~Dick May & Bob Hayslett~
Article Published in Volume 43 #2, February 5, 2008 in the Gater Racing News
I was calling around, following leads in search
of the ever elusive last Kotary engine..(which as
it turned out, was a white elephant with hens
teeth, it didn’t exist) when a fellow told me to
get a hold of this guy up in Watertown. I tried
him, “Yep, I got a good race engine sitting in
my shop right now, as good as any, as good as
Cliff’s”, would he sell it? “I just sold it two
weeks ago to Floyd Waterson” was the reply.
OK, no problem, I’ll call Floyd and try to talk
him out of it. Only took two years to talk him
out of it and that was only with repeated
pestering every time I saw him at the races. So,
on a rainy fall day I headed out from Rochester
where I was attending college at the time, to
Watertown and met Floyd outside of town. I
paid him in cash for the engine when we met
and he related, “Once we get that engine on
your truck, you get out of there, this guys a
little funny about his stuff and I don’t know
how he’ll take this.” No problem. I was looking
forward to seeing this engine so I’d have agreed
to anything, Floyd related it was a real
screamer, had a California crankshaft and Clay
Smith camshaft. I was still learning
Flatheadese at the time but I was pretty sure   
it’d be a stroker which is what I was looking for.
Floyd led me out to Sheridan Drive in
Watertown where we meet his son Ron and
buddy Chris Brougham, up the drive we go and
this fellow comes out of the house. He says
hello with a grunt and I’m starting to see what
Floyd meant, he’s not a man of many words,     
I’ve met guys like this before, you don’t cross
them. He’s struggling with the door to the
garage so I help him open it and brother! This
little weather beaten two car garage is full, and
I mean full of all kinds of great stuff. There’s a
small path to the back corner where the
flathead is and I’m looking it over. I’ve paid
$600 for it sight unseen and I want to know a
little about it before we try to pry it out of there
so I start asking questions.
‘Floyd tell’s me it’s got a California crank in it,
it’s a stroker right?’ “It’s a C/T crankshaft” the
fellow tells me, “but it’s not stroked, it’s a
Ford!” Oh boy, sigh, it’s a sneezer I think.
‘What’s the bore?’ “60 over” is the reply. It is a
sneezer, 248 cubes, that’s small, even by
flathead standards. OK, ‘Floyd tells me it’s got
a California crankshaft?’ “Yep, C/T
Automotive.” ‘Is is a crossfire?’ “Nope.” ‘OK, it’s
got to be a cutdown then.’ “Yep, that’s right,
winds up tight.” I’m adding it up in my head
now, Edelbrock heads, Fenton 4-Barrel intake,
Aluminum flywheel, light crank – that’s $600
worth right there and so Chris, Ron and I pick
it up and struggle through the path wide
enough for one guy with this engine and place
it on my truck. “Wait a minute, who’s getting
this engine?” the fellow inquires. I glance at
Floyd who shrugs, ‘Well, I’m getting this
engine’ I reply. The fellow looks at me, sizing
me up and says “Well, OK, but don’t you cook
it, it’s got a real good radius tappet camshaft in
it and it isn’t for the street.” I’ve been asking all
the questions to this point and now I want to
know about the cam. ‘Floyd tells me it’s a Clay
Smith, what grind is it?’ “No, it ain’t no @#$%
^&* Clay Smith” the fellow is practically
spitting fire now, “it’s a CRANE.” Having had
the good fortune recently of attending RIT in
Rochester, I had made several visits to B&M
Speedshop and talked with Bruce Fleishman
and Milt Johnson about flatheads, they had
related that the Crane 425-2 was the best of
the Crane grinds which they sold, so it was an
educated guess. ‘It’s a 425-2 right?’ I said
hopefully. And the fellow’s eyes widened,
“Yeah, how’d you know that. Nobody knew
that, I never told anyone. Hey, you want a
stroker?” Of course I did. “Come on inside, I’ve
got one under my bed.” And that’s how I came
to meet and befriend Bob Hayslett. He warmed
up to me from that point forward and told me
to come back the following week. When I got
home that afternoon with the engine my father
and I hoisted it up with a come-along off a tree
branch, I could see the extensive work done on
the exhaust ports. We placed it on a stand and
took off the heads, the port and relief was
beautiful, it was art actually in comparison with
what we had seen to date. The pan came off to
reveal the cutdown crank polished like a jewel
and the shiny radius cam that Harvey J. Crane
ground himself. Sneezer my arse, this was
killer. The next week I went back and this time
he had several camshafts laid out on his
kitchen table, (including a $#@&*&%$ Clay
Smith). My education really began then and
through the years I learned from Bob the
importance of polish & relief, clearances,
compression, camshaft design and what
worked best where as well as how to degree a
cam correctly. He became my flathead guru
and friend, whenever I had a question he had
an answer, I followed his advice closely (along
with others such as Cliff) and was never steered
wrong. As we made trips to races going past
Watertown, we always stopped to say hello to
Bob and his family, my father and Bill Marsh
often accompanied me on these visits and I
always left clean as a whistle thanks to Bob’s
Sharpei Duke who wasn’t shy about showing
his affection. Not only did I learn about
flatheads though, but also about Bob. He was a
working man racer but work was really only a
means of floating his dreams, and his dreams
were mostly revolving around his racing. He
related to me he once, as a boy, walked miles
to buy a cracked Crager head, paid for it, and
then walked the miles home with it. His desire
to race was as great as any I’ve met and maybe
more so. He was a WWII war veteran and
decorated with two purple hearts from the
Battle of the Bulge in Belgium. When he got
back to the states he had the racing bug and
by 1960 had teamed up with Dick May of
Brownsville to form what became the B29 team.
