Tag Archives: Claremont Speedway

A Bunch of Hicks and a Couple of Flatlanders

September-19-1979–  FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 19TH, 1979  –

Well! Long time no see or maybe I should say long time no write as it’s been a couple months since I last penned a NERF’ers Corner.

I found it too tough to write this weekly column while doing the Public Relations and Promotional Director duties at Claremont Speedway. Add to this the announcing chores and the putting together of the speedway’s program, the “Checkered Review“, and you have a pretty full week’s work. Well, guess what? That’s not all I had to do every week. I also held down a full time job as a salesman for Wholesale Sundries Company in Springfield, Mass.

I’ll let you know that I’ve resigned my position with Claremont Speedway as of the last regular season racing date and have also left the Springfield, Mass firm moving into a full time position within auto racing. I won’t get into my new job as you can read that story elsewhere within the pages of SPEEDWAY SCENE.

Taken from the July 13, 1979 Speedway Scene.
Taken from the July 13, 1979 SPEEDWAY SCENE.

What I’ve encountered this past season only happens once in a lifetime and I wish that every person who reads this column could have been part of this experience.

I’ve met and become friends with the people of the North over the last nine months. They refer to us who live below the Northern Massachusetts border as “Flatlanders” and we have a tendency to call them “Hicks” or “Country Folk“, but no matter what you call them they have dedication, desire and above all an undying pride.

Track owner E.L. “Sonny” Fleury turned over the track to the owners and drivers to operate after the 1978 season had been completed. It was at this time that the Claremont Owners & Drivers Association was born. The organization is better known as C.O.D.A., a name that in 1979 has been on the lips of the northeastern racing fans more than any other racing group.

C.O.D.A. then took me aboard as their Public Relations and Promotional Director, plus Track Announcer.

Prior to the 1979 season, I told many people I was going to work at Claremont Speedway in hopes of rekindling interest in the New Hampshire speed plant. Well, the reply I got in most instances was of the negative type. Many stated an owner and driver run speedway wouldn’t work, couldn’t work, can’t work, never had worked in the past; in other words those “Hicks” up in Claremont were idiots to think they could do what nobody else had ever done before. Some people even went so far as to give me their condolences upon hearing of my going to Claremont.

Well! The season has been completed and all of it under the C.O.D.A. banner. 1979 is considered to be the most successful year in many. Eighteen racing dates were cut to sixteen with only two rainouts and the total fan turnout for the season was near the 40,000 mark including the pits making an average turnout per date somewhere around 2,500, a huge increase over the last year. Claremont seats an estimated 4,300 and on July 25th there was a standing room only crowd of better than 4,700 fans for a regular racing program and “Super Demo ’79-Shoot Out No. 3“.

Taken from the August 17th Speedway Scene.
Taken from the August 17th SPEEDWAY SCENE.

All in all, it was a great season at the little speedway located at the end of the Modified world to the north.

There’s a lot of people that should be thanked for volunteering their time in keeping Claremont running each and every week. The list is much too long to print in this column but there are some who definitely have to be given credit. The first would have to be Sonny Fleury who had the confidence to turn the track over to the owners and drivers. One man who stands tall among the others is Dave Kolenda who handled the secretarial duties for C.O.D.A. in 1979 plus the Head Flagman’s job. He did everything from figuring the weekly payoffs to writing letters to running the racing program each week. His average time spent on C.O.D.A. and Claremont Speedway related work each week was between fifty and sixty hours and all of it for no pay. One more person who has to be thanked is Nate Bly who did everything from pulling weeds to painting and cleaning the restrooms which he also did for nothing. Ninety-nine percent of the people who worked at Claremont in ’79 including the Technical Staff, Wreckers, Infield Crew, Scorers, Starters, Photographers, Ticket Sellers and Takers, Rule Committee and C.O.D.A. Officers received no pay. They should all be praised and thanked for their contribution to Claremont Speedway this year.

All of the businesses who sponsored races, special events, bought billboards, furnished pace cars or products should be thanked for giving their total support to C.O.D.A. and Claremont Speedway in 1979.

