Tag Archives: Northeast Auto Racing Community


–  OCTOBER 6TH, 1978 – PAGE 6 –


This iz gonna be the week that wuz or iz it wuz the week that iz or iz it iz the week that iz?…  Oh..  Hell..  How do I get myself into these situations?..  Right!..  Who cares!

The NERF's Seymour Awards named after the great entertainer of the speedways, Seymour the Clown. Howie Hodge photo.
The NERF’s Seymour Awards named after the reigning king entertainer of those times, Seymour the Clown. Howie Hodge photo.

Well anyway, we all know that entertainers in other walks of life vie for awards with such illustrious names as Oscar, Emmy, and Toni.  So, this ol’ NERF decided to institute a new award of supremacy for the auto racing elite who are deserving.  After searching desperately for a name with great character, I settled on Seymour, but I haven’t figured out why.  This award will be given in many categories including, “Driver of the Year”, “Rookie”, “Most Improved”, “Tire Changing”, “Bonehead” and numerous others before culminating with the “Outstanding Personality”.

So now, on to the NERF’ers Corner “Seymour Awards Ceremony” starring yours truly.  I knew someday I’d finally be a star..  Heh, Heh!

Driver of the Year Seymour, Geoff Bodine receives a congratulatory smooch from Seymour in 1979. Howie Hodge photo.
1978 Driver of the Year Seymour, Geoff Bodine receives a congratulatory smooch from Seymour in 1979 victory lane at Stafford. Howie Hodge photo.

The first “Seymour” goes to the man who’s won 51 races in 76 starts. Yes!  1978 has become the “Year of Bodine” in the Big Red Machine of Dick Armstrong’s Nu-Style Racing Team.  We give the first “Seymour” to Geoff Bodine as “Driver of the Year”.

The “Seymour” for the “Most Improved Driver” goes to a man who went from 9th in 1977 to Track Champion this year at Riverside Park and was also the the top 340 CI runner at Stafford for ’78.  It’s none other than Stan “the Man” Greger.

The “Rookie of the Year” goes to first year Modified competitor who has a feature win, many top five finishes and runner up in the points race at Westboro Speedway.  A “Seymour” to John Falconi.

A “Seymour” for the “Come Back of the Year” goes to a fellow who lost his ride in ’77, picked up a new one this season in the S & S Racing Team Modified, finished 7th in the points at Stafford running only 10 of 17 races and is the man they call “The Lion”.  Leo Cleary.

The next “Seymour” is for the man who finished 436th out of 435 competitors at the 1978 Bob Polverari Summer Outing.  Says he will definitely improve in ’79.  Yes!  The “Tire Changing Seymour” goes to Chuck Jeffries, unopposed.

The gorgeous Bobby Vee machine won the 1978 was quite the looker.  Howie Hodge collection Mike Adaskaveg photo.
The gorgeous Bobby Vee machine won the 1978 “Best Looking Car Seymour”. You can clearly see why as it was quite the looker. Howie Hodge collection Mike Adaskaveg photo.

The “Best Looking Car” goes to the beautiful white Chassis Dynamic’s Plymouth Arrow bodied Modified.  A “Seymour” to Bobby Vee, Bob Cuneo and Bill Flynn for their super lookin’ AND RUNNIN’ MACHINE.

A “Seymour” is presented to the man who has been the wrench  and crew chief for the Nu-Style No. 1 Racing Team in 1978.  He’s the guy behind all those Bodine wins.  Billy Taylor gets our “Mechanic of the Year Seymour”.

To the Monadnock Speedway employees, for the donation of their paychecks to the “Ollie Silva Fund” back in August, goes the “Good Guy Seymour”.  The High Banks Bunch’s contribution was just over $800.  ($800 in 1978 would be about $3,000+ in 2014)

The “Best Looking T-Shirt Seymour” is awarded to Booker T. Jones for his “What It Is!” Vega shirt established by Richie Evans, designed by Mark “Maypo” Lyon and printed by Fred Potito’s “Oval Track Design”.

The “Fan of the Year Seymour” goes to two people.  Co winners are a husband and wife who follow their favorite, Bob Polverari and the #711 where ever he goes and are faithful followers of racing.  The winners are Robin and Ray Zanoli.

Our “Bone Head Seymour” goes to the NASCAR officials at Riverside Park Speedway for their asinine barring of the Fred Felton owned, Marty Radewick driven #11 Mass. Monza, known as the “Radical Racer”.

