up with what “Mother Nature” might have up her sleeve, too.

Strange, but back in the late 50’s, when my future wife and I would head to the Teaneck, NJ Armory for indoor TQ races, we never worried about “Mother Nature”.  The races went on, regardless, and when we left, after the nights racing, we’d order the same seats for the following Saturday night.  Today, if we get a dusting of snow, everything is topsy-turvy, with cancellations, and un-drivable road conditions.  The same goes for when I was still in high school – the weather forecast, of snow coming, didn’t cancel our basketball games.


Correction Department:

Stupid, stupid, stupid.  Yep, that’s me!  Man did I screw up – BIG TIME!


From my last column:

Again, as in the past, I’m dedicating this week’s column to my friend, the late John LeVan.”




“2008 – Continued:

It was on November 18, 2008, when I lost a close personal friend – maybe some of you knew of him, or knew him – John LeVan.

John, along with the late Lenny Calinoff, was very instrumental in getting me interested in writing about motor sports.  After Lenny passed away, and he and John ran www.openwheelracing.com, John took the website over.  Later on, things got messed up so John came out with www.openwheelracers.com.  Via personal discussions between John and I, I could see how big OWR had become, and how much it was valued by other motor sports people on the Internet.  After John passed on, his son, Craig, continued with the website, but some problems arose and from what I can tell, help that could have saved the website really didn’t come to Craig, even after he requested it.  To me, that is really a great big shame.  True, Craig did confide in me that “He had to be the dumbest 22 year old that’s on a computer”, still he made an attempt.”


The screw up?  John left us on DECEMBER 18th, Not November.


You think that’s bad?  I also did that same dumb thing in a short obituary I wrote up on him!  No, no excuses – just plain dumb!



Going back, in time:

Note:  Most of the following information was found here: 



Covering the days of November 19th to December 2nd:



Eddie Russo ... Born ... A retired American racecar driver. Russo won the midget car racing track championship Raceway Park in Chicago in 1950. Russo raced in the AAA and USAC Championship Car series in the 1952-1957 and 1960 seasons, with 21 career starts, including 3 times in the Indianapolis 500. He finished in the top ten 5 times, with his best finish in 1955 at Langhorne. His father, Joe Russo, and his uncle, Paul Russo, also raced in the Indianapolis 500.


Spike Gehlhausen ... Born ... A former driver in the USAC and CART Championship Car series. He raced in 11 seasons (1975-1982 and 1984-1986), with 79 combined career starts, including the Indianapolis 500 in 1976, 1978-1980, and 1984. He finished in the top ten 15 times with his best finish in 4th position in 1980 at Ontario.


Al Keller... Died ... Keller ran midgets with the ARDC, and also participated in the NASCAR "Strictly Stock"/"Grand National" (predecessors to the current NEXTEL Cup) series from 1949 to 1956 with 29 career starts. He won two races during the 1954 season and was the only driver in the history of NASCAR's top division to have won a race in a foreign-built car, winning the 1954 Grand National road-race at the Linden Airport in New Jersey, driving a Jaguar, until Toyota came on the NASCAR scene. In 1954 Keller began a transition to sprint and champ cars. He drove in the AAA and USAC Championship Car series, racing in 1954 through 1959 and again in 1961 with 32 starts, including the Indianapolis 500 races in all but the first of those years. He finished in the top ten 13 times, with his best finish in 2nd position, in 1956 at Atlanta and in 1961 at Milwaukee. His best Indy finish was 5th in 1961.  He was also rather instrumental in the accident that saw Bill Vukovich fatally injured at Indy, with his car coming across the track and making contact with another car (Johnny Boyd) which then hit the Vukovich car. Keller died as a result of injuries sustained in a champ car crash at the Arizona State Fairgrounds track.


Bruce Craig... Died ... He was a self-employed auto racing photographer, videographer, and historian who was well known throughout the United States. His photography collections on auto racing, numbering some 86,000 negatives, could be compared to those of Mathew Brady on the Civil War. In addition to taking photos he was very adept at acquiring outstanding collections. He was a member of the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame and Museum in Knoxville, Iowa, and of the Williams Grove Oldtimers; an organization dedicated to preserving auto racing. He was a longtime and active member of the Eastern Museum of Motor Racing in Dillsburg, Pa. He was a member of numerous historic racing organizations.




Jimmy Vasser ... Born ... An American racing driver and race team owner. Vasser won the 1996 Champ Car champion with Chip Ganassi Racing, and scored ten victories in the series. Vasser was the last American to win the Champ Car championship.




Elmo Langley... Died... Langley began his racing career racing modified cars in Virginia and Maryland in 1952. Langley came in to NASCAR as a Driver/Owner in 1954. In 1966 in partnered with Henry Woodfield and created Langley-Woodfield Racing. That same year Langley won the only two races of his long career. After the second race of the 1969 season, Langley and Woodfield split and Langley continued to run team on his own returning to the driver/owner role. He finished in the Top-10 in season points from 1967 until his final full season as a driver for Langley Racing in 1975 (except 1974). He continued to drive in a few select races until 1981 when he hung up the helmet for good. Langley shut down his team after the 1987 season.




