Racin' & Internet Stuff:
By Tom Avenengo
I sure hope every one had a Merry Christmas, and that Santa was able to get you what you wished for. And that the New Year, 2011, will be much better for all of us!
Looks like it might be a rather short column this week, and maybe the same for the next few columns, what with the racing season closed down - to an extent.
I guess where I live – in Port Jervis, NY, we lucked out as far as the amount of snow that we received compared to others in this area. I hope none of you were “snowbound”!
I’ve noticed a lot of car commercials on TV lately. Have you? That got me to thinking – if they cut out all those commercials, could they lower the price of the new cars?
I, like a good many people in this country, did most of
my Christmas shopping at Walmart. I only
have a couple of small grand children and great grand ones to get for, as far
as kids go. My “famous” fudge took care
of most of the gifts this Christmas.
It’s truly remarkable how so many of the toys
in the toy department come from
Going back, in time:
Note: Most of the following information was found here:
Covering the days of December 17th to December 31st.
Paul Tracy*... Born... Paul competed in CART and the Champ Car World Series from 1991 to 2007 and later with the IRL
Sammy Sessions*... Died... Sessions was one of the most likable
race drivers to come out of the state of
Note: It was back on June 14, 1970, when a couple of my co-workers from the Suffern, NY Grand Union and I went to see the Indy Car race at the Langhorne Speedway, which was paved then. Sam Sessions had a vicious accident that day, when he spun his rear engine car and hit, in what could be called the fourth turn area outside fence, early in the race. With a full load of fuel (gas back then) there was quite a fire – with flames between the track and stands, down the track, towards the first turn area, where his car traveled after hitting the fence, and into the pit area where the remaining fuel from his car went. With the front end of his car wedged under the steel guardrail that separated pit road from the track, itself, Sam was pinned in the car. I forget just who it was that was televising the race for a future showing (Wide World of Sports – for the next week, I believe), but there was a camera on Sam, while he was pinned in his car, and Sam was pointing down to his feet in an attempt to tell those that were there to rescue him that his feet were stuck. Meanwhile, one could see the cars windshield slowly melting down!
Ryan-Hunter Reay*... Born... He started driving in 2003 with CART , Champ Car World Series and later with IRL .
Bill Holland*... Born ... AAA driver from the
1930's 40's and 50's. He won the
Don Davis ... Born ... USAC driver from the late 1950's to the
early 1960's. He drove in the USAC Championship Car series, racing in the
1960-1962 seasons with 15 starts, including the 1961 and 1962
Henry Banks ... Died ... He was the son of an early European
race-driver. Henry began competing in 1932, when he was 19-years-old, and
became successful in the midget cars. He was the first driver to pass the
qualifying "rookie test" at the
Stan Fox ... Died ...
The Wisconsin native was one of
John LeVan died. He, along with the late Lenny Calinoff ran a website that was www.openwheelracing.com. After Lenny passed away, John took the website over. Some problems arose and John came out with www.openwheelracers.com. I was pretty close to John, and he did disclose some info to me about “his” website and I was amazed at just how popular it was. John never had any problems getting credentials for his staff members for any racing event. He was quite instrumental in getting me started in writing, I should add.
Ralph DePalma... Born ... AAA driver from 1909 to 1933. Ran the Indy 500 ten times and won in 1915.
Louis Schneider... Born ... AAA Midget and Indy Car driver from the 1920's and 30's. He won the 1931 Indy 500.
Patty Moise... Born ... A former NASCAR driver. She drove in five Winston Cup races from 1987 to 1989, and 133 Busch Series races from 1986 to 1998. She is the wife of former fellow NASCAR driver Elton Sawyer.
Scott Goodyear ... Born ... Racecar driver from
Lorenzo Bandini... Born ... Formula One driver 1961 to 1967. He died of burns as a result of a crash in the Monaco Grand Prix, May 1967.
Rex Easton* ... Died ... Rex competed in some sprint cars, but was mainly a midget chauffeur who was always up front in competition. His career was evenly divided between the AAA and USAC years. In USAC competition, he won 21 features, which places him 21st in the all- time USAC feature wins ranking. Rex Easton won the 1954 Midwest Midget title and just missed taking the National Championship that year, losing out to Jack Turner in the last race of the season. Rex placed second in the 1957 and 1958 USAC National Midget Division points races and won the USAC Midwest Championship in 1958.
Bob Lazier... Born ... Lazier competed in many forms of motorsport
in the 1970's including Formula 5000 and the SCCA Super V series. He raced in
the CART series in 1981 completing all 11 events that year and was CART's
Rookie of the Year for 1981. He finished 9th in points for Fletcher Racing Team
and finished 4th two different times that year, the first at Watkins Glen then
again two weeks later in Mexico. Lazier also competed in the 1981
Jim Packard* ... Born ... Driver from 1956 to 1960. Ran IMCA Sprints, ARDC and USAC Midgets, USAC Sprints and Indy Cars.
