~ Road Trips ~
Thunder Mountain and
Utica-Rome's 50th Ann.
Thunder Mountain. Just one
of those nights.. After our last
run at Penn Can Dad decided
it was time to tear down his
engine and put some rings in
it. My brother Tom took the
engine out while my parents
were on a trip out west, he
also come down and we had a
great time at the drag races -
great fun. Once Dad got back
he replaced the rings and had
the engine back in and
running good. I tore the
injectors off mine, cleaned
them and replaced plugs. I
checked the lash and then left
it figuring they hadn't moved
from my notes - but it hasn't
been as sharp lately, time to
rebuild but I haven't the time..
Saturday comes and my
parents come down in
separate vehicles, Dad's towing
the 43A and Mom has no
desire to see the races. We
attended a very nicely done
bat mitzvah in Ithaca, came
home, changed clothes in a
rush and my mother took off
for home - with her cell phone
off and my Dad's truck keys in
his suit pants pocket... He
didn't realize it until it was too
late and we couldn't get ahold
of her to bring them back...
guess we'll take one car.. Dad
rides along with me but we're
out of sync, when we get to the
track I realize I've forgotten my
camera.. no pictures tonight..
Luckily - Ted Schmidt sent me
some pictures from Penn Can -
so that's what you're looking
at now.. It starts raining so we
have plenty of time to shoot
the breeze. Jim Gates has
ridden along with Norm
Richardson and is talkative,the
Whipple's next door have
brought Waylon and he's
really friendly, and fun. The
rain stops and the track crew
gets busy, no warm ups
tonight, just run the track in
and race. Frank Blanchard has
asked a few to 'move up' to the
modified class as there is only
4 of them tonight, Jim
Hilimire, Ray Demolin, Frank
and myself agree to 'fill in'.
The sportsman heat is won by
Shirley Morden, the track is
slicker than snot and one
groove, nobody can get by.
Same in our heat, I start last
and finish there - a complete
waste of time as far as racing
goes, but it helped dry out the
track a little bit??? My mood
doesn't brighten any as I'm
taking off my hard right rear
and adding a softer tire - #8 is
pumping a little water. The
Sportsman go out and Mike
Cole 302 V8 wins it with his
over Howdy Witter's 302
Jimmy - Dad relates Howdy
drove a heady race, came from
the back and picked them off
but Mike was way put front at
the checkers. My flathead
powered car has the pole for
the feature, Brent Cobb is
outside with his Kneisel
chassied 355 Chevy and I'm
determined I'm beating him to
the first turn - maybe a little
too determined and I jump the
start... the engine is warm now
and #8 has sealed up, needs a
sleeve. They throw the yellow
and I wait a little longer the
second time (not much) and
they let it go, I lead lap one
but then it's all over. At least I
got to turn one first. The car is
handling pretty good, and
running strong but not
enough to hold off these V8's -
Ray Preston is first by, Rich
Appleby lifts his left front a
foot out of four when he goes
by, Hilimire gets me high, I
follow him up there and my
slight push goes away. The
track is rough but tacky, the
track crew did all they could,
and it was really pretty good -  
Fitz in the #6 gets me with a
lap to go so I take 5th.
Congrats to Ray Preston and
Mike Cole on their wins. We
load and go, I'm whipped. My
brother has brought Dad's
keys back down and they're in
the glovebox when he gets to
the truck, and he's off. Next
day is cleaning  and swapping
cars getting ready for
Utica-Rome this coming
Wednesday night - looking
forward to seeing Roy Kotary
and other friends there, as
well as getting a new book to
read. Friday night Afton and
that's pretty much it for the
year. None too soon either,
Red Shredder needs a re-build
and the B29 needs to go on a
diet if I have to run with the
OHV V8's everytime ... am I
bitchy? Maybe a little... Oh
Well, better luck next time.
   Utica-Rome. Wednesday,
Aug 17th. It ended up being a
very long day, and very
satisfying. I left Elmira at 2:00,
flew home, walk the boys and
jumped in thumper to meet
Dad in New Berlin. We head
up Rte. 8 to Paris Hill, over the
mountain and round the bend
to Utica-Rome, and we're none
too early.. At least I have my
camera this time.. Park out by
the track sign on 5A, that's
the only place left, this place
is packed! The ESS crew and
the top modified teams are all
here - $10K to win will do
that. Dad has brought the
S33, Sonney Stickles hauled
the Mouseville Monster and I
had the Cliff Kotary #90
tagging along. There is a good
gathering of vintage cars here
tonight, best show of the year
I'd say and it's a good night for
it too as Utica-rome is
celebrating it's 50th
anniversary. Bones Boucier
and Lew Boyd are on hand
selling Bones new book 'Home
of Hero's', there are many
former drivers milling about
and the atmosphere is perfect,
nice warm night, no rain
clouds and good racing on the
track. As much as all that
would entice me to make the 2
1/2 hour trip, the real reason
I'm here tonight is to see Roy
Kotary. Roy's been a friend as
long as I've known his father
Cliff, we're fortunate enough
to converse regularly. I don't
get the #90 out as much as I
used to but tonight Roy
wanted to bestow me with the
care taking of the trophy his
father won with the car at the
NY State Fair in 1963. It's an
honor to have this aside the
car, we were talking and both
agreed that the only one
missing was Cliff. I'll bet he
was there though. Roy's son
Mark was taking it all in as
well - and later sent me one
on the nicest e-mails I've
received since starting this
site. It's easy at times to get
down about some of the efforts
we make to keep memories of
these racing pioneers alive -
all to often I let a rotten
comment from a jealous
observer ruin my moment - so
to get a reminder like this
certainly brightens my mood. I
need to concentrate on the
good - and let the bad roll off.
