By TOM AVENENGO
Something a little different to get this week’s column started. A little about the late, great, Bill Schindler.
As I was working on this week’s column and looking at the photo of Schindler, above, it’s hard to believe that in the above photo, I’m about double his age now (I just turned 79). Bill was 43 when he was fatally injured at Allentown, Pa.
Bill Schindler in the seat of the Earl Beal # 2 Sprint car – the car he was fatally injured in, on September 20, 1952.
Bill was born on March 6, 1909. Raised in the Middletown, New York, area, Schindler was orphaned as a teenager but prior to this he had developed an interest in mechanical things by hanging around in his father’s shop. Through this experience he raced Motorcycles on a track laid out in a farmer’s field and then in 1931 he began racing a stock-engined “Big Car” in “outlaw” events.
He had two “outlaw” victories – at the half-mile dirt Watertown (N.Y.) Speedway in 1931 and at Deer Park (N.Y.) Speedway in 1932 – and competed in the East’s first Midget race on June 10, 1934, on the one-fifth-mile cinder track at Olympic Park in Irvington, New Jersey. From there he quickly blossomed into one of the finest Midget drivers in history.
In March 1936, Bill raced in an American Automobile Association-sanctioned 250-mile Stock Car race on the old 4.1-mile Beach-Road Course at Daytona Beach, Florida, but this was only a diversion as he was committed to the Midgets and he raced them everywhere.
However, he also continued to race “Big Cars” and on September 25, 1936, at the Minneola (Long Island) Fairgrounds “Bronco Bill” tangled with the outside fence and his left leg was mangled so badly that it had to be amputated above the knee. Although fitted with an artificial leg, he never wore it while racing and during the winter of 1936-1937 he won the New England Indoor Midget Championship. In 1937, he also began driving the hot Offy Midgets that were owned by Mike Caruso, and he won the 1940 AAA Bronx (N.Y.) Coliseum Indoor Midget Championship in a Motorcycle-engined ride.
He was part of a group determined to keep the AAA out of the East Coast in 1937. He was elected president of the “outlaw” group. Schindler briefly switched to the AAA in 1940, and won the Bronx Coliseum Indoor championship. He returned to his “outlaw” past when he was named the president of the newly formed American Racing Drivers Club (ARDC). He served as president for the club’s first six years. Schindler won ARDC championships in 1940, 1945, 1946 and 1948.
He joined the AAA so he could race in the Indianapolis 500 in 1950, 1951, and 1952. He was crowned “King Doodlebug”, a national popularity contest, six times. He is also a member of the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame. To keep the AAA from taking control of Eastern Midget racing, though, the Eastern Midget Racing Alliance was formed in 1937 and Schindler was chosen to head the group. The Midgets were so popular before and after World War II that Schindler – who had moved to Freeport, Long Island – raced every night of the week. During the war he was a machinist in a Brooklyn war plant and spent time with fellow amputees. Then when racing re-turned he won 53 features in 1947 and another 53 in 1948 in Caruso’s black No. 2 Offy Midget.
In the late 1940s he returned to Sprint Cars and he drove the repainted-red and re-numbered (from No. 1 to No. 18) “Baby” of the late Ted Horn – a fellow EMPA Hall of Famer – to an AAA victory on September 24, 1949, at the half-mile dirt Allentown (Pa.) Fairgrounds.
Bill is standing next to the car that was formerly driven by the late Ted Horn.
The Midgets were so popular before and after World War II that Schindler – who had moved to Freeport, Long Island – raced every night of the week. During the war he was a machinist in a Brooklyn war plant and spent time with fellow amputees. Then when racing re-turned he won 53 features in 1947 and another 53 in 1948 in Caruso’s black No. 2 Offy Midget.
In the late 1940s Schindler returned to Sprint Cars and he drove the repainted-red and re-numbered (from No. 1 to No. 18) “Baby” of the late Ted Horn – a fellow EMPA Hall of Famer – to an AAA victory on September 24, 1949, at the half-mile dirt Allentown (Pa.) Fairgrounds.