Todd Gibson ... Born ... Supermodified, USAC Sprint and Indy Car driver from the 1960's to 1979.
Bob Cicconi* ... Born ... ARDC Midget, USAC Midget, Sprint, Mini-Indy Super Vee and Silver Crown driver from the 1970's to 1990's.
Wimpy Ervin*... Born ... A former midget and
sprint car driver from
John Hubbard*... Born ...
Eddie Leavitt... Born ... Sprint car driver from the 1970's & 80's. He was inducted into the National Sprint Car Hall of Fame in 2001 and was in the Knoxville Raceway Hall of Fame. He was a two-time National Sprint Car Champion.
Bobby Olivero... Born ... A former driver in the USAC Championship Car series.
He raced in the 1976-1978 seasons, with 17 career starts, including the 1977
Johnny White... Died ... USAC sprint & Indy
car driver from the 1960's. He was paralyzed from a Sprint Car accident
Louis Chevrolet... Born ... AAA driver 1905 to
1923. He was a co-founder (with William C. Durant) of the Chevrolet
Motor Car Company, which was acquired by General Motors and is their bestselling
brand nationwide and in many cases synonymous with General Motors itself. Louis
also competed in the
Fred "Jiggs" Peters* ... Died ... Jiggs started racing
Midgets in 1948, winning the ARDC championship in 1951. He then moved into
Sprint Cars. In 1955 he unsuccesfully attempted to qualify for the Indy 500 in
a Scopa-Offy. Equally at home on dirt or asphalt, he tried to qualify for Indy
again in the Lee Glessner Offy in 1957. Short on speed on the first weekend, he
was fast enough on the second to qualify but he chose to come home to NJ to run
locally to make money as opposed to sitting in Indy for the whole month of May
without an income. He was very good in long distance races and won numerous
times at long tracks like
Tex Keene* ... Born ... Driver who ran with the ARDC and several races with NASCAR in the early 1950's.
Budd Olson* ... Died ... New Jersey Stock Car driver from the 1940's, 50's and 60's. From local dirt tracks to NASCAR, Budd Olsen built a solid reputation, first as a driver and then as one of the leading racecar builders in the region.
Greg Leffler ... Born ... A former driver in the CART Championship
Car series. He raced in the 1980-1983 seasons, with 13 career starts, including
Ralph Mulford... Born ... AAA driver 1910 to 1926.
Stubby Stubblefield... Born ... AAA driver from the 1930's Ran the
Indy 500 from 1931 to 1934. His best finish was 5th in 1933. He was killed in a
practice crash for the 1935
Nelson Stacy... Born ... Stacy was ARCA Champion for three years
1958, 1959, 1960, prior to entering Winston Cup racing when he was over 40. An
"Old Man" for a rookie by today's standards.
He still managed to win the World 600 and two races at Darlington and
John LeVan was born. John was involved in racing for most of his life, in various aspects, like “PR” for the URC, race reporting for various speedways and being a partner with Lenny Calinoff in a website devoted to motor sports, then having his own motor sports website after the passing of Lenny.
Tony Bonadies*... Born ... A very popular midget car driver, Tony Bonadies' career spanned over twenty-four years during which he competed in more than one thousand races. Although he never won the ARDC Midget Championship, he was ranked amongst the top six in seven out of his last eight seasons in the series' final classification table, and he was twice the title runner-up. He entered the Indy 500 three times, but failed to qualify in all attempts: in 1955 and the following year his times aboard a Kurtis 3000D - Offenhauser were simply not quick enough, and in 1957 he wrecked his Kurtis 500C - Offenhauser at the Turn 4 at the northwest end of the track during practice and had to withdraw from the race. Bonadies was taking place in an ARDC midget race at the Williams Grove Speedway on 05 July 1964 when, as he pitched his Frankenfield - Offenahuser into a slide at the entrance to Turn 1, the right rear axle of the car snapped. The vehicle barrel rolled several times and then got airborne. Tony was thrown to the ground and died instantly.
John Rostek ... Died ... A NASCAR driver from
A.J. Fike* ... Born ... USAC & NASCAR driver.
Walt Brown* ... Born ... AAA driver from the 1940's and early 50's who ran in 3 Indy 500's with a best finish of 7th in 1947. He died in a race at the Williams Grove Speedway (PA) July 29, 1951.
