It was August 1983 and I was between assignments having just left
Bremerton, Washington on my way to Newport, RI where I was to
be stationed at the Naval Regional Medical Center. My departure
from Bremerton cost me the 1966 Chevelle Super Sport that I loved
and I were looking for a replacement. We found it at the New Berlin
Youth Days car show held on Fish Field where we had enjoyed
much success in both football and baseball. A 1969 Buick Gran
Sport beckoned me and I bought it for $600.00 that morning. By
afternoon Tom and I were ‘testing’ it on the dirt roads which cover
Shacktown Mountain in Pittsfield. Satisfied with the depth in
which the car put us back in our seats as I punched the throttle,
we turned our conversation to the other interesting item we saw at
the show that day.
Parked in one end zone of the field was the old #88 that Bill
Salamacha had campaigned at Midstate and Lebanon Valley
Speedways in the late 60’s and early 70’s prior to Midstates’
demise in ’73. I knew the car well, when Willie Wust and my father
got out of racing in the late 60’s, ‘Moose’s 88’ was sold to Rudy
Schlaepher of Bridgewater and Rudy installed Salamacha as his
driver. The original ’37 Ford coupe had been totaled and
subsequently buried along the railroad tracks behind Rudy’s
garage. Their second car was this ’37 Chevy coupe, painted orange
with black stripes and numbers as the ‘Ace Garage Special’, and
retained the #88 on the side. The Friday night trips to Midstate
with Burr Gross and his sons Randy, Ricky and Robbie were
refreshed in my mind as I looked over the car that I always rooted
for on those hot, dusty nights. It had been restored by Ralph
Raasted of New Berlin and looked sharp. Ralph was well known at
the tracks as both owner of the #26A Webbs Lumber Wagon that
Dick Schoonover won Late Model track Championships with at
Fonda, as well an accomplished driver in his own right. His idea of
restoring this old warrior wasn’t lost on many of us and as I recall,
the car drew a lot of attention that day.
It wasn’t long after that day that my high school shop teacher, Dave
Allen, approached my father with the idea of starting an antique
stock car club. Shortly afterward a meeting was set up and the
Midstate Antique Stock Car Club was formed by Ralph Raasted,
Carl Carpenter, Dave Allen, and Richard Ackerman of New Berlin,
NY and Mel Ogden of Franklin, NY. The purpose was to restore and
preserve these old cars which by this time were dwindling in
numbers, most having been cut up for the next car or gone to the
crusher for scrap. By the second meeting the idea was growing
around New Berlin and the outlook for the club looked positive,
Carl was elected as our president and we all went scrounging the
countryside looking for usable iron. Rules were set, based on the
rules of Midstate Speedway from the flathead era circa 1963 which
allowed 6 cylinder OHV engines and flatheads. We decided to allow
the flatheads and stove bolts to be unlimited, as they were at
Lebanon Valley during that period, as we felt it would create
interest in our club. OHV V8 engines were discussed but the club
decided against them for reasons of cost and safety, we later added
the 250 and 292 Chevy 6-cylinder, and the 300 ford 6-cylinder as
the ‘alternative’ engines for those unable to find a suitable stove
bolt or flathead. Our clubs first event took place at historic Fonda
Speedway with seven cars in attendance, by the end of the season
the club had also visited 5-Mile Point Speedway and the Madison
County Fairgrounds in Brookfield, NY. Early feature winners
included Ralph Raasted, Dave Allen and Mel Ogden. It was
somewhat humble beginnings but the club was catching on quickly
and many scrambled through the winter months in readying for
the 1985 season. I can remember my father and I putting in the
quickchange under my Lazzaro #4 replica coupe in a snowbank.
We didn’t have our shop built yet so a tarp did the trick. Similar
happenings were taking place all over New Berlin that winter as
Tim Mayne was sprucing up the Tc-9, Norm Raasted was putting
together the Decker #71 and Ron Cross was restoring his uncles
The 1985 season got under way again at Fonda Speedway and the
Midstate boys were in for a surprise as many members of the NEAR
(New England Antique Racers) showed up and promptly handed us
our collective arses. My first race started rather inauspiciously as
the club started my father and I on the front row of our heat. The
flag dropped and we ‘took off’ so to speak. By the second turn the
corner flagger was waving us down to slow, the starter had thrown
the yellow but as we’re both colorblind, we didn’t know and in our
excitement had floored it. The race got underway and was quite an
experience as we worked our way from the front to the back.
‘Blazing’ Buddy Bardwell, Flathead George Mateychuk and a fellow
named Art Johnson quickly showed us how far behind we were as
a group and it was back to work for most of us. The club made
jaunts to Canandaigua and Five Mile Point as well during the
season. At Five Mile Point Carl Carpenter was approached by Steve
Wetmore of Dundee who also wanted a show and he offered us tow
money, $600.00 as I recall and so a trip to wine country soon
followed. We finished the season at the Brookfield Wheel Days
again as this became a tradition for us for many years. Feature
winners this year included Norm Raasted, Tim Mayne, Art
Johnson, and Buddy Bardwell.  
