NERF'ers Corner by Robert Echo


–   FRIDAY, JUNE 6, 1980 – PAGE 11   –

new Joysey

Took a trip to New Joysey last week for the Winston 100 at New Eqypt Speedway plus regular shows at East Windsor Speedway and Islip Speedway. A strong threat of rain in the Philadelphia-Trenton area made me change my itinerary from East Windsor to New Evergreen Speedway on Friday and then after hustling from South Jersey to Islip on Long Island, only to find out that Saturday night’s race had been cancelled because of severe afternoon thunder shower, I headed to Wall Stadium so as not to lose a days racing action.

New Egypt promoter, Jim Grbac should be renamed “Charlie Hustle” as he’s everywhere on the quarter mile asphalt facility at once. I watched young Grbac go from the office to the pits to the press box to the track and I’m sure he did this at least a couple dozen times.

During the most serious accident of the night, which eliminated both race leader Jerry Cook and Wayne Anderson, Grbac was right there working along with his clean up crew spreading speedy dry and sweeping up.

The big let down for the evening was that only fifteen Modifieds turned out to run for the hard-working Grbac who posted a $6,200 purse with a thousand to win for the high powered machines, so you can’t blame the promoter for the shortage of cars. Even with the small field of Mods it was still a super race with John Blewett Jr. taking the checkered flag in his “Spirit of 76” Pinto.

Only fourteen cars started the 100 lap feature as Frank Biddle was eliminated during warmups when the automatic transmission in his Gremlin bodied #69 exploded sending several fragments through the floorboard into the rear of his thigh doing severe damage to the muscles and tendons of his right leg. He was removed  to the hospital by ambulance where he will remain for 10 to 14 days and he’ll face some therapy before returning to racing action.

Frank Biddle trying his hand the following year in his Gremlin bodied Modified at Stafford's Spring Sizzler in 1981. Howie Hodge Photo.
Frank Biddle trying his hand the following year in his Gremlin bodied #69 Modified at Stafford’s Spring Sizzler in 1981. Howie Hodge Photo.

I stopped by to see Frank on my way to Islip and found him to be in good spirits even though he was in some pain. He told the Ol’ Nerf that he’s rather be racing than laying flat on his back…. I’m with you Frank!

While at the hospital, I gave Frank a few recent issues of Speedway Scene plus one of those bright orange and white caps carrying the Scene’s logo.

Frank could use your get well cards and letters while recuperating, Address them to Frank Biddle, c/o Freehold Hospital (address omitted).

A little side note on Biddle, is that he qualified a 6 cylinder Street Stock for the forty-car field at last year’s DogLeg 200 Modified race run at Trenton International Speedway. He also won recent Street Stock titles at both New Egypt and Wall before moving up to the Modifieds this year.

Richie Evans won the Open Modified portion of the 2nd Super Star Series event in 1979. Howie Hodge photo 1980.
Richie Evans found himself caught up in a late race incident at New Egypt’s quarter mile oval, but rebounded to finish 5th. Howie Hodge photo 1980.

The Winston 100 at New Egypt brought with it some controversy of sorts with Jerry Cook and Richie Evans somewhat upset about a certain Long Island hot shoe who they felt failed to heed Dutch “Guess Who” Miller’s passing flag.

The Rapid Roman, in speaking of the individual in question, stated, “The guy never races until you start to lap him.”

Evans then added, “If he raced as hard as he does when you try to go around him, he’d win a whole lot more.”

I talked to the accused party and he refused to comment other than he thought he was correct in his driving tactics.

Evans, who finished fifth after leading most of the show, was involved in the crash which eliminated the Cookie Monster and Wayne Anderson on the 87th lap. I’ve never seen Evans as mad as he was when he pulled up to the start-finish line at the conclusion of the event to give flagman Miller a piece of his mind.

In questioning several fans and bystandards about the accident as to who or what caused it, I found the pros and cons to be pretty even as to who was right or wrong. So it’ll all be chalked up to just another racing accident as the show goes on.

* * * * * * * * * *

John Lyons of Hammonton, NJ is being referred to as the Ron Hutter of South Jersey. Lyons puts together his “Lyon Killer Small Blocks” for the Lakewood, NJ duo of Dick Barney and Hoyt Morrison, co-owners of the #14 Pinto built at Eddie Flemke’s Race Works which is driven by red hot Tony Siscone. The car is sponsored by Hagman’s Machine of Wall Township, NJ, builder of the #14’s big blocks, and Welsh Dairy Farms of Lakewood.

Tony Siscone was red hot in Billy "The Whale" Graham's #28 Pinto with a "Lyon Killer Small Block" back in 1980. Cross that with his performance in the dick Barney / Hoyt Morrison #14 and it's no question why they called him Sizzle-Cone". Mayor's Photo.
Tony Siscone was red hot in Billy “The Whale” Graham’s #28 Pinto with a “Lyon Killer Small Block” back in 1980. Cross that with his performance in the Dick Barney / Hoyt Morrison #14 and it’s no question why they called him “Sizzle-Cone”. Mayor’s Photo.

Siscone has won better than twenty-five features with the “Lyon Killer” motors in the different cars he’s driven. He’s off to a super start in 1980 with three wins at Wall and a second at New Egypt with Jim Hagaman’s big block in the car while he has a second and three straight wins in his last four starts at New Evergreen in Billy “The Whale” Graham’s #28 Pinto. Siscone is now being tagged with the nickname Tony Sis-zle-cone.

NERF’ers Nibblets…… Lone Star J.R., Johnny Rutherford collected a cool $318,020 for his “Indy 500” victory. In comparison, that’s $98,260 more than Dale Earnhardt has earned in thirteen NASCAR Grand National events (now Cup). Earnhardt is the current G.N. point and money leader…..  The Atlantic City Speedway in Pleasantville, NJ is all but gone as the only thing remaining at the track located outside of New Jersey’s Casino town is the half mile oval of asphalt. The once popular speedway will be replaced by either a tramway to the nearby casinos or a coplex of condominiums. Losing a speedway is like losing a driver, gone but never forgotten…..  Bill “The Whale” Graham, owner of the #28 Pinto driven by Tony Sis-zle-cone, really loves oysters. The only problem is, everytime he eats them his family expands by one. Hey Whale! Why not try ice cream and dill pickles…..  Rumor has it that someone’s purchased the old Stock Car racetrack at the Acto [NJ] International Raceway. The facility, containing a drag strip, is known for drag racing under the sanction of the National Hot Rod Association. Maybe South Jersey will have a speedway to replace the defunct Atlantic City…..  New Egypt Speedway is planning a season benefit for the Mathany School for Crippled Children in Peapack, NJ. It sounds like a super benefit, so watch for more details in this column and in future Speedway Scene issues…..  Harry Gant continues to roll along in the NASCAR Grand National top ten with an 8th place finish in the Texas 400 mile race which ran without a caution flag over the entire distance. Jack Beebe, owner of Gant’s Race Hill Farm cars, should be commended along with crew chief Bob Johnson and Super Crewman, Stevie Bird and the rest of the Race Hill Farms team on the fantastic job they’ve done in preparing the machines for Gant who’s handled the wheel like a pro…..  If you are a Bugs Stevens fan, don’t forget to join the new look Bugs Stevens Fan Club (address omitted)…..  The DogLeg 200 is only three weeks away, so plan on making the trip to Trenton on June 29th. You can get tickets from promoter Bob O’Rourke in the Long Island, New Jersey area, Mary Toal in upstate New York or from the Ol’ Nerf in New England or wherever you might see me…..  Till next time – Don’t forget to send Frank Biddle a get well card or message.

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