Racing in Retrospect
By Jeff Ackerman
~ Chuck Akulis ~
Article Published in Volume 42 #1, January 9, 2007 in the Gater Racing News
You know the song..Ba dum be
doop, Be doop, Be doop Ba
doop Be Doop Bada
Badaaaaaaa…. Henry Mancini’s
silky smooth theme song to
Blake Edward’s ‘Pink Panther’
Film plays easily in your head,
lulling you to sleep, until the
horn section opens your eyes,
BAA DAAA!!! Suddenly it’s by
you and the saxophone takes
over again with a sultry solo
until the next crescendo of
sound. Much like this
installments subject who’s
driving style certainly more
closely paralleled Mancini’s
smooth song than the bumbling
Inspector Clouseau..
      Chuck Akulis was born on
Jan. 6th, 1940 in Windsor, NY
and spent his childhood on his
parent’s dairy farm attending
school at nearby Windsor
Central. Growing up he
participated in Little League
baseball and was Class B
wrestling champ in High
School. Today he still lives on
the same land he was raised on
although he soon tired of the
farming, “I didn’t like milking
the cows, had to do it every
day.” And so, after school he
went to work for Contro Bros.
and soon was into excavating.
Through his working life he
worked for Goricks
Construction, operated his own
machine shop and presently
runs his own heavy equipment
and construction business. But
for 40 years the work was just
the means of making ends
meet, for once the bug bit him,
his mind was really on his
racing.
      “My father went to the
races. My brother in law, Larry
Groover, he raced so my father
would go and watch him. I
never really watched them
much but Larry and his father
had the car and they had a
Greenhorn (beginners) race at
Penn Can and they asked me if
I wanted to run it, or I don’t
know how it happened but I
ended up in it and I wrecked
the car on them. I was having
fun, I wanted them to fix it so I
could get back out there but I
bent the front end or
something. Then I kind of got
the bug and I thought I wanted
to do it so a bunch of neighbor
guys decided we’d get an old
car (a ’35 Plymouth, which they
numbered 40) and put one
together, and I wrecked it. The
throttle stuck and I run into the
wall @ Five Mile and ruined it.
The guys kind of gave up then
so I rebuilt it and fit that little
Model A coupe that I had on it.”
The second car was also
numbered 40 with a gold &
white paint scheme and
competed with a Ford Y-block in
the engine compartment, a
rarity at that time as small
block Chevy’s ruled the
Kirkwood speedplant. “And that
wasn’t really panning out.” Five
Mile Point was a tough place
then as always and even
qualifying was an
accomplishment. “Diff,
Donahue, Don Yeingst, there
were a lot of good guys and they
were tough. Not a lot of
slamming going on, it wasn’t
too bad but you know short
tracks, there’s a lot of banging
around anyway. There was a lot
of competition there.” Especially
for a driver learning the ropes
in a car that wasn’t on par with
the top competitors of the time,
“it never worked good, I didn’t
know how to build one at the
time.” Despite being
disappointed in the effort, he
was learning his way and better
days were just around the bend
in 1965.
“Larry was driving for Hal
Andrews and Bob Schafer, but
he was going to drive Bud
Smith’s new car at Shangri-La.
So Larry told Hal and Bob that
maybe they ought to have me
drive it ‘cause I really wasn’t
doing much with mine. And it
was a good car. I had seen it
race, George Knight, Larry, and
Eddie Prentice had all driven it.
I remember seeing Eddie at the
track one night, he came to
watch and then went back to
Vietnam and didn’t come back.
He was a nice guy, Eddie was.”
It was to be the break that
Chuck needed to hone his
skills, the car was a Pink 1931
Chevy coupe #3 with smallblock
Chevy power and the best piece
of equipment he’d sat in to date.
      “First thing we kept
breaking. First race we finished
we won and those guys were all
excited. ‘Man, you’re the
greatest’ ‘cause they hadn’t won
a lot. Then we started going up
to Midstate and won a few races
up there. I can remember
winning a fair race which was
kind of a special race and I
think we won it three times.”