Bob was brilliant, a real thinker and he used
everything around him to make the team
better. His HAM radio buzzed with talk to Tom
Cherry in Indianapolis, he took advantage of a
favorable deal from a buddy who worked for the
phone company to talk with cam grinders such
as Ed Iskendarian and Harvey J. Crane. At
DexeLectrics where he worked there was a
small engine dynamometer for Briggs &
Stratton Engines, he tried our porting
arrangements on the engines (which are
flatheads of course) and then used the
techniques that worked on his own engines.
Bobby Meeks who was Vic Edelbrocks engine
man gave him tips on modifying cylinder
heads. On and on it went and he poured all of
this into my eager ears during our visits, great
stuff and I always looked forward to seeing him.
Inevitably, we also talked of his racing days as
well. Bob wrenched two cars in the 60’s for
action at Watertown Speedway, the B28 and
B29 which by 1964 were both 1934 coupes.
Bill Maxon drove the B28 five window and Bob
generally used this car as his ‘test bed’. “I never
told Bill but we didn’t put the same stuff in his
car as the B29, he drove just as hard as Dick
though and sometimes would beat him with
inferior stuff.” Bob related trying to cut down a
crankshaft himself once and upon installing it
in the B28 found “it nearly shook the fenders
off. I had to take it out of there before it blew
up.” He was never afraid to try anything and
watched over his cars like a hawk. Once, Dick
decided to give him a hand and Bob had him
changing out an axle, “Dick comes up to me
with all these aluminum chips in his hand
asking ‘what’s this’ and I told him to get away
from it. He didn’t jack it up first and I had to
helicoil the hub.” Bob also related, “Dick was a
good driver, really good before the accident
(1963) but that took a little out of him. I really
felt bad about that, he got hurt pretty bad in it
and I made sure when we built the 3 window
that it was rugged. And then as we went along
we beefed it up more. Shorty Robinson used to
like to crack you going into a corner, just as
you let off. The next day I’d look down at the
tranny and see grease under the car and know
that he’d taken off another thrust bearing on
the crank (I have one of these which Bob gave
me, could be fixed I guess) and I’d have to do
up another crankshaft. I fixed that by adding a
300 lb. bumper to the rear of the car and the
next week Shorty took out his radiator instead.
That ended that.” “Dick wasn’t one to keep
much track of the gauges. He cooked an engine
at Syracuse one year and when he came in all
that was left was steam. So I took some copper
tubing and ran it from the radiator overflow
back into the cockpit and had it right next to
the steering wheel. I told Dick ‘Now when you
feel that blast of steam on your arm, you’ll
know that motor’s hot and it’s time to come in.
AHAHAHAHAHAH!!! You should’ve seen the
look on his face when I told him that.”
Flash forward to 2001 and we’re at Can-am
Speedway with the club. Into the pits comes
Dick May who promptly introduces himself and
starts talking racing. I like him immediately.
