NERF'ers Corner by Robert Echo

Geoff Bodine and the Big Red Machine: ROUND 2

Friday, June 9th, 1978 – NEW ENGLAND SPEEDWAY SCENE

NERFer's-CornerHey NERF’ers!!!  It’s your ol’ buddy, Robert “Howard Cosell” Echo here for another weekly fat chewing session.

WOW! How can anybody pass judgement on someone when they didn’t even witness the incident in question on May 19th at Stafford Motor Speedway.  You see, I was in the Press Box along with a dozen or so other News Media people.  The lady wrote the letter about the May 26th NERF’ers Corner was not in attendance at Stafford.

In the first paragraph of her letter, she said that some people might think you’re speaking out of line.  Definitely!  But also, you do have the right to speak your mind and this I respect.

Geoff Bodine in the 1978 version of Dick Armstrong's Nu Style Racing #1. Martinsville Speedway. Mike Adaskaveg Photo.
Geoff Bodine in the 1978 version of Dick Armstrong’s Nu Style Racing #1 at Clay Earles’ Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia. Mike Adaskaveg Photo.

I think you should read the article of May 26th again.  Not once in the column did I say that the crash was Geoff Bodine’s fault and right up until now I doubt if anyone other than the four drivers who were in the front two rows on the restart really know what happened.

As for the “I Hate Bodine” club, that wasn’t my idea but I thought it was a very interesting one and why not?  If you can have a club for a driver then why not one against him.  This world is filled with Pros and Cons.  Let’s face it; if I was Bodine I would like having an “I Hate” club in my honor showing that the fans know I’m there rather than having a bunch of people claiming to be racing fans throwing bottles and cans at me.  Oh!  You want to know where this happened?  It was at your hometown track, Seekonk Speedway on Saturday night, May 27th after fans thought Bodine purposely put out George Savary.  I wasn’t there and I cannot pass judgement as someone else did.

No one should hold Seekonk owner-promoter D. Anthony Venditti responsible for the actions of a few so-called racing fans who have criminal intentions of bodily harm.  This type of fan is not needed and if they are known, they should be barred from future events.

The thing was not so much the accident of May 19th but the action of Mr. Bodine following the crash.  The raising of the arms in what the fans thought was a victory sign, showing more compassion for his car than he did the injured Ken Bouchard and the “Victory Lane” remark of ;  “If these people were real racing fans, they would understand”.  If you had been in the stands, would you have accepted this remark without a single boo?

The NERF could not deny that Geoff Bodine was by far one of the greatest driving talents to strap themselves in behind the wheel of a Modified. Howie Hodge Photo.
The NERF could not deny that Geoff Bodine was by far one of the greatest driving talents to strap themselves in behind the wheel of a Modified. Howie Hodge Photo.

Geoff Bodine is a good driver if not the best and this I do not dispute.  With the equipment he has I don’t think he should have to put anyone into the wall at any track.  What I dislike is some of his actions and one that comes to mind happened at Riverside Park last year.

Bodine was my older son’s favorite driver but when he asked Bodine for his autograph one Saturday night, the driver of the Dick Armstrong #1 Pinto refused.  My son was a track regular last season but since the incident he has been turned off to auto racing and hasn’t attended a single race this year.  Would your favorite, George Summers, refuse to give an autograph to a fan.  Funny things happen when you become a star.  You seem to forget how you started and where you were before.  Aw heck!  Who cares…

Now on to other things!  For the letters we’ve had inquiring about the address of the “Bugsy Stevens Fan Club”.  The club’s president, Patti McConnell, has given me the info you want.  Here’s the address; Bugsy Stevens Fan Club, P.O. Box ****, East Providence, R.I. 02914. Membership fees are $3 for adults and $2 for children.  For your money you’ll receive one (1) autographed picture of Da Bugman, one (1) bumper sticker and membership card and the club’s newsletter.  If ya want a Stevens jacket, they are $18 for adults and the child’s is $16.50.  Adult T-shirts are $4 while the children’s cost $3. Other items available are bumper stickers – 50 cents; patches – $1.50 & 50 cents; pictures (Large) $4, (medium) $3, (small) $2.  You can also find the “Bugsy Stevens Fan Club” on Fan Club Alley beneath the grandstands on Friday nights at Stafford.  Stop down and see Patti and support the “Bugman”.

I received a very interesting fan club newsletter from a NESS counterpart this past weekend.  Thanks to Bob Paulin who pens “Maine-ly Racing”, a column on racin’ in the State of Maine. Bob sent me a newsletter from the “B&H Club” (Beds and Herts Stock Car Supporters Assn.).  The club follows stock car racing in all places, Merry Ole England from way ‘cross the Atlantic.  The newsletter has seven pages, front and back, of very interesting European stock car racing news and also indicates that this is probably one of the finest clubs anywhere in the world.  I pan on writing to the English club and will have future articles and addresses of the “B&H”.

*For those fans who may in any way be sensitive to republished columns penned over 30 years ago, please read the NERF’ers Corner by Robert Echo DISCLAIMER located in the Site Notices category or read the ABOUT page.  Thank you.

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