“Midstate was an experience,
we had a lot of fun up there. I
remember the dusty
afternoons, you couldn’t even
see where you were going. I
remember Pete Cordes, he said
to me one time ‘How can you
see in that dust, you must have
raaadaaar.’ AHAHAHA. I did
have a little way to see through
the dust on a sunny afternoon;
if you looked at the top of the
cars you could see the sun
hitting them and that’s what I
went by ‘cause you couldn’t see
anything else. You’re just
running blind anyway.” By the
grace of god and a heavy right
foot pops into my mind, the
long straights of Midstate were
followed by unforgiving, sharp
flat turns. Calling it an
‘experience’, blinded by dust at
over 100 MPH is a typical
statement coming from Chuck
who by his nature, doesn’t
overstate anything. “Dave
Kneisal run up there and I saw
Red Harrington’s starter come
off and it hit Dave’s car, it hit
one of his steel bars. Didn’t
know it was his starter until
afterward but it’s a wonder
more guys didn’t get hurt.” The
Andrews/Schafer car allowed
Chuck to concentrate on driving
and he set his style which was
to bode him well over his career.
“When I got into this car I found
out what racing was all about
because it handled.” Did he
ever try to emulate any other’s
driving style? “No, just tried to
find my own way.” It has been
noted that some of the top
drivers at 5 Mile were known for
their rough edges, but not
Chuck. “I never wanted to be
(called dirty). There’s probably a
few people that have. There’s
times that maybe I did but my
intention was not to be dirty.
After I started winning a few
races then I knew what it was
all about, so my intention was
not to be dirty, I wanted to do it
fair and square. Not saying that
I always did but that’s what I
wanted.  Always tried to drive
the car without sliding it, you
know most guys back then
would throw the car and burn
the tires and all. And I don’t
know, for some reason it was
just more natural for me to
drive the car in and drive it
through and not slide it. I don’t
know why but actually later on
when you got into these other
cars and tires and all, it paid
off. We could choose our own
tires and run different
compounds. Lot’s of times I had
softer compound tires than
most of the guys but I would be
saving the car and the tires by
not sliding it. I could get away
with that and I won a lot of
races that way. The car worked
too, I was lucky enough to get
into a car that was capable of
winning. If I had got into a
couple more junk cars like I did
in the beginning I’d probably
have quit you know, but it got
encouraging once I got in that
car.”
By 1966 Chuck had established
his signature driving style, and
it was bringing dividends not
only in saving the equipment
but also in wins as he copped
his first 100 lapper at Five Mile
Point, the Southern Tier 100.
By 1967 the team made a
switch to Shangri-La on
Saturday nights to try the
asphalt. He recalls “We weren’t
real successful there. We had a
dirt car and we were doing
some things wrong, I don’t ever
remember winning there but
there’s a picture.” Still the move
was a good investment in the
future and my thought is that
with his smooth approach, in
time he would have conquered
the oval. Still, for the ever
practical Akulis, lessons
learned on the asphalt were
applied to the dirt track racing
that followed. We pulled out a
1972 Gater article Mike Monnat
wrote in which one competitor
related ‘If I had $4,000.00 in my
motor I’d run like him too.’
“Yeah, that was a compliment,
the motors weren’t expensive,
they were 327 short blocks,  
$300 in the crate. That’s all we
ever ran. Stock cranks every
engine, cast iron heads. We
even used flat tappet cams,
maybe that helped, most guys
were overpowered but I knew
what I wanted. Just a good
steady powerband, something
that would just pull even. On
the bigger tracks they didn’t do
as well because they weren’t
meant for that but they did all
right. I won a few 100 lappers at
Five Mile and the (big name)
guys would come down for them
and if they knew what was
beating them they’d have
wondered what was going on.
The car handled, that’s the
biggest thing, that’s what it
was.” To illustrate his point; “I
know at Morris when guys like
Tommy Corellis would show up,
they had motors we didn’t have.
They could pass us on that long
straightaway. They had a lot
better engines then we did.” “In
1969 when the 350’s came out
we did the same things. We
ground the heads out a little,
loosened ‘em up, balanced and
we ran them, best engines we
ever had.” “We never had a set
of racing heads, we sent a set of
aluminum heads out one time
(later), but it was just too much
money. We wouldn’t even buy
three tires for the car at a time,
there was just no way.”  By the
end of 1968 Bob Schafer had
already left the team and Hal
Andrews wanted out too. “He
said, ‘I want you to have the car.
