~Ben Stephens~
Article Published in Volume 42 #2, February 7, 2007 in the Gater Racing News
Looking at a photograph of a driver
with his race car can tell you a lot.
Some guys really knew just how to
pose for a picture. Whether it’s a
relaxed smile and comfortable lean up
against the car or hands on hips all
business in cowboy boots, any one of
them can tell you the difference
between a man that was self assured
and confident, and one who wasn’t as
comfortable in the moment. In other
words, the difference between a driver
that raced cars and a race car driver.
This past week I had the good fortune
to chat with a race car driver.
Benjamin Stephens was born on Sept.
10, 1936 in Honesdale, Pa. into a
family of three children. His father
worked at a local creamery while his
mother was a homemaker. He helped
his father at the creamery until coming
of age and then went to work in a
factory for a short time but soon found
that it didn’t fit him and he went on to
a career as an auto mechanic at a
young age. He related “Automobiles
are my passion, I didn’t like the factory
work and so I started working on cars
and I’ve been doing it ever since.” His
interest in cars soon took him to the
local race track, Beach Lake Speedway.
“I started there in 1954. It was a little
quarter mile dirt track, down hill on
the first and second turn, uphill on the
third and fourth. Boy, we had a lot of
fun down there. I used to warm up Bob
Mack’s car, that gave me a little hint of
what to do, then there were three of us
that built a car, Bruce Mack, Willie
Hiller and myself. It was a little ’36
Dodge that was the ‘coupe of the week’
at Mack’s Auto sales and we got our
hands on it. But, I didn’t do very good
in that car, just getting’ started. Then I
decided this wasn’t any good, driving
every third week so I built my own car,
a ’35 Dodge coupe number 21. Then I
started doing better. First night the car
probably could have won but not with
me in it, it was a good running car. It
wasn’t completely stock but we didn’t
spend a lot of money, put a cam in it
and a copper head gasket and it made
a huge difference. They all thought I
had a truck camshaft in it and I said
‘that’s what I got’ because that was a
stock camshaft still so it was all right
with me if that’s what they thought.
Good ol’ Almquist Speedshop in
Milford, Pa., they’d do almost anything
for you and that’s where I got the cam.”
It was here at Beach Lake that Benny
learned how to drive and set his style
for the future. “Was I smooth or rough?
All depends on who was around. I
mean we had our guys who liked to
push and shove. So I learned how to
push and shove them back. But, I didn’
t run into people all the time, not
normally. If a guy upset me well, you
know how that goes but you’ve got to
be careful ‘cause you want to race after
you do your trick. I wouldn’t call me a
rough driver but I held my ground. Of
course most were faster than me for a
while, then I got the swing of things.”
Once he got the swing of things, he
started winning and working as a hired
gun. “I ran Beach Lake for quite a few
years but I didn’t run my own car. I
decided real quick that it didn’t pay.
So I just parked mine and started
driving other guy’s cars.” It was the
start of a racing career in which Ben
picked up rides from many a car owner
and he started venturing out to other
racing venues. “Sam Meahly would call
me up and want me to come down to
Moc-A- Tek to drive his cars and
straighten out the locals once and a
while. Sam’s old Chevy had a 216 with
a burnt valve in it, I don’t know what it
had in it but it ran. It had one low
cylinder in it and when you cranked it
over it went RAH RAH REEE RAH RAH
REEE but it ran good and it was just a
matter of going full tilt and wearing
them down.. what could I say, I could
take a piece of junk and beat them.” To
the apparent delight of promoter
Meahly who called often. It was during
these days as well that Ben picked up
an early trademark shared by many, a
cigar jutting from his clenched teeth. “I
was always chewing pretzels, you
know, just a nervous thing. One day
Jimmy Bonham came along and stuck
a cigar in my mouth. That chewed
better than the pretzel and lasted
longer too, that was that.” He ran at
Beach Lake through 1957 and related
‘We had a good time there, we’d win a
few, lose a few, lose a few, win a few.
There were some good guys down
there, Franklin Mary, Al Gregory, they
were both big winners. I only went
back once with Bryant Ingalls, we're
coming back from Williams Grove or
Selinsgrove or Lincoln, one of those
places and I set us both up with rides.
