Author Topic: Racing History in the Southern Tier of New York  (Read 140669 times)

Reportertom

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Re: Racing History in the Southern Tier of New York
« Reply #200 on: April 09, 2010, 11:43:39 AM »
Half Fast Bob,

  Was that the old Ithaca-Dryden Speedway that you can still see a little bit of and is the home of Ringwood Raceway go-kart track now??
Tom Vartanian
Cortland Standard Sports Writer


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Half Fast Bob

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Re: Racing History in the Southern Tier of New York
« Reply #201 on: April 09, 2010, 03:26:07 PM »
Quote
Was that the old Ithaca-Dryden Speedway that you can still see a little bit of and is the home of Ringwood Raceway go-kart track now??


Reportertom...

No, sir. I've found an oval that appears to be about a half mile in size - not very far west of the town of Etna. The reason I suspect this could be a car track is that it was carved in the middle of nowhere and not anywhere close to a farm that would indicate it was used as a horse training facility at one time.

If anyone is in the area, take a drive west out of the town of Etna on Etna Road. You'll cross Wood Road continuing west, and will come to a set of high tension power lines that cross Etna Road. Stop. On the right side of the road is where this track is. It's nestled in the woods probably 100 yards off the north shoulder, and extremely visible from the satellite images.

And if you feel like pounding on doors to ask questions, start with the sawmill in the lower right corner of this picture. There is an obvious old tractor path leading from that property over to the area where this track is.

If they can have artists, pianists, florists, dentists and bicyclists... then I must be a racist.

blackjackracing

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Re: Racing History in the Southern Tier of New York
« Reply #202 on: April 09, 2010, 05:22:07 PM »
Yes the track where Ringwood raceway is WAS the Ithaca-Dryden Speedway...There was stuff posted earlier on this thread about a track that was built in that area (Ithaca Speedway) in 1951  but never raced and also I found mention of a track that was being built and was supposed to start up in 1959 in Etna...This track was being spearheaded by Hank Clark (he won the first race at Airpot Speedway)
BOB JOHNSON
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blackjackracing

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Re: Racing History in the Southern Tier of New York
« Reply #203 on: April 14, 2010, 09:43:55 PM »
Bob Fuller artilcle from the August 17th, 1958 edition of the Elmira Star-Gazette

Bob Fuller   WITH THE STOCK CARS
Midget Cars Returning To Area

   Friday will be a spectacular night for Chemung Speedrome. That's the night that promotor Jackie Markos will inaugurate the first midget car racing in this area in several years. Sanctioned by the Indianapolis Racing Assn., there will be at least 26 race cars guarenteed to compete and a few Indianapolis drivers present....

Bud Johnson of Alleghany won first place Saturday in the 100-lap Modified Championship. Local drivers competing were Jackie Baldwin, who finished third; Fred Brink, who finished fifth and Percy Brown, 12th after losing a wheel. Percy stayed overnight and won first place the following day at Hunt, N.Y. ...  Cecil Keister, now driving at Port Royal, Pa. (near Williamsport) for Al McClure of Troy...Bill Schroth will drive No. 7 in the modified from now on...Gordie Blanchard now using a new Chevy motor in 3A...Jake Miller says he's having a ball, driving a modern car for Southport Fire Dept. 

RAIN SPOILED the Glider City Sports Arena show last Sunday with 83 cars competing. This week three features will run first, then the regular race card which will include a mid-season 40 lap "modified' championship...Dick Karlnoski and Bill Chisholm, both from Dundee, are doing well at the two local tracks...Look for Earl Bodine to challange the "A" leaders as soon as he gets his car handling well.

Bucky Buchanan is moving up fast, along with Pete Schaeffer, at the Southport track...Bucky's still the leader at Towanda.... Bobby Jaynes is still having trouble keeping No. 1 on the track...Cliff Pierce blew the motor on No. 9 last week...47 modern cars are now running at Southport...Jack Soper won a big one at Chemung Saturday, but Bill Schroth had a chance all the way.