You take the car, trailer and all
the spare parts.’ And for
$1000.00 he sold it to me, and I
just went from there.” Chuck re-
skinned the car with a ’36
Chevy coupe body, retained the
Pink color scheme and added a
white scallop to the side of the
car. He also started running
Penn Can regularly on Friday
nights where announcer Cal
Arthur pegged the car as the
‘Pink Panther’ and the name
stuck. Although he had been
enjoying success in the chassis
for several years, the revamped
coupe’s strikingly good looks
brought him even more
attention and success as well,
including a second 100 lap win
at 5MP in the Rich Springer
Memorial in 1972. He started
traveling more outside of the
southern tier and competing at
Rolling Wheels, Weedsport,
Twin Valley and Waterloo in
addition to 5MP, Penn Can and
Midstate. He also started a
tradition that continued
through the next three decades
at The Point, he started wining
track championships.
As the 70’s dawned Chuck was
spending winters snowmobiling
and “horsing around” in the
snow one day, managed to
break his leg. Thus the 1970
season started with the Pink
Panther’s seat being occupied
by friend (and accomplished
driver in his own right) Don
Beagell Jr., who drove the car to
early season success at the
Point. Finally, Chuck could
stand it no more relating he
said at the time “I can drive it
and I got in with the cast on.”
Which leg was it? “Left leg.” As
suspected. The combination of
drivers split the points but as
owner Akulis got them all for
the car and claimed his first
High Point title as a car owner.
It was his only championship in
which he wasn’t credited as the
driver. He also recalls winning
the High Point Drivers
Championship at Penn Can
that season as well. What was
his secret? “Consistency, I
always tried to stay out of
trouble. I had too, when I had
my own cars I couldn’t afford to
be always fixing it, so that was a
lot of it. You have to be
aggressive but you have to be
patient too. I guess I could be
patient, especially when I was
younger, when I got older I
think I lost some of that
patience. You have to be
patiently aggressive I guess you’
d call it. You can’t let
opportunities slip away, you’ve
got to take everyone that was
there but you have to know
when to let off too. Back off and
stay out of trouble or go around
somebody. Turning the steering
wheel means more than
slamming the brakes on. And
trying to get around someone,
rather than stopping and
having somebody run into you,
I always worried about that. So,
I tried to get around somebody
that was in trouble. And then
you got lucky, a lot of times you’
d get through and wonder how
you did it and the next time
you can’t (get through), you can’
t stay out of trouble.” “On short
tracks you have to be able to get
on the bottom, you’ve got to be
able to get under the guy. And
there’s times you can go on the
outside but a lot of times it’s
staying on the bottom while the
other guys sliding around.”
By 1976 Chuck finally gave up
on the old chassis and coupe,
which he had campaigned for
11 years, concentrating his
efforts on a new tube framed
chassis he constructed in his
shop. In 1977 his creation was
really paying dividends as he
captured his second Southern
Tier 100 along with his first
5MP High Point Drivers
Championship. For 1978 he
built his second car and over
the next winter, he took on a
teammate. “Dale Slusher and Al
Wilcox came into my garage one
day. I never knew Al and
anyways, when he came around
to what he was there for, he
wanted to drive my second car.
He said he’d take care of the
sponsor and do the work. He
just seemed like he was sincere
so I said ‘go ahead’. Looking
back I wish I had helped him
more. He did what he said and
we had fun. He sure did a lot
for me afterward.” By 1980
Chuck had switched over to a
Kneisal chassis and then in
1983 he purchased a chassis
built by Charlie Castle and
Randy Kisacky. Although the
chassis may have been
changing through the years,
there were many constants; his
racing philosophy on the short
tracks, the hard work in the
garage, and track
championships. His string of
championships at Five Mile
Point continued through 1985
for a total of an incredible 9 in a
row. And it isn’t as if it came
against any slouches either, a
look through the roster at that
time nets names like Nagle,
Cordes, Colsten, Slack,
Highhouse, and Worthing.
Chuck relates, ‘That’s usually
the way it is, there’s 10 guys
that you’ve got to beat. If you’re
on top then you have to beat
them all because they’re going
to be after you.”
As we’re looking through some
photo’s Chuck says “That’s my
son Jim, you don’t mind if I
have that one do you?” I didn’t
mind. “He was going to be a
racer, was really getting
interested in it. I’d get down to
the garage and he’d have the
car all ready. He was killed in a
car accident and there’s
nothing I can do about it.” The
tragedy happened in October of
1985 and judging by wife
Donna and Chuck’s reaction to
seeing the photo, it has never
left them. Still, he persevered,
in life, work, and in his love of
racing. Car owner Randy
Kisacky was losing his driver
Charlie Castle due to some
health problems and wanted
Chuck to drive for him in 1986.