The Little Guy Seymour went to the Fitchburg Flyer or Travelin Man, Pete Fiandaca. Doing more with less was Pete's trademark. That and the old Maxwell House coffee can. Howie Hodge photo.
The Little Guy Seymour went to the “Fitchburg Flyer” or “Travelin’ Man”, Pete Fiandaca. Doing more with less was Pete’s trademark. That and the old Maxwell House coffee can. Howie Hodge photo.

A “Seymour” for the “Little Guy” in racing goes to a fellow who runs everywhere he can.  Some call him the “Fitchburg Flyer” while others say he’s the “Travelin Man”, but no matter which, Pete Fiandaca exemplifies the little guy in racing and his bulk of fans everywhere.

The “Blown Motor Seymour” goes to another little guy, a driver-owner who had 4 motors go up in a cloud of smoke over the past season at Riverside Park Speedway.  To Don Desrocher we give this award if you want to call it that.

Stafford Speedway gets the “Sneaky Pete Seymour” for its advertising that Maynard Troyer would be there for the August 4th “Winston 100” after he had stated 2 weeks earlier that he wouldn’t attend.  The incident left a lot of fans very upset.

Bob Polverari's beautiful Vega bodied Modified experienced problem after problem at Stafford in 1978 forcing the team to back to their 1976-77 Vega. Andy Boright collection  John Driscoll photo.
Bob Polverari’s beautiful Vega bodied Modified experienced problem after problem at Stafford in 1978 forcing the team to back to their 1976-77 Vega. Andy Boright collection John Driscoll photo.

The next award goes to a man who had nothing but bad luck all year at Stafford.  He built a beautiful new Modified and had one problem after another with it before bringing out his car from the year before.  The “Hard Luck Seymour” goes to Bob Polverari and the crew of the #711 who have decided to pack it in for the 1979 season.

Our “Clown of the Year” is none other than the little man with the “Big Red Nose”.  He entertains the many thousands, young and old alike, at Stafford each week during the season and he gives away what seems like A MILLION LOLLIPOPS TO THE KIDS.  A “Seymour” goes to “Seymour the Clown”.  Now I know where I got the name “Seymour” from and I couldn’t have picked a better one… Right!

Speaking of Seymour the Clown, we have to give our “Ding Bat of the Year Seymour” to the Riverside Park official, whoever he may be, for removing the Big Red Nose from the Speedway during the second leg of the Triple Crown Series on August 26th after Seymour had brought the fans to their feet with his antics and black flagging of Starter John Tallini.

The following are “Seymours” that we thought should be handed out to other deserving individuals.

“Best Starter Seymour”Frank SgambatoStafford Speedway

“Fiasco of the Year Award Seymour”To whoever thought up the idea of changing to 10″ Tires next season without consulting the car owners.

“Owner of the Year Seymour”Dick Armstrong – Owner of the Big Red Machine that has won all those races with Geoff Bodine behind the wheel.

“Race of the Year Seymour”Spring SizzlerStafford Speedway.

“Best Up and Coming Driver Seymour”W.J. Grez – Driver of the Pelly Racing Team’s Pinto Modified that appears weekly at Riverside Park and Stafford.

“Best Fan Club Seymour”Bugs Stevens Fan Club – Outstanding ideas, super souvenirs and a well organized club.

Our last “Seymour” goes to a man who has been thrilling racing fans for close to thirty years.  This year he met with disaster on the high banks of Monadnock when his #0 black Gremilin bodied Modified tangled with the trees coming out of the second turn.  He suffered extensive injuries, but has been recovering steadily at a New Hampshire hospital all season and auto racing fans from all over the Northeast have showed their love for the man with cards, letters and contributions.  We’re positive that when the man fully recovers, he’ll be back behind the wheel entertaining fans once again.  He’s a total competitor, whether in the hospital or on the track, and to the “Big O” Ollie Silva, goes our “Outstanding Personality Seymour”.

Congratulations to all the recipients…  Some of the “Seymour Awards” were great…  Some were humorous…  And yet others went to clowns that were deserving.

“The Seymour” voting was done by the very prominent organization of Memiselfni.  Tabulating the votes was my 8 year old son, Jared Echo.

If ya mizzed this column last week, weez iz sorry, but weez wuz down wit da bug… no, not Stevens…. Sick.

Until next years “Seymour Awards Ceremony“, remember; NERF’ers stay alive by doin’ 55.


– FRIDAY, AUGUST 25TH, 1978 – PAGE 4 –


Labor Day weekend brought about the end of regular season racing at most New England Speedways and at the same time kicks off two solid months of open extra distance events throughout the Northeast.