The fans who turned out to support the track this past year should be thanked, for without them none of this would have worked.

Yes, it has been a great year, a fun year. New friends have been made. There’s a totally different outlook on auto racing at Claremont now.

No one really knows what’ll happen in the future years at Claremont, but we all know it was a “Super ’79” up north.

We did it!!! A bunch of “Hicks” and a couple of “Flatlanders“.

NERF’ers Nibblets . . . . Don’t forget the “Thompson 300” this weekend. Super weekend, super cars, super show, super stars, Don’t miss it. . . . It’s also the weekend for the “New England 300” at Catamount Stadium. A NASCAR North Tour Championship event. . . . New Monadnock Raceway owner Bill Davis is as fine a gentleman as you’d want to meet, but he’s got a tough road to hoe in trying to undo what the former owner did. NASCAR sure hasn’t helped the facility and C.O.D.A. has voted to keep the sixty-mile radius rule for 1980 once again leaving Monadnock in a bad situation. . . . Dave Grantz has a good looking #79 Pinto-bodied Modified for sale. If you’re interested, get a hold of him by calling Westford, Mass. info. . . . Brian Ross has got to be the most humble gentleman in auto racing when it comes to victory or defeat. He’s really good for the sport as he always gives credit where credit is due. . . . Next Weekend is the “CAM-2 Race of Champions” at Pocono International Raceway. Take the beautiful ride through the Pocono Mountains to see the biggie at Pocono. . . . Don’t forget the “Fall Final” at Stafford on September 29th and 30th. Twin events including a 100-lap NASCAR National Championship Modified race and a 100-lap NASCAR North Tour Late Model feature – don’t miss it. . . . October 6th is a special benefit race at Claremont Speedway with all the proceeds going to the Easter Seals program in the area. . . . The “Italian Connection#44 Racing Team had their problems last Sunday. They blew a head gasket and lost a clutch in their hauler on the way to Monadnock and the NERF towed them in with the Fred Felton hauler and then the Reggie Ruggiero got caught up in the wrong place while leading and crashed. No more reverse victory laps Reg. . . . Claremont Late Model Champion Jim Boniface finished third at Monadnock on ten inch tires while winner Jerry Marquis and runner-up Allen Darrah were on 15’s. . . . Allen Whipple and Marty Radewick finished second and third to Ross at Monadnock. Both were in Claremont cars as Gary Caron finished fifth in his 292c.i. coupe. . . . Till next week – “NERF’ers do it at the Speedway!

Postscript
In 1980 Bob Echo received a phone call about this and teared up. It was an honor he remembered for the rest of his life. (Click photo to view article)
In 1980 Bob Echo received a phone call about this and teared up. It was an honor he remembered for the rest of his life. (Left click the photo to see enlarged version and read the article)

A few things.. 

For one.. The “Hicks” and “Flatlander” thing was a running joke. Before the 1979 season started my father had told Dave and the C.O.D.A. officers about some of the negative comments he’d gotten when he informed folks that he had taken on the position at Claremont Speedway. If I remember correctly, it was Dave Kolenda who answered jokingly, “We had the same reaction when we told everyone we’d hired a Flatlandah!”

Secondly.. My father, who was one heck of a salesman and always put 110% into everything he ever ventured into in life, took on his first speedway promotional position with a dedication his family and friends had never seen before.

For the 1979 Claremont Speedway season, he lived up to every aspect of the phrase, “working his ass off”. From promotional writing to press releases; seeking sponsors to meeting with those sponsors over and over to land the deal; writing advertising spots for radio to doing radio shows; putting together the weekly speedway program to laying out the speedway advertisements for the newspapers and racing publications; designing and ordering trophies to making phone calls to his friends in C.O.D.A.; picking up the trophies and the freshly printed “Checkered Review” on top of it all he worked full time job to put food on the table. He also designed the original C.O.D.A. logo. We made the 120 mile trip every weekend on Friday late afternoon and headed home Sunday afternoon. Where all of the aforementioned hit the proverbial “reset button” and started over each and every week. He never stopped looking for that extra sponsorship dollar right up until the last weekend of the season. The work he put in that year taught my brother and myself more about our father’s work ethic, drive and love for the sport than ever before.