He deftly climbs into my B29 which is a re-
creation of the car he once drove. Actually, he
gets into it easier than I do for some photo
opportunities. He’s as impressed with the car
as Bob was and afterward we chat some more, I
wondered if I’d ever see him again. Then earlier
this year, longtime racing fan Mike Perry of
Watertown, NY contacted me to relate that Dick
had been selected for induction to the DIRT
Motorsports Hall of Fame, would I bring up the
B29 for the induction. You bet. Following is the
interview from May 27th of this year past.
Dick May started his racing career in 1950
after he and some of his Army buddies
stationed at Pine Camp (now Fort Drum) talked
him into going to the races. And he was bitten
by the same bug that seems to get us all. He
started racing at Alexander Bay, Candor,
Kinston and eventually Watertown. He related,
“I started in 1950 when Ernie Busick and SGT.
Petty, (he was no relation to the Racing Petty’
s), they talked me into going to Canton. The
second time we went SGT. Petty asked me if I
wanted to drive so I said OK. I think 9 cars
started and I finished 10th. AHAHAHA!.
Alexander Bay opened in ’52 or so and I went
up there. I drove a car owned by Piesall and
Bob Williams, #36 coupe. We raced the Bay for
2 to 3 years, Canton, Kingston and another
place was Hogansburg.” Early success was
found at Kingston in ’55 when he won a $200
feature event driving for George Fuller in his
#83 coupe. By the late 50’s his driving was
drawing attention and in 1960 he started
teaming with Bob Hayslett. “When I was
discharged from Pine Camp I stayed in the
area. I was originally from Ithaca but I hated
school, I dropped out and joined the Army in
1948. I really enjoyed the service! I’m one of
the few that did, it’s all in what you make of it,
I had a Jeep with a Siren and a Firetruck with
a Siren, what more could a 19 year old ask
for?! We were flat towing from Watertown to
Canton which was 50 miles, that’s a long ways
with a log chain. I had a car that I had run at
Syracuse for a few years, a ’37, #B29, black and
white. Bob Hayslett came up to me and asked
‘Would you let us run it at Watertown? Would
you drive it?’ I said I will if you have a car ready
for me for Syracuse, no matter what happens.
DexeLectrics, they had very excellent
mechanics, welders, and I had a creampuff of a
car from then on. It wasn’t me, anyone could
have won in it. The car had good pieces, the
driver they had before was crashing them every
week and I managed to stay out of wrecks.” The
team’s first car was a ’35 Ford 5 window coupe
numbered B29, fire engine red with yellow
numbers outlined in black and Bob’s
screaming flathead under the hood. Coupled
with May’s hard charging driving style, they
won over many hearts at Watertown, and quite
a few races as well. In 1960 the team cracked
the top fifteen in points at a track that boasted
keen competition such as Bob and Dick
Zeigler, Dell Crill, Woody Van Order, Frank
Andre and the Robinsons just to name a few.
1961 was even better as the team found their
stride. Dick copped third place in points and
started winning races regularly. 1962 was the
year though, in David Stoodley’s ‘Legends of
Watertown Speedway’ book (a ‘must have’ by
the way) one notes that Dick didn’t really start
wining consistently until after the 5th or 6th
week of the season. This fact can be attributed
to Bob Hayslett’s meticulous engine work, a
winter’s worth which usually wasn’t done in
time for the season opener. He once related to
me “Betty and I would take the block into the
tub and wash it, hot soapy water is the only
way to make sure it’s really clean. Once I got it
into my shop, I closed the door and let no one
in. I wasn’t to be interrupted for anything. I
didn’t have any radio playing or any
distractions, just me and that engine. And I
took my time to make sure everything was
perfect. Other guys would always razz me at
the track, ‘when you gonna get your new
engine out?’ I got it out when it was ready. By
then a lot of those guys had blown theirs.” May
rode the B29 to the track championship in ’62,
ripping off three in a row in August and
appeared to be on his way again in ’63 when
disaster struck. Pushing the car hard Dick
made contact and veered into a light pole on
the infield of the track and caught it flush. The
B29 was destroyed and Dick was hurt badly in
the accident, broken jaw, missing teeth,
broken ribs and left arm, the team was finished
for ’63. He related “We won the championship
in 1962 and I would’ve won it the next year too
but I ended up in the hospital with three races
to go. And still I think I finished 2nd or 3rd
(Stoodley’s book records him as 6th although
he was only trailing eventual track champ
Frank Andre at the time of the accident). “The
only pole in the entire lot and I hit it!
