Supermodified Racers to Indy Cars

Down through the years the supermodified division has sent a good number of guys to Indianapolis Motor Speedway and what is now known simply as IndyCar racing.

We’ve compiled what we think is a pretty thorough list of drivers that got their start, and/or, spent a good deal of time in a supermodified and then made laps at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and/or, in an Indy car, (Gold Crown, Champ Car, CART, or whatever other name you choose to call it), at least once in their career.

Much of this information has been gleaned from personal conversations with the drivers themselves as well as people that were involved with the drivers careers and/or had first hand knowledge of the drivers listed and their advancement to the upper echelons of motor sport from the supermodifieds.

Jimmy Ferlito, Curt Kern, Jim Belfiore, Gene Lee Gibson, Pat York, Gerald Laurie,  Russ Conway, Steve Miller, Stan Fuller of the Idaho Historical Racing Society and Donald Davidson through his show “The Talk of Gasoline Alley” have been indispensable in the compilation of this list.  Where things were cloudy and memories weren’t perfect, we resorted to the internet and those sources are listed below and while no longer around, the Daniels Boys site on CAMRA was a phenomenal source of information as CAMRA sent more supermodified racers than any other group to The Speedway.

The names are listed alphabetically. We’ve added the driver’s home state and plan on adding the years in which they raced supers as well as IndyCar. We also hope that if anyone has anymore drivers that they’d like to add or see ones that need edited that they’d let us know. Accuracy is vitally important to us.

  • Gary Allibritain; OH; 1976
  • Chuck Ciprich; PA; 1983-1984
  • Ed Crombie-Williams Lake, BC, CAN; 1976-1977
  • Doug Didero; ONT, CAN; 1999-2000
  • Paul Durant; CA; 1996-1998
  • Chet Fillip; TX; 1982-1985
  • Billy Foster; BC, CAN; 1964-1966
  • Todd Gibson; OH; 1969-1979
  • Joe Gosek; NY; 1996
  • Bob Gregg; MN; 1950, 1960, 1969-1970
  • Davey Hamilton; ID; 1991-2011
  • Ken Hamilton; ID; 1981-1982
  • Doug Heveron; NY; 1983
  • Cliff Hucal; BC, CAN; 1977-1981
  • Gordon Johncock; MI; 1965-1992
  • Ron Lux; NY;  1966; (1965 Oswego Speedway Champion. Ran three races -Trenton, Milwaukee, Atlanta. Attempted to qualify for Indianapolis 500 but USAC said he needed more experience. Died in sprint car race on July 16, 1966)
  • Jim Malloy; CO; 1967-1972 (Ran four Indianapolis 500 Mile Races -1968, ’69, ’70, ’71. Died while attempting to qualify for 1972 race)
  • James MacElreath, Jr.; TX; 1977 (While James didn’t specifically race a supermodified he competed in open comp shows with the supers while racing a sprint car)
  • Wally Pankratz; CA; 1981
  • Art Pollard; UT; 1965-1973
  • Eldon Rasmussen; ALB, CAN; 1971, 1973-1979
  • Tim Richmond; OH; 1979-1980
  • Sammy Sessions; MI; 1965-1975
  • Dick Simon; UT; 1969-1995
  • Blaine Sneva; WA; 1979-1980
  • Jan Sneva; WA; 1979-1982
  • Jerry Sneva; WA; 1977-1982
  • Tom Sneva; WA; 1974-1992
  • George Snider; CA; 1965-1987
  • Randy Tolsma; ID; 1996
  • Billy Vukovich III; CA; 1988-1990
  • Bentley Warren; ME; 1970-1975

References for this page:

http://www.champcarstats.com/

JakesSite.com

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

14 thoughts on “Supermodified Racers to Indy Cars”

    1. Man we should have remembered “Big MO” since he talked about it on Wailing with Wing Side Up. Hafta give him a ring and get dates. Jack Conley is interesting one, and hard to imagine him fitting into the IndyCar ‘mold’ can you help with research on this? Thanks for swinging in Eddie always good to hear from you!

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      1. Bob, you got Billy III, But Bill, JR. also started his career in Supermods at Kearney Bowl in Fresno. He ran Red Stainton’s old 32 Three Window with a flathead Ford for a year and then moved into Red’s cut down winged coupe with a small block Chevy his second year. Timing was mid 60’s and he ran four or so years in the Supers at Fresno, Clovis, and San Jose, before moving in to the USAC fold.

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    1. Great ones and two that we forgot to add. BUT should we say Pensacola, FL since that’s where they got their start in the supermodifieds? We weren’t sure about Al Smith in IndyCars so we left him out. Can you help with dates? THANK you for adding these names and thanks for stopping by the site!

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      1. They actually started driving the supers in south Florida before they moved to Alabama in 1962.They continued to return to the Miami-Hollywood area during the winters.These guys raced for a living,year round. I saw Al Smith in an Offy Roadster at Atlanta in 1966.The Allisons ran supers from around 1962-1967.The majority was on the Mobile/Pensacola/Laurel circuit with Skip Wetjen,They also were racing NASCAR late models at the same time.They raced where the money was! (Check USAC records for Al Smith.I’m sure he drove more than just the one time at Atlanta)

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  1. I heard that Mario ran at Oswego was that considered a SuperModified or was it sprint car.
    Also didn’t Johnny Rutherford, Parnelli Jones, AJ Foyt, Steve Chassis run supers and possibly at Oswego at least once?

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    1. Thanks Gerald. Not sure how we missed this one, other than maybe thinking Billy Jr. spent most of his time in the midgets before going to Indy. Do you have any dates for both that you could help us out with? Thanks for stopping by!

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    2. Also, Art Pollard ran out of Oregon and I think Dick Simon may have as well. Art was definitely based in Oregon, but he ran all over the West including the year ending Open Comp Series in California. He sure got Al Pombo’s attention one year at Kearney. He was running a cut down Willys Coupe with a six inch offset small block.

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  2. Billy Vukovich,Jr.drove the Peat Brothers’ T-bodied super in California for several years.Parnelli Jones drove supers at Balboa Stadium in San Diego before moving to the sprints.
    Al Smith had 13 Champ car starts. What about Joe Saldana.He ran the Don Brown roadster against the supers.
    Al Unser,Sr. ran supers in the early 60’s in Arizona,New Mexico and Colorado.
    Greg Weld.
    Johnny White.

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  3. Pat Abold & Mike Muldoon both tested and recieved their IRL licences in 1997 in the PDM #18. Pat took his test at Phoenix Int during the March 1997 “Test in the West”. I believe Mike took his test a few months earlier in Las Vegas.

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    1. Thank you Mike for the excellent information. We may have to categorize a little better with drivers that took tests but never had a start, sprint car drivers that ran in open comp shows against the supermodifieds etc. Looks like a call to Donald Davidson is in order!

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