From 1950-1952, Schindler – who liked to race in black, red or white Western-style satin shirts – competed in 31 AAA National Championship races, won two poles and scored his only victory on August 16, 1952, while driving H.A. Chapman’s No. 7 in the 100-lapper on the one-mile dirt track at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. In three straight Indianapolis 500s he was 26th in Lou Rassey’s orange and black No. 67 (1950), 13th in Chapman’s yellow and blue No. 10 (1951) and 14th in Chapman’s black and pink No. 7 (1952).
The Chapman Special – Bills second try at Indy.
A newer Chapman Special with Bill in the seat – his ride at Indy in 1952.
Bill died in a sprint car racing crash in Allentown, Pennsylvania on September 20, 1952. Schindler was leading the race on the third lap when a car driven by Paul Becker lost a wheel and skidded into the fence. He did not see the “go slow” sign that was immediately waved after Becker’s crash and his black Offenhauser hit the wheel, crashed through the fence and tumbled down a 20-foot embankment. He was killed instantly.
Note: I was able to find most of the above information via the internet, and some from my memories of watching him race.
Ya think time does not fly? I remember this like it was only a few months ago.
September 28, 2012
Chris Economaki dies at age of 91.
Check out the above link for a short story on Chris.
A very interesting and truthful read:
THINGS NOBODY TELLS YOU ABOUT BEING A RACER’S GIRLFRIEND
Things Nobody Tells You About Being a Racer’s Girlfriend
Not looking too good for NASCAR, is it?
New Hampshire TV Ratings:
NASCAR Sprint Cup racing from New Hampshire, the second race in the Chase For the Cup, had 2.5 million viewers on NBCSN Sunday afternoon -down 14% from last year, down 34% from 2014 on ESPN (3.9M), and the smallest audience in the history of the Chase (dates back to 2004). The previous low was set just one week earlier by the Chicago race (2.7M). Ratings dropped 12% from last year (1.77 to 1.55) and also ranked as the lowest in the history of the Chase. The previous mark was nearly a full point higher, a 1.64 for Chicago last week. Kevin Harvick’s win ranks as the lowest rated fall New Hampshire race since at least 2000 and the least-watched since at least 2001, falling below the previous marks set last year.(Sports Media Watch), see race-by-race TV Ratings for 2016 and a comparison chart on the 2016 TV Ratings page.(9-28-2016)
Orange County Fair Speedway
239 Wisner Avenue
NON-STOP RACING ON SATURDAY OF EASTERN STATES WEEKEND
Small-Block Modifieds and 305 Sprint Cars Star on Saturday
MIDDLETOWN, NY (September 30)……..The Small-Block Modifieds, powered by 358-cubic inch engines, will be the Saturday, October 22 headline attraction during the 55th Annual Eastern States Weekend at Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown, New York. This year’s 40th Annual Eastern States Small-Block Modified Championship Presented by Halmar International, WLR Construction, and Arkel Motors race will be 100 laps in distance.
A star-studded lineup of top Small-Block Modified drivers from the entire Northeast dirt track Modified circuit will battle Orange County’s weekly competitors for the trophy and top prize money in this prestigious event. For the second consecutive year, the winner will earn $15,000 plus lap and other prize money. And with the $10,000 incentive bonus for sweeping the weekend, several drivers from the Big-Block Modified ranks will are expected to enter Small-Block-powered cars, adding even more drama to the Small-Block Modified race.
Since its inception in 1977, the Small-Block Modified race has had several different formats, having been run at 50-, 75-, 100-, and 150-laps distances. The field for this year’s 100-lap race will be set through time trials and heat races, with the final starters coming from consolation races all run prior to Saturday’s main event.