Over the winter of ’85 – ’86 we held a rules meeting and the club
voted on the subject of tubular framed modifieds, the proposal
passed by one vote as a means of allowing more cars in the club. As
I recall, it was a heated discussion and remained a hot topic for
years. At the time, the only tube framed cars readily available were
old Tobias, Kneisal and Show Car frames which were, by
comparison to today’s DIRT modified – extremely heavy and rugged
units. Remember, this was 1985, Troyer had just introduced his
Mud Buss in 1984 and Pete Bicknell was a racer, not a
manufacturer. The members who wanted these frames argued that
good original frames were hard to come by and that these frames
were easier to work with. Naturally, those of us who had fishplated
our frames saw no reason others couldn’t do the same. Regardless,
the vote stood and our club was to change. The agreement was that
the frames could be used but that all equipment on the car had to
remain antique, leaf springs, wishbone front ends, etc. had to be
employed and this was the case at least for the ’86 season. The first
car to be built under these rules was a former Harry Peek #27
coupe owned by Carl Carpenter and driven by Scott Turner as well
as Dick Sweet if memory serves me right.  Engine rules remained
the same and our rules package was now a full page in length. Our
season again kicked off at Fonda and newcomer Cal Lane showed
for the first time with his beautifully built ’34 Ford Sedan. Cal built
his own tubular framed chassis, fitted it with a 225 Plymouth slant
6, Mickey Mouse quickie and Model A suspension including the
arm shocks. It proved stout as he; Buddy Bardwell and Norm
Raasted assumed the roles of measuring sticks for the season. We
traveled to Canandaigua, Dundee, 5-Mile, New Venture (Utica-
Rome), Lebanon Valley, Weedsport, Woodhull, Penn-Can, Stony
Creek (where Ron Cross took down over 100 feet of wooden fence)
and Can-Am. At Lefargeville (Can-Am) we met Ally Amell for the
first time as he debuted his #111 coach, a neatly done tube framed
car which was soon to be the new measuring stick. Other new cars
for the season included Don and Greg Kellogg’s original Diffendorf
S/360 coupe (we missed this opportunity by less than a week, it
sold for $150.00 as I recall), the #68 of Rick Smith, the #45 former
Brett Cobb/Otto Graham coupe campaigned by John Bair, the
Wilson’s #3 out of Gilbertsville as well as many others. The season
again was completed at the Brookfield Wheel Days event in which
Richard Ackerman muscled the Mouseville Monster to victory lane.
I remember it vividly, Willie Wust was in the pits that night and
after the heat related that the engine sounded flat. He tore the
Stromberg’s off and reset the floats while my father sweated and
fretted he wouldn’t get if finished in time to line up. He did and the
car ran as never before allowing him to take his first checkered
flag. Other winners this night included Greg Kellogg and Bill Best
in the ‘Smurfmobile’. I had sold my #4 to Allen Johnson of New
Lisbon and he drove it only in the heat before a friend of his
flipped the car in the third turn during the mechanics race. Allen
was soon to acquire the services of Dennis Kardos and had a lot
more success with the car than I enjoyed. I had purchased the
former #90 Cliff Kotary car that summer from Gordon Wood of
Weedsport although I didn’t know it until Dave Allen identified it as
the ’63 State Fair winner. Price: $50.00. It was just what I wanted,
a ’33 Ford coupe from Waterloo and it made my Chevy expendable.
Besides, I wanted to shake that ‘6-clinder’ moniker tattooed on me
by ‘Fast’ Paul Jensen as he guided me through the engine rebuild.
Flathead George brought his #33 up to Brookfield that night for me
to drive, it spun the wheels all the way down the stretches on the
Brookfield hard pan and I was hooked on having a flathead.
1987 brought about some more changes as the club once again
discussed OHV  V-8 power and then went the other way in
outlawing the larger 292 and 300 cubic inch 6-cylinder engines in
favor of a 250 limit. By this time the wick was getting turned up a
bit as far as competition went. Our travels had led us to many parts
of the state and we were picking up new members from nearly
every event. Some of original members decided that the club wasn’t
headed in the direction they were comfortable with and left, the
club forged forward though and continued to grow. It was to
become a common theme throughout the club history, as the costs
went up to remain competitive, we lost some members but gained
others. Through the ’87 season, my father Richard, my brother
Thomas and our friend Rick Howard and I worked on the #96,
restoring it to Gordy Woods colors first as agreed and debuted the
car at Can-Am in primer. It stayed in primer all season as Tom and
I bought a gallon of red acrylic enamel but his V-8 car got painted
first. Other cars making their debut this season included Mark
Lindboe’s #138, a former Paul Hadden Waterloo coupe, Ron
Waterson’s #6 Wes Moody coupe, Jim Chase and Tom Moore in an
original Will Cagle #24t coupe as well as Jim’s #150 original Larry
Nye coupe, Tom Ackerman in the V-8 Flathead powered sedan and
Rusty Carpenter’s #318, a former George Crouch coupe
campaigned at Fonda. We added Malta and Brewerton to our ever
growing list of tracks and were now getting tow money from many,
but not all of them. This was to soon change. The Measuring sticks
were still Ally Amell, Cal Lane and Buddy Bardwell. I picked up my
first feature win at Brookfield that year and set sight on the ’88
season. Dave Warren was now writing his column ‘Racing Back in
Time’ and was being published in the Gater News.
