JOHNSTON SWEEPS KEENAN ATQMRA WALL
Kot Escapes Crash with Bruising
WALL TWP., N.J. -- Robin Johnston, of Wayne, Pa., was the
class of the Kennan Motors American Three Quarter Racing
Association field at Wall Township Speedway Sunday afternoon.
Johnston started his day by splitting the two eight-lap heats with
Mike Tidaback. The CRJ and Sons Construction/Duchak Engines
homebuilt No. 13-Suzuki GSXR driver then led all 20 laps. Club
Risque teammates Tim Behmer and Chris Deritis rounded out the
top three finishers.
Jeff Kot car owner Gary Betsy said that the Willow Grove, Pa.
pilot was released from nearby Jersey Shore Medical with bruises
Sunday night after a hard lap 13 crash. The USAR Hooters Cup
driver and former ARTS trucker collided with then-second place
driver Bob Watkins Jr., and hit the turn four guardrail with the
No. 95 Lindblad-GSXR's right front corner.
Former WTS TQ champion Tidaback went from spectator to
heat winner and back Sunday. The Little Falls driver was asked to
drive Russ Bailey's No. 51 Lindblad-Suzuki when the current points
leader drove the No. 26 Spitfire-GSXR for the absent Joey Payne.
That move was reversed, however, when Bailey bent the No. 26's
front axle in his heat.
Bailey, Watkins and IRL Indy Pro Series driver Robbie Pecorari, of
Aston, Pa., were among the finishers. Pecorari, who has been
entered for the May 25 IPS Liberty 100 at Indianapolis Motor
Speedway, said he will drive the No. 66 Risque DART-GSXR when
his schedule permits.
Sunday's race is the virst of Keenan Motors ATQMRA's scheduled
six Wall visits this season. The TQs are to revist WTS June 2 after
a May 12 and 26 stand at St Johns, Pa.'s Mountain Speedway.
EIGHT TAKE FIRST
2007 WALL SUNDAY SERIES VICTORIES
ThirteenYoung Legends and Bandolero Drivers Practice
WALL TWP., N.J. -- Half of the eight Wall Sunday Series feature
winners came away frome the one-fifth-mile inner oval with their
career feature victories. Another 13 young drivers later practiced
in their INEX Legends cars and Bandoleros.
Devon and Randy Sixt, of Hillsborough, N.J. won their respective
Junior Briggs & Stratton Sportsman and Jr. B&S Gold Plate
features at the program's start. The FAS Racing teammates had
never competed on an asphalt oval before the afternoon.
Jeff Weinacker, of Morris Plains, captured the controlled micro
stock main in his first racing start. V.J. Varano, of Ringoes, earned
his first WSS laurels by annexing the Jr, Champ Kart feature.
Tom "The Trenton Tornado" Ervin meanwhile won the modified
micro stock main and Mike Clementi, of North Brunswick the Senior
Champ Kart feature. Anthony Dalessio, of Howell, and Kirk Allen, of
Columbia, also won their respective Sr. B&S Medium and Heavy mains.
The 13 teenaged Legends Cars and Bandolero drivers waited until
after the kart-based program to run three simulated 20-lap features.
WTS officials, taking advantage of new age minimums, are holding
a driver development program through May before making the
"Jr." Legends and Bandoleros the series' regular headliners.
The next Wall Sunday Series race is set for noon May 20 with gates
opening at 10 a.m. Contact www.wallspeedway.com or (732) 681-6400
McCORMACK and CLERICO WALL REBOUNDERS
D. Roslin, Eyres also win; RMP Modifieds Rained Out
WALL TWP., N.J. -- Modified driver Kevin Flockhart, of Jackson,
street stocker Dave McCormack, of Farmindale and factory stock
sophomore Gregg Clerico, of Egg Harbor Township, rebounded
from last week's opening night woe to win their respective Wall
Township Speedway features here Saturday night. Daniel Roslin,
of Little Egg Harbor, won the Legends Cars feature and Kevin
Eyres, of Colts Neck, the sportsman main before rain postponed
the RMP Modified Affordable Division feature.
Flockhart split the twin 10-lap heats with Tommy Farrel and used
his pole position to hold Farrell off by .182 sec. the entire 40-lap
modified main. Michael Bohn kept third place from reigning WTS
Whelen All-American Series track champion John Blewett III while
Steve Reed rounded off the top five of 14 finishers.