AHAAHAHAHAH! The one that had all the
lights on it, the lights come out of there like
cherries, sent everyone home. If I can’t race,
nobody can, HAHAHAHA!
For 1964 Bob built a new B29, this time an
ultra sharp 1934 Ford 3 window coupe with
greater re-inforcement. Bob once related to me,
“A guy in town here had a hot rod and one of
his doors had a dent in it. He wanted to trade
doors with me and I told him to get lost, I
wanted my stock car to look sharp too.” And it
was. Now housing the aforementioned engine
with light crank, Edelbrock heads and a Holley
4-barrel, it screamed. Bob remembered, “When
you stepped on it, it was like stepping on a cat’
s tail.” Dick continued to drive the B29 through
the Flathead years at Watertown, finishing
10th in points in ’64, 7th in ’65 and 6th in ’66.
At the last State Fair race held for the Flathead
Era cars in 1966, Dick copped the 3rd heat of
the day which landed him on the outside pole
for the feature event, an accomplishment that
both he and Bob consider one of their greatest
in racing. They both desired the win at
Syracuse greatly and on this day Dick actually
thought he’d won. Dick related it was one of
his most memorable days in racing, “We started
pretty well back in the heat but there was a
hole someplace and I found it. I won the heat,
it was a mistake. AHAHAHA. We sat on the
(outside) pole in the feature and I come in 3rd.
I was too damned minding somebody else’s
business. Larry Nye was ahead and he was
having trouble and there was two laps to go
and I thought ‘I’m keeping away from him.’
Sure enough, he went down the straight took
the flag and won the race. You should never
back off, a thinking driver is no good.” “Mike
Miller was on the pole, there were three of us, I
forgot who the other was (Dick Field), and I got
back as far as 6th or 7th. At that time we were
running Stromberg’s and one of them got
clogged up, you had to back off and then get on
it, in the process you cleaned them out. Once
you cleaned them out, you’re good, you aren’t
going to go no where until you get them
cleaned out. By the time I got them cleaned out
and back to about 6th I though I was up back
up front. When those two guys went out (Miller
and Kotary), I thought I was leading.” As the
race unfolded, Mike Miller took the lead with
Cliff in 2nd and they checked out according to
my father who was there that day. With a few
laps to go Cliff gunned it and caught Miller,
Miller blew a tire and as Cliff was trying to
overtake him, his engine blew, leaving the race
to third place runner Larry Nye. My notes
(copied from others) show that Dick thought he
had won the race but the reality is that Larry
did and has the trophy at home to prove it.       
For 1967, the team went overhead along with
the rest of Watertown Speedway and Bob, an
oval blue man if there ever was one, stuck with
Ford power and placed a potent 289 between
the rails. “That had a roller cam in it and was it
ever hoppy. The only way to turn it off was to
hit the switch and drop the clutch at the same
time, and then this big fireball would come out
of the carburetor.” May still drove the car to
success at Watertown but his interests were
starting to head south, as in racing down there.
He related, “I went down south in ’67, I found a
car in Poughkeepsie that was a Holmon-Moody
car that Marvin Panch had driven for the Wood
Brother’s and they wanted $2500.00 for it. It
was a ’63 Galaxie that had a 427 that shook
the rafters and I thought to myself that I had to
have it. I had a girlfriend at the time and and
she gave me some money, put her own car up
as collateral (chuckles). Like I said, I’d never be
where I was if it wasn’t for my wife. She paid
the bills.” “My first race was at Daytona, an
ARCA race. Then I entered the Permatex 300,
they were short of cars so I got in with a car
that was four years old. I was up to third with it
and I thought the race was 100 laps, then we
get to 101, 102, I figured they were just
running us a few extra laps, and I run outta
gas with 4 to go. I was running good and I
would’ve fallen into a fairly narrow win, haven
never seen the track, just foolishness..The car
would have run by itself, maybe it would’ve
been better if we had let it run by itself.” Back
at Watertown May was riding the B29 to a 6th
place season finish with his last feature win at
the track coming on Sept. 16th. In 1968 he
finished second in points to Chubby Leroux
and was looking forward to a banner season in
1969 when an opening day flip sidelined the
B29 for two weeks, the team never really
recovered (although the car, under Bob’s
proficient hands, was back on track in two
weeks) and finished out the season 20th in
points. 1969 was to be Dick’s last year in the
modifieds as he moved to North Carolina in
1970 and began his second driving career in
NASCAR. Bob Hayslett stayed on in Watertown
and soon took interest in his son Mike’s friend,
Bob McCreadie, who was starting out in the
modifieds himself. McCreadie’s promise was
soon revealed and Bob kept at his engine and
car building, one of the Barefoot’s early
successful rides was a Falcon, number 9 that
housed a potent 302 Boss engine built in Bob’s
little two stall garage on Sheridan street. On
one of my trips to Watertown, Bob asked if I
wanted to go over to McCreadie’s shop, no
doubt. He drove, maybe for the last time, I’m
not sure but I had to extract my fingers from
the dash when we got there as he’d run at least
two lights and hopped a couple of curbs before
we arrived. We got out and McCreadie’s shop
was immaculate, could’ve eaten off the floor, he
asked Bob what was going on and Bob said,
‘Just scroungin’ for some tires for my buddy
here.’ McCreadie looked at me and said, “You a
friend of Bob’s?” Yes. ”You take them tires over
there, they ran 3 laps Sunday night at
Weedsport and then I blew the 4th.” They were
like new, teets and all. I asked how much he
wanted for them and he responded, “You’re a
friend of Bob’s, you can’t pay me for them, you
take them.” I did, and never forgot it. I was a
fan of McCreadie’s already, that cemented it for
me. Oh yeah, I drove Bob back home to
Sheridan drive..