Two drivers, Brett Hearn, Orange County’s all-time race winner and eight time Small-Block Modified point champion, and twice Small-Block Modified titlist Danny Johnson have won more than one-half of the previous 39 races in this annual fall classic which dates from 1977. Hearn has 16 Eastern States Small-Block Modified victories to his credit, while arch-rival Johnson has won this race five times. Other multi-time winners include the late Doug Hoffman (four victories), Kenny Tremont (three), and Jeff Heotzler (two wins).
Single Eastern States Small-Block Modified champions include 2013 winner Stewart Friesen, Jimmy Phelps, Billy Decker, 2015 Orange County Modified champion Jerry Higbie, Alan Johnson, Dickie Keiper, Mike Petruska Sr., Harry Behrent, and Anthony Ferraiuolo IV.
Saturday’s card is one of the busiest in all auto racing. In addition to the Small-Block Modified Championship 100 race, the 305 Sprint Cars are on the card, with timed hot laps and qualifying races leading up to their 25-lap Eastern States Championship feature race. Kevin Nagy is the defending winner, having captured the victory in last year’s CRSA Eastern States race.
On Eastern States Saturday, the fairgrounds and pits open at 8:00 am, with spectator gates opening two hours later at 10:00 am. Following the drivers meeting at 11:00 am, non-stop racing action begins on the five-eighths-mile Hard Clay speedway, concluding first with the CRSA feature and then wrapping up with the 40th Annual Eastern States Small-Block Modified 100-lap Championship race.
Advance tickets for Saturday or the entire Eastern States Weekend as well as camping and parking permits are available at the Speedway Office during regular business hours, or credit card sales (Visa and MasterCard) by calling 845-342-2573. Additional information can be found at the official Orange County Fair Speedway website, www.orangecountyfairspeedway.net.
More of the Castle Hill Midget races:
May 14 Babe Bower* Opener Burt Krause Offy 30 laps
7,500 fans Saegesser was 2nd
May 17 Frankie Bailey Peters Offy 30 laps
May 21 Johnny Ritter* 30 laps
May 24 Rain
May 28 Bill Holland* 30 laps
June 4 Bill Morrissey* 4,200 spectators 30 laps
June 7 Ray Nestor
June 11 Dee Toran* 30 laps
June 14 Bill Morrissey* 30 laps
June 21 Babe Bower* 30 laps
June 25 Rex Records* Eddie Cox Offy 30 laps
July 2 Johnny Ritter* 40 laps
July 5 Lyle Dickey Bussard Offy
July 9 Johnny Ritter* 6,500 fans 30 laps
July 12 Probably rain
July l6 Johnny Ritter
July 19 Lyle Dickey* Bussard Offy 50 laps
July 23 Rex Records* 30 laps
August 2 Hal Burdette* 35 laps
August 9 Rex Records Eddie Cox Offy 30 laps
August 13 Johnny Ritter Johnny Ritter Elto 30 laps
August 16 Red Redmond
August 20 Joe Garson* Clyde Porter Offy 75 laps
August 23 Joe Garson
September 3 Lyle Dickey* 30 laps
September 10 Lyle Dickey Burt Krause Offy 30 laps
September 13 Bill Morrissey Schroeder Cycle 30 laps
September 17 Lyle Dickey* Burt Krause Offy #7 30 laps
September 20 Henry Banks Burt Krause Offy 30 laps
September 24 Johnny Ritter Elto 30 laps
September 27 Bill Morrissey
October 4 Bill Morrissey* 30 laps
October 11 Bill Morrissey John Schroeder Cycle #30 30 laps
October 15 No Race rain?*
October 18 Johnny Ritter Own Elto 150 laps
This race drew 10,000 fans with the temp at the freezing point.
Track ran every Tuesday and Friday. 1940 plagued by frequent rainouts and picketing.
May 6 Frankie Bailey* AAA sanction 30 laps
May 13 Johnny Ritter* Ritter Elto 30 laps
Fred Jacoby, Jr. National Outboard Champion was in the
pits timing Ritter’s engine.
