Chemung Speedrome, The way it was.

SDW10

Meteorologist Mike Scott

Chemung Speedrome

Remembering 1976

The Bicentennial Years

Herbie Green #88

Forty years ago!  I cannot believe how time flew and how we progressed from the local dime stores,  Philadelphia Sales and Western Auto to Walmart.  Bank of America to  HDTV.

Herbie Green 88

Being the Bi-Centennial you had the patriotic look going on with many of the drivers but pictured above is Herbie Green of Elmira,  NY.    At one time this Late Model warrior even drove a rather cool looking Ford Torino sporting his usual #88 car.

Back in the seventies we had fins and hatchbacks,  spoilers and Superbirds. By that time I was also twenty years old and in the military for just about two years,  working at Little Rock Air Force Base in Jacksonville, Arkansas.

At that time I worked in the 314th Field Maintenance Squadron in the Survival Equipment Shop and was an Airman First Class.   (E-2)

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Going back to New York or any hometown while serving is about a big an event as getting a card from your honey in Basic Training.   Nearing home you would see the Exit for your town and feel a warmth and sense of community.   I got my first car,  a dazzling 1974 Gremlin-X.     I remember listening to Olivia Newton John and a song like, ‘If Not For You’  resonating with me as I went by the track,   now closed for the winter and I conjectured as to what was happening and who was winning what.

1974 Gremlin-X

This program was the 25th Anniversary of Eli Bodine’s Chemung Speedrome.   The older version that is and often featured drivers like Geoff Bodine and Brett Bodine both.    I am not sure if Todd raced there but he probably did.  And Geoff won a lot of races at the track his family built.

One of the coolest features in the program are the ads.    You can see what was being sold as far as cars, TVs and Refrigerators.   It just seemed so much more simple although by now the Vietnam War was over and Jimmy Carter was the President of the United States.

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Gail Barber was the featured driver and driver of the week for that week.   He moved from the Late Models into the Modifieds with modest success both,  both there and at the Old Shangri-La which also shut down there for awhile and was relocated and known as Shangri-La II these days.   At the old Skyline Park.   The park is gone and the track is nice but part of me thinks back to when I was a kid and this small park located on a hill was a fun spot.

I remember riding bumper cars and some hippies crashed the party and the cops were called in.   One of the hippies decided on singing a song at the cops arrival which probably featured Dick Casterline,  the driver of the #577 Pontiac.

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The times were different yet the same.   New ticket takers,  track owners and a lot of new drivers and fans but the legend of the Speedrome stands resolute against those changes and future generations of drivers and fans forget or never know of 1976 and boldly tell their elders they could care less.   But the true racing fan cares because it is those who shared popcorn and discussions of the great past where drivers did not wear helmets and if they did,  they were not like today.

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Wild action at Chemung Speedrome (Small)

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LRAFB Dorms

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Syracuse SuperDirt Week

If you are in the local area close to Syracuse,   New York,   the Fairgrounds are holding their end of year races which started on the 8th and clouds tomorrow (Saturday).   Located not too far from the Great Lakes this mile long dirt/clay surface is one of the big events scheduled at the end of the season and run by the World Racing Group out of Charlotte,  NC.

Super Dirt Week 2014

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Pictured above is one of the tracks greatest drivers of all time,  a shoe-in hall-of-fame kind of guy.   The track is fast and they can have as many as 150 cars or more and from countries like Canada,  USA, Australia and New Zealand.    The World of Outlaw Sprint Car Division also competes in those four countries and the competition is highly competitive.

http://superdirtweekonline.com/index.php/results

http://superdirtweekonline.com/

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Modified and Sportsman drivers gain momentum leading into their biggest races of the season

WEEDSPORT, N.Y. – October 9, 2014 – Matt Sheppard, of Waterloo, N.Y., and Dave Marcuccilli, of Cayuga, N.Y., kicked off NAPA Auto Parts Super DIRT Week XLIII right, picking up wins at Weedsport Speedway Wednesday, Oct. 8.

“It’s the perfect weed to get on a hot streak. Hopefully we can keep it going right on through Sunday,” said Sheppard, who battled Western New York small block star Chad Brachmann for the 75-lap DIRTcar 358-Modified Series win Wednesday night.

