Put up a Parking Lot, Pennsboro Speedway, a Phoenix Rising.

Nestled in the catacombs of our memories lie tragedy and inevitability.   Pennsboro,  WV,  a sleepy town of almost 1,200 people is stirring, pushing for new life to an old habit.   A secure place with it’s own particular history and a populace not floundering with the future but embracing it.    Not a parking lot or apartment complex but a resounding family affair,  apparent and growing.

Every Autumn has it’s flourish and the long hard and cold Decembers seem so lonely and desperate.   Hedging next year as profoundly more important than past and yet feeling that some person in a high place with a well-kept lawn sees no use.   No reason to deal with the noise (in the middle of nowhere- basically) and for a few votes suppressing a good thing.

The good people of the past feel a particular melancholy,  with the sounds of mechanics tools and a desperate driver preparing for a feature uncertain of it’s end.   Wives and children sit silently as drivers don helmets and safety restraints.    The sound from the PA system alerts drivers to go to the staging area and so it goes.

Not many are paid except maybe feature payouts for a lucky few and the money and time spent getting it right and knowing that if you do not get more sponsors it may be over anyway.

Anyhow,  that is next week’s problem or next year or whatever.   The track is dry or maybe too wet but somehow the job gets done and it is time to race,  inspite of everything.    But in the lonely dell at the edge of the treeline sits people ready for action.    Tomorrow will come by and by.

People who are proud and proud of the flag,  bowing reverently with hand over heart and a prayer for the safety of all.   It is a special night.   Another night celebrating the sacrifce of Veterans and active duty types. That and first responders,  heroes in any regard.

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Like at many tracks pictures and accounts are numerous but when they are not and when older fans and drivers want to think back on those days and the joys they brung then these stories and photos bring that back for awhile.    I will enclose a couple links so that you can see more of this great history of this track and remember sponsors because ultimately these sponsors and investors are needed to keep a track going.

http://free-stock-illustration.com/pennsboro+speedway+photos

http://www.wboy.com/story/28902683/ritchie-county-fairgrounds-pennsboro-speedway-revived

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rebuilding-Pennsboro-Speedway-And-Ritchie-County-

This facebook account above you can regard as a portal to all things related to Pennsboro Speedway and Fairgrounds.    They will keep you posted on events and initiatives for the track.

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I have worked on around 100 radio stations as a broadcaster and Meteorologist and I have seen a few tracks come and go and includes tracks like Hales Corner Speedway,  USA International in Lakeland,  Fairgrounds Speedway (Tampa),  Golden Gate Speedway and a few others and I hate that.   The tracks that remain face issues of rainouts,  selling out to new owners and I can guarantee you this,  that the people of Nazareth dirt and the tri-oval were  back.  There are some things that matter and to the racing community this is literally life and death.     Non-fans and politicians may not see the intrinsic good in a race facility but it is more than a sport.    It is an event and culturally invaluable.

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You’ve Got Another Thing Coming – Racing, Writing and Remembering

During the fifties and sixties the world was becoming fast and to keep up with the boom we needed food that could keep up.   We went from Drive-ins like A&W to the likes of McDonalds.    From full-service filling stations to what are you lazy?   Fill em yourself.

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While we were pumping gas ourselves the Motor City of Detroit was slowly evolving into what it is today.    From the quality and personality of the older cars to sedans like K-Cars,  Pintos,  Vegas and Chevettes.   From the handcrafted classics we got robots and automated systems siphoning off jobs while garnering owners and managers robust salaries with bonuses the size of a small town budget.   Pintos however were serviceable as race car bodies for all sorts of race cars and this includes the modifieds of Richie Evans,  Maynard Troyer (Troyer Chassis) and Geoff Bodine.

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Our movies too were changing,   from the maudlin caricatures of old mobster wives to the clammy feel of NJ and the Tony Soprano-like wise guys.     Ozzie and Harriet traded in the idyllic trappings complete with white picket fences to apartment complexes and cookie-cutter modular homes.   I had a 1974 Gremlin-X with the old 258 straight six.   Really awesome car except when it was icy and low on gas.    I had to steer into my skids on numerous occasions.     I used to sport a ‘FLY NAVY’  license plate on base,  while being in the Air Force.   I was all ready for some gung-ho lifer to give me a hard time.