The weekend itself is probably the biggest of the year in auto racing in the Northeast and anywhere else for that matter.

The Oswego Classic Weekend at Oswego, NY at Oswego Speedway begins the weekend’s asphalt action on September 1st while on the same night, dirt trackers can do their thing at the Montgomery County Fair Races in Fonda, NY at the Fonda Speedway.

The Fonda races will run through Labor Day with racing for Modifieds and Late Model Sportsman. Oswego will feature Modifieds on Saturday night in the Genesse 200 with a posted purse of $30,000 while the Supermodifieds will will battle for $55,000 on Sunday night in the International Classic 200.

On Saturday night you can also see extra distance races such as the Riverside 200 at Riverside Park Speedway in Agawam, MA, and the Labor Day 78 at Plattsburg International Raceway in Plattsburg, NY for Late Models. Beech Ridge Speedway in Scarborough, Maine will host Late Model and Limited Sportsman plus Modifieds for their two-day event tabbed the Labor Day Classic which will start on Saturday.

Thompson Speedway in Thompson, Conn. Will host a big 7-in-1 show on Sunday as their Labor Day Special with Modifieds, Late Models and Street Stock racing plus a demolition derby, powder puff derby, auto crash show, and aerial fireworks. You can see coupe racing in the Labor Day Special on Sunday at Bear Ridge Speedway in Bradford, Vermont while Albany-Saratoga Speedway in Malta, NY will host their Labor Day Classic 100 on the same day for dirt track Modifieds.

Geoff Bodine was in the thick of his winning ways with 46 wins by the 25th of August, 1978.  He would soon walk away with the '78 200 at Stafford.  Howie Hodge photo.
Geoff Bodine was in the thick of his winning ways with 46 wins by the 25th of August, 1978. He would soon walk away with the ’78 200 at Stafford. Howie Hodge photo.

Monday will be a big day in Stafford Springs, Conn., as the Stafford Motor Speedway hosts the 200 at Stafford which is sanctioned as a NASCAR National Modified Championship race carrying a purse of $28,000. The New York State Dirt Modified Championship will be held on Monday in Syracuse, NY at the New York State Fairgrounds while at Rolling Wheels Raceway in Elbridge, NY the R.M. Petrocci Memorial for dirt Modifieds will be held on the same day.

Other big races during the next couple of months are the NESMRA Classic at Star Speedway in Epping, NH on September 9th for Supers and Modifieds and on the following day, Islip Speedway in Islip, LI, NY will host the 1978 All Star 300 another NASCAR National Modified Championship race with a purse of $23,000.

The weekend of September 15th through 17th will find Thompson Speedway hosting the Thompson 300 which will carry the largest purse in the Northeast for Modifieds, that being $50,000.

On September 23rd, Trenton International Speedway in Trenton, NJ will host the Machinist Union 150 for USAC Championship and Mini Indy Cars while Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Virginia will have the Modifieds for the Autumn 150 and the next day Martinsville will host the Grand Nationals in the Old Dominion 500.

1978 Tom Rosati Wrapped up his second Limited Sportsman Championship at Stafford. He made the decision to try his hand with Northern Tour Late Models and wound up shocking the Northeast with an epic win at the 1979 Oxford 250.  Howie Hodge photo.
1978 Tom Rosati wrapped up his second Limited Sportsman title at Stafford. He made the decision to try his hand with Northern Tour Late Models the next season and earned an epic win at the 1979 Oxford 250 at 19 years old. Howie Hodge photo.

Congrats to Tom Rosati for wrapping up his second straight Limited Sportsman title. Rosati who will campaign exclusively on the Northern NASCAR circuit next season, has sold his car to Dick Armstrong.  Ricky Armstrong will wheel the new #1 entry of the Nu-Style Jewelry Racing Team… The Stafford Banquet has been set for January 13th at the Sheraton Sturbridge on US Route 20 in Sturbridge, Mass. While the Riverside Park Banquet will be held on November 18th at the Chez Josef in Agawam, Mass…. NASCAR Executive Vice President Lin Kuchler has resigned to take the position of Executive Director of the American Motorcyclist Association. Replacing Kuchler is Bill Gazeway, who has been NASCAR’s Winston Grand National Competition Director and Bob Smith, NASCAR’s Marketing Manager.  Winston Grand National Technical Director, Ray Hill will assume Gazeway’s former duties…. The “Rapid Roman” is now leading the “Cookie Monster” by 132 points in the chase for the NASCAR National Championship.  Richie Evans now has 3,036 to Jerry Cook’s 2,904. Cook picked up 16 points on the current leader last week…. Modified and Late Model Sportsman drivers went into the stands for charity at the NASCAR National Championship race at Monadnock Speedway on August 20th and using their helmets collected well over $1,250 from a capacity crowd. That’s what puts auto racing drivers and fans among the greatest people in the world…. The “Radical Racer”, owned by Fred Felton and driven by