The caption from the "Checkered Review" program the week following Claremont Speedway's 1980 season opener reads, "Big Bad Bob was the Grand Marshal for the opener." Sean Bodreau collection.
The caption from the “Checkered Review” program the week following Claremont Speedway’s 1980 season opener reads, “Big Bad Bob was the Grand Marshal for the opener.” Until yesterday none of his family had seen this photo before. Thank you to Sean Bodreau and his collection.

His family life took a back seat in 1979, but we didn’t mind. It was his rookie venture into speedway promotion and making it a successful one was extremely important to him. It was the happiest we’d ever seen him to that point and that made us all just as happy for him.

When each weekend came, culminating a week-full of hard labor, he wanted his family with him. I can say, and most anyone who was around him in those days will testify, unlike many in his roll who could sometimes be shaking bags of nerves on race day, he was the most relaxed every race night. Although most of his friends and peers at Claremont in 1979 may have never realized it, I believe he was relaxed because those he worked with on the race weekends and he befriended helped him be that way.

Robert Echo enjoyed giving awards out, but never felt comfortable receiving awards or praise. When CODA named him Grand Marshall for a night he couldn't help giving out an award to his good friend, Dave Kolenda.
Robert Echo enjoyed giving awards out, but never felt comfortable receiving awards or praise. When CODA named him Grand Marshall for a night he couldn’t help giving out an award to his good friend, Dave Kolenda.

Dave Kolenda, Ronnie Bodge, the Bodreau family, the Stevens clan, the Bibens gang,  the Albro family, the Labrie family, the Ayer family, the Bly family, the Jarvis family, the Batchelder family, the Girard family, the Caron family, the Whipple family, “he Boniface Gang and the list goes on and on. So many people who he may only have heard of prior to that season or spoken to briefly were now considered friends. By the end of the ’79 season ALL THOSE FRIENDS were the very reason it was such a tough decision to leave when Val offered him the position with Speedway Scene.

When he settled on what he wanted to do he let everyone know and was so relieved to see that the new friends he had made north within the 9 months greeted him with well wishes, praise and many thanks. It was the boost from that praise and those well wishes by his beloved “Hicks” that made one “Flatlander” even more confident heading into yet another new venture at the offices in Northeaston, Mass..

Lastly, Lake Chargoggagoggmanchaoggagoggchaubunaguhgamaugg was where our family camped on Thompson 300 weekend. I remember my brother and I spent all weekend trying to pronounce the name correctly without busting into laughter. We never could and simply settled on what they said the meaning of the name was, “You fish on your side, I’ll fish on my side and nobody fishes in the middle.”

We showed up to the campground on Thursday. Our neighbors at the campgrounds? None other than Punky Caron and family. When we started to get the camper up a hellacious storm with strong winds rolled in and in all the mayhem Punky came to the rescue, running over and jumping into action to helping us set up. Like I mentioned in a previous story, Punky may have been viewed as a hardass behind the wheel, but he was a true blue guy outside of the car, at least that’s how he always was around us.

That was the 300 that Geoff Bodine showed up with the Modified he and Chassis Dynamics had just built for Claremont Speedway competitor, Allen Whipple. A Mustang bodied Modified entry that to no one’s surprise, like every Modified Geoff had raced before, wound up in victory lane that Sunday.

– Jared

A MISSED COLUMN AND A SAD WEEK

– FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19TH, 1979 –

A MISSED COLUMN AND A SAD WEEK

Yes, I did pen a NERF’ers CORNER last week…. No, I won’t hold the U.S. Postal Authorities responsible for the column not getting to the SPEEDWAY SCENE on time.

I will instead blame a fella who we all know or have heard of for sure. I’m talkin’ about the guy who’s credited with finding out the world was round or discovering America or whatever. Yes, it’s all Columbus’ fault.

If they hadn’t of given Ole Mr. C. his own day, a week ago last Monday, the post offices wouldn’t have been closed and the NERF’s words of wisdom might have made the SCENE.