We finished one two and they about
killed us, they didn’t like us, didn’t
like us at all…”
In 1958 Benny moved to Binghamton,
NY and found himself in the middle of
a racing hotbed. He soon used his
mechanical aptitude in developing a
method for getting rides at the track. “I
was in a lot of cars, anyplace I’d go I’d
pick up a ride. I carried a flathead Ford
distributor with me, and you know
what I mean when I say I carried a
good one with me, (a crab type with
good heavy springs). It was stock,
standard flathead Ford front mount
and that thing would wind and wind
and wind. So, I’d always find a car, a
flathead Ford car that didn’t sound
good. Skipping and missing, carrying
on and I’d make a deal that they could
use this distributor if I could drive it. I
snooped around all over. I did it with
Chevy’s and Dodges too. You’d hear
them going halfway down the straight,
breaking up and I’d say just get me
another set of points. They’d say ‘well
it’s got new points in it already’ and I’d
tell them just get me another set and I’
ll fix your car. So, double spring them
and away you go, just rev them right
up to where ever you want. A lot of
guys spent a lot of effort trying to get
cars to run and would blame
everything but the distributor, spark
plugs are bad, wires are wrong and all
this. I always showed up at the track
with my helmet and distributor. I was
ready, wherever I would go, and always
be looking.” “And back in those days,
the cars didn’t handle so you had to
drive most of them. And that was a
factor too, I could get into most
anything and make it go, one way or
another, that helped. But, I thoroughly
enjoyed driving different cars, I wanted
to see if I could make this thing go.”
At this point Ben was finding rides at
White Lake, Middletown, Grahamsville
(near Neversink) and Susquehanna,
Pa. (Penn Can). He collaborated with
Vernon Osterhout in driving a sharp ’
35 Ford coupe #18 at While Lake and
Penn Can to many successes. “That
had a little Flathead Ford in it, 85
horse. Ricey threw me out of Penn Can
once with it.” Why? “Said I was illegal.  
Told him to tear it down but they
wouldn’t, Osterhout was so mad. They
really turned the RPM’s boy and that
thing would handle so good at Penn
Can, everything was just right. You
just sit there and smile, it just feels
good. I know at different times I was
smiling when it was running good,
other times I was frowning…” At White
Lake the car was a terror, “They used
to tell me that when I went around the
corner that my left rear was off the
track a foot. The turns were so tight
there that it would just come right up
and I didn’t want to fix it, it worked so
good we just left it alone. It had no
drag whatsoever.” We’re looking over a
picture of the #18 backing up to the
starting grid.. “That’s where I was
hotdogging a little bit.” Did he start in
reverse? “Yeah, I started backwards,
backed down into the first corner,
spun it around and went after them. I’
m not sure but I think I won that day..”
At Victory Speedway in Orange County
NY, Ben often found himself in
Charley Wells 1934 Ford coupe. “I
liked Middletown, that track gives you
a chance to get going. The little tracks
were fun too but as far as a good track,
get some speed, Middletown’s the
place to go. Even the Flatheads, well
that one was 3 & seven sixteenths by 4
and a quarter. (Quick calculation: 315
cubes). That was big and we were on
alky, that’s a going motor. It was given
to us. It was all cracked around the
seats, between the studs, that’s
normal, but we put it together, put
some block sealer in it and it ran fine.
There was concave (radius) lifters in it,
I can’t remember the cam but I do
know that one night we broke two
lifters. Now what are we going to do?
We put a set of flat tappets in it, boy
did it run then. I tell you, that made it
into a new engine whoooaa. But then
we blew it, HAHAHAHA. Boy that
sucker run, broke a couple of rods,
pistons, but the crank was still good
believe it or not.” After losing the
engine, the team decided they wanted
to try out Olive Bridge (Onteora)
Speedway for a big race and an all
night thrash was required to get the
car ready. “I was the soberest of the
bunch that night, or at least I thought
I was so I put the engine together.