Johnny Moorehouse... Died ... USAC driver from the 1950's
Dick Northam won the 50 lap USAC Midget race at the Freedom Hall
Johnny Herrera* won the Roger McCluskey Classic Sprint Car race over Charles Davis Jr, Jerry Coons Jr, Damion Gardner and Josh Pelkey at the United Sports Arizona USA, Tucson, AZ.
Jesse Hockett won the Roger McCluskey Classic preliminary Sprint
Car race over Casey Shuman, Jerry Coons Jr, and Jon Stanbrough at the United
Sports Arizona USA,
* - I was fortunate to have seen all of those drivers race, in person.
The History of the Sport:
If you remember, some 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.
A “Ford” on the pole at Indy in 1964:
A little about Nuvolari:
A woman racing in the 500?:
A little about qualifying for the 1959 Indy 500
Racing on a twelve and a half mile circle:
More racin’ stuff:
One really has to wonder just what is going on with the WRG (World Racing Group) or DIRTcar, or whatever they are called, today. Cory Reed has left the organization. Just days before Christmas, their “PR” person, Tom Skibinski was relieved of his duties. Now it looks like Tom and Cory are back together. There’s still a lot of talk about the possible return to racing here in the Northeast for Glenn Donnelly – in 2012. 2011 should prove to be an interesting year.
No idea, as yet, as to who will be in the Petruska # 66 cars in 2011.
New clay reportedly put down on the Accord Speedway. No ARDC midgets at Accord in 2011, but the CRSA 305 Sprint Cars will be there two times.
Not one word coming out of OCFS as of now, but might have some news when they have their banquet a little over a week from now.
It was rumored that “Suitcase” would be back at OCFS in 2011.
No idea if Ken Sands will be back or not,
either. He was supposed to be buying a
racetrack down in
Speaking of OCFS – they’ll have their
banquet on Saturday, January 8th at the usual place – Kuhl’s
Highland House in
The annual racecar show that’s been held
in the arena at OC over the years, will not be held in the arena in 2011, but
will be held down in
Well, let me say that there was NOT supposed to be a motor sports show
at the arena on the OC property. Suffice
to say: A “Little Bird” informs me that
in March, there will be a motor sports show in the arena on the OC property. This will be a different show than the one in
There’s quite an interesting thing being discussed on the ARDC’s message board about midget engines. Yes, midgets are the only ones that have overhead cam and push rod engines competing against each other. Most everything else – racing wise, is all push rod engines. Back in the late 40’s, when the “Offy” engines were fairly reasonable, cost wise, some problems arose between those that had the Offy engines and those that had Ford or other stock type engines. Might we’re be headed that way, again?
Check out the tread, and what’s being said, here: http://ardcmidgets.com/ARDCForums/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=765
Some Racin’ stuff from the AARN:
The AARN does not publish the last two weeks of the calendar year, so nothing really to report on this week. Should be some interesting stuff in two weeks, I would suppose.
Additional Racin’ stuff:
I recall it being quite a trip from where I live, and I
just double-checked it. From Port Jervis
Here a couple of links for you to check out:
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/
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
(must register to post)
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.
Wheels of Speed: http://www.wheelsofspeed.com/
Note: You might want to keep an eye on the “Racing on TV” link if you’re interested in watching the tape delay of the Chili Bowl.
Some of my thoughts – racing wise:
How I wish the Chili Bowl would be telecast LIVE!!
Chili Bowl on TV: Portions of the 25th Annual Lucas Oil Chili Bowl Midget Nationals will be broadcast on SPEED TV on a tape-delayed basis. As of Monday, December 27th, I found no date for this showing. More than likely it will be some of the daily features then most of the 50 lap main feature.
Here’s a link to the Chili Bowl qualifying night schedules:
Here is the entry list with over 250 names: http://www.chilibowl.com/2011chilibowlentries.asp
Ain’t gonna happen department:
Found this over on Jayski’s website a couple of weeks ago:
“New RPM owner wants to build race track in New York: Now that the president of
Medallion Financial Corp., Taxi tycoon Andrew Murstein, has purchased NASCAR
racing team Richard Petty Motorsports for less than $50 million, sources close
to the situation tell us, Murstein intends to finally establish a track here
[New York City area] and make New Yorkers fans of the supercharged sport. It's
not a new idea. A company called International Speedway attempted to build a
Even more Racin’ stuff:
It would be interesting to see just what tracks this might benefit.
From Jayski’s website on December 18th:
“Tax-cut legislation includes benefits for NASCAR Tracks:
A host of
industries, from Caribbean distilleries to
Didja notice this part: “Owners of NASCAR tracks and other motor-sports facilities would benefit from two more years of a tax policy making it cheaper for them to fund capital projects.” I know a track real close to where I live that could use some improvements. Hey, ya never know!
