~ Road Trips ~
Penn Can, Parts 1 & 2 -
Legends of Penn Can
Penn- Can; Part 1. It was
fabulously hot, ok, it was just
plain hot, and muggy, this
past Friday. I had talked with
reed Miller and Al Wilcox of
Penn-Can Speedway and
they agreed to allow Dad and
I to bring some cars down to
place behind the grandstand
as a prelude to next weeks
'Legends of the Can' show.
Dad was in the driveway
when I arrived from work -
time to get sweaty eh? The
Kneisel 711 was loaded but
we had to get the Teardrop
on yet, no big deal as she
fired up immediately and
hopped on the trailer like she
know where she was going.  I
should say that the short trip
to Penn - Can was uneventful
but that's not the case. Old
Thumper's toungue was
hanging out as we made our
way down Route 17 to
Windsor, once over the hills
the old 352 cooled down
though and stated acting like
usual - but for a while there
it was making a stink about
it. As soon as we're at the
track fans start coming over
to look over the cars, and that
continued all night. I met a
lot of smiling fans all evening,
Carl Can Val Nagel, Reed
came down to chat, Cal
Arthur and his son both
stopped by. In talking with
Cal's son he related his
father - who announced at
the track for years - sent him
recorded tapes when he was
in Vietnam in 1968 so he
could hear the races - Cal's
voice was literally heard
half-way around the world. I
got to meet with Lew parks
and his daughter Carla
Feringa - Lew works for AJ
Foyt racing and Carla has
writtine a book about her
father's racing experiences -
as told through his stories.
"When I got to read it" Lew
related, "I saw all those
stories from a different
perspective, it's interesting."
Sounds it, I need to get a
copy. Lew then related a
quick story about Dave
Kneisel and Red Harrington -
"They were having a
discussion and Red finally
grabbed Dave and had him in
a headlock, and was jamming
his head into the side of his
car, bang, bang, bang..." he
said with a smile. I asked
"Didn't Red poke somebody
up to Midstate once?" "Who
didn't he poke?" was the
hearty reply. I need to talk
more to Lew.. Bob Lupka was
on hand as well and we
exchanged pleasantries. Bob
Page made the trip and
mentioned the #79 was till on
Comforts Pond Road - I told
him to go get it.. John Mason
was chatting it up as well, we
met fellow New Berliner Gary
Dwyer and enjoyed some
good racing over several ice
creams - a great night. After
loading up I stopped outside
of Windsor for some gas and
the teller asked "Where the
Vintage cars racing tonight?"
He looked disappointed until
I said "No, that's next week,
we were just showing these
cars tonight." He perked right
up then - "See you next week
then." That's an affirmative, I
wouldn't want to miss the
Legends night or the Hall of
Fame Induction for anything
- see you this Friday at the
Can.
Carl Nagel and Reed Miller
Cal Arthur
Lew Parks and his daughter Carla Feringa
Grant Buck.
Bob Lupka.
Bob Lupka, John Mason and Dad.
The Teardrop and Lynmar Spl.
Penn-Can Part 2: And I
thought is was hot and
muggy the week before... The
weather looked pretty iffy, a
big storm blew through
Endicott around 2 Pm,
headed south east. I called
the track, got the recording,
and looked at the website,
the green light was on. Dad
called, then Jack Romain - I
told them I figured it was a go
- Reed Miller and Al Wilcox
weren't going to throw in the
towel over a little rain -
neither were we. I put a
better radiator cap on
Thumper and made it there
with no problem, at least the
truck wasn't sweating this
time - but I sure was. We had
a real good showing of cars
from both the Northeast
Vintage Modified club and
the Midstate Vintage Stock
Car Club. There are many
differences between the clubs
as far as the equipment
allowed is concerned. The
Northeast group definitely
has more power under the
hood, they allow 4 Barrel
carburetors on their engines
while Midstate is limited to a
Holley 4112 with a restrictor
plate. The cars in my class -
the Flatheads and 6
Cylinders, have nothing for
those guys - they're just
plain fast. Our Modifieds did
pretty well against them
though. For the Midstate  
group, Frank Blanchard,
Mary, and Rob Casti did the
leg work while Ed Stevens
handled the Northeast group.
One hand for Midstate were
the Witters, Gordy Wood, Ray
Demolin, the Coles, Jim
Hilimire and Ray Preston,
Tex Gorden, Dad and Myself.
The Northeast group had the
Murphy's, the Highhouse's,
Clark Bartholomew, Henry
Yeska, Kurt Berger, Ray See,
Stan Woyt, Pernall Snyder
and Rich Locklin. A good
group of cars.
We unload the 43A and note
that the trailer tire is flat,
Hmmm.. not starting well..
Change Dad's front tire, I
unload and then help get his
spare on - only it doesn't
fit!!!! #$%^&*@! and it's so
F#$%^&*#@! hot to BOOT!