David "Salt" Walther ... Born ... A former driver in the USAC and CART Championship Car series. He also drove NASCAR stock cars, unlimited hydroplane boats, and was a car owner in USAC. He is the son of George Walther, owner of Dayton Steel Foundry, who fielded Indy 500 cars for Juan Manuel Fangio in 1958 and Mike Magill in 1959. His brother, George "Skipp" Walther III, was fatally injured while trying to qualify as an Unlimited driver at Miami, Florida, in 1974. David Walther was given the nickname "Salt" during his teen years while racing boats, and is one of only eight (8) unlimited hydroplane drivers to qualify for the Indy 500. Walther raced in the 1970-1981 seasons, with 64 combined career starts, including the Indianapolis 500 from 1972 to 1976, and 1978 to 1979. He finished in the top ten 16 times, with a best finish, four times, of 7th position.


It was on the 22nd of November in 1961 when our first-born – a daughter, was born in the William Beaumont Army Hospital in El Paso, Texas.  We named her Judith Ann.  Today, Judy accompanies her “old man” to various racing functions like the Lobitz affairs, and will be going to the Vintage Race Car meet up in Loudon with me in May.  She works part time for Dave Morehouse, selling collectibles, etc, for Dave, at OCFS, along with her full time job.


Stan Fox won the last race ever held at the legendary Ascot, California, dirt track.




Van May won the Super Sprint Car race over Smokey Snellbaker, Bobby Allen, Buck Buckley and Kramer Williamson at the Reading Fairgrounds, Reading,PA.




Billy Vukovich III won the USAC Supermodified race over Gary Bettenhausen, Paul Durant, Chet Fillip and Lloyd Hemman at the Phoenix Int. Raceway, Phoenix,AZ.

Stan Fox won the USAC Midget race over Joe Corrigan, Mel Kenyon, Randy Roberts and Steve Lotshaw at the Phoenix Int. Raceway, Phoenix,AZ.



Jimmy Wilburn... Born ... He won a non-points Championship Car race at Lakewood Speedway in March of 1946 which is the first known Champ Car race to be held after the end of World War II. Later that year he drove in the 1946 Indianapolis 500 driving an Alfa Romeo and started 16th and retired after 52 laps with engine trouble, credited with the 19th finishing position. He was inducted in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 1994

Otis Stine... Born ... Otis was a Pennsylvania Sprint Car driver who was a founder member of the York County Racing Club in 1979. He drove his first race in 1934. His main claim to fame is that he was the first ever driver to turn a racing lap of the legendary Williams Grove speedway in 1934. He attempted to run at Indy in 1952 in a Scopa-Offenhauser, but failed to qualify. Stine once finished second in the AAA points and when he retired in 1954, he held numerous track records.


Gaston Chevrolet... Died ... He was the younger brother of famous automobile designer and racer Louis Chevrolet, was killed during a race at the Los Angeles Speedway board track in Beverly Hills, California.


Joe Gibbs... Born ... The former NFL football coach and owner of a NASCAR stockcar team.


Bill Vukovich won the Turkey Night Grand Prix 150 AAA Midget race over Walt Faulkner, Karl Young, Allen Heath and Bill Zaring at the Gilmore Stadium,Hollywood, CA.


Walt Ader... Died ... AAA driver from the 1930's to the early 1950's.


Billy Vukovich III... Died ... He was a three time starter of the Indianapolis 500. The grandson of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Bill Vukovich and the son of Bill Vukovich II, Vukovich III was the 1988 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year. Billy was killed in a sprint car race at Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield, California, in 1990. His grandfather was killed while leading the 1955 Indianapolis 500..

Jeff Gordon won the CRA Sprint Car race at the Mesa Marin Raceway, Bakersfield,CA. Jimmy Sills was second followed by Rip Williams, Ron Shuman and John Redican.




Dale Jarrett... Born ... He is the 1999 NASCAR Winston Cup Champion and the son of two-time NASCAR Grand National Champion Ned Jarrett. He is the younger brother of Glenn Jarrett, a former NASCAR driver himself and pit commentator. He is also the father of former Busch Series racer Jason Jarrett.


Pete DePaolo... Died ... AAA driver from 1922 to 1934.




Dick Atkins won the Turkey Night Grand Prix 150 USAC Midget race over Bob Wente, Tommy Copp, Lowell Sachs and Bill Mehner at the Ascot Park Speedway , Gardena, CA.




Lee Wallard ... Died ... 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, shortly after winning the 1951 Indianapolis 500.




Lee Kunzman ... Born ... A former driver in the USAC Sprint , USAC and CART Championship Car series. He raced in the Champ Series in 1969, 1972-1973 and 1975-1980 seasons, with 48 combined career starts, including the 1971-1972, 1977, and 1979 Indianapolis 500. He finished in the top ten 21 times, with his best finish in 2nd position in 1979 at Atlanta. Early in his career, he was 1967 IMCA sprint car Rookie of the Year. Injuries limited his driving in 1970-71 and 1973-74. After completing his driving career, he became the general manager for Hemelgarn Racing. Kunzman was inducted in the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 2006.


