How did we ever do things before cell phones, email and digital photography? This particular column that reviews the 1993 ISMA Lancaster Speedway show and the 1993 Grand Prix 100 at Oswego Speedway was typed on a typewriter Sunday night then faxed to MARC Times Racing News from Oswego, NY for Monday noon deadline. Then the six rolls of film were developed, a couple decent shots enlarged, put into an envelope and overnight mailed to Portage, MI for Tuesday noon deadline at “The Times.” It was a lot of work to be sure, but it was also a great time to be writing about, and taking photos of, supermodified racing.
The race was a good one. In fact until the last time the supers ran there with MSA, all the shows that I saw at what was Lancaster Speedway, the Dunn Tire Raceway Park and is now called Elegant Builders Raceway Park, (now THAT’S a mouthful-and a lot of characters for social media marketing handles), were exciting, interesting, and good. Of course the stories I lived to tell about driving the Sandusky Speedway pace car were worth the trip alone. Don’t the let the tone of those couple paragraphs kid ya, I was scared shitless. As always the comradre at Jimmys house was probably the highlight of the trip. I don’t know that I would have ever gotten anywhere in this gig had it not been for Jim Ferlito. You’ll note that at one time I did in fact get along with John Torrese. Quite well in fact. As far as the Grand Prix 100? Well Oswego was the Oswego of the 90s. Plenty of cars, plenty of talent, and still riding the highs of the O’Brien/Caruso powerhouse.
I’ve included the scans of the notes for this column. If you can read them, they’ll hopefully give you a better picture of trying to write a weekly column. This Wing Side Up Archive Column was written for the July 5,1993 MARC Times Racing News. We have crossed through the old address, website and phone number. BG
Wing Side Up
By Bob Gangwer
July 5, 1993 – Goshen, IN…The Fourth of July is a time of celebration in the country. Not only does it mark the anniversary of the humble beginnings of our beloved country, but it also reminds us of our uniqueness and diversity.
The Fourth also brings with it a celebration of sight and sound that almost always includes a fireworks show. Our Fourth was no different, as all five sensory organs were numb by week’s end from the high-powered pyrotechnics of the “Ultimate Short Track Race Car.”
We cut 30 minutes off of our record time in getting to Jim Ferlito’s Upstate New York “boarding” house, arriving early Thursday morning. We caught a little shut-eye and hit the road again to travel back west to Lancaster Speedway.
A good field of 28 ISMA supermodifieds turned up on July 1 at this quick half mile speed-plant near Buffalo. This count included the New England cars of Justin Belfiore, Nate Boutwell, Howie Lane, Keith Martel, Joey Moriarty, and most notably, both Dunigan cars. The only other outsiders making the tow were Sandusky regulars Dave Shullick and Jim Shirey.
All preliminary events went off without a hitch with Gary Allibritain, Mike Muldoon and Pat Abold winning their heats. The feature was brought out and the stage was set for 50 laps of heart stopping action.
Everyone was on their best behavior and the field ran ten laps before the first yellow flew for a stalled Howie Lane. That yellow was one of only three during the entire race.
Jim Shirey had a fine run going until Dave McKnight got a little over-anxious while trying to overtake Shirey for seventh in turn three. The cars made contact and Shirey went spinning. Somehow he kept the car running and stayed off the wall, but the yellow came out anyway and he went to the rear.
The Dunigan cars put on a whale of a show throughout the 50 laps. It was good to see Bentley and Mike back in ISMA action.
Pat Abold sliced his way to the front to take over the lead on a lap 24 restart and held on to win in his new Coke machine over Warren and Ordway.
The drivers did a fantastic job keeping their noses clean and put on one helluva show for the packed grandstand. This track may be as rough and bumpy as Winchester, but the supers fly here.