Hey, if you’re not a fan of Country Music or of the late Luther Perkins, the guitarist that played for Johnny Cash, then you might want to skip over this “video”. Luther was born on January 8, 1928. That date will be passed by the time my next column is due out, so I thought I’d put this “Tribute to Luther Perkins” video on in this week’s column. If you decide to watch it, please enjoy it! Oh, most of the song titles are shown a little below the video.
Some of my thoughts – not racing related:
Well, it looks like this is the latest: People (Politicians etc etc) in office, getting paid, and now also collecting their PENSIONS, too! I can see this being a very big problem in the very near future. It really sucks when a politician can come out and say “I’m not the only one doing it” or “If the people don’t like it they can change the law”! Hello??? The idiot that said that was just re-elected to office and who is it that makes laws? Not the citizens. Oh and the idiot that said she wasn’t the only one – was also just re-elected, too. Go figure!
read that the Sheriff of Onondaga County, in
Oh, on that
Sheriff – Kevin Walsh: “
“State law allows elected officials to “retire” from their posts, then continue to work those same jobs while collecting their public pensions. For those who started in their posts before July 26, 1995, and who are at least 65 years old, there is no limit to how much they can earn in salary and still collect their pensions.”
read that one city –
“The dubious honor of being
the first city in the nation to completely default on pension obligations goes
“Many cities and states are
struggling to keep their pension plans adequately funded, with varying success.
More interesting things/thoughts can be seen if you go here:
Non racing news:
Didja know that New York
State is now state # 49 to have a law about getting over to the other side of
the road when you’re passing an emergency vehicle that’s on the side of the
road, with it’s lights flashing – like, say, a Police car? Well, not quite yet – but it will be in
effect as of January 1st. Quite a hefty fine and maybe some points on your license, too, if
you fail to do so. Methinks the
only state remaining now, without this law is
From December 18th:
Tax law won't help people who used up jobless aid
A social worker unemployed for more than two years, she's one of hundreds of thousands who will get no help from the new law because they've already used up all the benefits available to them.
"I have no money," Kittrell says. "Everything is gone."
The New Yorkers who've exhausted unemployment benefits tend to be older than those still receiving unemployment: Thirty percent are 55 or older, compared with less than 22 percent of those still receiving benefits.
And more than 48 percent of New Yorkers no longer receiving benefits are women. That compares with 43 percent of those receiving unemployment aid.”
Is this true?:
Sad to say it, but yes, it’s true!
Where are the jobs? For many companies, overseas
“Corporate profits are up. Stock prices are up. So why isn't anyone hiring?
Actually, many American companies are — just maybe not in your town. They're hiring overseas, where sales are surging and the pipeline of orders is fat.
More than half of the 15,000 people that Caterpillar Inc. has hired this year were outside the U.S. UPS is also hiring at a faster clip overseas. For both companies, sales in international markets are growing at least twice as fast as domestically.”
“But the jobs are
going elsewhere. The Economic Policy Institute, a
“Take the example
of DuPont, which wowed the world in 1938 with nylon stockings. Known as one of
the most innovative American companies of the 20th century, DuPont now sells
less than a third of its products in the
DuPont's work force
reflects the shift in its growth: In a presentation on emerging markets, the
company said its number of employees in the
School Dean Nitin Nohria worries that the trend could be dangerous. In an
article in the November issue of the Harvard Business Review, he says that if
Note # 1: Under this article, are some comments – 2078, as of 2:00 on Tuesday afternoon.. Here is one of them – might it work?
“Place tariffs on the products made by these companies and make it so expensive that it would than become cheaper for these companies to move their plant operations back here.”
Note # 2: Years ago, I was a member of a
A little quiz:
I’ve often wondered how many read my “Stuff”, and maybe I’ll get some kind of an idea if I put out a little quiz.
Got the answer? E-mail me with it. My e-mail address is always at the end of my column!
Closing with this:
Last year I replaced all the windows in my house with that expensive double-pane energy efficient kind, and today, I got a call from the installation contractor, complaining that the work had been completed a whole year ago and I still hadn't paid for them.
Hellloooo,...........just because I'm blonde doesn't mean that I am automatically stupid. So, I told him just what his fast talking sales guy had told me last year, "In ONE YEAR these windows will pay for themselves!"
Well helllooooo? It's been a year!
There was only silence at the other end of the line, so I finally just hung up. He never called back.
I bet he felt like an idiot.
May “Guardian Angels” sit on the shoulders of all of our race drivers and race fans, and guide them safely around the tracks!
Remember – My next column will be back on January 13th.
As usual, you can reach me at: firstname.lastname@example.org