And Yes|!  Elvis had left the house and Pink Floyd found his way in,  leaving us to ask,  “Which one is Pink?”    But blurrier still was the androgynous look of the 80s like Boy George and David Bowie, while in racing circles we went from tail-fins to Camaro-styled bodies to the ersatz style of Rocket-Chassis and the Troyer Mudd Bus.    In the year 2015 we have cars coming on like big-hair groups sans the hairspray.    Even the support divisions have dapper cars who,  if they went to Joseph A. Bank,  John Gotti would be impressed.   I need to finish the Sopranos and then move on again to ‘The Game of Thrones’.      But cars these days look pretty cool.     Bradley will make your car the talk of the town and wherever you race.    Get it hooked up,   then traverse the cities and towns looking for events to show off your cars with.

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Even today,   we continue to evolve as wraps have replaced traditional paint jobs with exotic and very good looking art work.   A kind of visual renaissance in an era of looking good means drawing quality sponsors.

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Wrap stars like Bradley Poor bring home the bacon today with impressive styles at affordable prices and the feeling that all changes are not necessarily bad.  Please contact him at his website or online at Facebook.   He is not only an artist of a kind but a driver too.

As always this blog is in the memory of Senior Master Sergeant Floyd M.  Parton who died two years ago of complications from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).   Veterans get this disease at a much higher rates than the civilian population.

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University of Tampa at night.   They won their 7th National baseball title in 2015.

Tino Martinez played there and holds most hitting records.

Paying It Forward; Racing’s Legacy in the Community.

This is a true story and the results of doing a good thing is often repaid richly.     This is no exception.   Back in the 90s I worked as a Support Group Facilitator for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America in Tampa.    During my stint as facilitator I also volunteered to do the annual Bowl-A-Thon fundraiser.

One of my first stops was the racetrack at East Bay Raceway Park in Tampa,  Florida.    The track manager was a former Air Force veteran and he got me going as well as connected with the track on a more or less permanent basis.   Ron Braaten  gave me the names of drivers who love to participate in charities,  so I purchased photographs of drivers and their cars and then got autographs.

We had twenty-two race car drivers from that track,   two big radio stations,  one TV station,   Jazz singer Belinda Womack and twenty-two football players from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.   The year previous the CCCFA had only two lanes and we had twenty-two.   That number keeps popping up.   Oh by the way,  we made a record $22,000 for that day and the drivers,  fans and football players all coalesced to a good cause.

I got mentioned on Channel 10 and Reginald Roundtree,  the anchor at NewsTen called me and asked me how I did it and I said,  “I didn’t,  we did”.    But I am going to tell you,  this event and others helped the track and the community.   I was also working with the Tampa Tribune’s Weather page and a friend of the sports racing division, a Miss Holly Cain.  She also helped with a friend who was able to get a week-by-week accounting of his racing exploits.

We’ve done events with the Taste of Town n’ Country,   Florida Blood Services of Tampa at Hooters near the Airport,  Crohn’s and Colitis of Tampa and a few others.   I even used to do tropical forecasts for a local Christian Radio Station DJ who was one of the sweetest,  kindest men of the cloth that I have ever known.   This while I was working for Q-105, WWBA and about 80-90 stations across the country.

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#22 of Johnny Gilbertson of Tampa.   I remember Johnny’s old #10 sprint car owned by Gary White and later he moved on to the #3 owned by Kenny Mulligan,   #42 of Paulie Milum.   Johnny was one of the first and I knew him since he was around 20ish.

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Bruce Watkins of the B12,  modified and limited late model.   Talked with him a lot on the phone and he too was there with the racing stuff on the day of the big bowling event.

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Did a lot with David Schmauss shown here in the Cardinal #105 Late Model.  He went on to be track champion at least once in his career.

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Bobby Alexander is an interesting story.   A big time star on both the asphalt and dirt tracks,  he used to race at Golden Gate Speedway,  East Bay Speedway, Tampa Fairgrounds and quite a few others including Tom Stimus’ Desoto Speedway.   While he was racing at what is now the Oldsmar Flea Market outside of Tampa,  he had befriended Gordon Solie,  the former WTBS-Ted Turner-owned Wrestling Program.   Tony Atlas and those days.   Gordon was track promoter at Golden Gate and had Bobby improvise,  TNT style.   Funny stories there but promotions and intel matter.

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One of my first friends at this track and since the Bowling Event.  he has either won or came in 2nd in points around ten times.   One of the classiest level-headed guys going and well-respected for that.   I remember when he sons were young and now all grown up.

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Kenny Adams was a national star in many respects and a big winner at East Bay.   I was told that his wife wanted him to come out of retirement just to beat Gene Lasker.  LOL.  Kenny was also a multi-time champ with ASCS Southern Tour and garnered some interest from upstate NY,  PA and CA.