Last week’s column covered my trip to Super Dirt Week at the New York State Fairgrounds in Syracuse and I won’t rehash the happenings as they were well covered in JoAnn and Don Davies’ “New York Modified” column.

I would like to state that the event was just what the name implied, Super, despite all the rain and mud. I’d also like to congratulate Jumpin’ Jack Johnson for his win, the biggest of his career. He collected a cool $23,380 and a thousand dollar diamond gold ring.

This past week was one of mechanical breakdowns with the Ol’ NERF mobile. I’d like to thank NEMMA (New England Mini Modified Association) President Dan Meservey for getting the Ol’ Van goin’ at Lebanon Valley Speedway last Saturday evenin’. It would have been a cold night in the vehicle if it hadn’t have been for Dan and one of his friends.

Frank "Stroker" Smith's #311
Frank “Stroker” Smith’s famous #311, piloted by Bruce Batchelder in 1979 sits in the pit area  at Claremont Speedway in Claremont, NH.  Jim Snape photo.

This week was one filled with sorrow also as a close and dear friend of many at Claremont Speedway and a gentleman who I met just this year passed away.

Rather than write a story about the man, I figured I’d pay tribute to the gentleman by penning a poem and dedicating it to him and his family.

“THE OWNER, THE MAN”

He waited through every winter for Spring to appear;
   ‘Cause it dropped the green flag on a new racin’ year.
For 29 long years it was always this way;
   As he couldn’t seem to wait for opening day.
He started on dirt many years back;
   Racin’ almost every Northeastern racetrack.
New England dirt titles he won by the score;
   And no other owner ever won more.
Some who drove for him you might just know;
   There was Winot, Bosworth and Rabideau.
The latest to wheel the No. 311 for this feller;
   Is a guy by the name of Bruce Batchelder.
When area dirt died and blacktop made the scene;
   This ol’ gent built an asphalt Modified machine.
An on went this man with so much class;
   As he always built cars that would go very fast.
Second in points at Claremont in seventy-nine;
   Plus three wins to make his last season so fine.
He was always there when a competitor would seek;
   To help him get runnin’ for racin’ that week.
That’s the way he was, this grand ol’ man;
   Who lived and loved racin’ as much as his land.
The checkered flag hasn’t fallen on his racin’ fun;
   As he’s now gone at the age of seventy-one.
And even the many eyes are filled with a tear;
   He’ll be racin’ in heaven for many a year.
We’ll always remember this owner was no myth;
   For he was the one, the only FRANK “STROKER” SMITH.
God Bless You “STROKER”, you were a man among men;
   As a husband, a father, an owner, a friend.

I remember the last time I saw Frank Smith. It was Labor Day Weekend, September 2nd to be exact.

He was standing in victory lane with his No. 311 Vega, built by his close friend Jack Bateman, and with him were driver Bruce Batchelder, his son Russel, the rest of his crew, flagman Dave Kolenda, and Rusty Fowler, yours truly plus several photographers and friends.

They’d just scored one of the biggest wins of “Stroker’s” career. He collected three trophies for the day as he won the Burger King Whopper Classic, the CAM2 Race of Champions Qualifier and the Triple Crown Series. You’d of thought that Frank was a kid getting his first bicycle. This win or wins, whatever, put a sparkle in his eyes that we’ll always remember.

He was still going strong at a victory celebration at close to midnight after his weekend wins.

Two weeks later he awaited the arrival of his car, driver, son and crew until the wee hours of the morning to find out how they did at the Thompson 300. A second in the Non-Qualifiers race and a chance to start in the prestigious event had been his reward.

It’s ironic he left us just two days after the final racing event at Claremont Speedway.

Yes! Frank Smith was a dedicated racing man as is ascertained by his 29 seasons as an owner and he certainly lived his life to the utmost being involved in Northeastern auto racing for all those years.

What’s the old adage? “Gone, but not forgotten.” Well it definitely holds truth for all of us when it pertains to “Stroker”!