Driver Marty Radewick and Fred Felton's Radical Racer Modified. Jim Snape photo.
Driver Marty Radewick and Fred Felton’s 11 Mass Radical Racer Modified woes with NASCAR officials was resolved with both sides communicating and working together. Jim Snape photo.

Marty Radewick, returned to Stafford two weeks ago with one change.  They widened the roll bar hoops at the roof of the car about 6 to 8 inches.  On the right side of the car only, while the car’s width remains the same at all other points. Felton stated, “We gave a little and NASCAR gave a little.” Felton also told me that Bruce Watt had been very understanding and helpful during the “Radical Racer” conflict…. The racing world is always saddened when tragedy strikes the sport. 42 year old C.H. Whorton of Tulsa, Oklahoma was killed a couple of weeks ago at the Tulsa Speedway when he backed his Modified onto the track after a spinout and was t-boned by another car. Our deepest sympathy to the family, relatives, and friends of C.H. Whorton.

Maynard Troyer was on a hot streak in 1978.  Howie Hodge photo.
Maynard Troyer and his famous #6 Modified were not the only ones on a hot streak in 1978.  Howie Hodge photo.

Geoff Bodine has won 46 races so far this season to lead the Nations Modified drivers, but there are some other big winners in the Northeast. Maynard Troyer has collected 37 wins, Richie Evans has 30 wins to his credit and Punky Caron has entered victory lane 19 times. You put this bunch together and you could call them auto racing’s Fearsome Foursome…. Fred Felton told me recently that he is really happy with the job that Marty Radewick has been doing in his car. He stated, “Marty drives like a man with 20 years experience instead of only a few years.” Radewick retired the Claremont Top Ten Drivers Trophy last Saturday by winning it twice in a row for the 11 Mass Racing Team. Felton’s car won last years races with Kirby Montieth at the wheel. It’s only the first time since the trophy was instituted nine years ago that a car has won back to back…. Have you seen all those Booker TWhat It Is – tee shirts?  Well, with Riverside Park going full NASCAR next year, we won’t have to worry about anyone runnin’ those Fat Motors will we?…. To Becky Coit of the #6 Racing Team; I think your poem on Ollie Silva was just super and you only confirm what I said earlier in this column about racing people…. It’s beginning to look like old times at Yarrington’s Yard. August 11th saw 51 Modifieds at Stafford and the following week there were 45. Last week’s total was 35, but weather seems to hold down the number of cars as Bugsy Stevens and Bobby Vee were among the missing.

To all of the people who don’t like what I write in NERF’ers Corner, all I have to say is don’t read it and you won’t get your ulcers in an uproar. If you continue to read this column, then as the Fonz would say; A-y-y-y-e-e-e, Sit On It!…. Until next week remember; “NERF’ers Do It Trackside.

Racin’ People, The Big Red Nose And Jokes Too!

– FRIDAY, May 30th, 1980 –

Racin’ People, The Big Red Nose And Jokes Too!

As I hopscotch around the Northeast visiting the various speedways in my promotional duties with this publication, I’ve met and made many new friends involved with the sport in one capacity or another.

In all points of the Northeast, the hospitality extended to the Ol’ Nerf has been unbelievable over the first seven weeks of the season.

The response from the some seventeen or so tracks I’ve been to so far has been absolutely fantastic! The way people have opened up their facilities and homes to this Marco Polo of the roundy-round world shows me that racing folks are, for sure, the greatest people on earth.

My Northeast racing season began at Thompson (CT) Speedway on March 30th and since then I’ve been to such tracks as Stafford and Plainville, also in Connecticut; Oxford in Maine; Claremont and Riverside in New Hampshire; Catamount, Bear Ridge, Thunder Road, and West Haven in Vermont; Shangri-La, Spencer, Oswego, Brewerton, and Brookfield in New York along with New Evergreen and Penn-Can in Pennsylvania.

Bear Ridge Speedway in Bradford, Vermont. Howie Hodge photo.
Bear Ridge Speedway in Bradford, Vermont. Howie Hodge photo.

