AAA Champ Car race – Syracuse, N.Y.  September 8, 1951



Going back in time to September 8, 1951 and the AAA Champ Car race at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse, New York, with me, Tom Avenengo, who was in attendance that day along with my father and brother. 

I was a two weeks shy of my 14th birthday that day.


1951 Syracuse AAA Champ Car race – photos by Jack Lehmann



Yes, the track was quite a bit different back then, as you can see, below.




Notice – the pits are on the track.  That’s how they were back then.



Bill Schindler’s # 10 Chapman Special after breaking a RF spindle and causing a race stopping multi-car accident on the 67th lap.  Bill Vukovich stopped to tell the starter that no one could get through the second turn.  This was during the fair and huge tents in the infield blocked vision to a good portion of the track.  Schindler was placed 8th after starting 11th.



The # 34 car of. Harry King.  He started 18th and finished 5th.



The # 83 of  Tommy Hinnershitz.  He started 12th and finished 14th.



The race was won by Tony Bettenhausen in the Belanger # 99.  Second, in the Agajanian # 2 was Walt Faulkner.  Third was Bill Vukovich in the John Zink # 4.  Eddie Johnson was 4th in the Iddings # 33.  Harry King was 5th in the Pete Wales # 34.  6th in the Hopkins # 1 was Henry Banks.  Jack McGrath was 7th in the Hinkle # 9.  Bill Schindler was 8th in the Chapman # 10.  Chuck Stevenson in the Bardahl # 8 was 9th.  Buzz Barton in the Ess-A-R-R Engineering # 79 was 10th.  The Leitenberger #  57 was 11th with Andy Linden in the seat.  Manuel Ayulo in the Coast Grain #  31 was 12th.  Duane Carter in the Pat Clancy # 14 was 13th.  Tommy Hinnershitz in the Warke # 83 was 14th.  Paul Russo in the Russo/Nichels # 7 was 15th.  The Bob Estes # 26 was driven by Joe James to 16th place.  Johnnie Parsons in the Milt Marion # 37 was 17th.  Mike Nazaruk driving the Deck Manufacturing # 48 was 18th.


The top three were the only drivers to complete 67 laps.  Fourth thru sixth completed 66 laps.  Seventh thru ninth ran only 65 laps, and were involved in the multi-car accident along with the tenth place car which had 64 laps completed.


Bobby Barker, Potsy Goacher and Johnnie Tolan failed to qualify.


Attendance was 60,000.  Total purse was $14,918.00.  Race was scheduled for 100 laps – 100 miles, but was stopped on the 67th lap due to a multi-car accident.  Bettenhausen was the only leader of the race, leading all 67 laps.


Prior to the race there was a “Fly By” by an F-80 Shooting Star Jet plane.  He was going a tad faster than the race cars, that’s for sure! 


I have no idea as to just how long it took us to go from Pearl River, N.Y. to Syracuse, but I have to figure we got there via Route 17 West and then Route 11 North, which runs parallel with I-81, today.


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