Charley had gotten another set of
pistons with the engine when he got it
so we put them in it and the next
morning we go to put it in and turned
the flywheel, CLUNK! I said to Charley
‘whoever went up to the barn to get
these pistons got the wrong ones.’ The
pistons were sticking up out of the
block. I asked if he had any extra head
gaskets, which he did and we put them
on there and added a bunch of block
sealer and torqued them down. We got
down there and all the big shoes are
there, Frankie Schneider, Pete Corey, I
said to Charley were gonna get our
butts kicked and he said not to worry
about it. Well, that engine ran 190 all
day and we did real good with it. You
know what did me in that day? A GMC
with a Wayne head, Doc Norton they
called him and he won by quite a bit. A
few more laps and he wouldn’t have
won, he had only two bolts left holding
his axle in and it was throwing some
grease. That Jimmy had a different
sound to it I tell you. That thing
hauled the freight.”
“At Middletown we ran about like we
ran all over, top 5, that was my class
and my idea of running good. Not
spend a lot of money but having a good
time and I picked out guys that would
do that because I was always in it for
the fun, the good time. I mean I could’
ve worked harder at it and probably
gotten a better ride but I didn’t want
to, I was very happy, just the way I was
going. I was content, I could make
enough to pay the bills and I didn’t
have to put it back in the car. I got my
pay when I left the track, it wasn’t
much but it paid for gas. I’d hated to
try and make a living on it but… We
run White Lake, one night I won the
heat, semi and feature and my
paycheck was in a little envelope, car
#18, $18..”
At Susquehanna he tried several cars,
including Joe and Bud
Stachura’s #74 Chevy out of Conklin,
NY and Pappy Beaven’s #62 Buick.
“That 74 had a Five Mile Point engine
in it (Susquehanna’s rules were
‘stock’). Joe said ‘when you start it let
the clutch out and dog it down so it
doesn’t BLUB BLUB BLUB, oh it had a
heck of cam in it. You crank it up in
gear, and take off. You know, gas and
brake together so when you pull out of
the pits no one can tell. Joe said ‘you
can’t finish any better than second
with it’. (We’re looking at a picture of
the car with the flag) You did better
than second that time I point out.
“That was a mistake. I went up to their
shop one time and Joe was drilling
three eighths holes in the flywheel, I
don’t know how many hundreds of
holes he had in it. I asked how close to
balance he’d be and he said ‘it’ll be all
right’. Those guys back then did things
like that, really worked at it.” He found
some success with Pappy’s Buick as
well, although not as often. “I drove
that for a while, kept having problems
with it. It had a straight 8 Buick in it
and it was heavy, oh gawd was it heavy;
a tank. I kept telling Pappy we either
have to put some more gear in it or
take some weight off. And so he said
‘we’ll put more gear in it.’ So, you’d be
going up the backstretch and you leave
off and that timing chain would just
kinda twitch once and BINGO! She’d
come off, so I just got tired of not
running the full race and I said the
heck with it. Still, it was an experience
and I had fun.”
In 1963 Ben was doing well in the
Stocks and expanded his horizons to
the world of Sprints, teaming with car
owner Les Shaffer of Johnson City, NY.
“That first year the car had a Model B
Ford with dual overhead cam Green
head on it. Talk about an engine that
would run, that 4 cylinder Model B,
man, I tell you, that’d run. Wouldn’t
stay together long, we couldn’t keep
head gaskets on it. The pistons were
huge and the rods were doubled and
welded together (a Harley Marsh
innovation), it was really quite a
smooth running engine. But those
head gaskets, we kept blowing them.
We ringed the block, ringed the head,
put an insert in the head to make sure
it was really flush, couldn’t keep it
together. We got really good at it
(changing head gaskets). There was 7
or 8 timing gears in the front, we got
so good we could do it right at the
track. That might last, with one head
gasket interchange, between the heat
and the feature, you might run the
whole feature. It would run, but not
long..” The team joined the URC and
Ben often traveled with another local
Sprint hot shoe, the Earl of Sidney,
Earl Halaquist. One day the teams
pulled into a rest stop to take a break
and after Earl and Ben had gone to the
bathroom, they piled back in and took
off. “We were about 5 miles down the
road when I asked Earl if he hadn’t
forgotten something. And we went
back and got his wife.” Clearly their
minds were on their racing.