May 16 Johnny Peterson* 25 laps
Race cut short because of accident
May 20 Johnny Ritter Ritter #3 Elto 30 laps
May 23 Rex Records 30 laps
May 27 Dave Randolph 30 laps
May 30 Bill Morrissey Schroeder Cycle #10 30 laps
June 3 Henry Banks* Mike Caruso #2 Offy 30 laps
June 6 Johnny Swier Van Norstrand Offy 30 laps
June 10 Ernie Gesell* 30 laps
June 13 Rain
June 17 Buster Williams* 30 laps
June 20 Henry Banks Mike Caruso #2 30 laps
June 24 Henry Banks Mike Caruso #2 30 laps
June 27 Bill Morrissey* 30 laps
July 1 Rain
July 4 Rain
July 8 Dutch Schaefer Slim Schloeder Cycle #6 30 laps
July 11 Henry Banks Mike Caruso Offy #2 30 laps
July 15 Henry Banks Mike Caruso Offy #2 50 laps
July 18 Henry Banks* Mike Caruso Offy #2 30 laps
July 22 Henry Banks* Mike Caruso Offy #2 30 laps
July 25 “Pop” DeVercelly* Own V-8 30 laps
July 29 Ted Tappett* Bourgnon Cycle 30 laps
August 1 Dutch Schaefer Schroeder Cycle #6 30 laps
August 5 Ray Nestor Bert Krause Offy 30 laps
August 8 Ray Nestor Bert Krause Offy 30 laps
August 12 Bill Schindler 30 laps
August 15 Rain
August 19 Dutch Schaefer Schloeder Cycle #6 30 laps
August 26 Rain*
August 29 Henry Banks Mike Caruso Offy #2 75 laps
September 2 Ted Tappett*
September 5 Lyle Dickey* 30 laps
September 9 Al Duffy* Andrews V-8 30 laps
September 12 Al Duffy 30 laps
September 23 Johnny Swier*
September 30 Dutch Schaefer Schroeder Cycle #6 30 laps
October 7 Rain*
October 10 Tony Bonadies* 100 laps
October 17 Len Wofsey 50 laps
The first seven races were AAA, the remainder of the season was sanctioned by ARDC.
Track ran from June 10, ’38 to October 10, ’39 and from May 14, 1940 to October 17, 1941. *Indicates some or all information for this entry came from the NY Times. Castle Hill Speedway was located at Lafayette Avenue and Havemeyer, on the Bronx end (just south) of the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge Plaza, where the East River joins Long Island Sound. The track was demolished after Pearl Harbor to build an Adcock Radio Range station for La Guardia Airport. An Adcock Radio Range was a 4-course radio beam, familiar in old flying movies where the pilot was “on the beam”. It preceded Omni, DME and GPS navigation systems.
That does it for the Castle Hill Midget racing results.
Oswego dirt track – lap counts?
I found this on Dirt Track Digest on this past Monday:
Ball Park Figures
Thursday 620 Not Including Cautions or Re Track Prep
Friday 930 Not Including Cautions or Re Track Prep
Saturday 520 Not Including Cautions or Re Track Prep
Sunday 445 Not Including Cautions or Re Track Prep
2515 TOTAL NOT INCLUDING CAUTION LAPS
Oakland Valley Racers
Devil’s Bowl Speedway Dirt Track – West Haven, VT
Saturday, October 1, 2016
Central Vermont Motorcycles Sportsman Modified Feature (100 laps)
Bobby Hackel, IV was 4th, and Rich Coons 12th in the feature.
Tyler Dippel was 7th at Dover in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series 125. He finished 3rd in the season point chase.
Kyle Redner was 1st and Milton Mann 2nd in the Sportsman/358 race at Bethel.
More items found in this week’s AARN:
Bob Leiby, 75, passed away on Monday. He was the Lincoln Speedway owner. Ernie Beesmer who raced at OCFS, Accord and Lebanon Valley and Mel “Scooter” Patrick, noted International Sports Car racer have also left us.