Sheppard started third on the grid after placing sixth overall in time trials and winning his heat race. Ryan Godown, of Ringoes, N.J., started on the pole and took the initial lead over Sheppard at the green flag. World of Outlaws Late Model Series star Tim McCreadie, of Watertown, N.Y., started second but fell to third at the start of the race.

By lap 13, the leaders had reached heavy traffic, Godown still leading over Sheppard. In lap 16, Godown tapped the inside wall in turn 1 and slowed enough for Sheppard to pass him. In lap 17, Brachmann maneuvered through lapped traffic to pass Sheppard for the lead.

Brachmann held onto his lead through cautions in laps 27, 37 and 38, fending off Sheppard’s advances off the double-file restarts. By lap 50, leaders were again forced to handle heavy lapped traffic, and Sheppard took his opportunity when he had it. Sheppard passed Brachmann for the lead in lap 54.

“When Chad drove by me, I thought, man we’ve got nothing for him. I was about a straightaway behind him,” said Sheppard, a three-time Super DIRTcar Big Block Modified Series champion. “But then I really felt my car start to come in a little bit. We started gaining on him in the lapped traffic and a couple of those restarts I was able to hang with him on the top. The thing just came to me the longer the race went.”

Brachmann stayed at Sheppard’s tail for the rest of the race, but wasn’t able to reclaim the top position.

“Unfortunately, the lapped traffic played a role in this tonight,” Brachmann said. “But, it is what it is. One of these days I’ll catch the break I need and come out on top in one of these big races.”

Godown finished third after Brachmann. Rounding out the top five are Tim McCreadie in fourth and Anthony Perrego in fifth.

Marcuccilli battled Boyd MacTavish and Steve Gray to pick up the DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series win Wednesday at Weedsport Speedway.

“We love coming here,” Marcuccilli said of the track, a newly refurbished pristine facility 30 miles west of Syracuse. “It’s probably the place we know the best.”

MacTavish drew the pole and Marcuccilli started third on the grid. MacTavish claimed the initial lead, but Marcuccilli kept up, gaining enough momentum by lap 7 to race the leader wheel-to-wheel. In lap 9, Marcuccilli made the pass, cruising by MacTavish on the front stretch.

The leaders entered traffic in lap 15, and Marcuccilli maneuvered around lapped cars to keep his spot. A late-race caution slowed the pace in lap 27, but Marcucilli kept the lead off the restart and through the remaining laps.

“We got into lapped traffic there and we didn’t know what to do. They were racing two-by-two,” Marcuccilli commented. “I guess the caution kind of saved me. I think Steve (Gray) would have gotten by me if it weren’t for that.”

Steve Gray finished second and early leader MacTavish third. Rounding out the top five are Rocky Warner in fourth and Gary Lindberg in fifth.

NAPA Super DIRT Week continues Thursday with qualifying for DIRTcar 358-Modifieds and Super DIRTcar Big-Block Modifieds. Friday afternoon features the Futures Races while Camping World Friday Night Lights includes the fan-favorite Triple 20s for Big-Block Modifieds, Twin 20s for 358-Modifieds and Triple 10s for Sportsman Modifieds.

The main events on Saturday include the USAC Silver Crown “Salt City 78” at 1:30 p.m. followed by the “Salute to the Troops 150” for the 358-Modifieds. On Sunday, the DIRTcar Sportsman and Pro Stocks will compete before the premier Syracuse 200 for the Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modifieds takes the green flag at 2 p.m.

“Racing’s Biggest Party” runs through Sunday, Oct. 12. For more information and the latest updates on NAPA Super DIRT Week, click www.SuperDIRTWeekOnline.com, follow on Twitter @SuperDIRTWeek, or find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SuperDIRTWeek.

DIRTcar 358-Modified Series at Weedsport Speedway (Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014)

A-Main (75 laps): 1. 9H Matt Sheppard; 2. 3B Chad Brachmann; 3. 901 Ryan Godown; 4. 4 Tim McCreadie; 5. 18 Anthony Perrego; 6. 91 Rick Laubach; 7. 14 Stewart Friesen; 8. L99 Larry Wight; 9. 33 Mike Mahaney; 10. J99 Jimmy Phelps; 11. 42p Pat Ward; 12. 20 Brett Hearn; 13. 93 Ryan Bartlett; 14. 38 Ryan Susice; 15. 14J Alan Johnson; 16. 14B Peter Britten; 17. 02 Roy Bresnahan; 18. 22c Mario Clair; 19. 16w Lance Willix II; 20. 25 Erick Rudolph; 21. 27J Danny Johnson; 22. 6 Mat Williamson; 23. 323 Neal Williams; 24. 66x Carey Terrance; 25. R70 Ryan Arbuthnot; 26. 16 Dany Creeden; 27. 70 Brady Fultz; 28. 29 Jeff Brownell, Jr.; 29. 10c Tim Currier; 30. 12 Brian Sage.