“I had decided I was all done
and then Randy called and
encouraged me to continue. I
thought it over and thought
that maybe it would help with
the healing process. It was the
best thing I ever did. We had a
great relationship with their
family and it helped me
through a tough time in my
life.” The team added the letter
‘J’ after the number 3 in
memory of Jim and left the
Point for Middletown. It was to
be as successful a team that
Chuck was ever involved with.
“That car was built in ’83 by
Randy and Charlie and it was
just one of those cars, always
worked good. We won 70 races
in it. Even after we had put it
out as a backup car we dragged
it out for the opener at
Brewerton in ’88 and it was a
real rough, tacky track that
night and we won with it. You
could probably pull it out now
and still win at Five Mile with
it.” The team came back to 5
Mile in ’87 and won track
championships again in ’89, ’
92, and then streaked to three
more from ’94 to ’96. Through
the years he also copped a total
of 10 track championships at
Penn Can, two at Afton in ’95
and ’96 and tied with Alan
Johnson for top honors at
Canandaigua in ’88 for a total of
28 track championships. 28. It
could have been even more.
“Came close at Rolling Wheels
too, think we finished second
up there three times. You look
back, I never really thought
much about it you know, Holy
Cow, how did we win that many
races. I don’t know, it just blows
your mind when you think
about it.” It was during this
time in the Kisacky car that
Chuck also conquered a former
haunt, Shangri-La. “We went
back there in ’88 I think and
won the race, well when I got
back on that track after not
being there for 20 years, the
track came right back to me.
First turn, second turn, don’t
slide it too much into three,
just like I remembered it.”
There’s no doubt with his
ability to drive a car smoothly,
he would have been a force to
be reckoned with on the
asphalt had he chose that
surface, but he loved the dirt
tracks.
In comparing the early and
later cars; “At Five Mile in the
early cars you did more passing
in one and two, and not so
much in three and four as the
cars slid more there. I always
tried to stay on the bottom a lot.
You know I look back and those
cars never had power steering.
We’d run 100 laps and never
think anything of it, but they
were tough to drive compared to
the newer cars. The other cars
were different, in Randy’s car I
could pass on the outside in
three and four. Penn Can
changed over the years, got real
tacky and rough later while it
had been a smooth track
earlier. I think we were running
the drag tires then and I can
remember having a lot of fun
with those tires because when
it was tacky and rough you
could get away with a lot.
Matter of fact when I was
running with Randy we had a
Birosh car, small block with
alcohol and those big tires and
man that car...he had just the
right setup in it. Wouldn’t spin
coming off, with alcohol usually
it’d make it spin, but as it went
down the straightaway that
thing would build power and I
could remember going down
into the third turn at 5 Mile
and be lifting the left front. It
had so much pull at the end of
the straight, won a lot of races
with that car. It was the most
fun car I ever drove because it
was that way. Of course then
they did away with the big tires
and everything changed again,
everyone had to run the same
tire. I never liked that. I think it
hurt racing as far as watching it
you know, the cars weren’t
working as good, they were
spinning out a lot. I think it
caused a lot more wrecks. They
did it with the right intentions
to save the racer money but the
racers were now paying for
parts instead of tires. I don’t
know, that’s just my opinion.”
Was it easier driving the later
cars? “Oh yeah, they’ve got to
be right though, it doesn’t
matter. You’ve got a car that
doesn’t work, you can’t drive it.
Working your head off
wondering why you’re not going
and if the car’s working you’re
just sitting there driving it. It’s
easy. And that’s what I had at 5
Mile Point for years, my cars
worked so good there, they
were easy to drive. I can
remember, I felt sorry for the
guys sometimes, I’m not
kidding you. I’d be driving
under them you know, they’re
fighting away and I’m just
sitting there watching them and
it’s like I’m just driving.” Did
you ever wave to them? “No. I
mean I could just see that they
were struggling, and it was so
easy, it was the car, it wasn’t
me doing it. You had to have a
car and it didn’t take me long to
figure that out, you had to have
a car that worked right from the
word ‘GO’. When I got in that
coupe, I mean it had something
that was going that was
different right off. Other cars,
you couldn’t do anything with
them, you’re just spinning your
tires.” Donna interjects that it
was a struggle though as I’m
having difficulty believing that
the car did it all as Chuck’s
modest description suggests.