Over the winter of ’87 – ’88, we reworked the #96 and painted it up
nice. The club decided at the fall meeting that we were to get paid
at each event and many of the DIRT tracks balked at our request,
subsequently our season was shortened to 10 races. A group of us
decided that wasn’t enough racing to satisfy our investment and
started the Central New York Vintage Stock Car Club for the
purpose of obtaining more dates. It wasn’t the only reason the club
was formed however. This club employed the same rules as
Midstate with one major exception, no tubular framed cars. By this
time the tube framed cars were using some of the newer
equipment and as there wasn’t enough of them to form their own
class, we all were forced to run together which wasn’t really an
acceptable situation.  We set up races at Canandaigua, Rolling
Wheels and Weedsport with DIRT’s Jack Speno as well as a date
with the NEAR club out at Devils Bowl which turned into a bit of a
fiasco. Traveling to Vermont that day, we had no idea what was in
store for us. We put our cars on display and looked at the other
cars in attendance to find that we were up against 327’s, 350’s, 400’
s and big blocks. I had a 258 Ford flathead at the time. Our cars
garnered much attention much to the dismay of the NEAR
members who lined us up in the rear of the heat and feature, ‘to
keep us out of the way.’ It didn’t make matters any better when we
smoked them in the heat and were doing the same in the feature
when I blew a right rear ending my night. Dad’s Mouseville
Monster then took off like he’s been hit side the head with a two by
four and he challenged the Hal Lunt owned #151 Stockwell coupe
for second on the last lap. Passing on the outside the 151 crowded
the Monster for the third time and caught a wheel sending it into a
slow rollover and our friendship with the Lunt’s was over. The
Monster came across the line backwards, second to Blazing Buddy
and I was approached by the 151 driver in the pits. It was a short
exchange which ended with the fellow on his arse and it was
suggested with a few crescent wrenches in sight that maybe we
had better load and go home. We did. The rest of the season wasn’t
as eventful as our events with both Midstate and CNY came off
without hitches. New cars debuted this year included George
Munger's beautiful #7 Chevy coupe which Eddie O’Neil drove to
victories, Stan Barker’s nicely re-done #318, Chuck Adams #46
former John Barker car, Tom Witter’s #100 Flathead powered ‘Mad’
Marv Shaber’s car, Ray McClure’s #15 Strosahl replica, Rusty
Carpenter’s #24 original Cagle coupe and local driver John Pegg’s
#12 powered by an AMC six.
For 1989 the two clubs put aside their differences and the CNY
club dissolved with a seed planted for the future with Jack Speno
of DIRT. That was just one of the many good things that was
planted that year, the CNY group also started a show car class
which was brought over to Midstate as well as an agreement for the
tubular framed cars to have their own class so that those of us with
antiques no longer had to compete against them. It was just one of
the many battles we had with President Carl Carpenter who was
still at the helm, looking back I don’t know how he put up with all
that BS. I’d like to say at this point we’ve put that past behind us
and are friends. 1989 was a banner season for the club as Carl
made a deal with the Otsego County Fair Board and brought the
club back to Mecca – Midstate Speedway on May 28, 1989. The
track was a dusty as ever, a slight wind was blowing the dust off,
until you got to the grandstand on the front stretch and ran into a
wall of it. As veteran driver Ray Bunzey once told me “Count to ten
and turn left, that’s how you drive Midstate.” Well, he wasn’t
kidding. Walt Schlierman won our first heat but I’m proud to say
that I won the first feature. The day was a success not only for the
club but also for the Fair Board which meant we were going back.
Other new venues this year included McKean County Speedway
which was a real nice facility, Dad pulled off a rare heat win in the
Monster, the last time the car saw a checkered as we were finishing
up his new Model A coupe, the 43A. Newly debuted cars this year
include Bob Paul’s screaming orange #18 Chevy coupe, Tom
Toedter's equally high pitched #99, a former Joe Donahue sedan,
Gay Yaws BJ21 coupe, Gene Van Alstyne’s #44 Plymouth coupe,
Rick Yager's #3X Flathead powered ’37 Ford Joe Norton replica, Al
Deroiun’s #10 Adrian Flath replica which was quickly the new
measuring stick in the 70’s class and a really neat model A bug
from Pennsylvania piloted by Howard Light. When I first saw the
car I have to admit that I didn’t think it would be tough
competition, he had these skinny tires on it although they were a
good compound. He had built his own quickchange, the frame was
a narrowed truck unit and the engine was flathead Plymouth. Then
he promptly spanked me in the heat at Dundee. A gear change was
necessary. I later found out just what a ringer he was, he’d been
doing this for years at Mok-a Tek and Dunn Hill and continued his
winning ways into the early 1990’s winning a track championship
at Mok-A-Tek as late as ’92 over contemporary modifieds according
to Gater columnist Ted Schmidt (who at the time worked on the
second place car). “He’d get on the bottom and you couldn’t move
him off the hub,” was how Ted remembered it. Howard was tough
competition immediately. Also of note in 1989 was Mark Lindboe’s
experiment with turbocharging a flathead at Utica-Rome. Cliff
Kotary was starting to follow us around a bit and we went over to
look it over. “Forged pistons?” I asked Mark prior to warm-ups,
“Nope, ran great in the driveway.” He replied. Cliff and I agreed he
wouldn’t make it through warm-ups and we were right, Mark later
told me it disintegrated every piston in the block. He sure wasn’t
afraid to try something though. 1989 was also the first year that
the club raced at Fulton which was somewhat of a triumphant
return for my 96 coupe which had ended it’s career there in 1966
in the infamous V-Flip incident. I finished second that night to Sal
Presti in the S/360 although he was pretty nervous when they
started talking about puffing the engine, my notes relate I needed
one more lap but at least got the class win. The season ended with
our second trip to Midstate and again was a success with feature
wins recorded by Flathead George, Bob Paul and Mike Chase in
the Akulis Pink Panther #3 replica.