The 2004 Wall WAAS champion more than celebrated his ninth
career modified main victory on his 29th birthday. The Crestwood
Jewelers/Flockhart Fabricators No. 12 Sisco-Chevrolet pilot relished
his triumph a week after a wrench from a rival's car holed his oil
pan while leading the first four laps of the NJR Home Services
Opening Night headliner.
"We don't know whose 12mm. socket wrench it was," said
Flockhart. "We had the car to win last Saturday and tonight."
The headliner was halted for three minutes after contender
Tim Arre was pinched into the third turn guradrail on the
initial start. Arre, of Toms River, complained of having pain in
one of his arms.
Victory was just as sweet for McCormack, who ousted poleman
Bob Boardwick six laps into the street stock feature. The
Carpets with a Twist Camaro chassised No. 12 Pontiac Grand
Prix pilot built a 2.424 sec. victory margin on Boardwick and
ex-WTS Trucks series competitor Jerry Stanzione after 25 laps.
McCormack was leading the April 21 opening feature when he
was bumped into 15th place by Rob Hyer with two laps to go.
"I had a car last week that was good for first or second," said
McCormack. "What happened then was a racing incident."
Boardwick, in his ninth career feature, split the two eight-lap
heats with Hyer.
Clerico, like Flockhart, got the drop on heat winners Joe
Costandi and Tom Fratesi to lead the entire 20-lap Value
Towing Factory Stock feature. "Tiny" and his No. 3 2005
Chevy Monte Carlo crashed out before last week's feature
Roslin ousted leader and fellow heat winner Steve Stull
whole lapping backmarkers to win the 20-lap INEX Legends
Cars feature. The Calabreeze Pools 3Wide Motorsports No.
03 driver saw his father, Bruce, hit the frontstretch wall
hard but uninjured on lap 13.
Divers passed A.J. Wright's get well card in the pits for
signing. Wright, of Avon, suffered three compressed back
vertabrae in last week's feature crash.
Eyres and his Avis Car Rental/Top Cuts Lawn Care No. 21
Rondeau-Chevy ran flag-to-flag in the sportsman main. Rain
postponed the RMP Modified Affordable Division feature;
Scott Riggleman and Robert Sutphin split the heats.
Wall opens its Thunder at the Shore Weekend with a 40-
lap factory stock feature plus the WAAS Modified, RMP
MAD, Sportsman and Legends 6 p.m. May 5. The NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour, TQ midgets and street stocks start
11:30 a.m. May 6.
APRIL 28 RESULTS RUNDOWN
NASCAR WHELEN ALL-AMERICAN SERIES MODIFIED
Heat Winners (10 laps): Kevin Flockhart, Tommy Farrell.
FEATURE (40 laps): KEVIN FLOCKHART, JACKSON; Tommy Farrell, Michael Bohn,
John Blewett III, Steve Reed, Shaun Craig, Jason Treat, Justin Gumley, Chas Okerson, Mike
Carpenter, Dave Michel, Bill Weichert, Alan Creveling, Jason Hearne; (DNF) Nick Vasquez,
Doug Smith;(DNS) Tim Arre.
RMP MODIFIED AFFORADBLE DIVISION
Heat Winners (8 laps): Scott Riggleman, Robert Sutphin.
FEATURE (20 laps): Postponed by Rain to a Later Date.
SPORTSMAN FEATURE (25 laps) KEVIN EYRES, COLTS NECK; Dave Green, Elliott
Wohl, Charlie Kremer III, Dave Jennings, Chas Okerson, Rich Vanleer; (DNF) Alan Camp.
Heat Winners: Rob Hyer, Bob Boardwick.
FEATURE (25 laps): JOHN McCORMACK, FARMINGDALE; Bob Boardwick, Jerry Stanzione,
Ray Minieri, Ron Frees, Bill Vanderveen, Shannon Mongeau, Elliott Wohl, Rob Hyer, Rich Mongeau,
Gregg Miranda, Mike Tillett, John Kopf, Harry Schaefer, Charlie DiGiantomasso, Rick Kopf, Ed McCarthy;
(DNF) Drew Gouveri; (DNS) Anthony Donnamaria, Andy Shelmet, Jr..
VALUE TOWING FACTORY STOCK
Heat Winners: Joe CoNstandi, Tom Fratesi
FEATURE (20 laps): GREGG CLERICO, EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP; Joe CoNstandi, Tom
Fratesi, Vernon McLaughlin III, Ted Walters, Danny Collamer, Mike McQueenEY, Bob Anderton,
Nick Shaw, Richard Petey, John Lynch, Tom Nascone, Jason Bundy, Andy Shelmet, Scott Dugan,
Norman Lane, Robert Lane; (DNF) Steve Weber; (DNS) Chris Felber, Bob Wyckoff, Felix Ciattarelli.