By 1964 the team had given up on the
Model B engine and installed a more
dependable Chevy small block, then
they started piling up the miles. “I put
miles on my car like you wouldn’t
believe. I ran 3 nights a week from
Vermont to North Carolina and
everywhere in between. With URC we
ran all over, Fairground Tracks and
many that I only ran once. My wife
started writing down all the tracks I
raced at and she was writing and
writing. I’m glad I was young ‘cause I
had to be nuts like the rest of them. I
mean we had a rollbar on that sprint
car, they wouldn’t even push the car
with it because it was so fragile, and it
did nothing. I know because I tested it
one time and it didn’t do anything. I
was all right but I had a sore neck
because my head was under the car
when I was done but I was all right.” At
this point in his career Ben was
putting 40,000 mile a year on his car
traveling “that old Pontiac sure knew it’
s way to Liberty”, working 5 and a half
days a week and traveling nights to
work on the stock cars, then racing all
weekend. He didn’t sleep much “and I
still don’t, always been that way.” By
the end of 1965 though, the tireless
Stephen’s had seen enough of the
sprint car relating “I lost a lot of friends
in the URC,” and was ready to take on
a new challenge, the asphalt at
Shangri-La.
Ben’s first ride at the Owego
Speedplant was in the Bob Burns and
Freddy Benoit owned #13. A
cantankerous white ’37 coupe that
housed a 427 Ford side oiler that went
like stink but couldn’t stop. “I told
them, the car’s great but the brakes
were junk. They were Fords, period. No
aluminum Buick hubs or Buick
brakes, just stock Fords. It had an
aluminum intake on it and it would
run but on asphalt you need brakes
too.” The team later added Airheart
disc brakes which helped matters but
the teams luck never allowed them to
enjoy their promise. “We took it up to
Lebanon Valley one night, right
straight off of Shangri-La and I’m
telling you, we were the laughing stock
of the pits. I mean everybody came
past that thing and looked, ‘look at
that carburetor’ they were saying and
laughing. Fred said ‘never mind that
$&!#, just wipe it all down with STP’,
he smeared it all over that car. (Less
friction?) We went out in the heat and
started 3rd or 4th and I want to tell
you that thing took off, just left them
right there. After the heat they weren’t
laughing. In the feature we started
right in front and come down the
straightaway and two lap cars come up
in the corner so where’d I go, right into
the wall. They didn’t leave me any
room. It was real disappointing to have
a car running that good and lose it 10
laps into a 100 lapper.” “When we first
started with the car, we figured we had
to turn 21 seconds at Shangri-La to be
competitive and we did it. But it was a
deathtrap. Cage? What cage? All the
cars were that way though. There was
very little safety back then. Anybody
ever took a ride in that back then and
came out of it OK was lucky. I ran that
car one season. I was kinda looking for
another ride because every week you’d
break a couple skirts off pistons and be
working on the engine all week. I just
got tired of that. We did so so with it
because after 10 laps you had to back
it off, the brakes in it would go away..”
At the end of 1966 Ben, still taking
rides as they presented themselves,
had a opportunity to run the Southern
Tier 100 @ Five Mile Point in Joe
Norton’s #30. “I warmed up and time
trialed Bob Page’s modified at Nazareth
that day and then made it back just in
time to warm up the car at 5 Mile.
They said they’d give me two laps to
warm up, that’s it. Well, whattya gonna
find out in two laps? Going to find out
that it goes straight to the wall that’s
what. Ray Bunzey had set the ride up
for me, (This must have been after Ray
was in an accident after towing the car
home one night after the races, an
accident that sidelined him for the rest
of the season) and told me it was all
ready to go. HAHAHAHA, I couldn’t
make that thing turn, I got a good
head of steam going up down the
backstretch and I thought I was going
to knock that wall into the pits. We
jacked it up and the left rears down
here and the right rears up here, I said
my god Joe there’s 15 inches of wedge
in this thing. I said we gotta get this
down to around 3 inches so I just got
on the front bolt and started crankin’,
got it down to around 3 inches and
tried it in the heat. Got 2nd or 3rd in
the heat and did really well in the
feature. We were real happy, Joe was
tickled to death with the night, all your
top guys were there, Rafter, Corey,
some fell out and some slowed down,
we just ran the whole race steady. The
car was basically a stock 327 with a
Ford carburetor, remember those Ford
carbs that never worked, that one did.