For 1990 it was more of the same, Russ ‘The Reading Rocket’
Smith was now making dates at Dundee and Penn-Can with his
#11, a Model A bug he had driven to more flathead wins at the
Reading Fairgrounds than any other driver. The 50’s class was
healthy with Flathead power coming from all manufacturers,
Hudson, Plymouth, Ford, Mercury and Tom Witter was working on
getting a supercharger set up for his Merc. Neat stuff. The club
itself had grown immensely and we were now getting paid the sum
of $1250.00 to put on a show. The club could also boast original
cars of Cagle, Kneisal, Diffendorf, Kotary, Salamacha and Nye
amongst others. We were still running the ‘Outlaw’ circuit with
only a few dates at DIRT sanctioned tracks as most from the DIRT
organization would not pay our fee. Still we had plenty of dates at
Brewerton, Fulton, Can-Am, Utica-Rome, Brookfield, Morris, Penn-
Can and Dundee and the club remained healthy in car count. I
recall the club being so much fun at that time that I skipped my
graduation at SUNY Morrisville to go racing instead on that
particular Saturday, beeping the horn as I passed the ceremony
with the coupe in tow. The Beal brother’s, Don and Dave along with
Larry and Howdy Witter had built the flying red #9 and were to
become club fixtures.  
1991 started with a big bang at Can-Am as Gary Yaw and I got
together out of turn two in the feature. The crash nearly took the
roof out of the #96 and demolished the BJ21 beyond repair. I was
lucky, Gary’s rear bumper came through my cockpit and took the
paint off my helmet. Ever since then, whenever I inspected a car I
want to see that nerf bar come flush to the outer edge of the tire,
which wasn’t the case this night on Gary’s ride. He was lucky too
and after a short stay in the hospital built another BJ21 to
compete with the club in the 70’s class. At that point, with Cliff
Kotary coming around and showing interest in the car, and also
due to the fact that I felt the #96 paint scheme had had it’s share of
bad luck, I decided to put the car back to it’s original #90 colors to
honor Cliff. I felt at that point I had honored my deal with Gordon
Wood, which was to restore it back to his colors, and he hadn’t
shown much interest since despite our attempts to get him
involved (this was to change later as he joined us in’96). The club
raced on while we built a new cage for the #90. Al Derouin was now
the top dog in the 70’s class, winning the lion’s share of the races
although low buck guys like Dennis Kardos and Donnie Jones
were giving him a run for his money. These guys were something
else, Donnie spent a winter welding up a 250 Chevy head and
recontoured the ports to raise them. Dennis once showed me his
carburetor set-up in which he pulled the rather tall air cleaner off
to display the single barreled carburetor beneath; he then showed
me the air cleaner which housed the two barrel. No, it wasn’t
exactly legal but certainly clever and never disclosed until now,
unless of course you happened to end up with some of either his or
Alan’s equipment. Other competitors were trying roller rockers and
light cranks, aluminum rods, etc. as the 70’s class was pushing the
limits of the rule book and keeping the inspectors on their toes.
This was the first year that we made the trek to Oswego and I can
remember Mike Muldoon and Bentley Warren putting on a show
that night. Parked in the first corner on the infield, the supers
came by us so fast you couldn’t read the numbers on the cars. Our
races were not as fast but equally entertaining as Jerry Wynn
squealed around the corners with his left front over a foot off the
pavement in his 99DA. Jerry was a lot of fun to watch, so long as
you weren’t beside him. I recall watching a heat at Penn-Can about
this time with Jerry’s front left again well off the surface. He kept
running higher and higher in the groove driving the beast for all it
was worth until he finally ran out of track and flopped it off of turn
four. Undeterred and unaffected, Jerry’s full torso was out the
passenger side window, arms waving wildly to the cheering crowd
as he was towed off. Now that was funny, Jerry was certainly ever
entertaining so long as you weren’t catching the crack of his
bumper. John Mason of Gilbertsville was now piloting the Cagle
24t which meant fans were still seeing double as we continued to
have  two Cagle coupes in competition. Of particular note that year
was the first appearance of the Marsh #37, a ’32 Ford 5-window
coupe with GMC power piloted by Screamin’ Sammy Reakes. The
bar had just been raised.
For 1992 we had the Kotary Flying 90 rebuilt just in time for the
DIRT Motorsports HOF inaugural induction ceremony. We still
weren’t working with DIRT much as they wouldn’t meet our
demands for payment but they relented at this point as they
wanted the club on display for this event. It began a long running
tradition that continues to this day. The first induction included
Cliff Kotary, Bill Wimble, Will Cagle, Dutch Hoag and Frank Andre.
I can still remember Wimble walking by my car and giving me this
cocksure wink, it was just plain cool. The racing season was full of
interesting revelations as I debuted a set of original Hilborn
injectors that year and they worked excellently right out of the box.
Jim Chase took an interesting interpretation of the rule book and
bolted a Predator carburetor on his 6-cylinder powered 70’s class
car. It worked too well though and he was torn down. Although
within the letter of the rule (single barrel carburetor) his
equipment was disallowed due to the spread-bore adapter beneath
the carburetor and he was dismissed for four weeks. Many were
making their own single barrel carburetors at this point, many
which likely flowed as well as larger two barrels and the club got a
handle on the rules requiring an OEM single barrel from that point
on. Didn’t matter much, the classes were still finding more speed.
Larry and Howdy Witter had acquired the former Cross #47 and
started campaigning the car with the club.