Graham Hill... Died ... British racing driver and two-time Formula One World Champion. Graham Hill is the only driver to win the so-called Triple Crown of Motorsport, which is alternatively defined as winning either: the Indianapolis 500 (won by Hill in 1966), the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1972) and the Monaco Grand Prix (1963, 1964, 1965, 1968, 1969) or the Indianapolis 500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Formula One World Championship (1962, 1968). Using either definition, Hill is still the only person ever to have accomplished this feat. Graham was killed when his Piper Aztec aeroplane (which he was piloting at the time) crashed in foggy conditions over Arkley Golf Course in North London.




Tony Stewart won the USAC Sprint Car race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1/3p),Las Vegas,NV. Jeff Gardner finished second followed by Tracy Hines, Brian McClish and Kevin Feeney.

Tony Stewart won the USAC Midget race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1/3p),Las Vegas,NV. Dave Darland finished second followed by J.J. Yeley, Ron Gregory and Bobby East.




Marco Greco ... Born ... A Brazilian race car driver who competed in the Indy Racing League from 1996 to 1999. His best finish in the season points was 4th in 1997. He made four starts in the Indianapolis 500 with a best finish of 14th in 1998. He previously competed in the CART World Series in full seasons in 1993 for Sovereign Motorsports and in 1994 for Arciero Racing and partial seasons in 1995 and 1996 for Dick Simon Racing, Galles Racing, and Team Scandia.

Wendell Scott took first place in the Grand National race at the one-mile dirt track Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Florida, becoming the first black driver ever to win a NASCAR event.


Stanton Barrett ... Born ... A NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series driver and Hollywood stuntman.


Lenny Calinoff, he of www.openwheelracing.com left us on that date.  We were visiting our daughter, Sandra, in Cape Coral, Florida, when I heard the news.  Lenny and I talked often on the phone, with him always anxious about how my health was, and not really worried about his own.  He was a character, for sure.  He got teased a lot by others for the accent he had.  As he told me where he came from “Lawn Guy Land”.  I miss his calls and miss the chop busting that we all did on the OWR chat room.  Great times, for sure!  Just for the heck of it, I did a Google search on Lenny.  Some of what I’ve written, and some of what others have had to say about him, too, came up.  Lenny is part of the “In Memoriam” section on http://www.openwheelracers3.com/ - with a photo of him, in a midget, in his younger days.



Lou Volk ... Born ... A former ARDC driver who also had a driving school for midget drivers, and a NASCAR driver from Patterson, NJ. He competed in two Nextel Cup Series events in his career, earning one top-ten. He debuted in 1949, running in the inaugural event at Langhorne. Starting 34th in the field of forty-five, Volk completed all but eighteen laps in route to a solid 10th place effort. He returned to the track in 1951, racing at Morristown. Though he wasn't able to match his Langhorne finish, Volk still drove his Henry J to a respectable 17th place showing.


It was on this date that “Uncle Sam” decided to take my butt away from my wife of a little over 3 months, and send me to Ft. Dix, N.J. for basic training.  From what I can recall, there was quite a bit of snow on the ground.




On Television:

Friday, December 3rd:

7:00 PM to 9:00 PM on SPEED:  NASCAR Award Ceremony -  Nationwide and Camping World Series – From November 22nd

9:00 PM to 1:00 AM on SPEED:  NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship Awards Ceremony - live



Looking ahead, in time:

In 23 days from the day this column comes out, it will be Christmas Day.  Looking for some kind of gifts?  You can check out these places:



















No, I don’t get any commissions form any of those above!




The History of the Sport:

If you remember, a few weeks ago, one of the members of the Yahoo! Race History Group sent out some links (35 of them, to be precise) to some auto racing articles that appeared in Time magazine, many years ago, via e-mail.  So, if you don’t mind, here are the next five links.  Hope you get some enjoyment out of reading them.


Some bad times in qualifying for the 500:


Some Turbine history:


One of the greats, Jim Clark:


That fateful day – May 30, 1955:


Lee Wallard:


Coming up:

Indoor Kart racing in Syracuse, N.Y. on Friday, December 10th and Saturday, December 11th.  We always had a blast when we went up there to race.  Yes, Syracuse in December and “Mother Nature” sometimes don’t always get along.  One time, we cancelled our trip at the last minute when two feet of snow was forecast for the Syracuse area.  Yeah, right!  It didn’t snow.

Friday, in the past, has been a practice session at night.  I really didn’t find anything about Friday, the 10th, mentioned in the first link, below, but it is mentioned on the 4-Cycle forum.

Syracuse Indoor Karts









More racin’ stuff:

From Jayski on November 21st:



Evernham back to Hendrick? - Hornish plans up-in-the-air, could run 1st five races - Ford wants to race the Mustang - Petty says RPM will compete in 2011 - Evernham no longer legally bound to RPM - Looks like some changes coming to the Chase - Volkswagen to NASCAR?