We watched as Chuck Hebing
made a late race pass for the
win of the ESS feature. Before
the Modified 100 lapper, Roy
asked who I thought would
win, "Brett Hearn looks awful
good" - he agreed and
although Danny Johnson
made it interesting late, Brett
was in command for the
majority of the race. Afterward,
we tore down, fired up the
flatheads and loaded up. We
talked for over an hour in the
parking lot afterward and it
could have gone on until sun
up I know. There will be time
again - but for one night
everything was damn near
perfect, weather, company,
good racing and friendly
conversation. I loaded the B29
the following night - and
almost wished for rain. I got
my wish and Afton rained out,
just as well since I was
exhausted and #8 is leaking
into the oil now - my season is
done. I don't want to risk
losing the whole thing so for
the rescheduled show, I'll pit
for Dad. That sounds like
fun...  
The Lgends of Penn Can - Ted Schmidt photo
Stub Stevens - Ted Schmidt Photo
Lynn Highhouse - Ted Schmidt Photo
Jack Romain - Ted Schmidt photo
Carl Nagel - Ted Schmidt photo
Mike Murphy - Ted Schmidt Photo
CraZy Eddie Rafferty - Ted Schmindt Photo
Gary Beagell - Ted Schmidt Photo
Roy Kotary with his father's car and trophy.
Roy displays the sweater Richie had made for his father, to my father.
Dave Lape is a great guy to talk to, I hope he gets his 100th at Fonda. He told me he was going to race for two more years - that will be 50 total.
Bernie Miller still looks great, so does his coupe.
Bill Wimble was on hand.
Lew Boyd - told you I'd make you famous..
There were some nice cars on display.
John McCullough's other Bernie Miller car.
Antique Row.
Buddy Ingersall with our S33.
John Clark's late model is really nice.
So is Allan Weaver's coupe.
Rick and Sharon Parry's Falcon.
Pete Lazarro's coupe.
The Mouseville Monster.
Bones Boucier was signing auto's on his new book.
Thanks to Gene Cole.
Frank Blanchard and Dad.
John Clark just finished this restoration in time for the show, Dick Waterman drives.
Skyview Drags. My brother
Tom came down and picked me
up to go to a test and tune at the
Skyview Drags - this was a really
fun night. Everyone in the pits
was friendly, open and talkative.
You could get a real education
there and the best thing about it
was they're all car guys, and
enjoy showing them off. Turbo
Tim with the VW bug was really
impressive, ever see a Bug
wheelie? Herbie has nothing on
this car, and when he grabbed
second gear did that thing jump.
There were many impressive cars
there, Tom did real well and
basically met his goals, not to
embarrass himself, not burn op
the tires and put it on the trailer
in one piece. And have a good
time. Mission accomplished.
Many thanks to Gene Cole and Barb Clark for having us once again!
Turbo Tim ready for takeoff, he was in the 6's @ 124 MPH!!!!
Nice Fairlane.
Fast Fiat.
Toms Truck.
Blown 302 in the Fairlane.
Toms stroker is strong.
This was a very interesting bug, and some fast..
This is one nice view up here, and some facility.
 Afton rained out and is reset
for September 2nd, I'll pit for
Dad and maybe haul up a
show car but the B29 is done
for this year at least... In the
meantime..... we attended my
nephews wedding in New
Berlin and made an
appearance at Absolut Care in
Endicott for an evening out on
the back porch with the
residents. It's nice to go to
these events and see the
smiles as you fire up an old
flathead. Thanks to Ron Hills,
Carla Feringa and Becky
Darling for having us, we
enjoyed it.
 This past week my Buddy
Jeff Kowalewski had his
nephew Robbie up from
Maryland for a quick spin
around CRAP. Robbie is only
10.. and looks like he could
play linebacker for the
Redskins already.. Big Boy. As
we were spinning the Teardrop
sideways I asked if we were
going fast enough for him,
"Yup, that's fast enough!", and
then when I figured we were
done I asked if he'd had
enough "Yup, I've had
enough!" whihc drew laughs
from his dad and Jeff both.
Guees you had to be there - it
was fun. See you at Afton and
maybe at the CNYHOF.
Absolut Care in Endicott.
Dad chats with the residents.
Ron Hills, Carla feringa and Becky Darling.
Kraig R Moss was on hand.
The parks TQ, I like the QC..
Robbie Kowalewski - Jeff Kowalewski photo
Robbie and I - Jeff Kowalewski photo
Wringing her out - Jeff Kowalewski photo
Butch Kowalewski - Jeff Kowalewski photo.