By 1993 many of us had our eyes set on the big prize which was a
date at Syracuse for the State Fair Race on Labor Day. Growing
pains is the best way to describe it, we had many new members
who wanted to run the DIRT sanctioned tracks which president
Carl Carpenter couldn’t deal with. The solution was the formation
of the Northern Vintage Stock Car Club which, like the CNY club
before, was originally an attempt to get more races, namely with
DIRT. This time around the club rules were identical and we
elected Al Derouin as our president. Al’s wife Beverly did a
tremendous job in organizing the club and instituted much of the
paperwork still in use today. We were able to supplement the
Midstate schedule with more races although the battles between
the two factions continued through-out the season. The
‘discussions’ brought out the fact that we needed some governing
bylaws for the club and they were added at this time to handle any
future situations that could arise. By the end of the season though,
Carl had finally had his fill and resigned the presidency. He guided
the club through nearly 11 years and truly did a tremendous job.
We didn’t always agree on matters but none the less, he and his
wife Myrtle’s efforts were extraordinary. The fact that they lasted
that long is a testament to their devotion to the club and without
their effort, we wouldn’t have had the club that we did. He also set
a record for longevity that likely will never be surpassed as the
presidency is a thankless job, just try to get two hotheads with
racecars to agree on anything and then multiply that by 50 and
you understand. When Carl stepped down we agreed to combine
the two clubs into one and hence the Midstate Vintage Stock Car
Club was formed with Al Derouin elected president.
Over the winter I made several trips to Weedsport and hammered
out a deal with Jack Speno of DIRT to get the race we wanted at
the Geddes Mile for 1994. We got more than we bargained for, two
dates there as well as the Weedsport HOF date, Rolling Wheels and
Canandaigua again. Secretary Beverly Derouin started a newsletter
(remember this was before the internet) and Bill Fish was writing
excellent columns for us in the Gater News. The schedule was full
and our car counts were healthy. Sammy Reakes got by Dad in the
4th corner on the last lap at Syracuse for the win on July 4th as
the 90 was beset by a gasket problem. I used castor oil as upper
lube and somehow the bottle gasket got in my fuel cell that day
shutting off my fuel while leading. Brother was I ever &%$#@!
when I found that. On Labor Day I felt I had the fastest car again
but threw a belt off the fuel pump, it just wasn’t my time yet. Tom
Witter drove off with the victory that day with his supercharged
Flathead, just holding off a charging Daryl Sherman. Dick Nolte
had joined the club by this point and had his #138 flathead
powered coupe running sweetly. Russ Cusson had also joined and
was an additional force with his GMC powered 007   
1995 found the club traveling more to Western NY and up into
Canada as we made our first trips to Merritville, Brighton and
Ransomville. The fans at these venues truly appreciated our efforts
but it was a long, hot season. The ante was continuously being
upped in the 70’s class as Chris Brougham from Lefargeville was
becoming a dominant force. Ally Amell, Al Deroiun and Brian Fish
were all winning races as well but few others could really compete
in the class. The 60’s class was just as tough, Alan Johnson, Daryl
Sherman and Ron Waterson were holding court while in the 50’s
class Sammy Reakes and Bill Marsh were just scratching the
surface of their GMC power. Tom Witter was running a blown
flathead and my father and I both had Hilborns at this point, you
get the picture, a top five was really an accomplishment. We raced
through Penn-Can, Fulton, Brewerton, Can-Am and a dozen other
tracks culminating the season at Syracuse. This time around Tom
Witter had the fastest car but luck was on my side and I got under
him in turn three on the last lap for the win as he went high
around a lap car. The win was witnessed by my hero and friend
Cliff Kotary and remains the highlight of my racing experience. Of
note this season was longtime member Jim Chase’s first attempt at
producing a club program which was well done and received, Jim
followed the suit the next two seasons and now all three can be
considered collectors items. Casey and Ken Morden of Ontario,
Canada had joined the club by this point with their sharp A-1
1996 and the year started on a sad note as Dick Nolte passed early
in the year. Dick was extremely well liked and we promptly set up
an award to honor his name. Al Derouin had decided to try out the
limited supers at Oswego leaving us to find a new president. We
agreed upon a willing Terry Fergerson as we reasoned that since he
didn’t have a car he would be able to concentrate his efforts on
running the burgeoning club. His wife Kathy continued in the
tradition set by Bev Deroiun for the secretary position as she
continued to update forms and run the newsletter, as well as
organize the shows. The club was enjoying large fields of cars at
this time as we raised our fee to $1500.00 but the number of
shows was dropping as the racing landscape was changing. When
we showed up at Fulton with 55 cars in the pits and then at Utica-
Rome the following night with 53; it was actually too many and
something had to give. Gas prices were rising and at the outlying
tracks on our horizon, our counts weren’t as good as they were in
the center of the state. Not only that but tracks were starting to
add classes of cars to fill their back gates and having 55 additional
cars to care for wasn’t popular at some tracks where the regular
competitors got testy over having to wait for our show. Still, the
club itself was healthy and we were able to keep the 50’s and 60’s
classes of cars running together while the 70’s class had enough
count to run their own events as well which was the best situation
for all. The club made it’s first trip to Maple Grove Speedway in
Waterloo for a joint event with the Pennsylvania group and
deservingly, Sammy Reakes took home the checkers in the 50's/60’
s class event while Chris Brougham won in the 70’s class. At
Syracuse on Labor Day Sammy finally got the win that had eluded
him for many years at the State Fair. Afterward I gave him a picture
of his 111 with the checkers taken by Don Phoenix from 1963 after
a heat win and Sam teared up, he was so full of emotion he had
difficulty signing my copy. It was truly a good way to end the
A shortened schedule greeted us in 1997, still enough races but
track operators weren’t enamored with our fees. The club
attempted to obtain some of their own sponsorship and Jack Speno
of DIRT found us sponsors to keep our Syracuse dates alive. The
club started to take on some asphalt dates at Spencer, Oswego and
Evans Mills as new members such as Casey Morden and Denis
Bouthillier preferred the macadam. The biggest news of the year
though was that the club hired a lawyer to become incorporated
and provide members with limited liability, as well as provide a tax
break for the club. Rules were continuously discussed as many in
the 70’s class wanted to employ newer equipment such as Bert
Transmissions and aluminum beadlock wheels, both proposals
were defeated. Of note though was where the club was heading at
this point, at Fulton that year Charley Price of Canada showed up
with a brand new Bicknell Chassis with a Fiberglass body draped
over it. It caused quite a stir as it was becoming clearer that the 70’
s class really wasn’t set on ‘restoration and preservation’ of these
old stock cars many of us were using. At the end of the season
Terry and Kathy stepped down and my father, Richard Ackerman
was elected president with Denis Bouthillier elected as vice
president. It was a winning combination for the club as these two
guided us through some of the best times in our history. Also of
note was the addition of club members Leon and Brad Litzenberger
who had taken in our show at Waterloo and promptly built a Chevy
powered coupe for competition in the 60’s class.