MEET THE DRIVER...Earl Zimdahl
   A veteran driver who started at Big Flats Airport Raceway (Tri-Cities  ed) in 1938, "Zim" (as most people call him) was top driver there along with Johnny Granger and Red Davis. His car was a 1927 Chrysler, which co-driver Davis termed the hottest on the track.
Money being scarce and welding so expensive, the car was literally braced and held together by baling wire and straps. Zim recalls that $3 for a heat win was good money then. Zim served in the Army during World War II and fought in Europe, being wounded once.
   He returned to stock car racing in 1950 when Corning started it's strictly stock policy. He's also driven at Wellsville,  Naples, Owego, Glen Aubrey, Five-Mile Point, Chemung and Southport in New York and Williamsport in Pennsylvannia. He has won at least one feature at every one of these tracks, except Southport.
   Zim drives No. 65, a Chevy in the modified class. At pesent he's high point man at Glider City track and sixth in point standings at Chemung. He's one of the few drivers who owns the car he drives.
   Zim is 37, married and lives in Horseheads with his wife, Regina, and their three daughters, aged 15, 11 and 5. He's a mechanic with his own place, the Zimdahl LaFrance Garage. He's well-liked by both drivers and fans and won the first feature-run at Chemung Speedrome. Unfortunately, Zim is under a doctor's care now. He's been suffering chest pains and loss of breath and possibly shouldn't have been driving the past two weeks. We certainly hope that the condition will clear up soon so that the fans can see the No. 65 back in action and better than ever.   
BOB JOHNSON
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Indian

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Re: Racing History in the Southern Tier of New York
« Reply #204 on: April 17, 2010, 01:44:35 AM »
Also someone mentioned the Le'mans start. I'm not sure if that's what they are setting up to do in this photo but it's possible. I've never had anyone definatively tell me what track this was shot at. There's no photo credit on it's reverse. Although they say the flagman is stocky like Al Dillon so it could be Chemung although the track looks too big to me! DALE

I've seen that picture a number of times and I think it was found to be taken at the Glider city race track.
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blackjackracing

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Re: Racing History in the Southern Tier of New York
« Reply #205 on: April 25, 2010, 11:30:24 AM »
Bob Fuller article from Sept. 28, 1958 edition of the Elmira Star-Gazette...

WITH THE STOCK CARS
Jack Soper, Area's Leading Driver

   George "Jack" Soper, originally from Troy Pa., and now living at 205 South Ave., Elmira, has been the area's most successful stock car driver this season.
A veteran of seven years of competition, the 23-year old Soper is high point driver at Chemung Speedrome, Angelica, Smithport and holds a one point lead over Jack Baldwin at the Southport track. He has collected 13 trophies this year and could add at least three more point trophies before the season concludes.
   He's also raced at such tracks as Glen Aubrey, Williamsport, Big Flats, Towanda, Addison Hill, Ovid and a few times at Pikes Peak Speedway while visiting Clorado Springs, Colo.
One of eight children in the family, he is joined in the sport by his mother and sister who often participate in powder puff events. Many have said that Jack's "youth"  is responsible for his success. My personal opinion is that it's certainly much more than that. Anyone who knows and talks to Jack recognizes that certain quality of a good driver which he has. He loves racing, whether he's on or off the course (as a mechanic at Dalsis Motors).
   Much of the credit won by Jack can be attributed to the help of Don Moyer, owner of car No. 48, and Cyril "Scotty" Kowinevich, it's mechanic. Whatever Jack wins with the car, a 1933 Chevrolet coupe with a 1957 Corvette engine, is split three ways. Jack also drives No. 118 on occasion.

DRIVERS FROM Towanda VFW Speedway did a great job of contributing $500 to the family of the late Hal Hoose. At the same time, the Penn-York Women's Assn. sold programs and contributed another $50...Port Royal Speedway will hold a benefit race for Hal's family Oct. 4....Mrs. Hoose wishes to thank each and every person for all they have done for the family.

   Chemung rained out yesterday...will have only one more night count in the point standings but  more races after that... Towanda finished it's season Friday night... Dundee Speedway has also been closed for the season, with Glen Reinners finishing as top point man.
   Sorry to hear of the death of Howard Tidd's mother, a frequent spectator at the races. It was especially difficult for Howard to hear the tragic news at the same hospital where he was being prepared for surgery...For certain today (barring rain again), there will be motorcycle races at Glider City Sports Arena, along with qualifying for next weekend's 100 lap modern
car feature ($100 first prize).   
BOB JOHNSON
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blackjackracing

