NERF'ers Corner by Robert Echo

Last Week a Super One and Alsup Too!

– Friday, July 13th, 1979 –

LAST WEEK A SUPER ONE AND ALSUP TOO!

It’s tough to pen a column week in and week out when I you get around to the various New England Speedways like you once did and instead have to put your efforts into a track you’re involved in operating.

My first obligation is to Claremont Speedway CODA (Claremont Owners and Drivers Association) it’s competitors and fans.

To the fans who read this column; I’ll try to write a NERF’ers Corner as often as I can, but not being able to get to some of the other speedplants makes it tough to come up with enough to write about.

Okay, now you’re probably wondering who I’m going to pick on this week. Nobody. I’ll just cover a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

The flyer from the second round of the Super Star Series in 1979 at Star Speedway.  Cynthia Tebbetts collection. (Click to enlarge)
The flyer from the second round of the Super Star Series in 1979 at Star Speedway. Cynthia Tebbetts collection. (Click to enlarge)

We ventured to Star Speedway to see the second round of the “Super Star Series” and along with my son Jared we decided to take the Claremont Speedway Pace Car donated by Claremont Toyota-Volvo.

We were invited to pace the second half of the Super-Modified event along with Star’s regular Pace Car and the WOTW Radio Speedline Pace Car. It was my first time trying to drive a pace car and it scared the hell out of me. We were clocking speeds around 55 mph and the little Celica I was driving wanted to exit the speedway everytime we got halfway through the turns so before I put this new brand new machine into the wall I decided to park it in the infield. The other two pace cars ran off and left me and half the Supers too.

Here I thought I was going to give the “Rapid Roman” Super a run for the money and I almost got lapped before the event got underway. Now I know how Mohammed Ali felt when he got beat by Leon…..ah Leon….what’s his name. Oh well! Ya know what I mean or do ya?

Side 2 of the Super Star Series flyer. Cynthia Tebbetts collection (Click to Enlarge).
Side 2 of the Super Star Series flyer. Cynthia Tebbetts collection (Click to Enlarge).

Anyway! It was a good show with Jim Shampine taking advantage of a mistake by Dick Batchelder for the Super win and Richie Evans, who used slower traffic to his advantage, bested Ron Bouchard by inches in the Modified event.

Some say it was the biggest turnout of cars and fans ever at Star Speedway.

Several Claremont Speedway competitors ventured to Catamount Stadium for the “Twin Spirits of ’79” run the same night, July 3rd, as the Star show.

Jerry Cook won the show and the best finish by a CODA driver and car was Dave Grants in the Jack’s Auto Parts Pinto bodied Modified with a 4th place and Indy car driver Bill Alsup finished 6th in the Dave Cowdry owned Pinto bodied Modified generally driven by Robbie Patterson at Claremont. Other CODA competitors in attendance were Dwight Jarvis, Punky Caron and Wayne Labrie. Jarvis lost a water pump. Caron suffered motor problems and Labrie dumped an engine.

Richie Evans won the Open Modified portion of the 2nd Super Star Series event in 1979. Howie Hodge photo 1980.
Richie Evans won the Open Modified portion of the 2nd Super Star Series event in 1979. Howie Hodge photo 1980.

A couple of weeks ago we had Bill Alsup and his McClaren Offenhauser Indy Champ Car at Claremont and I had the chance to have somewhat of an in depth talk with him.

Alsup is a member of CART which has become the outlaw organization in Indy car racing according to USAC. CART stands for Championship Auto Racing Teams while USAC is the United States Auto Club. I’m not going to get into the CART-USAC feud as I don’t have time and there’s not enough pages in Speedway Scene to cover this soap opera.

Alsup owns Woodstock Auto Speed Parts in Woodstock, Vermont and it is from his business that comes the name WASP RACING TEAM which includes two McClaren Indy cars, a couple haulers, six motors, a $1,000 starter off a B52 Bomber used to fire up these type Indy cars, various other parts, a six man crew of which three are full time and the driver.

The chief mechanic for Alsop’s WASP Racing Team is Craig Peroutka out of Tampa, Florida, while Woodstock’s Robbie Patterson is the engine builder. Others on the crew are Reg Murphy and Rick Spear. Both of Woodstock, Kelly Arrison of Chester Depot, Vermont and Walt Hudson of Miam, Florida.

Alsup has probably one of the smallest sponsors, not necessarily in dollars, but in business size. Claremont Ford-Lincoln-Mercury of Claremont, New Hampshire, a community of 16,000 is the major sponsor in this close to three quarters of a million dollar operation.

The Vermont Traffic Safety Council and Claremont Ford recently did a television commercial for both organizations when the former blocked off the three mile stretch of Route 91 in Vermont and sent Alsup for a ride at close to 190 mph. That’s truckin’!

Alsup is a super individual with dedication and personality to match. He’s going no where but up. That’s for sure.

Nerf’ers Nibblets… Don’t forget “Modified Madness” this coming Tuesday night, July 17th, 8pm at Stafford Motor Speedway with all area track champions guaranteed starting births. You’ll get to see some of the wildest Modifieds around in a 50 lap event plus a 25 lap NEMA Midgets feature. Be there… Did you know we got “Big Foot” at Claremont Speedway? If ya’ don’t believe it, just ask her husband.

The "Traveling Man" Pete Fiandaca in won at Westboro Speedway in early July 1979.  Howie Hodge photo.
The “Traveling Man” Pete Fiandaca won at Westboro Speedway in early July 1979. Howie Hodge photo 1977.

Heh, heh!… What’s this I hear? Peter Fiandaca won at Westboro. Alright Petah! I knew that ‘Ol 135 still had some left. We still don’t know if we heard right that Bob Miller took second. It can’t be true after that move he put on Allen Whipple a few weeks back at Monadnock Speedway that took the “Whip”, who was running his best of the year, out of action. Everybody else must have quit and how many laps did ya’ have him down Petah?… Riverside Park Speedway is once again playing with the competitors and fans. They canceled all remaining Modified races over the 100 lap distance and are making the Figure 8 boys stay at home at the Park. The Figure 8’s had been scheduled for this weekend at Claremont Speedway, but they’ve since been canceled. Another one of the famous “Change in the Middle of the Stream” decisions out of the Park… What’s this? The Unknown Politician campaigning at Claremont against Seymour the Clown this past weekend. Your Stafford mayorship is in trouble Seymour. Mickey and Minnie and now the Unknown Politician. Maybe the NERF should get in the act! How about it Big Red Nose? Huh? Huh? HUH?… Till next time, tune into the ‘Ol NERF and Rod Dunham on “Let’s Talk Racin’” on WCNL-AM 1010 and FM 101.7 out of Newport, New Hampshire every Saturday morning from 10 till Noon.

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