In attempting to set our schedule for 1998 it became clear that
track operators no longer needed us to fill out their shows. Nor did
they want to pay the $1500.00 fee we required. Only one track was
signed (Little Valley) when we had a meeting to discuss our future,
I motioned to drop our fee and the proposal passed. We then had
as many races as we wanted and were able to satisfy all members
who wanted a race at their home track. Gas prices were up and car
counts were down a bit which actually made for a more
manageable package and we were able to put on good shows across
the state. In fact, our shows at the State Fair, in many people’s
opinions, were the best events of the day. I debuted the B29 this
year at Perry for a shakedown and liked the car immediately. Five
years of weekends in the making, I had built it at least twice and
was hoping to have it in good shape for Syracuse on Labor Day.
Running it up Pine Tree Road on our ‘test track’ the day before the
race, I had my old 258 singing at 6000 which I felt was the magic
number to be competitive with the small flathead when she tossed
her cookies all over the road. ‘Old Faithful’ who had already won at
Geddes twice by now, was sitting in the Flying 90 and so the
thrash began. Puffing away the old bird ran great (and still does)
and surprised me by taking the heat win. Even more surprisingly it
took the feature too and I was able to present the winning trophy
to my friend and flathead guru Bob Hayslett of Watertown, owner
of the original B29 driven by Dick May. Vice President Denis
Bouthillier did a wonderful job in setting up our banquet that year
which was attended by over 140 people. Of other note this season
was our Gater article which I was elected to write on a weekly basis
to keep interest in the club. Absent for several years after Bill Fish
left, it once again helped breath life into the club across New York
and drew new members into the fold.
1999 was more of the same, we again kicked off the season with
our traditional bar-b-que at Weedsport for the DIRT HOF Induction
and followed it up with a season full of racing across the state and
into Canada. Brockville, Brighton and Merritville were becoming
more regular stops along with our staples of Afton, Thunder
Mountain, Can-Am, BlackRock and Utica-Rome. It was a
demanding schedule but the club wanted to race and our officers
delivered the schedule as requested. And the fun factor was high
as the club members were becoming a tightly knit group of friends.
The racing on the track was hard and competitive but in the pits it
was laughs galore. Our first website was introduced by Dave
Rausch with results, pictures, Gater Articles and was a success
garnering us more attention. Fields were still full and the club was
enjoying a renaissance of success under the leadership team. By
this time the club was enjoying the presence of Tom Traynor from
Kingston, Ontario and his potent GMC powered coupe. The
competition was not lacking in any class. Top dogs were Chris
Brougham in the 70’s class, Casey Morden in the 60’s class and
Sammy Reakes was still giving us fits in the 50’s class.
From 2000 to 2001 the club maintained it’s image of putting on a
good show, our schedule was still full as were our banquets but car
counts were starting to dwindle, especially in the 70’s class. What
this meant for many of us was that we had to ‘fill out’ their features
which left many with no virtual chance of success. My best guess
as to why this was happening was first the economy, it wasn't
getting any cheaper to tow a car across NY State and into Canada
and secondly the fact that a few of our members were nearly
unbeatable. It created a lot of jealousy through the ranks and
eventually, members dropped out to pursue other forms of
enjoyment. We were still in demand as a club but then again, the
tracks no longer needed us to fill out their shows as many had
added less expensive classes of cars that all paid admission to the
tracks pits. We gained few new cars during this period but lost
quite a few. We also lost some distinguished members during this
time, good guy Howard Light passed in 2000, Sammy Reakes and
my flathead guru Bob Hayslett followed in 2001. We missed them
all and continue to, there just is no replacing fellows such as these
who meant so much not only to our club, but to stock car racing in
NY as a whole. Sammy was the consummate professional and
sportsman and Bob was just so good to me personally. I still stay in
touch with his family and plan to forever, but I sure miss being
able to call Bob. The club raced on in honor of these men and all
men like them but by now, the MVSCC was truly just a racing
club. Long gone was the notion and original purpose of ‘restoring
and preserving’ antique stock cars, it was now about the racing.
Dad and Denis tried different ideas to bolster our show car class,
offering a pole position for any car that hit a winter show but it was
still the same people doing the work. Citing burnout and high
blood pressure after four years at the helm, the duo decided not to
run for office in 2002. The club then elected Erin ‘Doc’ Smith as
president for the coming year. New members joining during these
years were Jim Hilimire in his #11 coupe, Gary Wood with the
Yeingst #44, Everett Swansborough with his #22 sedan and Robert
Norris in the #90 coupe.
