Tag Archives: Seymour the Clown

Cars, Clowns and Congratulations

– FRIDAY, September 1st, 1978 –

The biggest auto racing weekend of the year has arrived in the Northeast and boy has it arrived.

Motor racing fans from throughout New England will be able to enjoy some of the finest and longest races of the year this Labor Day weekend. If you can’t decide where you want to go after reading the following selections of racing programs, then I suggest you put your index finger above this column, close your eyes and drop point of finger on column… There! Problem solved.

Weekend racing is on with the “Riverside 200” at Riverside Park, The “Genesee 200” and “International Classic 200” at Oswego, Stafford hosts the “200 at Stafford”, the “Labor Day 7 in 1 Special” at Thompson, the “Labor Day Classic” at Albany Saratoga, Fonda hosts the “Montomery County Fair Races”, the “New York State Modified Championships” at Syracuse, the “Labor Day 78” at Plattsburg, Rolling Wheels hosts the “R.M. Etrocci Memorial” and Bear Ridge runs it’s “Labor Day Special”.

Just think, if you catch the regular season wrap-ups at Stafford on Friday, the shows at Riverside Park or Oswego on Saturday, Oswego on Sunday and then back to Stafford for Monday, you’ll see 630 laps of main event racing plus nearly 300 laps of qualifying heats. If dat don’t saturate a racing mind, nuttin’ will.

Now on to a little bit about a whole lot of a bunch of everything. If you made any sense out of what I just said then you’ve did better than I’ve done or is that done better than I did? Oh well, who cares.
We understand that if Reggie Ruggeiro wins the Riverside Park Track Championship, instead of celebrating with champagne they’re gonna eat “Reggie Bars.” He’s done a super job this season in the “Italian Connection Car”. The Mario FioreDean Nardi owned #44 Chevette driven by Reggie Ruggeiro is definitely an Italian Connection, tain’t it?..

Geoff Bodine took home the Modified portion of the Cardinal 500 Classic in 1978. Mike Adaskaveg photo / Howie Hodge Collection.
Geoff Bodine’s hot streak at Stafford Motor Speedway in 1978 was nothing short of spectacular. Mike Adaskaveg photo / Howie Hodge Collection.

Congratulations to Geoff Bodine on winning the Stafford Track Championship and the Yankee All Star Series. Whether you like him or not, he’s got his act together and he won both titles going away. Let’s face it, you have to give credit where credit is due, right!..
Conratulations are also in store for Jerry Cook who took the Track Title at New Egypt Speedway and Jerry Marquis who captured the Figure 8 Crown at Riverside Park

It’s good to hear that Ollie Silva is now listed in fair condition and on his way to a full recovery. I know that all NERF’ers wish nothing but the best for the “Big O” and his wife, Susan

Mentioning Stafford Technical Inspector, Bruce Watt, in the same breath with Tech Man at Riverside Park in recent articles on the “Radical Racer” was a definite injustice. No two individuals could be that bad. My apologies, Bruce

To Chuck Jeffries: I won’t release the secret if you if you give me your tape recorder and clip board. You can keep your pen. Yes, CJ, it’s called blackmail…

A hearty NERF’ers well done to all the fan clubs that put their thoughts and hard work into the bringing about of their part of the “Ollie Silva Fund”. The clubs involved are the Bugs Stevens, Geoff Bodine and Ron Bouchard Fan Clubs and with all three being involved, all three should receive credit, not just one…

Full NASCAR rules at Riverside Park next year with a 340 ci bonus. That word was given at the pre-race meeting last week and officials feel this will boost the low turnout of cars this year. There’s a lot of pros and cons on this subject and no one will know the answer until next season…

Seymour the Clown and Geoff Bodine prepare to battle it out at Stafford in 1978. Howie Hodge photo.
Seymour the Clown and Geoff Bodine prepare to battle it out at Stafford in 1978. Howie Hodge photo.

Seymour the Clown has issued a challenge rematch race with Geoff Bodine. Seymour stated last week, “Geoffrey better watch out because now I got my s#=t together!” We understand that the Mayor of Stafford Motor Speedway is looking for a couple of motorized bar stools. Might I suggest one lap around the mini-track on Pogo Sticks and I’ll furnish them…

A BIG solute to the employees of Monadnock Speedway who donated their paychecks of August 11th to the “Ollie Silva Fund”. The amount of the donation was just over $500. A great gesture by the “High Banks Bunch”…

The Fran LeamyPeter Dupey #34 Vega has picked off a ninth and a second in the last two weeks at Riverside Park with W.J. Grez at the wheel and gang…

I wonder how Riverside Park Figure 8 runner up, Gary Orton feels about losing the title by a scant two points especially when he can look back a few weeks to when a fellow competitor put him in the wall intentionally. He finished eighth instead of second where he was running at the time and the 12 point difference between the two positions cost Orton the Championship…

Seymour atop the front stretch fence at Stafford doing what he did best, entertain. Howie Hodge photo.
Seymour atop the front stretch fence at Stafford doing what he did best, entertain. Howie Hodge photo.

I have to give an “Outstanding Performance Award” this week at Riverside Park to “Seymour the Clown” who did his famous “Climb the Fence and Explanation of the Racing Flags” routine. He got a standing “O” when he Black Flagged starter John Tallini. My “Worst Performance Award” goes to Riverside Park itself for throwing Seymour off the track during that first Red Flag. It’s another case of thinking only of money and not the fans. What else is new…

The “200 at Stafford” Monday has posted approximately $30,000 in awards of which the winner could take home better than $3,500 including contingency money. Top Southern entries are Ray Hendrick, Satch Worley, Paul Radford, Billy Middleton, Johnny Bryant and Bubba Beck. From New York and New Jersey will come Fred Harbach, Charlie Jarzombek, Wayne Anderson, Bob Park, Cliff Tyler, Gary Cretty, Roger Griffith, Maynard Troyer, Richie Evans and Jerry Cook. Don’t miss this biggie…

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.


– FRIDAY, OCTOBER 27TH, 1978 –


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!”