Dick went on to work for STP as a
representative and distributor during the 1970’
s, they covered his expenses and it allowed him
to be at the track where he routinely picked up
rides, either in relief or for owners who couldn’t
afford to have their cars not finish. His
reputation became one of a ‘professional
stroker’ or ‘Rent a Hertz’ as he was always
available for hire. He related, “Back then the
races were 400, 500 miles and a lot of the guys
were workers, not in the shape the guys are
today, they’d get tired and would knock on
their heads for relief and I got a lot of relief
jobs. The only reason I got the relief jobs was
because the owners wanted to keep the car
going, maintain speed and bring it back. They
said they could get any truck driver to go out
and wreck it, but that isn’t what they wanted.”
Dick hauled cars, he qualified them (often very
well) and relieved drivers as car owners
requested. Many were independents who just
needed the car in the show to make a few laps
and pick up their pay in order to continue their
habit. Dick obliged willingly. In an interview
with Stock Car Racings Bruce Martin Dick
related, “People would ask me ‘What are you
driving today?’ and I didn’t know. ‘How do you
know which is your car?’ One time Chris
Economaki came up and asked, ‘How do you
know it’s you car?’ I told him, ‘I always sit out
on the pit wall, they play the national anthem,
and everybody hops in their cars and starts
down pit road. When I see one that’s not
moving, that’s mine and I’m going to get into
it.’  As I told Chris that story, I had an idea
what was going to happen. One of the car
owners came up to me and said, “Look, get
ready, get your uniform because my driver
thinks he’s “King Richard,” or David Pearson of
Cale Yarbrough. He’s out of his tree. He told
me a half-hour ago, he wanted 50 percent or
he was parking the car. Just stand around and
keep an eye on him and see what happens.’ I
was telling Chris if no car moves, that has to be
mine. As the cars moved down pit road, I said,
‘Chris, you have to excuse me, that car has no
driver.’ He said, ‘You’re fooling.’ I said ‘I’ll see
you.’ “I jumped in the car and Chris asked me,
‘have you ever driven this car before?’ I asked
the car owner, ‘Have I ever driven this car
before?’ It might have had another number
than was on it that day. I never really knew.”
Surely, Dick’s humble attitude and self effacing
style when telling these stories are evident. The
truth is, it takes no less talent to do the things
he was asked to do, then it does for one who is
expected to win with superior equipment. The
difference is that the pressure is off, which
from my view of Dick, suited him better. He
didn’t ask for a percentage, rather that car
owners paid for his goggles and gave them what
he was worth. He loved the sport and was best
as a ‘good will ambassador’ for it as any. Along
the way he set records, in the 1975 Dover 500
he is recorded as driving 5 different cars, all in
relief as they dropped out, his final finish is
only one of ‘dropped out’. He related “Afterward
they asked me what happened and I said that I
ran out of cars.” He once qualified three cars at
one race and his antics forced NASCAR to
adopt rules to curb this kind of practice, he
retaliated by submitting several entry blanks
for each race. Anything to race. He finished his
career in 1986 when drivers were starting to
offer car owners cash for a chance at the wheel,
“I had ride set up but another guy came along
with $15K and got the ride, he wrecked it.”