2010 Sprint Cup Driver 'Classic' Points Standings:
[after Homestead, race 36 of 36....the OLD way]:
rank, car#, driver, points, behind
1) #29-Kevin Harvick, 5274
2) #48-Jimmie Johnson, 4989, -285
3) #11-Denny Hamlin, 4865, -409
4) #99-Carl Edwards, 4820, -454
5) #24-Jeff Gordon, 4669, -605
6) #18-Kyle Busch, 4647, -627
7) #17-Matt Kenseth, 4640, -634
8) #14-Tony Stewart, 4628, -646
9) #2-Kurt Busch, 4459, -815
10) #31-Jeff Burton, 4423, -851
11) #16-Greg Biffle, 4414, -860
12) #33-Clint Bowyer, 4376, -898


Here they are for all the years the “Chase has been run:  http://jayski.com/teams/chase2010.htm#classic

And if the “Chase” was in effect from 1975 until 2003/2010:  http://jayski.com/teams/chase2010.htm#75-03


From the Track Forum and Robin Miller’s Mailbox:

Talking about the coming changes for Indy cars in 2012

With the current version of the Dallara becoming worthless at the end of 2011 what are the chances that we will see all of the extra chassis being rolled out to "one-offs" this May at Indy?

TJ, Athens,GA

RM: I would think we have a good shot for at least 45 cars going for 33 spots, maybe more, because they're all boat anchors in another year. If the engine leases are reasonable, it could almost look like the old days in qualifying (provided they don't give each car three chances a day)."

Note:  Should be interesting to see if what Mr. Miller had to say bears fruit.

Some Racin’ stuff from the AARN:

From the November 16th issue:


Even though there were some dirt modifieds that tried out the mile+ track at Loudon, it’s the NASCAR modifieds that will be a part of the IZOD IndyCar Series event next year, on Saturday, August 13th. 

Note:  While at the Lobitz affair a couple of weeks ago, I spoke with Eddie Sachs, Jr. about maybe having a USAC Silver Crown race at Loudon.  He seemed interested.  Might there be?


That little ¼ mile paved speedway a few miles from my home, Bethel Motor Speedway, has gone ahead and re-paved the whole track.  I wonder how much that cost?  Would it cost more than say – getting some clay for OCFS?


Five Mile Point Speedway has added more clay – 70 loads, to their surface.  It’s been pretty well proven that when a track adds to it’s dirt/clay surface, it’s always best to do it right after a racing season ends.


Utica-Rome Speedway had their banquet.  They gave out over $100,000.00 in monies.  Track champion, Stewart Friesen received a check for $8,000.00.  What I find kind of strange is that there are some tracks that come right out and say how much they’ve given out, money wise, at their banquets, while other tracks don’t mention any monies, at all.  And speaking of monies awarded, just how do the tracks get those monies?  Tire deals?  Sponsors?  50/50?  If tire deals, then I’d have to say that every car at the track has to buy the “track tire”, but I imagine that only a small percentage of those actually share in the point monies?


Do you have any idea as to what driver was the very first to drive an Eric Koster built car?  It was built in Gasoline Alley in Paterson, N.J.  Every piece was hand built, and the entire chassis was tig-welded.  It won right out of the box – so it says in an article about Koster.  Oh – the driver?  Brett Hearn.


In my last column, I believe I made mention of the Tobias SpeedSTR’s not drawing all that many cars to their events.  Usually I only see a dozen or so names.  An article about the Tobias build Slingshots and SpeedSTR’s says that there are 26 SpeedSTR cars in the states, and 18 in Canada.  Ok, fine, but still I question – why only about a dozen or so per event?


There’s an article about the new Ray Evernham designed Legend Modified racecar – one designed to run mainly on dirt tracks.  It should be interesting to see how many of these news cars make it onto the dirt tracks, since the selling price is between $13,500.00 and $20,000.00.  And if one looks at an add for the Legends cars, like that one that appears on the whole back page of the AARN, out of the ten tracks listed, only two, Accord and Bridgeport , are the only two dirt tracks – in the Northeast, as of now.  Kind of makes it a hard sell, I’d say.


In Jerry Reigle’s column, he says that Sprint Cars have been dropped from the weekly card at Sharon Speedway.  Along with that, he makes mention of the average pay, for the winner of a regular 25-lap handicapped feature at Williams Grove to be $4,010.00 – that’s $3,600.00 plus bonus monies.  Note:  Even though that’s a nice amount of cash, I wonder how many features one would have to win to be able to afford one of those 410 engines – before any re-freshing is done?

Jerry does make mention that Tony Stewart ran a 360 sprinter at Southern New Mexico Speedway.  The result:  Tony flipped it out of the ballpark.

Note:  Did you read about that anywhere on the Internet?


For quite some time I was a member of the Eastern Motor Sports Press Association.  A couple of years ago I chose not to continue my membership.  But it was very nice to see an article about both Ernie Saxton and his wife, Marilyn, that both will be inducted into the EMPA Hall of Fame.  Certainly those two are well deserving of that award.  Ernie, up until this year, has been the President of the EMPA.


