~ Road Trips ~
Five Mile Point, Parts 1 &
2 - Heath Memorial
5MP - Part 1
The best laid plans....
sometimes, they only come to
fruition with a angst, and
sweat.. During the week I
called down to 5MP to see if
they would like us to bring a
couple of cars this week and
help promote the Heath
Memorial race we'll be
participating in next week.
"Absolutely" was the response,
"and send of picture of the car
so we can put it on the
website." No problem. So,
Saturday arrived and washing,
chamois, wax on, wax off,
check tires, fuel up, check oil,
water, load etc. - nothing like
dropping a few pounds
working on your car a hot
spring day. Joe Donahue Jr.
stops by, he's out for a
motorcycle ride and we shoot
the breeze for a bit. I found a
pic of his father at Langhorne
a bit ago and he thanks me for
it, nice guy. As I shw him the
711 he asks "Is it the
original?" - No, but it's pretty
darn close though. I got some
Van Morrison jamming on my
shop stereo, the boys are
enjoying the cool shop floor
and the cars are looking sharp
when Dad pulls in. We load
the Teardrop, grab a bite,
quick rinse off and we're down
the road. It's Kirkwood
community night with Kiddey
Ride and I'm sure they'll have
a good crowd - and do they
ever. We park in the lower field
and I squeeze into the 711, I'm
getting better at it.. We have
an interested fellow
immediately - George Farrow
is looking the car over closely
and he asks if it's the original
too. "No, it was built in 1972 in
St. Paul, Minnesota, but it's
close enough and we painted
it up to honor Dave." George
then tells us a story about
Dave, "I couldn't afford the
quickchange I needed so he
get's me one and I tell him I
can't pay him for it. He says to
me, 'Just give me what you
can' so I did. Every week I gave
him a little and he was happy
with that. What a nice guy he
was.' That is a very common
theme through the evening,
nearly everyone who was at
5MP or Penn Can in the 60's
and 70's came in contact with
Dave Kneisel and there isn't
one that I've heard say
anything but how much they
liked and respected him.
The 711 has different plans
tonight, and it balking. Good
thing I charged the battery...
it's not picking up fuel and
after it started once, it quit
and would not re-fire. I
brought tools to change
tires.... and that's it. George
starts looking around, Dad
goes to the pits and gets some
gas from the #41 team - thank
you very much, we needed it
for primer. Another fellow
named Jim (didn't catch your
last name) pitches right in and
gets his tools form his car.
Soon we have the fuel line off,
the fuel cap off and we're
finally pumping fuel - needs to
be flushed out - and then the
Holley is apart. A stuck float
needle is rectified and it fires
up, sounds good too -finally.
We missed the kiddey rides
but at least we're behind the
grandstand on display and as
people become aware of the
cars, they start trickling over.
During intermission it
becomes a deluge of people
looking over the car, asking
questions and taking pictures.
It was fun, many wanted to
drive it.... and a few young
ladies showed some very
obvious affection for the bug,
we feel the same way. Dan
Harpell looks it over and
related "My older brother Mal
in Florida, he used to paint up
these little plastic models and
sell them here, one year he
sold 105 for a dollar a piece.
The racers all gave him paint,
Chuck Akulis, Larry Catlin
and Dave all gave him the
actual paint they used on their
cars. He took a one hair brush
and painted Dave's name on
the car he painted of the 711
and Dave bought it. He was a
great guy." Andy Harpell
looked it over too and related
"711 was my number when I
raced, the same guy that
painted Dave's cars lettered
mine." This car is obviously in
the right venue.
After taking in some good
action on the track we decide
to load before it gets too dark,
and boogleoo down the road. It
was a great night at 5MP and
we thank them for their
hospitality. Also like to thank
everyone who gave us a hand,
it was great to see old friends
and make new ones. See you
again next week.
Irish Joe Donahue at Langhorne, Stan Lewis in rear.
Moranda and Jennifer really liked the bug.
The Teardrop.
Former Kneisel crewmember Don Phelps enjoys himself.
Just don't hit any buttons OK?