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Re: Racing History in the Southern Tier of New York
« Reply #206 on: May 04, 2010, 08:34:32 PM »
Howdy....I  have uncovered the identity of the mystery track in Etna... Ready?...... it's the Ithaca-Dryden Speedway (DUH) which was in Etna. It was spearheaded by 'Hungry' Hank Clark, a top notch driver and the winner of the first race at Airport Speedway in Big Flats (NY) . I varified the dates today. this should have been a no-brainer as when you google-map Etna  Ringwood Raceway is right there in the map picture.
I'm sharing the last Bob Fuller article tonight. I don't know if he ever wrote again, but I personally enjoy them and as I've stated before, it's like opening a time-capsule. So, it was with great GLADNESS that I un-covered not one, but two series of articles in the 1959 Elmira Advertiser and the Sunday Telegram. I can't wait to share them with you guys and will get them on line as soon as I can fit it in my schedule.
BOB JOHNSON
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blackjackracing

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Re: Racing History in the Southern Tier of New York
« Reply #207 on: May 04, 2010, 08:37:15 PM »
From the Oct. 12th, 1958 edition of the Elmira Star-Gazette....enjoy

WITH THE STOCK CARS
By Bob Fuller


   As the 1958 season of stock car racing closes a few questions are brought to mind which bear considerable thought:
Has this been a favorable season for all concerned? Will the Atlantic Stock Car Club be able to pull itself together or is it finished?
Since it is quite evident that the Chemung Speedrome will continue to run Saturday nights, what nights will the other tracks try to operate next season?
   Included are the Glider City Sports Arena, Towanda, and the new track at Etna (near Ithaca). Will the modified class, especially in this area, be able to produce more cars, or is it dying a slow death? It would be difficult for me to find all the answers to these questions. However, I would like to pass along the feelings of a few who are involved.
   Ernie June, owner of two modified cars said: "When we first formed the Chemung Racing assn., we had a smooth running club bound together by a board of directors. Everyone had equal authority. Then something happened."
   "It now appears that two or three are trying to run the show and there is a lot of bickering. I probably am considered an outcast with the club for speaking for what I consider right." "I would like to see all the people connected with racing sit down together and hash out all the problems. Maybe we could call it 'a meeting for the betterment of racing' ".
   Hank Clark, veteran driver and past president of the Finger Lakes Racing Assn., which will be running the new track at Etna next year said:
"We haven't decided just what night we will run next year. We had considered Friday, but understand that a few other tracks may also try friday."  "We do not want to cause arguements or bad feelings with anyone. It is too bad we can't all get together".
   Chuck Benjamin, local driver and past president of the Penn-York Racing Assn. says: "The Towanda track is in the best condition since it was constructed."  "We are hoping for a big year next season. However, we do not know yet what day of the week we will run. We are forming new rules for next year at a meeting Wednesday in Towanda. I hope something will develop to get the clubs together over the winter months".
   Howard Tidd, promoter for the Atlantic association, said: "It's going to be expensive to erect lights for night racing, but we are making plans to do so. I would like to say that I will play ball with anyone who will meet me halfway. I always have treated the boys fairly and will continue to do so. Sometime over the winter we will decide what night we will race."
   Harold Hoyt, vice-president of the Atlantic association, said: "There  definitely will be a re-orgainized Atlantic club by next spring. As soon as all the tracks are through racing for the year, there will be a meeting. We will discuss whatever is wrong with the club and straighten it out."  "Several boys have made a few suggestions which may help. We don't know what track we will run, if any, but there is definitely going to be an Atlantic club".
   Since the majority of stock car people express the same hope-  peaceful negotioations among all clubs-  why don't they sit down together and iron out the difficulties?
I would like to go out on a limb and suggest that everyone connected with stock cars in this area schedule a meeting. How about Wednesday night Dec. 3? Those interested call me. As this is my last article for the season, I would like to express my gratitude to all for the fine cooperation.
BOB JOHNSON
"Faster than a greased cheetah strapped to the front of a bullet train"
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blackjackracing

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Re: Racing History in the Southern Tier of New York
« Reply #208 on: May 04, 2010, 08:49:37 PM »
I found a little bit of info on Roulette Speedway in or by Galeton Pa. The article said it was a 1/3 mile banked track and said to be the fastest in the area. The artcle was published on May 29th, 1959 and stated they had been running for a few weeks. (amazing in that Chemung had been washed out one week and didn't open the next due to the cold....die-hards baby!) The first week Elmira's Jim Leonard won the opener in the #98. Galeton's John Schoener scored the win the next week in the # 51.
BOB JOHNSON
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Beenthere