That was the first time I met Joe
Norton.” Credited with a second place
finish in the prestigious race, it was
the beginning of a relationship that
would pay dividends later.   
For 1967 Ben reverted to his tried and
true method of obtaining a ride,
straightening out a car owner’s
ignition problem. Ralph Held’s # 93
coupe was having problems at Shangri-
La and alerted of the problem, Ben
went over to help out. “Freddy (Benoit)
says to me, ‘Ralph’s having trouble
with his wiring’ so I go over to Ralph
and he said to me ‘The wires are all
twisted.’ Well, sure enough, he’d left
the magneto loose and they take a
little power to turn, so the wires were
all cranked around and it ripped some
of them out, so I fixed him up.” Soon
afterwards, Ben started driving the
Held #93 on a permanent basis. The
first coupe didn’t last long though. “We
took it to Waterloo, what a track, I
loved it. That second turn was a bird. I
went into it and there’s the #4
(Podalak) spun out, so I spin and I’m
sitting right beside him. Devere Bliss
come into the corner full bore, which is
the way to drive that track, and hit me
in the door. That cage was all conduit, I
didn’t know where I was afterward,
that took care of that car.” Ben did
have some good luck at the end of the
year though, Ralph’s wife worked with
a woman named Gwen at Newark
Valley High School and the two
conspired to get Ben out on a dinner
date with Ralph. Three years later, the
couple was married and have been now
for 37 years, a lot of good things come
from racing.
For 1968 the Held team built a 1937
Chevy sedan that the team hauled
with a converted bread truck. “I never
had to worry about the cage in that
one, it was black iron pipe and heavy.
That was a good car, it was safe.” The
car had considerable engine setback,
“we used a ’65 Corvair axle for a
driveshaft, we had the engine offset to
the left and sitting way, way back. It
was quite a, well, it was a beast. For as
heavy as it was, it ran pretty good.
Except of restarts, it didn’t take off. If I
was up front in was OK but if I was
back in the pack, you got it to the
floor, COME ON BABY HAHAHA.” The
sedan was campaigned through the
1970 season and although Ben was
unable to record any feature victories
in the car, his steady style and
consistency kept in the top 5 in points
at Shangri-La against some of the best
competition that the track was ever to
have. Think of a starting lineup like
this: Hoag, Diffendorf, Hayes, Stroshal,
Bolia, Bodine, Evans, Cook, Loescher,
Osgood, Yeingst, Groover, Clark, and a
host of others, brother! Just qualifying
was a feat. For 1971 the team debuted
a new coupe, built by Sonney Seamon,
but success wasn’t to be. “At an all star
show Dutch and I were flying, Paul
Bologach got crossed up and was
coming across the track well,
everything just stopped for both of us.
Ralph thought I was going to work on
the car Sunday but I told him, Ralphie
I can’t. He got upset.  I had been
talking with Joe Norton and his driver,
Larry Groover, was building his own
car for that season so he was looking. I
had recommended Joe Buchak to him,
who was doing really well in the circle
4 at the time and he got the chance in
the 3X. Joe did well in the car for a few
weeks, kept telling me about ‘what
power it has’ but one night he flied out
of the pits, flew through 1 and 2 and
into three, then flew right into the
wall, ending his chance in the car. I
called Joe Norton up after talking with
Ralph and said ‘you’ve got a driver’.
That’s how I got with Joe and it was all
good times from then on.”
The team started with the recently
vacated #10 that Larry Groover had
piloted. Now sporting fire engine red
paint and Joe Norton’s #3X, Ben slid
into the ride he was to finish his career
with. Like their previous encounter,
the team immediately clicked at
Syracuse in the first Schaeffer 100.
“My favorite tracks were Syracuse and
Middletown. 5 Mile Point was a fun
track but Syracuse is a business track
and if your car is working that’s the
place you want to race, at least I did, I
loved that place. Most guys ran the
hub but I liked to go in a little higher,
a little deeper. Joe said to me ‘I think
we’d have won that race if the
distributor hadn’t screwed up.’ We had
a new Accel distributor, one you could
adjust the weights and everything,
nice deal, we thought ‘that’s perfect’. It
had these little screws that held them
in place and they broke and the car
went flat. We had cantilever tires on
and reverse stagger with that car, and
flat, no wedge and that car flew. We
didn’t put the reverse stagger in on
purpose, it grew by an inch and a half,
and that thing, two or three abreast in
turn one. It was right out on the edge,
you can’t call it a cushion at Syracuse
but I could put it up there, it handled
beautiful. That one we took care of
down at Pocono on the three quarter
mile, I think it was Lee Hendrickson
that we got together with.”