Dad had a good time too.
Pretty sharp if I do say so myself..
Fun night.
Dad and the Teardrop.
Steve Bronson.
Andy Harpell.
Dan Harpell.
No comment..
5MP Part 2      
In racing, it's always somebodies
day, unfortunately for us,
Saturday wasn't ours. It started
out well enough, the weather
looked iffy and Dad called early,
"I'm all loaded, both cars,
Sonny's bringing the 43 for
behind the grandstand. How's
the weather look?" Well, I stuck
my head out the window and it
wasn't raining.. A quick call to
the track and Andy Harpell says
"We're racing." One thing about
Five Mile Point, they will always
try and get the show in, you can
count on it. Dad's on his way,
that's another thing you can
count on. Frank Blanchard calls
and asks "How's it look?" - it
hasn't rained I relate and we
exchange cell numbers, he's on
his way. Then buddy Jim
Hilimire calls, "Looks like rain,
I'm not going to make it. I'll send
some money along with Leo for
the steering box.." OK - that got
me to thinking about my top ten
list of why I'm not going to the
races... here it is:
10.) Looks like rain and I took a
shower last week..
9.) I never do good at that track..
8.) No oil pressure (amazing how
that is rectified by next week...)
7.) We're racing THIS Saturday?
6.) There's less dust on the race
on TV..
5.) No spark, and I'm on vacation.
5a.) No gas, and I'm still on
4.) There's a puddle under my
car, I think it's a scared..
3.) My girlfriend just bought a
new bikini and uhhh (OK - THAT
one is understandable.)
2.) I just spent all day getting
lights on the trailer and finally
got one to work but then
smashed it loading the car..
1.) I'm going golfing because I'm
sure I can throw a club farther
than a tire.. - All kidding aside, I
know it's expensive to get a car to
the track these days, and no one
wants to travel two hours to a
rainout (me included) - but
sometimes you just have to go for
it. You can't win if you don't play
and it just doesn't make sense to
me to have a car and let it sit in
your garage or on a  trailer when
could have a good time
taking it out.
Well, it's not raining and so off I
go, I get to meet Rich Locklin at
the pit gate along with Mike
Cole. I offer each of them a block
to put under their throttle petals
which gets a laugh but it's
already clear to me - this is an
'Open' show with the Midstate
Vintage, Northeastern Vintage
and newly christened CNY
Vintage clubs all in attendance.
Which means pretty much we're
at a distinct disadvantage to the
Northeastern club who allow
larger engines, more carburation
and less weight - we've attempted
to run with these guys before
and once again, I've come to a
gunfight with a POpGun... Sign
in, get a good spot on the
backstretch hill - there's plenty
of room up here. Frank pulls in
with his Lazzaro Gremlin, then
Lynn Highhouse with his beauty
- that car is fast. I look in over
and relate "Hey, Lynn - No drag
rubber tonite. But, I've got some
tires I'll lend you.." Heh, Heh..
he's not buying that. There is a
big disparity in cars here, and he
realizes it. "Apples and oranges"
his wife relates and it's true. Leo
Kulevzo pulls in with the 55 and
30 piloted by Ray Preston, Rob
Casti and crew are about the last
to make it and we have thirteen
total, some as new as vintage
1984, some as old as vintage
1964. It's a wide array of cars and
there are more what I would
consider 'late' vintage than early.
Some of these cars were the top
of the food chain when we
started the club. Frank takes
charge and splits the cars into
three classes, the flatheads and
six cylinders are limited
sportsman, the OHV-V8's are
sportsman and the FAST
OHV-V8's with tube chassis are
modifieds. We have more
modifieds than anything else.
Frank warns the fast guys that
the disparity in speed may be as
much as 40 MPH...
I'm having a good time in the pits
playing with Waylon - the
Whipple's 2 year old Saint
Bernard, he's a beauty. Rich
Loklin is all smiles relating he
hasn't been in a car in 11 years.