Tyler Dippel started out his racing career with Slingshots (OVRP’s Dirt Oval?) then he moved up to Crate Sportsman at OCFS in 2012. Believed to be 14 years old, he actually was only 12.
Anthony Perrego and car owner Gary Mann have parted ways.
Matt Janiak is the only rookie modified feature winner at OCFS, so far, for this year.
New drivers that are going to be inducted into the New England Auto Racing (NEAR) Hall of Fame are: Kenny Bouchard, Randy LaJoie, Nofri (Nick) Fornoro, Jr., Ricky Craven and George “Moose” Hewitt.
Some interesting Syracuse stats:
In modifieds, Kenny Tremont, Jr. has started the big race 34 times and has one victory. Brett Hearn has started 38 times with 6 victories. Alan Johnson started 36 times and had 3 wins. Jimmy Horton has had 2 wins in his 40 starts. Danny Johnson has had 2 wins in his 33 starts.
In the small blocks, Hearn started 30 times and has 6 wins. Tremont has 4 wins in 27 starts. Pete Bicknell has 5 wins in 23 starts. Billy Decker won 6 times in his 23 starts and Jeff Heotzler has one win in his 20 starts.
With the outdoor racing season slowly coming to an end, the indoor TQ season is just around the corner.
On December 9th and 10th, there will be racing in the National Bank Center, in Trenton, N.J. On the 9th (Friday), adult tickets are $10.00 and children get in for five bucks. Info: www.comcasttix.com.
On December 30th and 31st, racing will be held in Allentown, Pa. in the PPL Center. Info: www.pplcenter.com.
On January 27th and 28th, it’s the Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall. Info: www.ticketmaster.com or call them at: 609-888-3618
From USAC News:
8 INDUCTEES ANNOUNCED FOR NATIONAL MIDGET HALL OF FAME;
TOMMY HUNT, KEVIN TRIPLETT JOIN BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Five drivers, two car owners and a race organizer comprise the 2017 class of inductees for the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame.
Alphabetically they are: Steve Cannon, Sim Clark, Jay Drake, Billy Garrett, Johnny Mantz, Mitch Miller, Wes Saegesser and Gary Zarounian. They will be officially inducted during ceremonies in Tulsa, Okla. on January 14 during the week of the Chili Bowl Nationals Midget event.
Cannon, of Oakwood, Ill., was one of two brothers (Larry) who excelled in motorsports. Especially proficient on the small bullrings of the Midwest, Cannon racked up 21 USAC National Midget wins during his career. A licensed barber in Danville for 50 years, he also was a firefighter and was once named “Firefighter of the Year. He began racing modifieds in the early 1960s and in 1974 he won USAC’s Indoor Midget title. He succumbed to Parkinsons Disease in 2015.
Clark, after a stint with ARDC on the East coast in the pre and post-war era, moved to California and excelled as a car owner. In 1951 he won the Indoor BCRA Midget car owner title with Ed Normi as the driver. Later, he fielded title winning cars for Tommy Copp indoors in 1959 and 1961, plus full titles for Dick Atkins in 1964, Bob DeJong in 1969 and Hank Butcher in 1971 and 1972. One of his early hot-shoes was also Billy Vukovich, Jr.
Drake, another transplanted Californian, had tremendous success not only in USAC’s National Midget Series, where he scored 17 victories, but also in the Silver Crown cars (5 wins) and Sprint Cars (25 wins). USAC’s 1990 and 1991 TQ Midget Champ and 1996 Western States Midget king, he went on to claim the 2004 USAC Sprint Car crown. Named the USAC National Midget Most Improved driver, he won the 2000 Hut Hundred and the 2001 Chili Bowl. He also competed in the Infinity Pro Series. In 2000 he was the USAC Indiana Sprint Week Champ
Garrett, born in Princeton, Ill. in 1933, won the 1954 and 1955 URA Midget Championship and graduated to Championship cars where he started the 1956 ad 1958 Indianapolis 500s He finished 16th in 1956 but encountered mechanical problems in 1958. He suffered critical injuries in the 1958 100-mile championship race at the Milwaukee Mile and never fully recovered. He passed away in 1999 in California.