David Pearson, one of the drivers that’s in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, is scheduled to make an appearance at the Motorsports show on Saturday, January 22nd, at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center in Oaks, PA.

Note:  It should be interesting to see how the attendance will be at this show, since it has been held these last few years down in Atlantic City.  Will also be interesting to see how the attendance will be at the indoor TQ/600 Micro/Slingshot/Champ Kart races that will be held in Atlantic City the week after the Motorsport show – January 28th and 29th.


Most of us have seen the antics that have been put on by Kyle Busch.  I, however, did not see the footage of him showing a NASCAR official that he was “Number one”, while his in-car camera was on him.  But the folks at the M&M corporate office either did, or were very well informed of it, since they did send an e-mail to Gibbs Racing, about it.

Note:  One must realize that when you have a sponsor, no matter how big or how small, YOU are an extension of that sponsors business/company.  How you act, could, and more than likely would, reflect back towards said sponsor.


There was quite a large article about the state of New Jersey and it focusing on a 3” roll bar/helmet gap that will now be required.  In Jersey, when you race now, the top of your helmet must be at least 3” BELOW the roll cage.  That’s the BOTTOM of the roll bar.  Photos showing a new tool designed for measuring this actually show the tool being placed on the TOP of the roll bar, not underneath.  I’m waiting to get info to see if that tool takes into consideration the thickness of the roll bar, itself.  Looking a the photos, I’d say no, it doesn’t.




Damn!  I was almost done with this part, below, – doing it by itself in Microsoft Word, when I hit the wrong thing and erased it all.  Someday, I’ll learn!


From November 23rd:


I wonder why Cory Reed has left WRG (DIRTcar) to go to work for the Brewerton and Fulton Speedways?  Might Mr. Reed have some inside info on what might be down the road for WRG, and not want to be part of it?


Brian Grisel has left the CRSA as it’s CEO, and turned the job over to Mike Van Dusen.  The outlook for 2011 is pretty good, so they’re saying, with four tracks already signed up and thirteen races on those tracks.  I can see them returning to OCFS for some events, and from what I’ve been privy to, not having any shows at the Accord Speedway.


Does it confuse those involved in motor racing when tracks change names?  Ernie Saxton makes mention of the track formerly known as Mountain Speedway changing it’s name to Sundance Vacations Speedway, then no losing that “naming right” due to both parties not coming to an agreement.  So now it will again be known as Mountain Speedway.  The same for Charlotte losing the “Lowes” name, I suppose.


Might we see an influx of more of the Roush/Yates Small Block engines in the modifieds here in the Northeast?  I’ve heard they are quite reasonable, money wise.  At the last ESW, Jerry Higbie had the fastest time trial lap of all the Small and Big Block modifieds.  Last weekend, they too the Petruska owned Small Block, with the Roush/Yates Small block in it down to Bridgeport to run it against the Big Blocks.  With their normal driver, Jerry Higbie on vacation, they had Danny Johnson fill in.  Danny own his heat, and had the feature won until the last lap, when I believe he slowed for a lapped car and Richie Pratt, Jr. passed him for the win.


Some monies won – Chad Sinon, the car owner, and Duane Howard, his driver, picked up $10,000.00 for winning the championship at the Grandview Speedway.

Matt Sheppard won $50,000.00 for being the DIRTcar Big Block Championship.  Nearly another $50,000.00 was handed out to other track champions at the DIRTcar Banquet.

I guess one can see why Brett Hearn bypasses OCFS, an Independent track, not a DIRTcar member, and travels over two hours North to Lebanon Valley.  Yep, it’s all about the money today.  Can’t blame him I’d say.


There were a couple of places in this weeks AARN that made mention of the Bridgeport track being the largest track here in the Northeast that runs weekly, with it being said that the track is 5/8 mile.  Well, OCFS (now a red-headed stepchild?) is also being billed as 5/8 mile.  How can one figure this out – size wise?  How about track times?  Last week, at Bridgeport, it’s said that Travis Hill turned a lap in 21.772 seconds for an average speed of 103.3 MPH.  Checking out the times for this past Eastern States Weekend, I found that Rich Lauback turned a lap at 21.774 and an average speed of 103.334.  So per “MyLaps”, it seems that both tracks are the same size?


It looks like another Speedway will be “NASCARized”.  Work was supposed to start right after the last race at the Phoenix International Raceway in Phoenix, Arizona.  “Progressive banking” and widened turns is what will change it from a “drivers” track to another so-so track, in my opinion.  Question is – why?


Remember earlier this year when DIRTcar (WRG) was entertaining thoughts of having different bodies for their Big Block Modifies?  They had a meeting with Troyer, Bicknell and TEO on that.  I was sunder the impression that about the only change one could make would be to add “side panels” as a possible change.  Reading in the AARN, I now find that they really didn’t want to go that route.  So guess what?  Nothing was resolved.


In DIRTcar, just what is a “Platinum” or “Gold” contracted driver?  Seems that both of them will now have to wear head and neck restraints for 2011, and in 2012, ALL their drivers will have to do the same.


Also, for 2011, engine builders may not lighten engine blocks for those cars that run with DIRTcar.  I imagine that that could be a sticky problem with “tech”.