The second 3X was purchased from
Sonney Seamon, a ’38 Plymouth coupe
that was to become affectionately
known as ‘Old Nell’ and was the last
coupe to be run at Shangri-La on a
regular basis. After some front end
tweaking, the car started giving Ben
and the team the consistent finishes
he was noted for. “Everybody changed
Sonny’s front ends, just something
about them. They were a bit of a cross
between a Flemke and a Seamon, I
won’t say they didn’t work but they
didn’t work for me so we worked with
them a bit until it did.”  “Every once in
a while we’d put some push into the
car to try it and I couldn’t do anything
with it. I’d say ‘get this thing back to
where it was, we tried it, how many
times do we have to go through this.’
So, we’d put it back, you get that @$$
end out on the corner, then you could
race. You can control that.” Ben
continued to control the coupe
through 1975, and against top notch
competition, he continued to impress.
“You can’t beat cubic dollars and there
was a lot of talent at Shangri-La too.
And we went with a real budget
operation, we’d look at the tires and we’
d say, ‘we can get another week out of
them’, we didn’t get new ones all the
time. We always had fun, top 5, 6, 7,
not having as much as Troyer, Evans,
Bodine and those boys but we thought
we were doing good and we were
happy. Very content with what we were
doing and we did it for a lot of years.”
Ben became a crowd favorite with the
coupe, which by now had to look like
an antique on the speedway but
continued to do well against tall odds.
There was a reason the coupe wasn’t
replaced, Ben just didn’t like the
newly built Vega that Joe had
purchased from Doug Rundell. “I hated
that Vega when we first put it on the
track. I said ‘Joe, don’t ever leave that
coupe home, we’re going to run the
coupe.’ We’d run the Vega in the heat
and the coupe in the consi. They got
sick of that (@ Shangri-La) so finally
one week Joe just brought the Vega so
we had to run it. Then I got used to it.
It was just cramped up compared to
the coupe and I was used to being able
to move around in the car. But once we
got that Vega going good it was a real
smooth car, and safe. Thank god I had
it when I went over the wall at
Trenton.” The crash at Trenton was a
true test to Rundell’s abilities as a
fabricator and his car came through
with shining colors. The car employed
additional vertical bars in the roll cage
which held up to Ben’s flip along the
fence and subsequent trip out of the
ball park. “I just kept going and going
and going, flipping rolling. I always
laugh when a guy gets out of a car and
tells you how many times he flipped.
All you can see is black and white,
black and white, there’s no way you
can count it. After that flip NASCAR
looked over the cage and made those
vertical bars a ‘had to be’ afterward.
The team continued with another Vega
for the 1976 season, again built by
Rundell and enjoyed their best
success as a team in the car. In 1977
on July 9th he recorded his first
feature victory at the speedway after
trying for over 11 years, and followed it
up with two more through 1978. By
this time though, Ben was losing the
spark for racing. He was married now
and starting a family as well as
approaching the age when many
drivers start to have second thoughts.
“I was getting so tired, if the car broke
down I didn’t feel like working on it
and I’d say ‘Joe this isn’t fair to you.’ I
wanted to stop for the last three or four
years but we’d go to a restaurant and
he’d introduce me as his driver and
what are you going to do. Finally we
went on a wrecker call and on the way
back we had a good talk. I had tears in
my eyes when I told him I wasn’t going
to drive for him anymore. We never
argued, we just had a lot of good times
and I enjoyed every minute of it. He’s a
great guy, greatest guy in the world.
They don’t make them like him
anymore. We had got the Vega going
really good. Eddie Conner some over to
me after I was done and said ‘what the
#@!!s the matter with you. Why did you
quit? You’re a threat to win any race
you went to.’ And I said, ‘Well, I quit on
top, you can’t quit at a better time. I
enjoyed all the racing I did all over the
country and I enjoyed the challenge of
different tracks .Boy, and I tell you, we
hit them all.”