B-Main 1 (10 laps): 1. 10c Tim Currier; 2. 12 Brian Sage; 3. 93 Ryan Bartlett; 4. d17 Danny O’Brien; 5. B42 Kevin Bates; 6. H25 Bobby Herrington; 7. 71 Mike Bowman; 8. 9J Jordan McCreadie; 9. 1 Tyler Dippel; 10. 21 Yan Bussiere; 11. G14 Brian Gleason; 12. J19 John McKenney, Jr.; 13. 1R Jeff McGinnis; 14. 39a Alan Therrien; 15. 678 John Smith

B-Main 2 (10 laps): 1. 38 Ryan Susice; 2. 16 Dany Creeden; 3. 27J Danny Johnson; 4. 66x Carey Terrance; 5. X21 Randy Chrysler; 6. 39 Clement Therrien; 7. K21 Kyle Weiss; 8. R70 Ryan Arbuthnot; 9. 22c Mario Clair; 10. 44 Zach Aubertine; 11. 16w Lance Willix II; 12. 66 Kyle Dingwall; 13. 3m Bill Mullin; 14. T21 Roger Chrysler

Qualifying Heats (8 laps, top 4 transfer, top 2 redraw)

Heat 1: Ward, Fultz, Williamson, Hearn, Currier, Terrance, Bowman, Clair, Dippel, Mullin

Heat 2: Godown, Laubach, Friesen, Phelps, Creeden, O’Brien, Arbuthnot, Herrington, Willix, Smith

Heat 3: Brachmann, Williams, Rudolph, Brownell, Sage, D. Johnson, A. Therrien, Aubertine, Bussiere, Roger Chrysler

Heat 4: Sheppard, Mahaney, Britten, Wight, Susice, McGinnis, Randy Chrysler, McCreadie, Weiss, McKenney

Heat 5: McCreadie, Perrego, Bresnahan, A. Johnson, Bartlett, C. Therrien, Bates, Dingwall, Gleason, Shield, Reakes

Time Trials: 1. Fultz 17.543, 2. Ward 17.561, 3. Weiss 17.579, 4. T. McCreadie 17.638, 5. Williamson 17.641, 6. Sheppard 17.641, 7. Creeden 17.661, 8. Hearn 17.699, 9. Godown 17.716, 10. Bowman 17.730, 11. Currier 17.734, 12. Brachmann 17.745, 13. Terrance 17.785, 14. Williams 17.808, 15. Perrego 17.821, 16. Laubach 17.828, 17. Wight 17.879, 18. Rudolph 17.891, 19. Susice 17.893, 20. A. Johnson 17.898, 21. Dippel 17.916, 22. Britten 17.952, 23. McGinnis 18.012, 24. Friesen 18.017, 25. Brownell 18.044, 26. Sage 18.102, 27. Bresnahan 18.104, 28. Phelps 18.109, 29. Clair 18.126, 30. Herrington 18.158, 31. Randy Chrysler 18.158, 32. J. McCreadie 18.166, 33. Arbuthnot 18.183, 34. C. Therrien 18.200, 35. Bartlett 18.214, 36. O’Brien 18.216, 37. Mullin 18.428, 38. A. Therrien 18.445, 39. Gleason 18.470, 40. Willix 18.573, 41. D. Johnson 18.678, 42. Bates 18.839, 43. Dingwall 18.957, 44. Bussiere 18.988, 45. McKenney 19.081, 46. Shield 19.170, 47. Roger Chrysler 19.210, 48. Aubertine 19.528, 49. Smith 19.681. Light: Mahaney. No Time: Reakes

For more information for times and directions and also the races themselves please go to the site directly.   Fortunately our weather is cooperating and it might be a bit chilly and windy with highs in the upper 50s and lows near 40.    The only precipitation might come from some random lake effect storms.

Otherwise enjoy and it is well worth the time and money and does have a covered grandstand.