Good info. Warmups are coming
up which means Dad wants to
change tires. Maybe he saw what
Lynn had on his car, or maybe
he saw me bullshitting and
rather I be sweating. I have the
solution - one of the best things
I've ever bought was a Snap On
electric impact, and we finally
have some decent aluminum
jacks - life is good and we have
his tires changed with time to
spare. I watch as the Modifieds
tear up the track - the power
those cars have is awesome as
they spray dirt into the afternoon
air, looks like fun and I want out
there. Finally, it's our turn and
my old flathead feels good. The
new power steering pump I've
installed works perfectly, finally I
can steer this thing easily, that's
a good thing. The track is pretty
decent and I can stay with the
Buzzie Reutimann Pinto so I'm
pretty satisfied with warmups -
hit 5K on the backstretch and
the car felt good. Dad has
problems and isn't going well at
all. In the pits he hasn't even
gotten to temperature and you
can grab the exhaust pipes -
spark or gas? No wires off, the
plugs are warm - too much fuel.
"Check the filter, I'll check the
return" - that's where the
problem is. The check valve is
plugged up, I blow it clean and
they're calling us for the heats.
As I pull down tot he line I get to
talk with Doug Worthing who is
admiring the B29, "It's good to
see these old ones out" he says.
"Yeah, but I've got nothing for the
fast guys," I relate. He nods. "I'll
have to upgrade if I want to be
competitive." He says, "It's too
bad you have to upgrade in a
Vintage club.." I agree but that's
the way it is, there just isn't
enough of the old style cars to
put on a decent race anymore
and the 'more contemporary'
equipment is in greater
abundance, we're going to have
to 'build newer' to be competitive,
at least at these 'Open'
shows.           We've elected to
start last and see how this goes -
it's a good choice. The B29 runs
good and I remember what
Chuck Akulis told me about
running here 'You've got to run
the bottom' - period. I do just
that and click off a few passes to
get to mid pack at the flag - not
bad for a flathead. And it was
fun, throttle out of the turn,
backoff and throw it, powerslide
and work the wheel, quick check
the gauges, perfect 5000 RPM,
65 lbs oil pressure, 180 degrees.
It's as good as it gets. Dad is still
off the pace. We pull in and he
says "It just won't turn up" - it's
still the return. Mary Casti comes
by and tells us "We're up after
this 20 lapper." Not much time...
I fuel up and then grab some
wreches, take off Dad's return
line and blow it out, crap comes
out. I can't understand how it got
in there but it's there, this thing
ran like a champ last time out,
tonite - not so much. It's gotta be
better and we head out.
For the feature I take my drawn
position behind Tex Gorden of
Afton, Tex has the only 6
cylinder here tonite and he's at a
bigger disadvantage than us, but
he's trying. The green drops and
Lynn Highhouse leaves us, two
more modifieds blow by on the
high side before I dare pull out
and from there until lap 12 I hold
my own, Frank and Rob Casti get
me eventually but I have to feel
good about the cars performance,
you can't make up 20 years of
technology. About lap 13 I see
Dad ahead - obviously he's still
got trouble. Lynn blows by again,
putting us both a lap down, Rob
spins and we manage to avoid
him and suddenly this thing is
getting harder to steer.. It's the
right front, it's going down
dammit.. well, only two more laps
to go I think, 'I can make it' and
grit my teeth in the corners. I've
got my class and the sportsman
covered to this point and make it
to lap 15 - only to see the flagger
give me the 5 to go sign. My arms
are ready to falloff at this point
and into the pits I head. Lynn
Highhouse won the feature, Kurt
Berger won the Sportsman class
and Tex Gorden the Limited
class, Congrats to all. Dad pulls
in and says "Half throttle, then
it's blubbering." Well, it's in the
bypass or barrel valve, we'll have
to clean them and I need a new
tube. At least we know and can
have them ready for Thunder
Mountain. Poor Rich Locklin
never made it past warmups as is
car wouldn't stay in high gear.
He was still smiling, and so were
we - after all they're in one piece
and back on the trailer for the
next go around.
