Tag Archives: Ollie Silva

NERF’ers Corner 1978 SEYMOUR AWARDS

–  OCTOBER 6TH, 1978 – PAGE 6 –

LOTS of Z’s & SEYMOURS TOO!

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.

WITCHES, GHOSTS, HOBGOBLINS, 500 and 100 TOO!

– FRIDAY, OCTOBER 27TH, 1978 –

WITCHES, GHOSTS, HOBGOBLINS, 500 and 100 TOO!

The week of witches, ghosts, hobgoblins, The Cardinal 500 Classic and Racearena 100 is upon us.

We’ll leave the witches, ghosts and hobgoblins to the young’uns of the racin’ world and talk about the biggest racing twin-bill of the season.

We hope that you’ll be among the better than 20,000 spectators in attendance for this annual event held on the last weekend of October in the small community of Martinsville, Virginia set deep in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.

Martinsville Speedway owner, H. Clay Earles, has posted a purse of $121,950 to be split between the NASCAR Modifieds and Late Model Sportsman bringing about the largest payday of the year for these two divisions.  The season’s purse is up some $14,000 over last year’s event which was owned by Bugs Stevens and Morgan Shepherd respectively.

Geoff Bodine took home the Modified portion of the Cardinal 500 Classic in 1978. Mike Adaskaveg photo / Howie Hodge Collection.
Geoff Bodine took home the Modified portion of the Cardinal 500 Classic in 1978. Mike Adaskaveg photo / Howie Hodge Collection.

Leading the parade of of drivers in this year’s Modified half is New England’s own Geoff Bodine who has collected a total of 53 victories for 1978.  He’s followed by Maynard Troyer with 36 wins while National NASCAR Modified Point leader Richie Evans has 34 and Ron Bouchard totals 19 wins.  Butch Lindley, the National NASCAR Sportsman point leader is the leading LMS entry with 23 feature wins and he’s followed closely by Bob Pressley who totals 18 victories.

Last season I made the trip to Martinsville for this event with my family and my other racing enthusiasts on a charter bus.  The hospitality given us by Mr. Earles, his staff and the people of Southwestern Virginia can’t be equaled anywhere.  We took our bus down on the actual speedway surface where Mr. Earles gave us a look back in the history of the track as we toured the .525 asphalt oval.

I’d hoped to return to the event this Fall, but two things halted my plans.  One is an old problem known as money and the other is my wife had a serious operation just recently and wouldn’t have been able to make the trip.  So we’ll be absent from this year’s event in body, but will be there in mind as well as tuned in to the Motor Racing Network so we can listen to the Twin 250 lappers for Mods and LMS.

If you won’t be in Martinsville for the Cardinal 500 and still want to go race watchin’, then take a ride down to Danbury, Connecticut to the Danbury Fairgrounds where you’ll get to see Don LaJoie, Rit Patchen, Lou Funk Jr., Chick Stockwell, Bill Layda, Ev Pierce, Corky Cookman and many other S.N.Y.R.A. Modified runners mix it up in the Racearena 100.  The winner will take home the Fred G. Fearn President’s Cup along with a big paycheck.

The Danbury Fair Racearena held it's Fred G. Fearn President's Cup Modified 100 this weekend back in 1978. Danbury always ran in front of a packed house. The track is sorely missed. Howie Hodge photo.
The Danbury Fair Racearena held it’s Fred G. Fearn President’s Cup Modified 100 this weekend back in 1978. Danbury always ran in front of a packed house. The track is sorely missed. Howie Hodge photo.

Both races are on Sunday afternoon with the Martinsville extravaganza taking to the track at 12:30 pm as the Modifieds run first followed by the LMS.  The Racearena 100 gets underway at noon with time trials, heats and consolations races running first.  If you’re not down south then head towards New York on Route 84 and get off on Exit 3 to Danbury Fairgrounds for one of the finest shows held anywhere.

Now to other things – I’ve only spoken to Ollie Silva on one occasion and that was during 1977 at one of the late season shows held on the high banks of Monadnock Speedway where he also met with his very critical accident early in ’78.

The conversation with the “Big O” was a very short one and I’m sure he probably doesn’t remember me with all the people that speak or talk to him wherever he travels to perform.

