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

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

Middletown, NY10940


Mike Gurda



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 18

June 21       Babe Bower*                                              30 laps

June 25       Rex Records*                 Eddie Cox Offy    30 laps

June 28

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

July 26

July 30

August 2     Hal Burdette*                                                                35 laps

August 6

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

August 27

August 30

September 3         Lyle Dickey*                                               30 laps

September 6

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

ARDC sanction

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


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:



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:  ygordad@yahoo.com

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