The track in Evans Mills, New York, is for sale.  Thunder Valley Speed Park is a 3/8 mile that’s gone between a dirt surface and paved.


Big safety changes are coming to the American Three –Quarter Midget Club (ATQMRA).  Starting in 2013, roll cages must be at least 1 & 1/8” thick instead of the current 1”.  It’s said that there could be quite a few of the TQ’s that would be “illegal” once this goes into effect.


The 600 Modifieds will be a weekly feature at the Paradise Speedway in Geneva, N.Y.  Ok, fine, but will they draw enough cars to make it worthwhile?


The Slingshot cars will have a new body design for 2011.  This happens with this class every three years, it says in the AARN.  The previous body style can still be used, but not the ones from the past.


Also, the Tobias SpeedSTR cars will now be able to use a softer compound Goodyear tire.  This will supposedly allow more “aggressive” driving.  Huh?


It’s hard to believe that the late Mike Grbac left us back in 1978 when fatally injured in a stock car crash at the Reading Fairgrounds.  If I’m not mistaken it was a week after ESW, and Mike ran ESW that year in the black # 47, the same car he drove at Reading.  Wow – 32 years ago.  I can still remember that they were camped out at ESW way up off of the 4th turn.


2012 should be a great year for the IZOD IndyCar Series.  As of now, engine wise, there will be Chevrolet, Honda and Lotus.  If I’m not mistaken, they’ll all be V-6’s and Turbo charged.  Various “manufacturers” will be coming out with “aero kits” too, it’s being said.



More racin’ stuff:

I’ve always rooted for Sarah Fisher while she was running Indy cars.  She’s one of the few that has run with the IRL that came up via the short tracks, running midgets and sprint cars.  With this latest news, below, from her website, it now appears that she will hang up the helmet and retire.  Ed Carpenter will take her place in the seat.  You’ll notice there’s no mention of a second car, and no mention of a “road racer” either.  Ed wasn’t all that good on road courses.  Maybe that’s why they’re only entering a certain amount of races?

The news:


Ed Carpenter to take the wheel of the Dollar General No. 67


Sarah Fisher Racing (SFR) and Dollar General announced today that Dollar General has renewed its support of SFR for the 2011 IZOD IndyCar (R) Series season. The schedule will include competition in nine events, consisting of both road course and oval venues.

"SFR has been a great partner for us and our brand," said Rick Dreiling, Dollar General's chairman and CEO. "We are excited about extending our sponsorship for the upcoming racing season."



Sarah Fisher also announced today that after 25 years in the driver's seat, she will be stepping out of the car to focus on being a team owner. Well-known IZOD IndyCar Series driver Ed Carpenter will take the wheel of the yellow, No. 67, Dollar General machine.
"This change in my career is a direction I have been thinking about very hard. The timing is perfect for the strategy of SFR in its future endeavors. To have the support of all our partners in this direction is incredible. I am glad to have the support of our partners, including Dollar General, who have led us to where we are today. I know this team has what it takes to perform and I am hoping with the decision to put Ed in the seat, that we can do just that. By stepping out of the seat, I will be able to spend more time growing this team in the right directions both on and off track."



Carpenter, the new driver of the Dollar General No. 67, is an Indiana native who began his racing career in 1989 driving cars such as sprint cars, midgets, and silver crown cars on the short tracks of America. This background, which is very similar to SFR team owner, Sarah Fisher, was what started the friendship between Carpenter and Fisher. He has captured a pole position, two podium finishes, and has claimed 26 top-ten results thus far in his IZOD IndyCar Series career.


"I am so honored to have to opportunity to come drive for SFR and Dollar General," said an enthusiastic Carpenter. "I have been friends with Sarah and Andy for a long time, and am really looking forward to working with their team . Sarah and I come from such similar backgrounds; I know that it will be a joy to work with her team. Sarah has had a great career and has done an amazing job growing SFR each year. I am confident that together we can continue to improve the results not only on the track, but off of the track as well!"


SFR's complete 2011 IZOD IndyCar Series schedule:
Date Location Venue

Sunday, March 27 Streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. 1.8-mile street course

Sunday, May 29 Indianapolis Motor Speedway 2.5-mile oval

Saturday, June 11 Texas Motor Speedway 1.5-mile oval

Sunday, June 25 Iowa Speedway .875-mile oval
Saturday, August 7 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course 2.25-mile road course

Saturday, August 14 New Hampshire Motor Speedway 1-mile oval

Saturday, September 4 Streets of Baltimore 2.4-mile street course Saturday, October 2 Kentucky Speedway 1.5-mile oval

Sunday, October 16 TBA TBA


Accord Speedway:

I read that for 2011, the Lightning Sprints will be alternating weeks with the Legends cars.  For what it’s worth – it was posted on a forum/message board.  Still and all, it looks like it was a legitimate post.




For Sale:

Reading on the South Jersey Dirt Racing’s message board, someone posted that they saw a brand new “For Sale” sign up at Wall Stadium, as they drove past.