My first impression of Ollie was one of awe as he seems to glow with the two main indigence that it takes to become a winner, that being character and competitive spirit.

I now feel my first impression was right after reading last weeks NESS.  Viewing the photos of the Ollie Silva tribute held at DeBurro’s Restaurant only proves the fact that Ollie is one hell of a competitor by showing the recovery he has from such serious injury and he definitely has shown character by making the appearance before his many fans at DeBurro’s.

What more can you say about the “Big O” except that we hope to see him back on the track in ’79.

Checkered Chatter…  Tragedy has once again struck the racing world and the country of Sweden.  Ronnie Peterson dies only hours after the September 10th Italian Grand Prix and now fellow countryman Gunnar Nisson has died of cancer after battling the illness for nine months.  He didn’t go quietly though as he spent his last week valiantly rallying friends to help save others from the dreaded disease…  Geoff Bodine will definitely find action at the Grand National level a lot tougher as will Maynard Troyer.  If you don’t believe it, just ask Northern NASCAR LMS star Dave Dion and Southern Modified standout Satch Worley.  I’m sure both Geoff and Maynard will give it their best shot as they are both the toughest of competitors…  You have to give Seymour the Clown a hearty pat on the back as he traveled from his home in New Britain, Connecticut to the Mary Hitchcock Hospital in New Hampshire, at his own expense, to give a little cheer to one Ollie Silva.  Being the trip was on Friday the 13th a couple weeks ago I’d say that it was definitely not an unlucky day for either party…  Speaking of Seymour, we heard a rumor that he’s employed a Public Relations man to handle his many ventures for the coming season.  I wonder, did Ed Yarrington take on this new position since Mike Joy had to turn it down?  How about it Ed.  Didja’ huh?..  Didja’?…  You’re right Mr. Terry Battle!  There should definitely be an organization of some kind for racing fans so they can let the track promoters know how they feel about certain matters.  There’s great strength in numbers and only as a body can racing fans let their feelings be felt.  Remember, racing fans pay the way and without the often forgotten fan there wouldn’t be any auto racing.  Ya’ got a helluva idea Terry!…

Fred DeSarro was one of the most beloved Modified stars. The week after this column was published Thompson Speedway held a race to where all proceeds and the purse went to the DeSarro family, defining again what Racing Community stands for. Howie Hodge photo.
Fred DeSarro was one of the most talented and beloved Modified stars. The week after this column was published Thompson Speedway held a race to where all proceeds and the purse went to the DeSarro family, defining again what Racing Community was all about. Howie Hodge photo.

My prayers go out to the Freddie DeSarro, as I’m sure do many others, for a speedy recovery and a return to the New England Modified scene in 1979…  Don’t forget the Claremont Speedway Banquet next Saturday, November 4th at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Claremont, N.H. See ya there…  Rumor has it that Monadnock Speedway will fly a Sunday NASCAR flag in 1979 with Claremont having a closed club with 100 mile radius restriction on its cars and drivers.  That would give New Englanders a three-day weekend NASCAR Modified Circuit with Stafford Motor Speedway on Friday nights, Riverside Park Speedway on Saturday evenings and the high banks on Sunday.  The only thing is, would Monadnock owner Bill Brown be able to post a big enough purse to lure the boys away from Thompson Speedway and still be able to pay that big NASCAR sanction fee.  Only time will tell, like one winter, this one…

At this point in 1978, Ron Bouchard had just collected his 19th win in a 250 lap Modified race in Kingsport, Tennessee. Howie Hodge photo.
At this point in 1978, Ron Bouchard had just collected his 19th win in a 250 lap Modified race in Kingsport, Tennessee. Howie Hodge photo.

Ron Bouchard won the Winston 250 at Kingsport, Tenn. with Richie Evans second and defending NASCAR National Modified Champion Jerry Cook third.  The “Rapid Roman” now leads the “Cookie Monster” by 86 points in the chase for the 1978 NASCAR Crown.  Evans has 4,228 points to Cook’s 4,142 and only one race to go, the Cardinal 500.  It’s funny how many said at the beginning of the season the title would be decided at Martinsville…  There will be a benefit race held for Fred DeSarro on November 5th at Thompson Speedway.  Be sure to support this event as DeSarro has given racing fans many thrills on the track…..  Till next week, “NERF’ers Do It Trackside!”