Dick continued, “When I was driving a
modified, I was out to win. When I was driving
down South, I was out to finish.” Even so Dick
holds at least two records in NACSAR that will
never be broken as rules have been written to
preclude the possibility, he qualified 3 cars for
one race and drove 5 cars in another. In 1978
he finished 15th in points and ‘had a heck a
time explaining to the IRS that I didn’t collect
all that money.’ Dick didn’t do it for the money
obviously. Anyone who would drive his own
truck to pack in newly laid clay (As Dick and
fellow truck driver Neil ‘Terrible’ Tooley did in
the Spring of ’62 at Watertown), did so only
because they loved the sport. It surely was a
pleasure talking to Dick this past May about
his racing exploits.
Pulling out of the driveway that rainy day in
Watertown some 15 years ago, Bob approached
my truck and said, “You know, that engine’s
worth a lot more than $600.” I agreed with him,
but I really had no idea just what it was worth.
Reflecting back now, I can only say that it was
priceless. Not only did I get to know Bob, but
also Dick and made many other friends along
the way as well. Dick’s induction to the Dirt
Motorsports Hall of Fame was well deserved, I
have to add though that from my standpoint,
and knowing Bob personally, that I feel that
another category for mechanics should be
added. Afterall, many of these drivers would
not have been successful had it not been for
the talents such as those exhibited by Al
Kotary, Bob Hayslett, Fred Decarr, the Turner
Brothers and guys like Gene Heath. They
deserve recognition too. As do car owners like
Dave McCredy et all.  Regardless, Bob was
right, the engine was worth a lot more than I
paid for it, what price is friendship worth? Bob
passed in 2002 and I think of him often when I’
m tinkering, ‘what would he have done?’ I do
my best to emulate his work and once in while
pick up the phone to chat with Cliff and Roy
Kotary, or Dad, and get my answer. Lucky me.
Have to thank the many people who have
contributed material for this: Mike Perry of
Watertown, NY who submitted material for Dick’
s induction and then forwarded it all to me,
Bob and Mike Hayslett who filled me full of info
and pictures depicting the history of the B29,
David Stoodley whose book ‘The Legends of
Watertown Speedway’ is simply a masterpiece,
and long time flagger and fan of Watertown
Speedway, Pete Ruttigliano who contributed
info to me back n 1999. Thanks to all, hope
you enjoyed this and that all who read this
enjoy a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
It’s Saint Bernardy Summer here in Campville,
the games have begun, dress warm and enjoy.
Jeff Ackerman, 6256 State Route 17C,
Endicott, Ny 13760.
Bob's cut down C/T crank.
Crane 425-2 Radius Tappet Camshaft timing card.
Radius and Flat Tappet cams from Bob.
Notes from Bob and Barney Navarro.
My B29 chassis inspired by Bob.
A lot of thoughts.....
Bob Hayslett and myslef with the Kotary 90, and Bob's engine..
The finished B29 replica.
New 3 window for 1964. Mike Hayslett photo.
Man, what a pretty car. Mike Hayslett Photo.
1964 at Watertown, Bob at back of truck. Bob Hunter photo.
1962 Championship car. Bob Hunter photo.
Dick in front, Bob in back. Watertown 1964, Bob Hunter photo.
1967 win at Watertown. Courtesy of David Stoodley.
Bill Maxon drove the B28. Courtesy of Mike Hayslett.
Opening day 1969 at Watertown. Gater News.
Permatex 300.
Dick lines the B29 up at Syracuse, Bill Bentley photo.
Dick and I in 2001 at Can-Am.
2001 at Can-Am.
Bob related to me that he liked mine as well as his own.
NYS Fair, Syracuse 1966. Bob Hunter photo.
This crash ended the 1963 season. Mike Hayslett photo.
Dick and Gary Reddick mix it up at Watertown, 1967.
Fred Smith photo.
The McClure 57, courtesy of Rick Parry.
Dick hauled a lot of cars, and then drove many as well. courtesy of Richard Parry.
Courtesy of Richard Parry.
Courtesy of Richard Parry.
DIRT HOF Induction 2007.
A later McClure 57. Postcard courtesy of Dick May.
Weedsport HOF induction 2007.
Watertown 1968, Mike Hayslett photo.
1962 Watertown Points.
1965 jingle, Mike Hayslett photo.