Radio Receivers, Crazy Pace Car Drivers-
ISMA had three radio receivers installed in the cars and continued to conduct field tests on this idea whose time has come. Four more receivers are scheduled to be in place this weekend at Mosport, with the goal of having 24 available in the near future for use in all feature starting cars. Cost is said to be around $400 each with the financial burden falling upon the car owners.
For those of you who may have made the long trek to Lancaster and were wondering who the wild man in the Sandusky pace car was, that was me.
There were several different tracks represented by their respective pace and I suggested to Mike Calinoff that it’d be great to see some spectator drags using the pace cars and Lancaster’s ⅛ mile drag strip that double as the oval’s front chute.
He agreed and asked me if I’d like to take the T-Bird around the track a couple of times. Hey, you don’t have to ask me twice! Not only did I get to drive it around for a few slow laps, but I also got to pace the 24 car field behind the Lancaster pace car for a couple of laps before pulling off.
As much fun as it was, I couldn’t have done it alone, so I took my good buddy Rich Lesiecki along to watch for other track going speeding objects. Next time you see the pace car driver from your local track, give him a hearty handshake and a pat on the back because his job definitely comes under the “white knuckle” description.
On to the Big O-
We took Friday off to relax and get geared up for Saturday night’s Grand Prix 100 at the Big O. It also gave us a chance to talk with old friends and do some serious bench racing with Jim Shirey and John Torrese.
Saturday afternoon saw the pit stalls for 29 supers filled at Oswego. It was good to see so many cars there after the tough luck many have had this year.
Pat Abold clinched his first heat race win of the year at Oswego by beating Gary Allibritain. Other heat race winners included Dave McKnight and Mike Muldoon. The consi went to Jim Shirey.
Joe Gosek sat on the pole with Gary Allibritain right next to him for the start of the 100 lap grind. The field came down for the green and made it through turns one and two ok, headed for three and four and cleared those two turns just fine. Then they actually completed a lap without even the slightest bobble.
Pat Abold’s good fortune from Thursday night’s win wasn’t along for the 120 mph ride as he headed for the pits on lap 13. The field made it one more go-around before the yellow flew for the wildly spinning lead car of Dave McKnight on the front stretch.
It wasn’t a good night to be the leader of the race. Steve Gioia passed Joe Gosek for the lead on lap 22 only to drop out two laps later.
Cliff Graves now put the power down and began his charge to the front and was pressuring Gosek for the lead when Cliff’s bad luck struck again on lap 39. The lead pair made contact entering turn three and Cliff went airborne over Gosek’s right rear and into the wall. Fortunately, Graves plowed into the foam and not the steel only.
The racing action continued to be hot and heavy with many drivers vying for the top spot including Ken Bell, Joe Gosek, Eddie Bellinger and Russ Wood. But in the end it was the “King of the Supermodifieds” Bentley Warren who had saved his tires, and after a terrific battle with Gosek and Bell, to the point and had a sizable lead at the end.
Warren was followed by Joe Gosek, Russ Wood, Eddie Bellinger, and Ken Bell.
Joe Moriarty could be found hoofin’ it through the pits Saturday. He said that with his Hyder not having the proper tail section for Oswego, that there was no point in bringing the car out, especially when he’d have to start at the rear of the race because of Oswego’s handicapping system.
He also stated that he’s waiting for Ed Hyder to bring Davey Hamilton’s new car up so that Hyder can help Joe set his Hawk up also. Moriarty had nothing ut good to stay about this chassis and is very satisfied with it’s performance and safety record.
I’m short on time and I only got sketchy results from Sandusky so make sure you read Mike’s write up. Next week we’ll delve into the struggle that continues at Sandusky along with results from there and the ISMA Mosport show and Oswego.
Until then, I’m slowing coming down from my road trippin’, Coke drinking, Vivarin popping caffeine buzz at
18234 CR 22 Goshen, IN 46526. We’re doing our best to “Keep It Wing Side Up and Wheels to the Ground.”
Did you see the crazy pace car driver at Lancaster Speedway? Do you remember Leave a comment below and let us know.