NERF’ers Nibblets… As I began this part of the column last week, I’ll try again only this time it’ll be a belated Happy Birthday greeting to my close friend and fellow writer, Toodi Gelinas… Hey Jaws! Da King’s climbin’ in yer back pocket! That’s right! Richard Petty is now only 17 points behind Darrell Waltrip in the chase for the Grand National title with three events to go… Wow! Ed Kennedy! “Rookie of the Year”, two seasons in a row? First Riverside Park and now Monadnock. Maybe if ya run somewhere else next year, ya might make it three in a row. Do you, the fan, know what constitutes a Rookie? I do, but evidently some speedways don’t. Anyway Ed, congratulations. It’s not your fault… Belated Happy Birthday greetings to Lenny and Steven Newcomb and Faith Stevens, all this past week… After reading one writer’s column last week, I must tell him that you can’t sit astride the fence because it’s liable to collapse and leave you with a splinter in your you-know-what. In stealing your line, I’d have to say, you should get your facts straight… I have two $15 tickets for the Cardinal 500 in Martinsville at the start/finish line for October 28th. You can get them for $10 apiece. If interested, call me before the 24th… Hey David Kolenda! DIRT of Central New York Flagman Bob Watson, considered by many to be one of the top Flaggers in the country, hangs his leg over the side of the Starters Stand. His reason, to get closer to the action. Score one for the Polish Powered Flagman, huh Dave? Right!… The Ty-Rods Auto Club will hold their 6th Annual Automotive Swap Meet at Stafford Motor Speedway on Sunday, October 21st. You’ll find Street Rod, Antique, Stock Car, and Drag Racing cars and parts… I wanta thank Ken Bingham, Sue and Darlene for all their help and hospitality at Super Dirt Week. Thanks again guys!… Anyone having any old gasoline powered toy race cars can contact Corky Stockham. He’ll pay you $$$ for them… When Smokey Snellbaker was asked what he thought of Lincoln Speedway after winning that track’s guaranteed starting spot in the Super Nationals he replied, “I don’t like it.” That’s telling it like it is!… In the Super Dirt Week Boo Boo Department, C.D. Coville was eliminated in an early race accident while running under caution. No! He didn’t crash with another car or by himself. One of the Fire Safety Trucks ran into Coville head on leaving C.D. Just a bit upset. What I should say is, he was a whole lot upset about the incident and rightly so… Till next time.. “Keep On Trackin’!”

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.

From the Heart and the Clipboard Incident

Friday, June 1st, 1979 – SPEEDWAY SCENE

NERFer's-CornerRETURN OF THE NERF

Ya all probably been wondering what’s happened to this Ol’ Nerf, eh? Some people most likely thought I’d been fitted with a pair of cement shoes by one of my disapproving readers or maybe ya just figured I disappeared from the face of the earth. Well!!….. No such luck!…. I’m back!…. In living and loving color!….. heh, heh!

I just took a few weeks off until Claremont Speedway was put into motion and now with that feat accomplished we’ll be here with our weekly tiduals and tutatuts,  heh, heh. Bart gave me those wordsout of the Korlacki Unabridged Dictionary. What ever that means.

It’s ironic that my return to the pages of Speedway Scene should bring with it an interesting happening or maybe I should say something that shouldn’t have happened.

Last Saturday night I was behind the microphone at Claremont Speedway as usual and after the show, which by the way was won by Allen Whipple, my wife and I decided to stay over along with our two sons and another young lad who’s helping out at Claremont.

I’ve been co-hosting a racing talk show on WCNL AM-FM with a gentleman by the name of Ron Dunham. I had planned to attend Bear Ridge Speedway Sunday night to cover for WCNL but since Rod had decided to cover for our “Let’s Talk Racin’ Show” I decided to head south to Monadnock Speedway to see the Regal 100, since it was on my way home.

We purchased our tickets, $22 for the five of us, along with CODA (Claremont Owners & Drivers Association) Secretary and flagman Dave Kolenda, his wife Mary, CODA driver Ernie Bodreau, his wife Carol and Rachel Chastenay.

We sat just in front of the rest rooms in the fourth turn bleachers where we planned to lean back and enjoy the late afternoon racing program.

This was not to be as you’ll soon know.