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Re: Racing History in the Southern Tier of New York
« Reply #209 on: May 04, 2010, 09:50:40 PM »
As always, Bob, thanks for all the hard work in bringing these articles to us.
They bring back many memories.
Thanks again, and I look forward to whatever you find in the future.

blackjackracing

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Re: Racing History in the Southern Tier of New York
« Reply #210 on: May 05, 2010, 09:22:42 PM »
Thanks Beenthere... amazingly enough I got an e-mail from Jackie Soper today. I talked to him a few weeks ago...Very Nice Fellow. I am FLOORED by his accomplishments!
Anyways...I'm pressed for time tonight and I'll share his insights next chance I get, but one thing he cleared up was the demise of Glider City Sports Arena. My questions was that with the success they seemed to have how could they not have run in 1959?......he relayed that it was due to zoning and noise. Imagine that!
Also, in one of the articles I found it was reported that Bob Fuller was moving to Florida, so that answers that question...
BOB JOHNSON
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bakes

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Re: Racing History in the Southern Tier of New York
« Reply #211 on: May 05, 2010, 09:51:32 PM »
I found a little bit of info on Roulette Speedway in or by Galeton Pa. The article said it was a 1/3 mile banked track and said to be the fastest in the area. The artcle was published on May 29th, 1959 and stated they had been running for a few weeks. (amazing in that Chemung had been washed out one week and didn't open the next due to the cold....die-hards baby!) The first week Elmira's Jim Leonard won the opener in the #98. Galeton's John Schoener scored the win the next week in the # 51.

There is a definitely speedway-ish looking feature on Google Maps at the southerly end of Schoonover Road about a mile or so east of Galeton, but it looks too small to be a 1/3 mile oval.  It's located just east of 2268 Elk Run Rd, Gaines, PA 16921

blackjackracing

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Re: Racing History in the Southern Tier of New York
« Reply #212 on: May 18, 2010, 05:57:36 PM »
From the June 17th, 1959 Elmira Sunday Telegram.........

Racing Notes

Stock Car Language Doesn't go Unnoticed

By Bob Wilbur

   Stock car terminology, as in other sports, can be a bit confusing. Time is of the essence on the tracks and the drivers, mechanics and owners can hardly be expected to have a
chat during a pit stop or at pre-race time.
   Therefore, a stock car lingo popped up to save both time and breath. To begin with, the drivers seldom refer to the track as such but rather classify it as an oval. This term holds forth for any track, regardless of size.
   A bad jug could be very costly. Jug in this sense refers to the carburetor. When a driver goes "into a slide", he isn't taking his car over the wall or through the fence but is merely conforming to pattern after making one of the turns.

   Another phrase, "burning it", comes into view at the "slide". On occasion, drivers will use too heavy a foot on making the turn. The motor roars and the tires spin. Accident wise, the words "flip" and "pile-up" come up. A flip refers to a rollover while the pile-up involves two or more cars in a collision.
   All fuels are fitted into the category of "juice'. Proper handling of the turns is called "cornering" and  "stacks" refer to the exhaust pipes. The motor is a "mill" and everything on the car is measured in "cubes" or cubic inches.
   If you see anyone "riding the hub", chances are he'll still be behind the wheel. This refers to a car hugging the inside sail during a race. The straightway  in front of the grandstand is named the "chute" while the straightway away  from the grandstand is the "backstretch".

   This year, of all years, there'll be plenty of bugs on the track. "Bug" has been associated with the car that has the most modification change. Naturally, if you "de-bug" a car, you'll be taking it out on trial runs looking for any knocks or mechanical trouble that might appear during a race.
   A "feather- footer" is one who drives at a half -throttle while a "lead-footer" operates with a full-throttle. A "screamer" refers to a motor's highest pitch while a "mag" is the distributor's title.
   Extra wide tires are called "slicks" and the 'line-up" involves the cars and starting positions before a race. A "hot one" applies to a fast car and "putting on the binders" gives reference to hitting the brakes.

