NERF'ers Corner by Robert Echo

Memorial Day Weekend Present and Past

Memorial Day Weekend is like a second Christmas for us auto racing fans!

It’s a weekend to pay tribute and honor our fallen armed forces heroes who have given the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedom in the United States of America.  It’s a time we also pay our respects and remember our family members, friends and racing heroes no longer with us.

As is the norm there is an overabundance of special events taking place at many of our local speedways across the nation as well as the big televised series’ traditions of the Monaco Grand Prix, Indianapolis 500, and Charlotte’s Coca-Cola 600.

Formula One’s Monaco Grand Prix is not known for much passing unless it takes place via pit stops.  The speeds by these technilogical engineered masterpiece open wheeled machines flying through a narrow street circuit layout, that hasn’t changed much since 1929, is breathtaking.  If racing the famed Bristol Motor Speedway is described as flying a fighter jet inside an airport hanger then Monaco is like flying a fighter jet in a subway system.  Of course as in any F1 event, when you throw the factor of running rain or shine especially at Monaco, it adds to the intrigue.  For us open wheel fans it’s a great way to start Sunday morning off right.

Then comes “The Greatest Specticle in Racing”.  Over the last few years Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Indianapolis 500 has become thee best race of Memorial Day weekend’s 3 big series events.  Last years event alone had 64 lead changes between 14 drivers in comparison to Charlotte’s 600 that had 2 less leaders and 40 less lead changes with 100 more miles of racing.  This year’s 98th running of the traditional 11 rows of 3 are expected to hit speeds of 224+ mph in race trim.  Should be another barn burner of a race and a can’t miss.

Charlotte’s Coca-Cola 600 ends the big televised series events on Sunday night with a 400 lap beating and banging battle of speed and survival.  Charlotte’s races have always been decent events.  I don’t know about you, but when you add lights to an auto racing event it makes it that much sweeter.

Tonight Stafford Motor Speedway hosts the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour with the TSI Harley-Davidson 125.  Saturday night Oswego Speedway’s Jim Shampine/Richie Evans Memorial Twin 75’s take place.  Monadnock Speedway has The Granite State Granite State Pro Stock Series in town for the Monadnock 100 on Saturday night as well.  ACT is at the Thunder Road Speedbowl for it’s Memorial Day Classic on Sunday.  That’s a few of the special events special events taking place.  With all the racing facilities across the nation in full swing it doesn’t get any better!

This latest republishing of the NERF’ers corner by Robert Echo was written right before Memorial Day weekend in 1978.  It was a weekend the NERF took a racing vacation and traveled up north to see young super-talent Tom Rasati run at the famed Oxford Plains Speedway.

Back in 1978, unless you were on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway grounds, you could only listen to the race live on the radio.  Only after the nightly news ran on your local ABC station did they broadcast the Indy 500 tape delayed.  Remember those days?

Enjoy this Memorial Day weekend’s republishing of another classic NERF’ers Corner and we wish ALL OF YOU a safe and happy auto racing fan’s second Christmas wherever you might be attending.  Enjoy the racing!


Friday, June 2nd, 1978 – SPEEDWAY SCENE


Hi New England Racing Fans. Wish you were here…. Oh Ya wanta know where here is.

Well for this Memorial day weekend we’ve moved “NERF’ers Corner” Headquarters to the sunshine and sand of Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. Da sun is bright, the sand is warm, the water is cool and Oh-h-h-h dem “bikinis”.

Before I go any further with this column, this is the weekend we pay tribute to our war dead. At the same time we should honor the departed racing drivers such as Don MacTavish, Dick Dixon, Bobby Issacs, Peter Revson, Les Ley, Gary Colturi and the many many more that will no longer thrill us on the speedways. A minute of silence please in their memory.

Ya wanta know why I’m here at Hampton Beach instead of an auto race. Well this is just a few hour stop over before we head for Oxford Plains Speedway in Oxford Maine.

I’m here at Hampton with my little ol’ wifey and no her name is not Fang, it’s Bonnie. We are also in the company of my long time racin’ buddy John DeAngelo, and we’re headed up to see a young man from our home area take on the Late Model Sportsman kings from the North and South.

Tom Rosati was one of the most exciting young talents in the late 70's racking up a ton of wins at Stafford Motor Speedway. In 1978 he won 10 Sportsman features cruising to a second straight track title at the age of 17. Howie Hodge photo.
Tom Rosati was one of the most exciting young talents in the late 70’s racking up a ton of wins at Stafford Motor Speedway. In 1978 he won 10 Sportsman features cruising to a second straight track title at the age of 18. Howie Hodge photo.

I’m talkin’ about seventeen year old Tom Rosati out of Agawam, Mass. Tom is the younger brother of John Rosati who was once one of the LMS stars at Catamount and Thunder Road and presently a standout in the Modifieds at Stafford, Seekonk and Thompson. Tom is the defending Limited Sportsman Champion at Stafford, winning twelve of sixteen races there last year. He is well on his way again this season taking all three LTD events to date. Last week he finished tenth at Sanair International Speedway in St Pie, Quebec taking on the kingpins of LMS. The week before in another Norther NASCAR 100 lapper, he ran second for better than 40 laps when a slower car put him out of action.

He’s a comer of the future, so when you’re at an LMS track keep an eye out for the orange 07. Could be the Rosati’s might follow in the footsteps of some other famous racing brother combos such as the Allison’s Unsers and Snevas. Remember the big stars got their starts in somewhat the same fashion.

In 1979 Tom Rosati shocked the Northeast with a huge victory in the Oxford 250.
On July 15th, 1979 Tom Rosati became the youngest driver to win the prestigious Oxford 250 by beating the very best for a $10,000 payday. Howie Hodge photo.

Speaking of the “Racing Rosatis” I’m curious as to whether there are fan clubs for either of these two young gentlemen and if not, Why. They’re the young winning breed and should have their own clubs to support them.

Oh yeah. Had many comments on last weeks “NERF’ers Corner” and have been told that an “I Hate Bodine” club is in the works. They will be using existing Bodine shirts and will make some alterations to the lettering. Love for ones actions and methods sure brings out the best in us, eh. Photos of Bodine passing Bugsy Stevens in the May 19th feature clearly show Bodine on the track apron in what is supposedly an illegal move. Oh well.

Just wonderin’ if Toodi sent in for her membership to the Darrell Waltrip Fan Club. I sure thought the “Young Lion” had the “Mason Dixon 500” well in hand when ol’ Mother Fate put her foot down on the Gatorade 88. Waltrip is my kind of man. At one of the Grand National races a few weeks ago, he thought his pit crew cost him the win with their slowness. What did he do? Well, he had them up at 5 am running roadwork like a boxer and doing physical exercises to speed up their pit hustle. ‘Atta boy Darrell!

This weeks Grand National Fan Club address is for the winner of the “Mason-Dixon 500” who recently joined Richard Petty as the only other GN driver to capture 100 career victories or more. Here’s the address: David Peterson! Wood Brothers Fan Club – Mount Airy, N.C.. Yes Toodi, you can join them all. Last year Toodi named me as the co-winner of her “Fan of the Year” award. She made one mistake, she forgot herself. Toodi Gelinas has got to be the Number One “NERF” Toodi. For a prize I’ll see if I can get you the address for the “Reggie Ruggerio Fan Club.”

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