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

Syracuse forum:  http://www.syracuse.com/forums/motorsports/ (must register to post)

South Jersey Dirt Racing:  http://theboard.southjerseydirtracing.com/Msgboard.asp?ForumID=27&Return=Msgboard.asp&D83jsd=True

(must register to post)

Victory Speedway:  http://s2.excoboard.com/VictorySpeedwayForum (must register to post & no nonsense allowed)

Yahoo Race History Group:  http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/RacingHistory/ (when one posts something on an e-mail to the group, they do have what is called the “Len Sutton rule” – you put in your name and where you live.  And, yes, things are “policed” too.

New England Tractor:  http://newenglandtractor.com/racereport/





Some of my thoughts:


Well, it’s been confirmed that one of the events to go along with the Indy Car race at Loudon next year will be the NASCAR Whelen Modifieds, with them racing on Saturday.  I’ve yet to see any mention of any other kind of racing classes, like the USAC Silver Crown cars or even dirt modifieds – which did have a few show up on a test day this past racing season.  Believe it or not, I’ve only seen those NASCAR Modifieds once – that being in Richmond when they ran in conjunction with the IRL and USAC cars back around 2003, maybe it was?  I’m pretty sure it was 2003 because for some reason, Lenny Calinoff couldn’t make it. 

It’s been said that the modifieds have the best racing at Loudon when they’re there when the Cup cars run.  It looks like my two sons, Tom, Jr and Eric and I will be in attendance next year when the Indycars race there.  I’m hoping that there will be at least one more class, like the USAC Silver Crown cars, in action that weekend.  I’ve requested info from Loudon, but I imagine I won’t hear much until later on, maybe by the spring?


Couple of questions:

Will OCFS still be an Independent track in 2011?  I’m pretty sure there were some talks late last season between OC and DIRTcar about them maybe getting back together.   Does anyone know if some new clay has been brought in and put down at OCFS?


Professional Football:

I’d love to see a change made for overtime.  I feel each team should get the ball.  It kind of sucks when the team that wins the toss and elects to receive, gets close enough to score a field goal and get the victory.  From what I’ve heard, there will be a change, similar to what I want, for the play-offs.




Video time:

On the Track Forum, there’s a discussion about some of the tracks that are no longer around, or some that might not be around, much longer.  The main one of those mentioned is the track that used to be in Nazareth, PA.  Here’s a video of the 2000 Silver Crown race:



And here’s a link to what’s being said about Nazareth and other tracks, including some photos from the present days:




Non racing news:


From 11/19:

Man makes ridiculously complicated chart to find out who owns his mortgage

In part:

“We all know the mortgage securitization process is complicated.

But just how complicated? The chart below from Zero Hedge shows the convoluted journey a mortgage takes as it morphs into a security.

Dan Edstrom, of DTC Systems, who performs securitization audits, spent a year putting together a diagram that traces the path of his own house's mortgage. "Just When You Thought You Knew Something About Mortgage Securitizations," says Zero Hedge, you are presented with this almost hilariously complicated chart.”


Note:  ya ain’t gonna believe that chart, folks!


2 million lose jobless benefits as holidays arrive

In part:

“Extended unemployment benefits for nearly 2 million Americans begin to run out Wednesday, cutting off a steady stream of income and guaranteeing a dismal holiday season for people already struggling with bills they cannot pay.

Unless Congress changes its mind, benefits that had been extended up to 99 weeks will end this month”.



Footballs Bowl Games:

Looking at my local paper on Wednesday, I found a listing of all the Bowl games that are coming up.  Remember when we just had The Rose, Cotton, Sun, Orange, Sugar and Cotton Bowls?  Might you have any idea as to how many Bowl games there are this season?  How about 35?  Some of the new ones are:  New Mexico Bowl, New Orleans Bowl, Beef “O” Brady’s Bowl, MAACO Bowl, Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Champs Sports Bowl, Insight Bowl, Pinstripe Bowl, Meineke Bowl, Chic-fil-A Bowl, GoDaddy.com Bowl, BBVA Compass Bowl and Fight Hunger Bowl.  What’s kind of sad is that there will be some teams in Bowl games that really shouldn’t be.  Case in point:  The Army team out of West Point, N.Y.  Right now they have a record of 6 wins and 5 losses.  They have one more game – on November 11th, prior to the Armed Forces Bowl, which they have already accepted an invitation to.  That next game – against Navy.  Now should Navy win, that means Army would be in a Bowl Game with a 6 & 6 record.  That’s almost as ridiculous as the amount of Bowl Games that are now scheduled.  My thoughts, of course.



Is this true?:

From an e-mail I got the other day, and this isn’t the first time I’ve received this particular message, via e-mail.  Really quite disturbing, if true.  It’s about Jane Fonda.  Maybe you’ve also received this message?


Never Forget a Traitor

For those of you too young to remember Hanoi Jane is a bad person and did some terrible things during the Vietnam War. Things that cannot be forgotten!!!!

For those who served and/or died  

And now OBAMA wants to honor her......!!!!  (Shame on him)

In Memory of LT. C.Thomsen Wieland who spent 100 days at the Hanoi Hilton


She really is a traitor.