   AREA NOTES:  Weather permitting, it'll be test time today for new stocks built by veteran hard-top driver Ernie June. June has been granted permission to try out 59x and 58x at the Towanda track, and if all goes well, the cars will be able to make a swing this weekend towards Angelica, Olean and Hornell.
   "I've had ideas on these lines for years," said June, "but the stiff rules and regulations imposed held me back. There was a definite easing last year and I was able to construct these two models"   Percy Brown and Fred Brink will handle the new models owned by June and his wife Betty.
   Angelica opened it's season last Friday..... The proposed new track at Perry (1/2 mile) will not be open in time for racing this year..... Another opening, this time in Hornell, has been delayed. The Hornell season was slated to begin this afternoon but has been set for next Sunday (May 24) instead.
   
BOB JOHNSON
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justmark

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Re: Racing History in the Southern Tier of New York
« Reply #213 on: May 18, 2010, 08:32:14 PM »
Think if Perry was a 1/2 mile track!
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Re: Racing History in the Southern Tier of New York
« Reply #214 on: May 27, 2010, 09:44:13 PM »
from the May 23rd, 1959 edition of the Elmira Star-Gazette.

Racing Article

Rather Race Stocks Than Eat---- Ernie June

By Bob Wilbur

   It would take less than 30 seconds for you to discover that Ernie June is a real racing enthusiast. His type of racers, however, aren't of the animal variety found at Belmont or Jamacia - instead, they're the four- wheel, power-type at Chemung, Angelica or Olean Raceways.
   "I'd rather race stocks than eat," said June, who once or twice has set aside the racing helmet to deal strictly with the mechanics of  stock car racing. The temptation to get behind the wheel remains strong and, on occasion, June has taken the wheel for a practice run.
   Percy Brown and Fred Brink handle the driving chores for June's newly modified models. "Keeping a car in tip-top shape is enough for one man to worry about without driving too," said June. "Percy and Fred have handled the job well and we've had fair luck on the circuit."
   
                  *   *   *   *
   When did this racing bug bite June? He was a spectator 14 years ago, got interested  and teamed up with former area car-owner Henry Leister. "I had big ideas regarding a car of my own someday," June said. "It took me four years to build but I never did race it. Finally sold it and the last I heard it was in Canada."
   Through 1948 and 1949, June raced cars but with a minimum of success. He was at the Corning Stadium in 1948 and at Owego in 1949 among other places. June remarked, "I raced at Addison four times one year and won twice. Hung up my helmet then and decided to go into business for myself. Bucky Dew, Ithaca, drove for awhile. Real great guy."
   Ernie and his wife,  Betty, now own and work on the 59x and 58x. The relaxing of the stock car standards has enabled June to modify his cars to a great extent. "Had the cars out on the track last week for the first run. You've got to get the bugs out before the start of the races."
   When June said he spent quite a bit of time working on the cars, he wasn't kidding. Broken parts, squeals, squeeks, the sterring mechanism, etc., all have to be checked after every weekend. The midnight lamp is on throughout the week at the June garage.

   *   *   *   *
   Last Year, June was the victim of one of those jarring experiences that happen to owner-mechanics. "The engine fell out of the old 59x in Olean," said June, "but we welded the block and had her ready for action again."
   The other car had it's moments. The front end of the 58x was smashed in as a result  of a pileup but once again the mechanic's touch put it back on the track.
   June readily admits that racing has changed considerably since he raced sprint cars at Shangri-La near Owego. The track, incidentlly, was at one time considered one of the east's fastest 1/2 mile tracks. June even remembers when 18,000 fans were on hand to watch the races.
   June remarked, "There's a lot of young blood in the game today. The opening weeks of the new season are constantly getting harder. Everybody's trying out new styles and you just don't know what's going to happen anymore. The competition has improved considerably."
   The veteran also noted the percentage of Elmira drivers touring the western part of the state. "I was at Olean last week and I'd say 60 percent of the performers were from the Elmira area," said June.

   *   *   *   *

   Talk of loose driving, smash-ups and the like haven't the slightest chance with June. "If a driver has good sense, he'll make it. Straight thinking and driving sense will keep you in the race."
   The helmet on the wall may come off again this year since June is far from hiding his zeal for the sport. His last big effort came on the hard-top at Brewerton where he drove his wife's car in the Class-B New York State-Canadian 100-lap non-stop race.
   June added, "It's a tough sport and there's not much of a gain, but it's in my blood and if it weren't for eating and sleeping, I'd be with the car's every minute." 
BOB JOHNSON
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blackjackracing