After loading up and some
handshakes it's across the track
for the intermission. Leon
Andrus is introducing the former
drivers to the crowd and there
are plenty of them here tonight -
Deforest Chalker has a 'Deforest
Chalker Fan Club' jacket on -
pretty cool. I catch Chuck Akulis
and Doug Worthing sharing a
laugh, Red Harrington is still no
one I'd want to tangle with, Pete
Kozak, Carl Reynolds, Mark
Terry, George Watson, Stub
Stevens grabs my hand, The
Beagels' - Don, Gary and Roger,
there must be at least 75 former
drivers here. The crowd is
appreciative as are the drivers  as
clapping and back slapping
accompany smiles and laughs.
Tonite the track is honoring Mike
Colsten which is much deserved.
I believe Mike is entering his 5th
decade of racing and still is
running competitively. He relates
a story about his wife being his
only help at a race at Rolling
Wheels in the 70's - when
women weren't allowed in their
pits. "I told them, she's the only
help I have, she has to stay. The
next week there were 30 women
in the pits.." So Mike was a trend
setter too..
Behind the grandstand Sonny
has the Mouseville Monster set
up with the CNY Vintage group
and it's a nice display of cars,
photos and memorabilia. Steve
Bronson has his pictures on
display as well and related many
were looking them over closely.
Carl Nagel finds me and we talk,
I always enjoy talking to Carl. He
relates "That drag rubber is
something else, when we were
running that you could run
springs, it just made everything
softer. Don't worry about
running with Lynn, everyone
knows he's got them covered
here tonight. It's good to see
those old flatheads running out
there. One year at Penn Can I
had a real good year. Cleaned
house sort of, I had a straight
eight. So, the following year the
president says, 'Well, we kinda
had a runaway last year so this
year we're going to change it up
a bit.' I didn't care, what ever was
best for the club, and they went
to V8's. I tried to run that
straight 8 against them but it
was over, I had to get a V8." I like
the Flatheads too, and with the
display cars there are (5) of them
here tonight. John Mason has
the #196, a former 5MP car
looking good, Richard Parry's #37
Jack Johnson Falcon always
looks good, as does Mike Newell's
Pink Panther. And Mel Ogden
has the Chuck Corey #15 in line
at the end, I found that in a
Susquehanna junkyard about 8
years ago and we worked a trade
for the 24 Don Elliot car. "This
past week we decided to get it
going, got it running and then
decided we had to paint it too.
Took us all week." And it looks
great I'll add, they left enough
dents to let you know it's lineage
as a quarter mile warrior, yet at
the same time it's fresh. As in
don't touch yet... Mel and I
talked some more and he related
"Give all of this some time and
it'll come back together." He was
talking about the club, one thing
I've learned as I've gotten older is
that a lot of guys that are older
than me usually have good
advice, I don't know when they
got so damn smart but I listen
more now... I see Dad talking
with John and Mike and tell Mel
I'm going over. "Good." After
some handshakes we get to
talking and everything is fine, I'm
glad we talked. When it comes
down to it, we're all birds of a
feather and we'd all still rather
be at the track having fun than
most anywhere else. Unless of
course our girlfriend has a new
It was a great night at 5MP and I
want to thank Andy and
everyone there that made ours a
fun night. Congrats to Mike
Colten and Stewart Friesen who
won his 3rd Heath Memorial with
a good run. And more thanks to
Frank Blanchard and Mary Casti
for organizing our show, much
appreciated. Next Sunday we'll
be at Thunder Mountain, see you
Rich Locklin.
Mike Cole.
Frank Blanchard.
Bob Snyder.
Lynn Highhouse.
Bob Whipple.
Ray Preston.
Tex Gorden.
Tom Kulevzo.
Kurt Berger.
The Casti's, Mary and Rob.
5MP - 60 Years Young.
Lynn Highhouse.
Dad's sign.
Mine is removable..
The Lineup.
Waylon is a beauty.
Andy Harpell interview Mike and his wife.
Lynn tunes up for the feature, it worked.
The Mouseville Monster.
Mel Ogden's #15 Chuck Corey car.
John Mason's 196.
Mike Newell's Pink Panther.
Rick Parry's #37