2002 was a rules year, every three years the club went over the
rules and set them for the coming period. Once again we discussed
OHV V8’s and once again they were not approved. There were,
however, a few other rules changes that ‘slipped through’ which
did change things as offsets were now legal and questionable
chassis design in the 60’s class especially was now acceptable
practice. Didn’t do much for good will in the pits, especially with
those who had built cars to the letter of the rules who were now at
a distinct disadvantage. A hot summer followed and tempers flared
more than once as guys were taking more chances on the track
than they really should have, we were lucky more than once. The
racing was still good stuff but we were at our limit and some were
well beyond their talent. By the end of the season Doc had seen
enough and stepped down leaving the presidency for my father to
pick up once again in 2003. To further dampen the mood of the
club, past member Russ Cusson died at Brewerton during the
summer, while running his 4 cylinder modified. Russ was as good
of guy as you’d want to meet in the pits and a tough guy behind
the wheel. He was doing well in the class at the time of his passing
and we were all saddened the loss.
For 2003 the club decided once again to travel as everyone wanted
a race in their own backyard. Couldn’t be blamed but
unfortunately this allowed members to pick and choose the races
to attend. Car counts were reasonable still but the toll on members
during yet another hot summer soon showed. Dad and I realized
that assuming the club’s presidency again was a mistake, the
support just wasn’t there anymore. Midseason we were at Utica-
Rome and enjoying our annual visit with Cliff Kotary and his son
Roy, the next day we learned that Doc Smith had died in a tragic
accident at his camp in the Thousand Islands. It was no secret that
there had been issues between Doc and us over the way the club
had been handled the previous year and his death heightened
tension within the club. For the record here I want to say that just
because we didn’t always see eye to eye with the man, it doesn’t
mean we didn’t like him or respect him as a racer. He was a good
racer for sure and a good friend to many in the club, we were as
shocked and saddened as anyone. The aftermath was a changed
atmosphere in the pits as a veritable free for all took place in
reference to rules. Members flaunted them and at the end of the
season Dad stepped down again. Having written the Gater article
for six years at this point I could no longer happily put a smile on
the column and took my fathers lead. I contacted Joe Patrick of the
Gater to pitch my new idea of interviewing former drivers for a
column instead and started writing ‘Racing in Retrospect’ that
winter, starting with longtime Southern Tier ace Joe Donahue.
Backed by a popular vote, Pat Sonnenberg was elected president of
the club for 2004.
Pat started his presidency by immediately once again talking of
OHV V8’s for the next rules meeting to take place in the fall. We
had the year we figured and raced through it with decent counts
but still having to fill out the 70’s class with a few 50’s and 60’s
cars at most venues. Pat did a good job at maintaining the club this
first year of his presidency, the schedule was the same and he
often took the final starting spot at the back of the 70’s class just
as my father had done for years. It appeared as though the club
was going to still be viable until the fall rules meeting when the
OHV V8 issue was brought up again and Pat lost control of the
meeting. Inexplicably, he allowed the 70’s class alone to vote on
the issue, which not only was a mistake but also in direct violation
of our bylaws. Under MVSCC rules the club has several for each
class and then a set of ‘General Rules for All Classes.’ These
general rules contain safety, weight requirements as well as
acceptable social behavior and of course, OHV V8’s and two barrel
carburetors for the later OHV 6-cylinder engines, which up to this
point were not allowed. In other words, as in the past, we all should
have been allowed to vote on the issue of V8 OverHead Valve
engines as it affected all in the club. Instead, seven 70’s class
members voted on the issue and it passed by a vote of 4 to 3. Not
only was it OHV V8’s but 358’s with Holley 4412 (500 CFM out of
the box), carburetors to boot, for a ‘one year’ trial. When we heard
of the outcome I protested the vote again, we just didn’t feel it was
fair in how it was handled nor were we pleased that 20 years of
collecting and building antique engines had been rendered
‘obsolete’ in one fell swoop. After all, running ‘obsolete’ equipment
was the club’s purpose in the first place. I asked for a special
meeting (per the bylaws), got the needed signatures, and was
denied. At the Afton Spooktacular that year (which was held after
our fall meeting), I was warned by several members that a few had
made threats aimed at me. Nikki and I pulled the B29 out of the
pits after I talked with Pat and got the picture I was no longer
needed in the club. It was really too bad it came to this after all
these years but on the way home I felt liberated and we soon set
our plans to restore the club to it’s roots.
In 2005 a local bunch got together and formed the Central New
York Antique Stock Car Club for the purpose of restoring and
preserving the cars. We set up shows at Carquest and the Oakdale
Mall in Johnson City for the winter. We also set up an autograph
session at Carquest featuring noted drivers such as Dutch Hoag,
Irish Jack Murphy and John McArdell which was well received.
Our shows moved to behind the grandstand at tracks such as 5-
Mile Point, Utica-Rome, Thunder Mountain, Afton, Penn-Can and
Skyline as we displayed our original cars for the fans enjoyment.