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Re: Racing History in the Southern Tier of New York
« Reply #215 on: May 27, 2010, 09:55:04 PM »
Picture that accomponied the above article...caption reads as follows:
INSPECTION---Ernie June gives one of his modified models the inspection treatment following last week's trial run. The veteran driver-turned mechanic spends a great deal of time working on the cars getting them ready for the weekend run.
BOB JOHNSON
"Faster than a greased cheetah strapped to the front of a bullet train"
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luvsracin

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Re: Racing History in the Southern Tier of New York
« Reply #216 on: May 28, 2010, 12:23:47 AM »
I was a very young boy and my father and the rest of my family went to all most all the races that Ernie June went too, my Uncle was Fred Brink who drove for Ernie. I love racing and its all do to following Junes cars racing at all the tracks in New York. It could be Ihaca-Dryden, Chemung, Angelica, Olean, Cuba, and many more and our family would go two and sometimes three times a week to see My Uncle race Ernie Junes cars, always had too many cars as they ran many consis to cut the full field of cars, I loved it....

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Re: Racing History in the Southern Tier of New York
« Reply #217 on: May 28, 2010, 12:21:13 PM »
First of all blackjack, my name is Walt Sherwood. I just re-registered again this morning, been away from this board for quite awhile. I wanted to touch on a few points you brought up and that is you mentioned and I quote

"I found a little bit of info on Roulette Speedway in or by Galeton Pa."

Galeton is a good 35 miles west of Roulette which was between Coudersport and Port Allegany, Pa. The track you speak of was in Roulette near the drive-in back in the late 50's. My Dad (Harold "Shifty" )raced there along with Dean Layfield as teammates and Squirt Johns, two legends in this part of the country, and on that rare occasion Jackie Soper. They were working in conjunction with McKean County Raceway in Smethport, Pa (which remains open today) to make sure they never ran on the same night, which didn't happen because Roulette didn't stay open for very long, but you're right, the place was really fast and had a wicked hairpin in turn three that tested every driver that competed there. My Dad never really took to the place but Layfield loved it because with his immense talent he would always be in contention for the win which he did quite frequently.

Another point I read on here my good friend Tangletongue mentioned something about there being two or more "Sportsmen Speedways " in Pa between 1959-1965. Yes; this was the one which he mentioned was Gaylord Miller's high banked oval:), you had to see the place to believe it, I can still see the late great Floyd Green's car sitting perpendicular up the flag pole which was covered in mounds and mounds of dirt. Gaylord and his trusty sidekick, the happy go lucky George Chilson, loved piling up dirt wherever they could pile it which made for the highest piles of dirt you would ever see between turns 2 and 3. Cars that managed to go over the turn 3 piles of dirt could end up down in the jingweeds heading towards Mills, Pa :). Like I reiterated before, you had to see the place to believe it. We only lived three miles from the track and it was nothing for my father (Shifty) to load up the multiple cars we would run and have a race right down the main highway to get to the track. He would even suit up our huge German Shepherd dog named "Silver" in his lucky number 11JR helmet complete with sunglasses and Silver would always ride shotgun right to the track. The dog loved being suited up, he would've raced right in the car with Shifty if the track officials would've let him. Gaylord was so tight back then he charged my Dad a dollar for the dog to get in for admission. :)

The other Sportsmen track you would be referring to was in Knox, Pa which was in central Pa near Clarion  Back in 1990 when Don Kio and Walt Mitchell were driving for Shifty in their modifieds we went there on occasion. Don and Walt took turns winning races down there, our cars were really superior to those guys who were racing there, we were pretty fortunate. My two late younger brothers Lyle and Kevin helped crew chief for Mitchell while my brother Bob would crew for Kio. Great times indeed !

And finally, you showed a great story about the second favorite driver I ever saw race right behind Dean Layfield in my mind and that was Jackie Soper. For nine years Jack would come up to my place where I used to live in Wellsville, NY and hunt on my 120 acre spread. He not only was a great stock car driver, but he was an even better hunter. The guy is amazing ! He has tales of the past that sportswriters should be tapping into about the local racing scene in our areas. If anyone ever gets the chance, look Jackie up, Godspeed to the man, he'll always be one of my racing heroes.

Until then, next week it'll be 5 long agonizing years since I lost my little brother Lyle at Woodhull. I miss ya alot, little buddy !
Old time racing is still the premise of what is and always be the best racing EVER between men, women and machines !