Mantz, born in Hebron, Ind., earned reknown for his exploits in the National Championship and Stock Car series, although his expertise spanned several motorsports venues. A top-ranking URA Midget driver, he was second in the 1947 Blue (Offy) circuit and fourth in the Red (Non-Racing Engines) Circuit. He debuted in the Indianapolis 500 in 1948, then returned and finished seventh in the 1949 race. In 1956 he earned the inaugural championship of the very competitive USAC National Stock Car Series. In 1950 he became the first winner of the famous “Southern 500” NASCAR race at Darlington, S.C. He was fatally injured in a highway crash in 1972.
Miller, a Colorado motorsports icon, is credited with having founded the prestigious “Belleville Midget Nationals” in 1978, a race which continues to this day. He has long been associated with the sport, was heavily involved with the Rocky Mountain Midget Racing Association (RMMS) and organized the Southwest Independent Midget Series (SWIMS) and the AIMS. Between 1966 and 1984 he served as a seven-time President of RMMRA as well as Competition Director and Business Manager. He is a member of the Colorado and Belleville High Banks Motorsports Halls of Fame.
Saegesser, who eventually took a post as the AAA Southwest Zone Supervisor in the 1940s, retired from driving in 1950 after a long and distinguished Midget racing career that included more than a hundred feature victories. He scored wins in 11 states and Canada and his first win came at Kansas City in 1937. He was the 1937 Southwest and Tulsa Midget Champion, then won the 1942 Texas/Oklahoma title and was the Houston Speed Bowl king in 1942. All this while competing with a shortened left arm which sported no hand!
Zarounian, whose family built car dealerships in central California, immersed himself in not only auto racing but also in numerous business ventures and in 1976 he competed in the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, Nev. The Zarounian team hired the best drivers in the business and their success was immense. In addition to eight USAC Silver Crown victories and 11 in the USAC National Midget wars, they fielded cars for drivers like Sleepy Tripp, who racked up two National and seven Western States titles. During the 1980s and 1990s the Tripp-Zarounian Western team was nearly unbeatable. In 1990 Jeff Gordon also posted a victory at Ascot Park in Gardena, Calif. driving a Zarounian Midget. George passed away in 2014 at the age of 93.
In other Hall of Fame news, Tommy Hunt and Kevin Triplett have been added to the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame Board of Directors.
Disabled Man (Sam Schmidt) Gets License, Shows Driverless Tech’s Potential
A quick look back in time:
During the 20’s racing on good sized board tracks was fairly common. But in 1947, some smaller board tracks came to be, with one of the first being in the Polo Grounds in New York. Sad to say, but there were only a few midget races held on that Polo Grounds board track. It was dismantled and moved out to the Rose Bowl in California.
Above: The track set up in the Polo Grounds.
Here’s a link to an article about that track from the Polo Grounds to the Rose Bowl:
There are also some other racing tid-bits in that article on the history of some post war racing.
Ya think that auto racing is dangerous? You bet it is! I found the following video on Dirt Track Digest, last Friday:
Hoosier Tire Acquired by Continental
I enjoy watching some sports on TV – Baseball (Mets), college & professional football, and of course, racing. I really don’t watch basketball all that much, but I did get kinda hooked on watching the women’s Connecticut basketball games. This year, the team lost one of its star players due to graduation – Breanna Stewart. It kinda looks like she’s doing pretty good in the WNBA.
Breanna Stewart wins WNBA rookie of the year award
I have no idea as to just how old this video is, but Conway Twitty is singing to Loretta lynn:
As you can see, this current year of racing is drawing to a close. As of now I’ll continue these weekly columns – will have to say it all depends on what happens, when and where, if they’ll stay weekly.
As usual, you can always reach me at: email@example.com