We also took in many car shows; Norwich, Appalachin, Brookfield,
Morris, and even made the Cuba Lake reunion at Letchworth State
Park. It was a fun and enjoyable year to say the least, no stress, no
real rules to follow, just fun. In contrast, the 2005 year for the
MVSCC was not a good one, members flaunted rules, car counts
averaged around seven per show, the lowest count since we began,
and the officer’s control of the club was lost. It was sad to see it and
I truly wondered if the MVSCC would survive. At the end of the
year, at the prodding of several members who had sat out the year,
we decided to restart our racing activities. Which leads us up to the
For 2006, the Midstate Antique Stock Car Club has been reborn
with the purpose clearly stated to restore and preserve antique
stock cars. Our rules do not allow tubular framed chassis in our
racing division however there is room for them in our show car
class which covers all era’s of racing for perspective. We will once
again be showing these cars behind the grandstand at our local
tracks with the added attraction of the racing division hitting the
clay. Much forethought has been put into this in that we’ve limited
our schedule to local tracks for less travel, limited our dates to
allow for other things in life (in hopes of good support at each
event), and limited the size of tracks visited to ¼ mile; not only to
even out competition but also to keep our safety factor higher. We
became incorporated in early November of 2005 and have since
grown in members by double. Rules, bylaws and schedule have
been set and to date we’ve enjoyed three highly successful
showings at the Gater Carquest show, as well as Oakdale and Ames
in the Binghamton area. Many have asked, ‘Why the Midstate
name?’ And the answer is simple; it’s what our members wanted,
to show our lineage and honor the track that for many of us, was
the start of this wonderful hobby. Not only that, but we certainly
felt some entitlement to the name. After all, we helped start this
thing way back in 1983 and three of the original five founding
members (Mel, Carl and Dad) are involved with our club. The
MVSCC has elected new officials for this year as well and has
acquired an ambitious schedule for their members. They’re
sticking with the OHV V8’s for this year again and although we
didn’t agree with it, we wish them the best. We still have many
friends in the club and things seemed to have cooled a bit lately.
As you can imagine, this split wasn’t easy for any of us but then
again, it was necessary as the two groups follow, as Roy Kotary put
it, ‘a different philosophy.’ Well put, couldn’t have said it better.
There’s room for both in the racing landscape, and this is a free
country so a guy should have the right to do as he wishes. And this
is what we wish to do. As I’ve said before, this was always a good
idea and it still is. We hope you can come and join in the fun at
one of our events this year, and in the coming years.

                        Jeff Ackerman
                        MASCC President
                        April 2006  
Offical Midsate Antique Stock Car Club Logo
Bill Salamacha #88
Carl Carpenter
Mel Ogden
Dave Allen
Richard Ackerman, photo by Susan Ackerman
1st Race at Fonda, 1984
5-Mile Point, 1985
Tim Mayne
Whip Mateychuk
Blazing Buddy Bardwell
Richard & Jeff Ackerman, Fonda, 1985
Norm Raasted, 1985, J&H Photo
Scott Turner, 1st Tube Car
Cal Lane
Ron Cross
Jeff Ackerman
Ally Amell
Ed & Scott Wilson
Greg Kellog
Richard Ackerman
Alan Johnson
#90 As found
Jeff Ackerman
Mark Lindboe
Tom Ackerman
Tom Moore
Jeff & Ricky Howard
Jim Florance
Hal Lunt
George Munger
Tom Witter, Dan Bury Photo
Carl & Rusty Carpenter
Carl & Wade Camenga
Midstate Speedway 1989
#96 with checkered, Midstate Speedway,1989
Bob Paul
New Venture
Al Derouin
Howard Light
Lindboe Turbo
Fulton Speedway, 1989
Mike Chase
Reading Rocket, Russ Smith, Dan Bury Photo
Carl Carpenter, Dan Bury Photo
Dave & Don Beal, Dan Bury Photo
#96 Close Shave
Jeff & Richard Ackerman with Cliff Kotary, 1989
Mike & Donny Jones
Jerry Wynn
Tom Moore & Rusty Carpenter
Jim Florance, Dan Bury Photo
Sammy Reakes
Cliff Kotary, 1992
Eddie Oneil
Jim Chase, Dan Bury Photo
Ron Cross, Dan Bury Photo
Myrtle & Carl Carpenter
50-50 Girl- Carl Carpenter, Mark Lindboe & Mike Chase
Syracuse, 1995
Dick Nolte
Russ Cusson
Richard Ackerman
Chris Brougham
Ron Waterson
Syracuse, 1995
Jeff & Cliff
Casey Morden
Dick Nolte
Sammy Reakes
Sammy Reakes, Syracuse, 1963, Don Phoenix Photo
Don Beal & Jim Chase, Fulton, Don Edds photo
Denis Bouthillier
Charlie Price
Brad Litzenberger
Gene VanAlstyne
Dick Ackerman & Sammy Reakes
B29 debut
B29 Syracuse win
Jeff Ackerman & Bob Hayslett
Ally Amell
Afton Action, Otto Graham photo
Tom Traynor
Pat Sonnenberg & Jeff Ackerman
Thunder Mountain Action, Otto Graham photo
Leon Litzenberger
Syracuse start 2001, Otto Graham photo
Syracuse 2001, Otto Graham photo
Richard Ackerman, Phil Clausen & Randy McGlynn, Syracuse
Denis Bouthillier
Gary Wood
Doc Smith
Jeff  Ackerman's ass
Another shot
Finally in with Jim Hilimire
Afton action, Otto Graham photo
John Mason
Skyline Action, Kevin Christopher photo
Dick Ackerman & Howdy Witter, Otto Graham photo
Jeff & Richard Ackerman, Otto Graham photo
Jim Chase, Joe Alexander photo
Jeff & Nikki Ackerman, 5 Mile Point, Joe Alexander photo
Midstate program, 1972
CNY Carquest, 2005
Autograph Group, Carquest, 2005
Shangri-La Farewell
Thunder Mountain, 2005
Skyline, 2005
Oakdale Mall, 2006
Carquest Autograph session, 2006
Nikki with #24 Ames, 2006
Jeff Ackerman, Otto Graham photo