NERF'ers Corner by Robert Echo

RIP Denis Taney, Thunder Road Lock Up and More

– FRIDAY, JUNE 27TH, 1980 –

It’s on a sad note that I have to tell you of the death of a dirt Modified driver at the Canandaigua [NY] Speedway last Saturday night. Denis Taney, driver of the 11T Modified died of either a heart attack at the wheel or a broken neck suffered when he hit a concrete retaining wall after colliding with another car.

It’s not really how Taney died that matters, it is the fact that we’ve lost one of our own and the Racing World is always saddened by such a loss. We at Speedway Scene would like to extend our condolences to the family, friends and fans of Phelps, NY’s Denis Taney.

*     *     *     *     *

Congratulations to Bill Alsup of Woodstock, VT, who recorded his best finish ever in Indy Champ Car competition with a fourth place in the ‘True Value Hardware 500′ at Pocono International Raceway last Sunday.

Winning the race was Bobby Unser with “Lone Star J.R.Johnny Rutherford and Tom Sneva finishing second and third respectively.

Alsup, driving the Alsup Racing Team owned, Polaroid Time Zero sponsored Penske/Cosworth PC-7 proved he can race in the big leagues as he bested such well knowns as Pancho Carter, Rick Mears, Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Danny Ongias and Al Unser.

Rounding out the top ten behind Alsup were Vern Schuppan, Carter, Sheldon Kinser, Howdy Holmes, Larry Cannon and Lee Kunzman.

It was a super weekend for Alsup and his crew and they should all get a pat on the back for a job well done by New England’s only Indy Car team.

*     *     *     *     *

The judicial system has once again shown its worth. They let rapists and drug pushers off with light sentences, killers get shorter terms, if any, and a speedway gets closed putting people out of work.

The Vermont Supreme Court ruled in favor of Tom Kalimaris, who all but destroyed the credibility of Thunder Road International Speedbowl along with the track itself, in halting action of the Barre, VT oval.

In June of 1980, the Vermont Supreme Court put the padlocks on Thunder Road. Thankfully it didn't last long. Howie Hodge Photo.
In June of 1980, the Vermont Supreme Court put the padlocks on Thunder Road. Thankfully it didn’t last long. Howie Hodge Photo.

The track was well on its way back under the guidence of Ken Squire, who had foreclosed on the property last year, NASCAR North director Tom Curley and the many officials, fans and friends who’d worked so hard and now it’s all been silenced by one swing of the gavel.

There’ll be no further racing at the ‘Widow Maker‘ until matters can be resolved.

Let’s hope the people in power come to their senses. Maybe if you’re an interested fan, you can drop them a line to let them know how you feel in no uncertain terms.

*     *     *     *     *

Harry Gant, driver of the Race Hill Farms Grand National cars, continues to ride in 8th place in the Winston Cup Point Standings entering the July 4th ‘Firecracker 400′ at Daytona International Speedway.

Dale Earnhardt is the point leader by a scant 13 points over Richard Petty, 2,387 to 2,374. Rounding out the top ten are Cale Yarborough – 2,349, Darrell Waltrip – 2,244, Benny Parsons – 2,194, Bobby Allison – 2,164, rookie Jody Ridley – 2,058, Gant – 1,940, Terry Labonte – 1,918, and Richard Childress – 1,912.

*     *     *     *     *

The $55,625, including contingency money, posted by the Oxford Plains Speedway for the July 13th ‘Oxford 250‘ is the best short track payoff for the Late Model Sportsman in the country so far as I am aware.

Martinsville [VA] Speedway’sCardinal 500‘ is generally known as the best paying short track show for Late Models, but Oxford now rules the roost. This years ‘Oxford 250‘ offers better than $250 more per mile than the Late Model half of the ‘Cardinal 500‘ event.

The ‘Oxford 250‘ winner will pick up a check for $10,000 plus, which should draw the best in the U.S. when you consider it’s been tagged a NASCAR National Championship event.

Till next time; ‘See ya at the Dog Leg!

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