This past weekend saw Lil’ Nerf and myself at Bear Ridge where we saw the six cylinder coupe bodied Modified Sportsman run with Chuckie “C.V.” Elms taking the checkered flag for the second week in a row. At the conclusion of that evening’s racing Elms gave the Ol’ Nerf a tour of the 1/4 mile dirt track in his #6 coupe, the only Ford-powered machine at the Ridge.

Track owner Chuck Elms Sr. and promoter Robert Nutting were gracious hosts.

Saturday night my son Jared, and myself headed for Groveton, NH to Mike Beattle’s Riverside Speedway. This 1/4 mile asphalt facility is one of the most spotless and professionally run speedways in the Northeast. The Late Model Sportsmans that headline the weekly program plus the Street Stocks were some of the best looking racing machines this writer has seen in their respective categories.

There’s several tracks in the Northeast that could take a lesson from owner-promoter Mike Beattle and his able bodied assistants who start their show on the dot and move it right along in a very professional manner.

Beattle and his wife, Sally, had the Ol’ Nerf and his son over to their home in Lancaster, NH after the races for a little lunch and a few drinks.

Sunday we headed for Tom Perry’s West Haven Speedway to see the big block dirt Modifieds run.

A good field of cars were in attendance with some sixty machines in the pits and considering there was another track only miles away running the same three classes, it was quite a shot in the arm for the second year promoter Perry.

The Modified win was a popular one with veteran Vince Quenneville taking the win as he gave his fellow drivers a lesson on how to get around the 2/5th mile dirt oval.

Once again we were treated with southern hospitality in the West Central part of Vermont.

Mike Barry was victorious at Thunder Road on Tom Curley's NASCAR Molson North Tour.  Howie Hodge photo (taken at Stafford).
Mike Barry was victorious at Thunder Road on Tom Curley’s NASCAR Molson North Tour. Howie Hodge photo (taken at Stafford Motor Speedway’s 1981 Fall Final).

Monday it was on to Thunder Road for the NASCAR-Molson North Tour “Memorial Day Classic 100” for the high powered Late Model Sportsman cars.

Young Mike Barry ran away and hid from the field for his second win on the Tour this year, the other being the Spring Green at Catamount Speedway.

As usual, we were treated with the total courtesy of Tom Curley, David Farris and the rest of the NASCAR North professionals.

By the time you read this we’ll have already been to New Egypt Speedway for the Winston 100 for the NASCAR Mod Squad.

I saw in last week’s Speedway Scene where the Big Red Nose tried to burn down the flag stand at Claremont Speedway with head starter Dave Kolenda and his assistant Rusty Fowler on it.

In making a quick check in to Claremont, compliments of Ma Bell or is that Mrs. Ding Dong, I learned that Ol’ Seymour the Clown purchased some southern style white lightnin’ up there in the Northlands from well bootlegger Joshua Croamler Hogbeck McCoy.

Well, anybody who knows anything about nothin’ would know ya’ can’t mix the North with the South.. If ya’ all don’t believe me just look back a couple of few years to the Civil War. I’ve been trying to tell this to the Bionic Brain for the last couple of years and he shoulda’ guessed somethin’ was wrong when Ol’ McCoy sold him five bottles of hooch wrapped in a rebel flag.

As the story goes, Seymour was kinda’ tired of from his previous night’s work of tom-foolery at Stafford Motor Speedway plus the trip up I-91 to CODA land, so he decided to take a snort of his recently acquired moonshine.

Upon taking the first swig, he spit it halfway up the track and let out a yell that could be heard for twenty miles. I understand McCoy used CAM-2 instead of alcohol to make his White Lightnin’.

Well… Seymour got so mad he decided to to take it out on… you guessed it… the flagman… So he poured those five bottles of clear liquid all around the fagstand and tossed a match to in the hopes of fryin’ one Polish flagman and one short tubby carrot topped assistant… As usual, the flagman always gets blamed.

Kolenda told me he’ll definitely get even when the Six Million Dollar Idiot makes his return to Claremont on July 19th while Seymour told me there’s gonna’ be a big cookout featuring two two flagmen.. Don’t miss it..