This is for all the kids born in the 70's and after who do not remember, and didn't have to bear the burden that our fathers, mothers and older brothers and sisters had to bear..

Jane Fonda is being honored as one of the '100 Women of the Century.'

”Unfortunately, many have forgotten and still countless others have never known how Ms. Fonda betrayed not only the idea of our country, but specific men who served and sacrificed during Vietnam.”

The first part of this is from an F-4E pilot. The pilot's name is Jerry Driscoll, a River Rat.

In 1968, the former Commandant of the USAF Survival School was a POW in Ho Lo Prison the ' Hanoi Hilton.'

Dragged from a stinking cesspit of a cell, cleaned, fed, and dressed in clean PJ's, he was ordered to describe for a visiting American 'Peace Activist' the 'lenient and humane treatment' he'd received.

He spat at Ms. Fonda, was clubbed, and was dragged away. During the subsequent beating, he fell forward
on to the camp Commandant 's feet, which sent that officer berserk.

In 1978, the Air Force Colonel still suffered from double vision (which permanently ended his flying career) from the Commandant's frenzied application of a wooden baton.

>From 1963-65, Col. Larry Carrigan was in the 47FW/DO (F-4E's). He spent 6 years in the 'Hanoi Hilton',,, the first three of which his family only knew he was 'missing in action'. His wife lived on faith that he was still alive. His group, too, got the cleaned-up, fed and clothed routine in preparation for a 'peace delegation' visit.

They, however, had time and devised a plan to get word to the world that they were alive and still survived. Each man secreted a tiny piece of paper, with his Social Security Number on it, in the palm of his hand.

When paraded before Ms. Fonda and a cameraman, she walked the line, shaking each man's hand and asking little encouraging snippets like:

'Aren't you sorry you bombed babies?' and 'Are you grateful for the humane treatment from your benevolent captors?' Believing this HAD to be an act, they each palmed her their sliver of paper.

She took them all without missing a beat.. At the end of the line and once the camera stopped rolling, to the shocked disbelief of the POWs, she turned to the officer in charge and handed him all the little pieces of paper..

Three men died from the subsequent beatings. Colonel Carrigan was almost number four but he survived, which is the only reason we know of her actions that day.

I was a civilian economic development advisor in Vietnam, and was captured by the North Vietnamese communists in South Vietnam in 1968, and held prisoner for over 5 years.

I spent 27 months in solitary confinement; one year in a cage in Cambodia; and one year in a 'black box' in Hanoi My North Vietnamese captors deliberately poisoned and murdered a female missionary, a nurse in a leprosarium in Ban me Thuot , South Vietnam, whom I buried in the jungle near the Cambodian border. At one time, I weighed only about 90 lbs. (My normal weight is 170 lbs)

We were Jane Fonda's 'war criminals....'

When Jane Fonda was in Hanoi , I was asked by the camp communist political officer if I would be willing to meet with her..

I said yes, for I wanted to tell her about the real treatment we POWs received... and how different it was from the treatment purported by the North Vietnamese, and parroted by her as 'humane and lenient'

Because of this, I spent three days on a rocky floor on my knees, with my arms outstretched with a large steel weights placed on my hands, and beaten with a bamboo cane.

I had the opportunity to meet with Jane Fonda soon after I was released. I asked her if she would be willing to debate me on TV. She never did answer me.

These first-hand experiences do not exemplify someone who should be honored as part of '100 Years of Great Women.' Lest we forget....' 100 Years of Great Women' should never include a traitor whose hands are
covered with the blood of so many patriots.

There are few things I have strong visceral reactions to, but Hanoi Jane's participation in blatant treason, is one of them. Please take the time to forward to as many people as you possibly can. It will eventually end up on her computer and she needs to know that we will never forget. RONALD D. SAMPSON, CMSgt, USAF 716 Maintenance Squadron, Chief of Maintenance DSN: 875-6431 COMM: 883-6343





Closing with this:

It is a slow day in the small Montana town of Pumphandle, and streets are deserted.  Times are tough, everybody is in debt, and everybody is living on credit.  A tourist visiting the area drives through town, stops at the motel, and lays a $100 bill on the desk saying he wants to inspect the rooms upstairs to pick one for the night.

As soon as he walks upstairs, the motel owner grabs the bill and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher. 


The butcher takes the $100 and runs down the street to retire his debt to the pig farmer.


The pig farmer takes the $100 and heads off to pay his bill to his supplier, the Co-op.


The guy at the Co-op takes the $100 and runs to pay his debt to the local prostitute, who has also been facing hard times and has had to offer her "services" on credit.

The hooker rushes to the hotel and pays off her room bill with the hotel owner.


The hotel proprietor then places the $100 back on the counter so the traveler will not suspect anything.  At that moment the traveler comes down the stairs, states that the rooms are not satisfactory, picks up the $100 bill and leaves.


No one produced anything. No one earned anything...  However, the whole town is now out of debt and now looks to the future with a lot more optimism. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how a Stimulus package works.




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! 

Remember – My next column will be back on December 16th.


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