Lakeside Speedway Colorado – 25 years later

As I child I did have the horror of seeing race tracks close.    You might ask what is horrible about that?   Nothing!   But for some it is a way for them to take over.   It might be a parking lot or a high-rise apartment and that sits fine with them.   These bitter acolytes and self-proclaimed do-gooders are a bunch of mean-spirited old hags and crotchety old men.

In their wake of bitter self-interest they lay waste to good clean fun.   And while there  might be that occasional row between drivers and fans it is wholesome.   And most of the local drivers are not rich.    So naturally they may be inclined to watch ‘Duck Dynasty’  or have NASCAR stickers prominently displayed on their trucks,  cars and race car haulers.     Many like country and some like rock but most don’t fancy ‘snooty music’.    They might just use Moonshine instead of pricey wines and beers from Germany and France.

Now this track I am going to mention was closed quite a few years ago.    And racing had been there from around 1938 to 1988.  Fifty years of legends,  urban legends and a culture of competition that includes families who race and people who actually know the drivers.   The older drivers will pine about the day they drove at a track like Lakeside.     Some will have pictures lovingly maintained reminiscing about a past that lives on with the people of that day and the offspring who were told about the ‘good old days’.

By and by most signs of the track disappear little by little when they are abandoned or redeveloped.    One of the most saddening sights is the race surfaces with blades of grass piercing the track.   A challenge to the track by nature,  perhaps a loss of interest from owners and investors.    Or maybe even the ravages of a cruel winter and the unrelenting rains of springtime.    And yes,  springtime,  would invariably carry the bright hope of watching racing once again and you do NOT have to pay for an autograph.  The drivers actually appreciate the fans and by race day the excitement builds.

The racing family usually has to put up with a dad (for the most part) who is seemingly always working on this car and the idea of gracing the winner’s circle.    One time at East Bay in Florida,   the family of one of the drivers (who was usually in the back)  would stand up and cheer each time he went by.       It was kind of odd yet kind of quaint.   Here you will find some people who may be marginalized for being different.     One may call it ‘hillbilly,  redneck or low brow” ,   but seriously who asked them?

It is more than likely that they would embrace that term.      They really do not care where you are from except if you are from far away and you think that your opinion matters over theirs.    Once the drivers escape the cozy confines of their home-tracks families that can will follow along.   And sponsors are the reason they get to dream bigger.   When you into the more expensive divisions,  the owners and sponsors could buy the hoity-toity type many times over.    It is a passion as a large as a father and son fishing.    Just like with fishing it is not the fish but the time spent together.   Like the tracks,  we come and go.   Yet the history of a community is deeply entrenched in the souls of racing fans.

The song has that same kind of sad ending when a driver or a track goes belly up.    For the new tenants they may never know or ever care.   They will be too busy being city-like while forgetting that most rural folks hate cities.   Less smog and less smug the race fans trundle up to the track and take their positions almost like assigned seats.   Cat calls can  heard especially as the protagonists earn their reputations by spinning out another driver or what the fans perceive to be some injustice.       But this is some of what happens,  there is also the drivers who went on to bigger and better things or drivers who die doing what they like.

And on that opening day,   that race car freshly painted or adorned with wraps, speed by as expectant fans cheer for their guy and the nicer looking the car the better chance that drivers get sponsors and fans.     A lot happens here and the people are the nicest anywhere.  They support us military veterans like Kings and Queens and will most always pay respects to the flag and our country.

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Great track series – Flemington Speedway

Wow, before you notice it something you cherished is soon departed.   Like a friend who you wished you visited more,  passes on,  the regrets hang like tinsel and sing their requiem and depart.

The same can be said for a venue such as a racetrack or a fair.   Like a lover who left to some other place,  the pain is very real.   Or the same as losing a pet because a lot of life transpired and the loss felt like a fog that was slow to clear. You might go by the old track where it was falling into disrepair and the ache and the longing came back full force.

FLEMINGTON SPEEDWAY.

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The once thriving action track now is a Shopping Mall or at least it was.   Was this result of hometown haters who would have no part of racing?  Knoxville,  Iowa’s  Knoxville Speedway is the talk of the town,   yet a scurrilous lice-infested skin flint or two,  complained like Elvira Gulch and Toto.   I’ll get your my pretty as her alter-ego the Wicked Witch of the West, (the mean one) broke a community’s heart.