NERF’ers Nibblets….  The best show this past weekend was the Ol’ Nerf trying to get into C.V. Elms’ coupe. It was like trying to put a whale into a sardine can as I almost became a permanent part of the machine. Just think! He could of taken off all the lead and half the body….  I understand that Sally Beattle, wife of Riverside Speedway owner, Mike, is still sitting in the rear of their club cab pickup trying to find the steering wheel. Oh well!….  Beech Ridge Speedway photographer Ray Coffin could play the keyboard on the ol’ organ with the best of them, but as the story goes, his wife Bonnie, who handles the public relations for the track, has one favorite song. All she wants him to play is “Helicopter” which is a song I’ve never heard before, but come to think of it, she’s definitely a little whirly. You know what I mean….  Bill Alsup failed to qualify for the Indy 500 won by Lone Star J.R.Johnny Rutherford, but the Alsup Racing Team finished fourth in the Miller Beer Pit Crew Competition which is a fine tribute to the entire team. Congratulations to Alsup and crew…. Connie Parr, who works for the Skylark Diner in Vestal, NY, may have her own pole at Shangri-La Speedway shortly. Word has it that her boss Walt Stevens told her one week, while at the track, that Street Stocker and friend, Vince Rendisi was on the pole for that evening’s feature. Evidently Connie checked out the top of every pole at the speedway. Now really!….  Congrats to Geoff Bodine who swept the Empire State Sweepstakes last weekend winning at Spencer Speedway, Shangri-La Speedway, and Oswego Speedway. Making him $6,000 richer including a thousand dollar bonus for being #1 in the series….  Also congrats to Maine’s best Mike Rowe who’s now 12 for 12 in Late Model racing winning six at Oxford Plains Speedway and an equal amount at Lincoln County Speedway….  Until next time, Don’t forget to subscribe….

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Tommy Barrett Jr. may not have been the only driver who put in a hell of a performance in Wednesday night's Tri-Track Finale, but he crossed the line first and picked up a well deserved 10 LARGE! Crystal Snape photo.
Tommy Barrett Jr. may not have been the only driver who put in a hell of a performance in Wednesday night’s Tri-Track Series finale, but he crossed the line first and picked up a well deserved 10 LARGE! Did TB try cashing the BIG check at the bank Thursday morning? Crystal Snape photo.

First, I would like to congratulate Tommy Barrett Jr. on his huge victory in the Tri-Track Open Modified Series $10,000 Grand Finale at Seekonk Speedway Wednesday night.   The atmosphere was filled with enthusiasm, passion and excitement and it bled profusely through the social pages and streaming  broadcast of the guys at Victory Lane Radio.

I’d like to congratulate all the drivers and teams for showing up to take a “shot at the title”.  It was an event for the ages.  Huge crowd, great organizers, a track with deep roots in Modified history, and a super sized Modified roster not seen for any asphalt Modified event in years.

Victory Lane Radio did a spectacular job.  Tuning into the broadcast was like being at the track and listening to the equally pumped up fellow race fans sitting around you.  Lastly, what’s there to say about the organizers who made up what we know as the Tri-Track Open Modified Series.  The Racing Guys, Jim Schaefer, Kevin Rice, the facilities, the staff of these tracks and those who contributed lap money, prizes and walked through the gates to support it.  As a Modified fan, THANK YOU!!!

Could anyone have thought of a better night to hold a Championship Modified event than The Rapid Roman Richie Evans’ Birthday?  It was meant to be….

Now about this recent NERF’ers Corner column….

These time pieces shake the cobwebs off in the corners of the memory banks. Memories vaulted up tight until a few words cause the doors to fly open. Besides the joy of creating this site to honor his memory and share the Nerf’s past work, this is one of the bonuses I really enjoy about these classic columns by my late father. Priceless.

That Speedway Scene Firebird passed through a ton of speedway gates throughout the Northeast and southbound in 1980. Robert Echo photo.
That Speedway Scene Firebird passed through a ton of speedway gates throughout the Northeast and Southbound as well in 1980. Robert Echo photo.

Reading about the night at Bear Ridge for the the first time had me laughing. As you can tell by the Nerf’s own words, he had a ginormous gut and as you can see he was the first to poke fun at himself. All the weekends I rode shotgun with him in the Speedway Scene gold Firebird or Van he would share his wisdom on the road and one of those words of wisdom was; “If you can’t make fun of yourself and laugh about it, then you have no right to laugh at anyone else.”

Well, we were all laughing at him trying to squeeze through C.V. Elms’ coupe window. After C.V. scared the track food out of the Nerf and they pulled off the track, shutting the motor off, he attempted to exit and screamed out; “I’m stuck in a Bear Ridge Trap! -(still struggling)- A human sized shoe horn would come in handy right about now.”

– Jared

From the Heart and the Clipboard Incident

Friday, June 1st, 1979 – SPEEDWAY SCENE


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