Another '65 jingle, Bob was good with a hammer too... Mike Hayslett photo.
1965, Mike Hayslett photo.
1966 State Fair.
A rare shot at Brewerton, 1967.
~ RIP Bob & Dick ~
On August 8th in the village of Brownville, NY, a memorial service was held for Dick May.
After learning of this I contacted Joni May-Hubbard and asked if the family would enjoy
having the B29 there for the ceremony, she gracefully accepted my offer so on Saturday I
loaded up thumper and headed north up Route 81. It had been a long time since I'd been
to Watertown, most of my former trips were to see the original owner of the B29, Bob
Hayslett, and get my required bath administered by his sharpei, Duke. Both, regrettably,
are passed now as is Dick, who I didn't get to know as well as Bob. Brownville I learn is a
pretty little town, the Black River cuts a swath through it with jutting shale exposed,
rolling little hills leading to long flats, perfect for farming I'm sure. It's the first time I've
ever taken a racecar to a church but as I found the First Methodist, I was welcomed
graciously by all and directed to park the rig out front. Joni's husband Rick was
enthusiastic about the car and Joni was most appreciative. The church was adorned with
photo's of Dick's life in racing as well as family photo's. I noted many former drivers on
hand and as I took a spot in the back I was fortunate enough to sit next to Duane 'Deke'
Decker, who knew them all. I asked who the short, completely full of it... fellow was. 'That's
Shorty Robinson' was Deke's response, more questions, 'Terrible Tooley, Bob Thurston'
were the responses. I sorta knew Neil through reputation from Bob, but had never met
him or Shorty. Adrian Flath, Ally Amell, Al Derouin, Pete Retigliano were all faces I
recognized. During the service, the pastor spoke of Dick's love of racing and what a great
life he had lived, to be able to chase his dream throughout. Joni gave a nice sendoff,
relating that Dick wanted to be in so many places, he finally had decided on cremation so
he could be. Not only is he in Brownville, (to keep an eye on Shorty) but also in Charlotte,
entering turn three.. After Joni was finished the pastor opened up the floor to hear from
anyone who wanted to speak, many did, his life-long friend from Ithaca that had been
talked into joining the Army with Dick. Guy 'Shorty' Robinson who related a few of their
escapades in trucking, and that Dick had gotten him initially interested in racing. "Later
he said he wouldn't have if he'd realized I was going to be that good" Shorty related with a
laugh. Mike Perry, who was instrumental in compiling information for Dick's DIRT HOF
Induction spoke next, relating that Dick was 'my childhood idol.' And John Burr also gave
a nice recollection of Dick's accomplishments not only at Watertown Speedway but also in
Winston Cup. At the end of the ceremony, Joni played her video tribute to her father
which includes the starting lineup to an Atlanta Winston Cup race and her own
compilation fo Dick through the years of his life. It's apparent in the video what he loved;
family, racing, his dogs, and life in general. Always smiling. My few conversations with him
were a laugh a minute, that's the kind of guy he was. I only wish I had gotten to know him
a bit better, the people who did know him well, know what I missed, and certainly showed
that they miss him. I'd like to thank Joni and Rick for their hospitality, and thanks to Ally
as well, it was good to see everyone again, hopefully next time it'll be under happier
Three generations: Joni May Hubbard, daughter Lindsey and Aunt Ruth at Sackett's Bay.
These photos of Dick were generously
contributed by his daughter Joni May Hubbard
and encompass his racing career. Many thanks
to Joni for sharing.
Canton 1950's
And he found it..
NYS Fair B29 1962.
The Bob Hayslett B29 at Watertown.
1962 Watertown Awards Banquent.
This is the wreck that ended the title defense at Watertown in 1963.
dick broke an arm and his jaw in the wreck, Bob related that he always felt badly about it.
The last B29 at Watertown, mid 60's.
Racing with Pat O'Brien at Watertown.
Dick on his way to the third heat win at Syracuse, NYS Fair 1966.
Opening day 1969 at Watertown, Dick got whiplash from his flip and the B29, although repaired, wasn't the same.
Bill Maxon, C. Scott, Don June and Dick at Daytona.
Dick in the #57 Galaxie.
The crew at work.
Everythings AOK.
Dick's hauler and cars.
With a later #57.
At the office.
With Charlotte.
With Yippie.
DIRT HOF Plaque.
Yipee's hungry...
Dick May.
Dick in the #6 headed towards the rail..