“Yeah, you struggled all the way
through but when I got in that
car, it made a lot of difference. I
could race with anybody as long
as the car was right; I just had a
good car. I always thought the
car was it, the drivers only a
little bit of it. I mean, some guys
can’t drive obviously, you’ve got
to have talent, but you have to
have a car. You can put the best
driver, Alan Johnson, Billy
Decker or any of those guys in
something that doesn’t work
and they can’t do anything;
guaranteed. They can’t beat the
guy that’s got the right car. It
comes down to that right now
with those guys. If they got
their car exactly right, they’re
going to be right there. If they
miss it by a little bit, they’ll be
6th or 7th and that’s just the
way it is.”
“It was different deal then (in
the ‘60’s), if you broke a part,
you’d make it or fix it, all stock
parts. Probably more fun but I
always had fun driving the car
and I didn’t mind working on it
either, I always spent a lot of
time working on the car. It’s a
different ballgame now, it got
more expensive, that’s for sure.”
“We were concentrating on it so
much you know, all I thought
about was racing and I was
always thinking about the car
no matter what I was doing. I
always remembered back to the
week before, what the car did, if
it was spinning a lot because
the track would change towards
the end of the season and you
had to gear up and change
things a little. I was always
thinking about that. I was a
really passionate racer but I was
never a professional racer, I
always had a job and always
had to go to work. We used to
run 5 Mile, Penn Can and then
Weedsport Sunday nights. Then
get up and go to work and that’
s what I did, it was tough, even
when I was young. A lot of
travel, we did it, a lot of years, I
don’t know how. It was always a
family thing, we always went to
the races together.”
He talks of the rising costs of
racing; “It didn’t cost me a lot
out of pocket. Some years we
made money but things were
different. It was a lot cheaper,
you made your own stuff and
then as it went of course you
know how it got and the purses
didn’t keep up. I don’t think
they can.” He hesitated to name
his toughest competitors; “It
changed over the years, there
was a lot of them. There might
be one guy one year, like Mike
Colsten and then I remember
Lynn Highhouse used to run
good, we parked next to each
other for years and had a lot of
fun together. Don Slack I
remember racing against him,
Larry Catlin, way back that
goes. He was certainly a tough
competitor, good driver though.
Carl Nagel, guys like that.
Kneisal, he was tough, tough
racer no doubt about that.
There was a lot of them, Charlie
Castle & Randy, Pete Cordes,
Billy Decker was always a good
driver, not a rough rider, good
driver. Don, Roger and Gary
Beagell, they were all good. Jr.
used to take care of me on the
parts. Doug Worthing, he
certainly had some competitive
years. Doug’s a nice guy, we
had our battles on the track but
he’s a decent guy. And Bob
McCreadie, when he first came
to 5 Mile I couldn’t believe how
fast he was, right off. We
became good friends and I have
a lot of respect for him. I think I
got along pretty good with most
of the guys over the years. I was
winning a lot. I had a lot of
respect really I think, on a given
night I didn’t probably but...
There was always 10 or 12 guys
you had to beat. Just like with
the fans, most years I had a
pretty good relationship but
then there were a few years
that I didn’t have, boy if I won I
was the bad guy and there was
no doubt about it.” The fans at
5 Mile (as well as Penn Can)
came back around though at
the end of Chuck’s career and
really showed their appreciation
for his dedication and
achievements at 5 Mile. As they
should have, 14 track
championships, 13 wins in one
season, named one of the top
50 drivers in the tracks history
and one of only two (along with
Tim Olenski) to have his
number retired at the track.
Randy Kisacky left the team in
1996 to join with Tim
McCreadie but sold out to Jeff
Rudalvage prior to allow Chuck
to finish out his career in the
Southern Tier in Bicknell
Chassis cars. Chuck retired
after the 2000 season having
recorded over 300 feature wins.
Nobody could make a sensible
assertion that Chuck was only a
points racer but would do better
convincing people he was a
thinking man’s racer that won,
a lot.
We finished our chat with his
plans for the future and of his
slowing down to enjoy other
things in his life now. “I’m all
done, there’s no doubt about
that. 40 years was enough and
we had a lot of fun. I want to
thank everyone who ever
helped me, I appreciate it. I
couldn’t have done it alone, I
couldn’t mention them all there
were so many. The guy I really
look up to is Randy Kisacky,
and John Mooney and the guys
that worked on those cars with
me. Randy’s a real smart guy
and I have a lot of respect for
him. John Mooney came in ’83
and he stuck with me. John’s a
great guy, never seen that guy
get mad. Meticulous, when he
does something it’s done right,
never have to worry about it,
Randy’s that way too. Jim
Gabriel, David and Emmanuel
French, Al Wilcox and Dale
Slusher, Jerry Varika, Danny
Kalaf, Matt Soloman, Bill Newell
and his wife Liz, (whose
modified steering business was
started when Chuck needed a
good unit), Tom Boyd, Brian
Joslyn, and my son Alan, they
were good people and there’s a
bunch of them. You look back
and it was fun, didn’t even
think about it then, they
helped me get to where I got in
the sport, you don’t forget
them. My family always
supported me too and my wife
Donna, she never complained.