The number 171128 in my name signifies my brother Lyle's number 17, the 11 for my brothers Kevin and Bobby, and 28 for my father's 1958 Mercury he won so many features in

blackjackracing

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Re: Racing History in the Southern Tier of New York
« Reply #218 on: May 28, 2010, 06:39:01 PM »
WOW...welcome back  Walt....I'm sure I'm speaking for everyone who reads this in that we'd love to hear more from you!!!  I got to talk to Jackie a little bit and he is the nicest guy. I AM FLOORED by the fact he won 50 odd races in one summer...Anyway, thanks for sharing and don't be a stranger!
BOB JOHNSON
"Faster than a greased cheetah strapped to the front of a bullet train"
www.QUICKSKINZ.com

WaltS171128

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Re: Racing History in the Southern Tier of New York
« Reply #219 on: May 28, 2010, 07:39:40 PM »
Thanks blackjack, and it's true about what Jackie won between 1957-59. I do know he won 52 races in I believe 1958 but ya gotta' realize Jackie was racing (everywhere). Chemung, Angelica, Cuba Lake, McKean, Roulette, Dalton which was Hunt, Perry, and a few stops around Lancaster and North Collins, Wherever there was a race, it seemed like he would just show up and kick the tar outa' other racers. I always wanted to see him in a match race with Dean Layfield to see who the better man was, but it never came about, God, how I wished it had. Those two drivers were just unstoppable when they competed in their respective classes. Dean would race in the "modern" class that's what it was called at most area tracks, and Jack would run what they called those great little B-Modifieds. Jack, Curly Wilson, Cecil Keister, Billy Schroth, Fran Pezzimenti, God, I could go on and on. Trouble is the older I'm gettin, the more I seem to forget these days. Dam old age anyways ! Dean and my father were teammates between 1958-61 driving Studebakers, Mercurys, whatever car they'd put together they raced it. I read somewhere on here from a fan who said that Dean died on a Sunday in late August in 1961 at Perry, but in actuality Dean lived 4 and a half days after that stone flew through the side of his car and basically put him in a coma, but eventually he passed away on a Friday morning in a Buffalo hospital. My Dad was supposed to be in that race in one of the team cars but he decided to go to Hunt to race that same night because he was high point man. Suffice it to say, we never raced that night because of Dean and my father went to Buffalo to be with Dean's wife Alice. It was a real sad deal, and one I'll never forget. I lost my uncle, who also had the name Lyle (Shifty's younger brother) back in that fatal year of 1961 at the age of 18 and on the night of his graduation in a car wreck on 22 June and then two months later Dean was gone as well. But, my little brother Lyle was born right between those two fatalities on 24 July. So weird is this world at times. My brother Lyle died almost 24 hours after his only child Amanda graduated from her high school five years ago come 4 June. They'll never be able to prove or convince me that fate doesn't work in mysterious ways in everyone's life. I've always been a numerology freak and I could tell tales about certain people's life and death that would make people stand up and think.

But in closing, I SO loved the racing back in the day when you could just cobble up a car right off the street, put the welder to her and build ya a cage, put in one hell of a powerplant, put on four scrub tires right out of a junkyard, enough to last ya one race, add the oil, and in Dean and Shifty's case, stand there for 15 minutes and put a can of STP in her. :) According to the two of them, that was the secret to everything when it came to engine durability especially in those 100 lappers that Perry Raceway loved to run.

Like I said, if ya want some truthful fantastic racing stories of the good ol days in the Southern Tier of NY and northern Pa get a hold of Jackie and equip yourself with a good tape recorder and about 10 blank tapes, he'll fill 'em all for ya....until then
« Last Edit: May 28, 2010, 07:52:21 PM by WaltS171128 »
Old time racing is still the premise of what is and always be the best racing EVER between men, women and machines !