The rim will not fit over the
hub - brother! Off we go to
scrounge.. the Murphy's had
tire irons and a bead breaker,
Leo Kuselzo had a stem, the
fellow with the 12A (Henry
Yeska) had a 'schrader tool'
as he called it - I've always
called them a tire valve..
another fellow had a couple
of hammers - Dad, Jim
Hilimire and I start beating
and sweating - we get both
tires off and the one back on
in record time - only 45
minutes or so... Thank god
they're pumping the track,
it's giving us time. Ray
Preston fires up his
compressor and with about 8
hands holding this thing in
place, we get it up on the
bead. What an
accomplishment! Back in
place I don't want to hear
about it again - Dad told me
the next day it made it to
Rte. 88 then blew - he kept
going...
The track is ready and
warmups are fun - they
remind you why you do this..
my car is sounding a bit off,
but runs great, maye time to
check that cam, or a valve job
is due. None the less, it has
plenty of power for a Flatty
that is  - as Lynn Highhouse
blows by... no sticking with
him but I'm not alone there.
Afterward Dad is wondering  
aloud about his tire selection
- again. The pits are busy
with work and before you
know it, we're lining up for
our heat. The 'Modified' heat
is run with only one caution -
Lynn and the #88 got
tangeled in turn three but
that's about all I can catch
from behind a sign off the
backstretch. Our 'Limited
Sportsman' heat is pretty
competitive, Gordy Wood
holds us off for several laps
(later I comment how good he
is running, and find he's
running a 4-barrel on his
stock 350 - makes sense..)
Mike Cole and I have made
our way up to the top three
and when Gordy slips high,
we move to 1st and 2nd.
Then we battle, he holds the
groove while I try to get
under him, to no avail. And
then as the laps wind down,
we have company, Clark
Bartholomew has more than
either of us, by quite a bit
and he gets me for 2nd while
Mike takes the checker.
Afterward - Dad decides to
change tires - it's has cooled
considerably by now, but it's
still quite warm. I don't know
if that electric impact wrench
is the best things I've bought
or the worst.. While we're
changing tires, the HOF
induction goes on without us,
by the time we get over there,
it's over unfortunately for us..
we get some ice cream - talk
with John Mason who has
brought his #196 for behind
the grandstand - he's all
alone back there but has a
good crowd when he fires his
flathead. He was hoping
there would be more show
cars at the track.
On the way back to the pits I
ask "Dad, we're done with the
big tires right?" "Yup."
"Good." I love my father, and I
really shouldn't complain
about any time I get to share
with him, we've been
fortunate to be able to enjoy
each other's company for
many years and I still
appreciate it, bit I have to
admit that I'm tired of
changing tires every race -
he's got it now. We check
fluids, he adds a quart of oil,
it's smoking pretty good. The
feature is coming right up,
and the lineup is changed.
Suddenly I'm starting 4th -
behind Bartholomew.  
During the Modified feature,
Lynn Highhouse catches a
break and wins it over Mike
Murphy and Jim Hilimire.
We're up next and at green
Mike Cole wakes me up then
hook up to Bartholomew's #7
and we're off, or rather he is.
I stay within about 5 car
lengths for 5 laps, then ease
up. I'm not going to catch
him, the only way I'll get him
is if he breaks or spins, he
doesn't and I settle for 2nd.
At least it ran good, Dad is
smoking by the end and it's
time for rings, there must be
a broken one.
It was a good night, hot,
tiring, satisfying - we made it
in and out in one piece and
had some fun in the
meantime. Many thanks to
all who helped us with our
tire situation, and to the staff
at Penn Can for having us
once again, we appreciate it.
Lastly, I want to congratulate
all the
HOF inductees: Chuck
Akulis, Cal Arthur, Don
Beagell, Gary Beagell, Roger
Beagell, LeGrand Beavan,
James Bonham, Randy
Decker, Joe Donahue Sr.,
Lynn Highhouse, jane
Kennerup, Dick Longstreet,
Carl Nagel, Ed Rafferty,
Seward Rice, Jack Romain,
Jeff Rudalavage, Jim
Sherman, Stubby Stephens,
Warren Stone, and George
Watson Sr. - great job
everyone.
Kurt Berger.
Mike and Howard Murphy.
Henry Yeska.
Stan Woyt.
Mike Cole.
Ray Preston.
Howie Witter.
Ray See.
Jim Hilimire.
Tex Gorden.
Ray Demolin.
Clark Bartholomew.
Rob Casti.
Mike Murphy.
Pernell Snyder.
Gordy Wood.
Lynn Highhouse.
Cal Arthur.
Rich Locklin.
Plenty of water in turn 1 at the beginning.
The guys liked our flatheads..
Frank Blanchard.
Ray Cole and Dad.
Lots of good racing here over the years...
John Mason drew a crowd when he fired up the flatty..