Cigar jutting out of his mouth,
checkered in hand, Benny seemed
keenly aware of the image he was
cultivating and it wasn’t one of a poser,
the pose was great but Benny backed
it up. He stated that automobiles were
his life passion and he was fortunate
enough to be around during a period
when a racing addict could see it all,
and he did. He drove a Model B
powered sprint car, “tripped over an
(ultra rare) Riley V8 at Les Shaffer’s for
years until we hauled the monstrosity
to Florida”, drove Dodge, Ford and
Hudson flathead powered Stock Cars,
sat in an Offy sprinter once, raced
Chevy and Ford big block asphalt
modifieds, raced on asphalt and dirt as
well. He got to see it all, from the grass
root tracks to the big time venues of
Syracuse, Lebanon Valley,
Middletown, Trenton, Williams Grove
and Shangri-La, and loved every
minute of it. He was the underdog,
usually in lesser equipment than some
of his competitors but approached
racing from the standpoint that it had
to be fun, and made sure that it was.
And he got everything out of the
equipment that he could, consistently
placing in the money. It’s easy to see
why he “wouldn’t change a thing” in
relation to his career because he got
out of it exactly what he wanted, a
good, clean time. He left the sport on
top like you’re supposed to, leave ‘em
wanting more and during the interview
his love and enthusiasm for racing was
more than evident. It was infectious.
Ben wanted to relate that he “enjoyed
my days of racing with Joe Norton
above all, he was one of the best
people I ever met in racing and I also
want to give thanks to my wife Gwen,
who supported me from the time I met
her.” I want to thank Ben and Gwen
for their hospitality and the time
spent, it was a hoot and I’m pleased to
have had the opportunity and hope
you enjoyed it too.  
One last thing and I’m done, I want to
wish Dolly Busco and Jonah Patrick
the very best in their recovery from
their recent accident. I’m pleased to
hear that they are doing better now
and hopefully in time will recover fully.
My best wishes to all of the Patrick
family and looking forward to seeing
you at the Carquest show. Jeff
Ackerman, 6256 State Route 17C,
Endicott, NY.
Benny Hotdogging it...
Heading out of the park @ Trenton ROC.
Ben Stephens at Shangri-La in 1973.
Bud Stachura's 74 at Penn Can.
The timing chain stayed on this night..
Jimmy Bonham at Penn can.
This is actually Howie Wells in his Dad's car at Accord in 1964.
Benny in for some practice at Penn Can, cigar at the ready..
Ben on the outside at URC Show in Harrington, Deleware. Walter Chernokal Photo.
Benny in the Osterhout 18 at White Lake.
Bryant Ingall rim riding at Williams Grove in 1964.
Almquist Cams - the Weber F7 Radius advertised in the same catalog cost over $90...
The 404 takes radius lifters, flat lifters will 'wake it up'.........
Larry Groover in the Norton coupe, Benny had success at 5MP in this ride.
Benny in the Burns 13 at Shangri-La 1966.
Smokey Joe Norton.
The Ralph Held sedan at Shangri-La 1968.
Benny in 1968.
Fulton 1969.
Shangri-La 1971.
Shangri-La 1971.
NYS Fairgrounds.
Benny at Shangri-La in the Norton coupe, 1971.
Shangri-La pits 1971.
Shangri-La 1973.
Shnagri-La 1974.
Ben @ Shangri-La in 1976.
A 1977 feature win at Shangri-La.
Joe Norton in the 3X at Midstate.
The Shaffer Chevy at Penn Can.
Benny buckles in.
On the pole in 1976 at Shangri-La.
With John Clark's restored 3X at the Gater show.
Looking over some Ardun's.
Thank you for the T-10 rebuild Benny.
Susquehanna (Penn Can) 1960.
DOHC HAL on Model B block - similar to the Green..
Benny At Penn Can with Pappy Beavens Pontiac.
No flathead has a chance agianst this set up - Wayne Head with Hilborns.
A different time when you could walk around the pits with one of these and pick up a ride..
Moc-A-Tek looked interesting..