The number 171128 in my name signifies my brother Lyle's number 17, the 11 for my brothers Kevin and Bobby, and 28 for my father's 1958 Mercury he won so many features in

luvsracin

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Re: Racing History in the Southern Tier of New York
« Reply #220 on: May 28, 2010, 10:34:41 PM »
I had a few Uncles who raced back then and I cheered them all on and of course one of my favorite drivers of all time, Jackie Soper. What a driver, racer this man was, he and I still keep in contact Thur emails after I met him in person when my father introduced me to him. This was after his great years of the 50's and 60's when we met going to Phoenix for an Indy car race, the stories this man has to tell. Someone should get a hold of this all-time great a record his records and stories, they are priceless.  jmo

Tangletongue

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Re: Racing History in the Southern Tier of New York
« Reply #221 on: May 29, 2010, 07:24:24 AM »
WELCOME BACK WALT! Not much time this AM, but a quick question: My memories may be  a bit jumbled, but the other Sportsman Speedway that I was thinking about was in Rew, Pa, between Bradford and Smethport. What sticks in my mind is that it was run by the local Fire Dept. and I believe Jim Williams (among other locals) raced there a few times prior to Woodhull opening... I'm guessing around 1964. I haven't been able to find much info on it. Any thoughts?

WaltS171128

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Re: Racing History in the Southern Tier of New York
« Reply #222 on: May 29, 2010, 12:37:23 PM »
Yeah, Rew, Pa is just up the road here from where I live now, it's the old Bradford, Pa Speedway which is still racing by the way, and yes, ( Rew ) it's between Smethport and Bradford. It has quite a history to it, they ran some of the first Nascar races ever from back in the late 40's to mid 50's with Lee Petty and the Flock boys, etc. Junior Johnson raced up here, and I believe you're right, the fire company (did) have a hand in on the maintaining of the track. I believe Bradford was the first Pa. track, or one of the first, to host a Nascar race back in the day. They had a big race up here in the 60's and 70's called " The Kendall 100 "; it ran at least once a year. alot of local legendary drivers like Joe Tomes, Ron Baker, Bud Johnson, Don Kio, Ray Jordan, Bill Layfield, the Pistner boys, Al Skiver, alot of the names escape me but if I read or seen them again, my mind could clear up and recall them. :) If u recall, Kendall was the oil of choice over this way and they sponsored this race for years.

And yes, thanks, I'm glad to be back on again myself, great hearin from ya' again, Morgan
« Last Edit: May 29, 2010, 01:18:25 PM by WaltS171128 »
Old time racing is still the premise of what is and always be the best racing EVER between men, women and machines !

The number 171128 in my name signifies my brother Lyle's number 17, the 11 for my brothers Kevin and Bobby, and 28 for my father's 1958 Mercury he won so many features in

Tangletongue

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Re: Racing History in the Southern Tier of New York
« Reply #223 on: May 30, 2010, 10:02:48 AM »
Thanks for putting it together Walt. Makes sense, but Rew and Bradford were talked of as being two different tracks by a couple of people I spoke with. I'll defer to your knowlege of that area.
You mentioned Bradford and NASCAR... Junior Johnson won the 1958 event there in a "57 Ford over Lee Petty and Bob Duell (Duell was a western Pa. native). Dean Layfield was 19th in a brand new '58 Chevy from Pearsall Motors in Shinglehouse Pa. That was the year that Dean drove that Chevy to Daytona Beach, removed the lights and plates, raced his way to a 12th place finish in what I believe was the last beach race, put the plates back on and the lights back in and drove it back home to Wellsville.
Heidelburg Speedway in Pittsburg hosted the first NASCAR event in Pa. in 1949, and still holds the distinction of being the track that had the highest finishing female driver in NASCAR history. Sara finished fifth.

WaltS171128

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Re: Racing History in the Southern Tier of New York
« Reply #224 on: May 30, 2010, 04:27:59 PM »
No, it was just one track located in Rew but called Bradford, go figure, huh :). And yes that 1958 race Dean raced in was the " Permatex " race in Daytona, it was not long after that in the same year when he and my Dad put a bunch of cars together down in Wellsville at Dean's garage to race at a multitude of local tracks. His brother Bill told me some fascinating stories about that Daytona trip just before he died, if I get some time someday I'll share a few, but Smoky Yunick was a big influence on Dean when he was at that race. And yes, I still recall old Heidelburg Speedway; but I always found it kinda' funny that the first Bill France chose Pennsylvania to branch out his brand new NASCAR sanction; could it be that he thought the racing was pretty good up here in these parts, something to ponder, huh ?
« Last Edit: May 30, 2010, 04:30:38 PM by WaltS171128 »
Old time racing is still the premise of what is and always be the best racing EVER between men, women and machines !

The number 171128 in my name signifies my brother Lyle's number 17, the 11 for my brothers Kevin and Bobby, and 28 for my father's 1958 Mercury he won so many features in


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