All those years she supported
me.” Chuck also wanted to
thank his sponsors through the
years, Rays TV, Red Barrel,
Mirabito’s Fuel Group,
Dickinson’s, Stu’s, Mama Lena’
s, Ozzie French and Parts Plus
relating, “every little bit
helped.” He also wanted to
thank Mike Newell who has
restored the Pink Panther. “He
did an awful lot of work putting
that together and did a great
job, it’s really nice to be
honored like that. There were
so many people through the
years and that’s what it was
really about. They deserve the
credit and I want them all to
know that I’m thankful for all
they did for me. I thank god for
putting me in this position, and
all the good things that
happened to me.”
Chuck hasn’t been forgotten
either, and left an indelible
mark on the sport. His good
sportsmanship and approach to
racing carries over to this day as
an example to follow, not only
in racing, but in life. Flipping
through old Gater Racing News
issues you can find mention of
Chuck in nearly all of them, in
any decade, just look for the
results and you’ll find his name
in the top five. Aside from the
statistics though (which stand
by themselves as a testament to
the type of driver he was), is an
article written during the 1977
season @ 5MP by Ron Grotke
for the Sun-Bulletin which
really shows what kind of
person Chuck is. ‘Akulis would
already have clinched this year
had he not agreed to split purse
money and points into thirds
for the Aug. 13 feature with
Dave Kneisal and Mike Colsten.
Akulis was passed with two laps
to go by Kneisal and Colsten,
but a yellow flag had come out
just before to confuse the issue
of the restart. Kneisal, placed
first by the scorers, said Akulis
should go first instead and he
held on for the win. “When we
left the track I had won” said
Akulis, “but I got to thinking
about it later. Mike passed me
too, and giving me first put him
third. He probably should have
been second. I called (promoter)
Art Bonker and told him I didn’t
feel I should win either.” As
stated before, Chuck went on to
win his first drivers
championship at the Point that
season. In a conversation with
car owner Randy Kisacky he
related “I’ve had many good
drivers, Alan Johnson, Gary
Tomkins, Tim McCreadie and
talent wise, Chuck is as good as
anybody that drove for me.
Personality wise he was the
easiest driver to work with. We
had one goal which was to win
races and if we couldn’t then we
did our best. He never got upset
if we didn’t win, we’d just sit
down afterward and work out
what we had to do to get better.
That’s what has really carried
over for me since. In 11 years
we won 14 track
championships, he knew what
he wanted in the car and if you
got him that, he won. And he
was always the cleanest driver,
never leaned on anybody, well
respected by his peers. Alan
Johnson and Bob McCreadie
really respected him. I can
remember watching him at Five
Mile when Charlie was driving
for me and he was the envy of
everyone in the pits. He just
had this ability to get up
through the pack. We’d be at
Penn Can standing on the pit
wall and you couldn’t even see
the cars on the track it was so
dusty and Chuck would start
24th and just work his way up
through. He had this uncanny
feeling about where he was,
just physically could feel where
the wall was. He was a guy that
was going to get the most out of
a car. Off the track he always
put his family and work first
and was never one to blow his
own horn. I couldn’t speak
highly enough about him.” That
pretty much says it all. For his
achievements Chuck was
elected into the DIRT HOF in
1998, the CNY Old Time HOF in
2006 and is being honored
again by NYSSCA on January
20th. “Only when you get older
do you realize how much it
means. All those Hall of Fame
Inductions, it humbles you. I
don’t know if I’m good enough
to be there.” And that’s the real
Mr. Charles Akulis, thoughtful,
reserved, honest and modest.
Many remember the Pink
Panther as it stood out on the
track with its unique
appearance but the real
standout was behind the wheel.
It certainly was a pleasure
talking with Chuck and his wife
Donna; I enjoyed it immensely
and hope you did too. Jeff
Ackerman, 6256 State Route
17C, Endicott, NY 13760.