The track formed in 1915 survived The Depression,  the Cold War and the Miasma that was Bill and Hillary Clinton.   It suffered a lot indeed and the wrecks were spectacular,  featuring many a race car flying into the retaining walls and fences. The final requiem was heard in 2002,  after 83 years of entertainment.   At one time greasy concessions gave way to a more nuanced menu of eclectic fare like funnel cakes and cotton candy.   Well that was about the same time as drive-in theaters that may be coming back to select locations across the country.

The safe barrier was also tested there which led to tracks improved safety.   It also hosted a myriad of great drivers.   Myself I remember Doug Hoffman,   Brett Hearn,  and even Ray Evernham who was severely injured during the paved-era.    Many big events happened there featuring hotshoes from all over the east coast and beyond.

From 1995-1998 it hosted 4 NASCAR Truck Series races along with Big Block Modifieds,  Late Models and other series of the same type.   It routinely ran against East Windsor who also had the dubious distinction of the wrecker ball.   The fate of other tracks hangs in the balance as well and I remember Hales Corner Speedway,  Old Shangri_La in Owego, NY.   Other losses include the Tampa Fairgrounds and Golden Gate Speedway where the Reutimann’s raced forever and still do at East Bay Raceway Park in Tampa,  Florida.     Even East Bay was shuddered for awhile until it was reacquired by local owners.

Trust me,   these memorials and a whole lot more are routinely happening across the country and it is history lost and remember these facilities are family-fare and most owners realize that future generations will be the kids of yesteryear and today.

Please do not let the hubris of today’s generation condemn many more tracks.   It is in our best interest to promote and even help the tracks keep their doors open.   There are people who do not care and quite frankly would destroy if they could.    The same people who got curfews to racing and who built their homes around the mechanized chariots of fire,  where families are indelibly linked to the drivers.   A constituency that is called ‘redneck’  or in ‘fly over country’.  Politically correct are also saying that tracks are not environmentally friendly.   If they are not careful I might give them another footprint to worry about.

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So please get out there to your local tracks and wherever you wish,  just send these pilots the sense that they are appreciated.   Race tracks and their fans stand head and shoulders about anybody else when it comes to God and country and our servicemen.

Super Dirt Week

In a remote portion of New York State is Syracuse,  NY and home of Super Dirt Week.   Well over one hundred cars will register and race and they did.  The event that runs through this evening,  is really a must see if you like auto racing.   The Moody Mile as it is affectionately called is at the Fairgrounds and is actually a very comfortable event,  if it is not too cold.

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Pictured here is one of the icons in Big Block Modified racing in the northeast with about 600 career wins.   The Dirtcar series of which they belong are now under the management of the World Racing Group.

This group is based out of Charlotte,NC and is next to the NASCAR race as well.   Like Syracuse it is a fast event with drivers from a few countries that includes Australia, Canada and the United States.

Fans can also go to a chat room for the World of Out;aw Sprint cars,  Late Models and the big block modifieds.    And this event in Syracuse is an action-packed event and sports several different divisions of these high-powered sleds.   This is where drifting got it’s origins and where 30-40 years of history has ensconced itself in local lore and a mystery to those who complain about the noise but never go to the track,  immune to the excitement and anticipation.

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This car is run by Alan Johnson in his customary #14

With 118 Career Features he is always a force to be reckoned with.   These really make no money and it is a sponsor-driven sport if you are so lucky to land sponsors.  This is the lifeline of racing and the ads that these cars sport.

I will revisit events in the world of auto racing across the country and this site’s nexus is the short tracks that literally have become legend.   As tracks close due to economic problems,  fans feel a sense of loss.   Some people had great grandparents race and while the names are familiar,  a new generation of racing enthusiasts and drivers work all week long to get their land-based rockets ready for the toil.

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As I said I plan to be the guy who exposes fans of racing to a well kept secret outside the halls of fames and race tracks that dot this country like measles in a grade school.

Alan Johnson Wins 118th Career Feature at Canandaigua Motorsports Park; All Time Feature Wins Leader Gets the Job Done With a 358 Modified – See more at: http://modfury.com/2013/08/21/alan-johnson-wins-118th-career-feature-at-canandaigua-motorsports-park-all-time-feature-wins-leader-gets-the-job-done-with-a-358-modified/#sthash.13iHDkzv.dpuf