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Gene Lasker –   Too many people see the wild side but if you have a need and are his friend,  he would do about most anything to that end.    We have done several events together for charities.   Kids just love him to death and a lot of adults are wary or intimidated by him and I think he doesn’t care either way.    He was the former American Winged Outlaw Champion in around 1996 and East Bay Champion in 1997.     He has raced for Hulk Hogan and Bubba the Love Sponge (gimmick) Clem.

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decaire-motorsports1  I have known the DeCaire family since father Terry DeCaire piloted the USA#1 Late Model at East Bay.   The family also helped with that as did Dirt Devil’s Speedway.

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Ed Lynch Jr

The Lynch family is from outside of the Pittsburgh area where Ed Lynch Jr, a second generation driver has totalled well over 200 feature wins.    I have worked with his Mom for over 25 years and have done charities where they helped out with raffle items much as we did with the bowl-a-thon.    The Lynches are racing royalty with Ed’s father and mother in the Sprint Car Hall-of-Fame in Knoxville,  IA.   What gets things done is partnering with a common goal and the sky is the limit.   Not one of the drivers who have helped have failed to have a winning career.   That is no accident whatsoever because if you strive to help others,  good things will follow.    Drivers rally together to help each other and their families.

So rather than mumble,  get out and rumble with life.  It matters!

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I took my chevy to the levy, but the Chevy was 55.

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I remember riding back on a bus from a wrestling tournament in which I did fairly well beating the number one seed and then getting pinned.  lol.   Charlie Brown couldn’t catch a break either,   I guess.    On the bus with the snow heavily falling I remember Don McLean wistfully popping off esoteric lyrics;  many of which had resonated with me.   I remember dancing in the gym and being born in February and making me shiver and the thought of my crush possibly seeing someone else.

It was a day when Rock and Roll and God were permitted to be sung or said.   Idealistic maybe,  but at the end of the day, that will be what matters most.   And as we wax poetically in a cape of invincibility,  the pieces all fit together.    “And the jester on the sidelines in a cast.”    And my main blog being,  ‘The Times Are Changin’.    A reverent nod to Bob Dylan and the perspicacity of the young McClean.     Who like in Vincent painted an indelible statue on the pantheon of auto racing history.   Likewise with the brand of our cars and stock cars they seemed almost perfect in form and in function.

The eclectic poets put down their pens.   The past which was ours is stilled remembered,  like a Polaroid snapshot we sung with our whiskey and rye much like our school’s fight song,  “you bring the scotch and I’ll bring the rye”.

Good times,  a bit of self-delusion,   we built a city within arenas playing the National Anthem and the song ‘Proud Mary’ which blared from cracked intercom speakers  during breaks in racing activity and the intermission.   A time of Drive-in theatres and Woodstock.   We encapsulated in a bubble,  a kind of time capsule in an era of war and rebirth.

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I do not know of a time in racing in which racing that had so much mystique as the day of Chevy and in particular but not restricted to,  the 55 Chevy.    In fact,  the popularity today is continuing with restorations of privately owned personal automobiles as the stock car that once was such a fixture in short track racing.

Like the Pinto and Gremlins and J-2000s which dominated modifieds,  the 55 is a marvel in itself.    Our own dad helped Dick Casterline with his #577 which was not a Chevy but of that era.    Ike Edmister’s old race car hauler which we used to slide through our yard with.    The old truck with a Late Model engine and besides Ike was pretty cool.

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I remember my dad and Dick partying, coming into my room and lifting weights with one hand (120 lbs) and me kind of shocked there.    Anyhow,  it is awesome how an era can say so much and the music reflecting the mood of those turbulent times.    We had this and this was enough.

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Wild action at Chemung Speedrome (Small)

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To all my old and new friends,  this song is dedicated to you.   To the drivers,  our parents and our children.  These were the days!!!!

Stockton Dirt Track – World of Outlaw Sprints

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http://www.stocktondirttrack.com/index.htmlsdt_woo2015

This track should not be confused with the New Stockton 99 Speedway that has operated since 1947 and is part of a complex of tracks owned by Tony Noceti.    Located at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds in Stockton, California offering dirt track events such as King of the West and World of Outlaws 410 winged sprint cars, USAC wingless sprint cars, AMA Pro Racing motorcycles, IMCA modifieds, & tractor pulls.

Stockton Dirt Track measures 3/8 of a mile located at the old horserace track at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds.   The World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series is a big time event at any of the 50 or so sanctioned tracks across the United States and Canada.

http://www.woosprint.com/

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http://www.woosprint.com/western-spring-shootout

Go out and support the series and the track.    It is worth the money and the weather be fine.   See you there!

21 OSEd Lynch Jr