Midway through the warmup session Jim Coppo in his bright red NASCAR jacket and one of Winchester, New Hampshire’s finest summoned me as I sat in the bleachers compiling the point standings for the three divisions we run at Claremont. I was told to bring my clipboard and follow them. With Mr. Coppo leading the way, myself and Kolenda, who I invited along, and the police officer bringing up the rear we headed out the main gate into the parking lot.

When we got to the second row of cars directly in front of the main gate, guess who was waiting to greet me. Track owner Bill Brown gave me some greetings!

I was accused of bringing my clipboard so I could spy on Monadnock for Claremont. When I explained what I was doing with my clipboard it seemed to infuriate Mr. Brown something awful. Since he couldn’t catch me with my hand in the cookie jar or espionage on my clipboard, it made him super mad. He screamed, and I quote; ” I’ll knock your f…… head off.” after which he proceeded to try and attack me. He was restrained by Mr. Coppo. I explained that I had paid my $5 to get in and then along with my close friend Kolenda, I headed back to my seats in the stands.

All the aforementioned proceedings happened in front of a couple of hundred fans in the top row of the bleachers who had forgotten about warmups to watch  the parking lot escapades of Bill Brown and company.

Earlier in the afternoon, Kolenda was conversing with a friend when Mr. Brown asked him if he’d brought his clipboard with him. At the time Kolenda didn’t understand the statement.

I knew it was a no-no to bring alcholic beverages into the track but what’s this thing about clipboards.

There’s no need for anyone to go to Monadnock for the purpose of spying as there’s several ways CODA officials can find out if someone has violated the 60 mile radius rule. A good example of this is everybody and their brother knew Jack Bateman was going to be at Monadnock in direct violation of the rule. So who needs to spy?

I know Mr. Brown was upset with me over somethings I’d written in the past and he should be. It’s only human nature.

Bill Brown has nobody but himself to blame for the situation he is presently in.

A couple of years ago Brown was asked by the car owners competing at Monadnock to up the purse a few dollars. At the time he was paying $400 to win, so he told them he couldn’t afford it. What’s he doing now, paying $700 to win on a regular show and $1200 for a special show. Really makes the guys who supported him for so long know where they stand or stood, whichever. Evidently, the old bunch wasn’t worth anything but the new bunch are.

Mr. Brown has antagonized several car owners and drivers over the years.  Ask Spike Jones, owner of the Donnie Ayer car. Ask Dave Grantz who was Sportsman Champion at Monadnock a couple of times. Ask Fred Felton, owner of the “Radical Racer” driven by Marty Radewick. Ask…. Oh well, I could go on and on but I won’t.

To any of the things I have written about Bill Brown in the past he could have answered by writing a letter or article to Speedway Scene and I’m positive it would have been published.

Anything that is written in NERF’ers Corner is my opinion and not necessarily those of Speedway Scene, Claremont Speedway or CODA.

Checkered Chatter….. While on the subjecty of Monadnock Speedway, it was a super turnout of Modifieds on the high banks for the Regal 100…. Stafford Motor Speedway will host the “Mark’s Auto Parts 100” tonight with a $14,000 posted purse. $2,000 goes on to the winning modified in the NASCAR double point show….. Late Model runnerJerry Marquis had to be the most disgusted gentleman at Monadnock Speedway last weekend. He was close to lapping the second place car when a caution fell. After the green came out, Marquis’ car started missing and he had to settle for second. Tuff luck for the 1978 Riverside Park Speedway Figure 8 Champion….. It doesn’t look like Geoff Bodine’s record of 54 wins in 1978 will stand for long. Richie Evans now has 18 victories and is once again atop the National NASCAR Modified Point Race….. The first Demolition Derby of the season at Claremont Speedway will be run on Saturday night, June 23rd. Anyone interested in entering can call…. One closing note on Monadnock Speedway. It seems that Claremont Speedway is now called “Up the River Speedway” when giving the results of Saturday night action….. Until next week, remember, “NERF’ers like racin’ New England Style!”

 NERF’ers Corner By Robert Echo DISCLAIMER