INEX LEGENDS CARS
Heat Winners: Steve Stull, Bruce Roslin.
FEATURE (25 LAPS): DANIEL ROSLIN, LITTLE EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP; Steve Stull,
Mike Stull, Luke Marzano, Bobby Baltera, Mike Fulton, Don Neuls, Ron Poley, Todd McCollum,
Jim Tomaino, Mark Tischler, Francis Cottrell, Rudy Rinderer, Eric Gershak, Tom Catanzaro, John
Hugate, Edd Gobbo, Matt Maring, Beth MacFarlane; (DNF) Mike Alcaro, Bruce Roslin; (DNS) Malcom
COMING EVENTS: MAY 5-6 THUNDER AT THE SHORE WEEKEND. May 5 -- 40-Lap Value
Towing Factory Stock Feature, NASCAR WAAS Modified RMP MAD, Sportsman, INEX Legends
May 6 -- NASCAR WHELEN MODIFIED TOUR, AMERICAN THREE QUARTER MIDGET RACING
ASSOCIATION, Street Stock.
BLEWETT WINS WALL NJR HOME SERVICES
Geibel, Kremer, Kopf, McLaughlin and Gardella Share Spoils
WALL TWP., N.J. -- John Blewett III, of Howell, outlasted
Kevin Flockhart and outran Steve Reed to win the NASCAR
Whelen All-American Series modified man during Wall
Township Speedway NJR Home Services Opening Night
The fourth-starting Blewett inherited the lead after pole man
Flockhart holed his oil pan on lap four. The Blewett Scrap &
Waste No. 76 Troyer-Dodge driver held off Reed by .239 sec.
the remaining 36 laps. Tim Arre, Mike Carpenter and sportsman
titlist Chas Okerson rounded out the top five of 10 finishers.
Blewett later left the banked, paved one-third-mile oval for
Sunday's NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour race at Thompson,
Conn. The defending WTS champ is to run in both divisions,
including the May 6 Whelen Tour round here as part of Wall's
Thunder at the Shore Weekend.
Blewett shared victory laurels with Robert Geibel, Jr., Charlie
Kremer III, Rick Kopf, Vern McLaughlin III and Bryan Gardella.
Geibel, of Brick, held off defending titlist Danny Bohn to win
the RMP Modified Affordable Division main. Gardella, also of
Brick, took advantage of Don Neuls' slip to win the INEX
Legends Cars feature.
Kremer, of Toms River, extended his sportsman win
record to 24 features in flag-to-flag fashion. WTS officials
awarded the street stock laurels to Kopf, of Keyport, after
ruling that first finisher Rob Hyer had bumped out leader
John McCormack with two laps to go.
McLaughlin, of Whitehouse Station, finished fourth but
received the Value Towing Factory Stock trophies in the
pits. Inspectors found the top three finishers as being
underweight or with an unapporved rear end gear ratio.
All six regular divisions are to return 6 p.m. Saturday. The
American Three Quarter Midget Racing Association and a
40-lap Value Towing Factory Stock feature are included in
the May 5-6 Thunder at the Shore Weekend.
The first Wall Sunday Series is to meanwhile start noon
Sunday. Contact (732) 681-6400 or wallspeedway.com for
details and updates.
WALL TRACK CHAMP BLEWETT PUTS HEAT ON NJR
HOME SERVICES OPENING NIGHT
Geibel, Kremer, Kopf, McLaughlin and Gardella also start WTS 57th season on winning notes
WALL TWP., N.J. -- John Blewett III, of Howell, outlasted Kevin Flockhart and outran Steve Reed to
win the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series modified main during Wall Township Speedway NJR Home
Services Opening Night Saturday.
Blewett opened his Wall WAAS title defense by splitting the three 10-lap heats with Flockhart and Justin
Gumley. The Blewett Scrap & Waste No. 76 Troyer-Dodge driver came from fourth starting spot to inherit
the lead on Flockhart’s holed oil pan on lap four. Blewett held off Reed by .239 sec. to win his first 40-lap
WTS modified main of the year.
Tim Arre, Mike Carpenter, Sportsman division champ Chas Okerson and Gumley rounded out the top six
of 10 finishers. Blewett later left the banked paved one-third-mile oval to compete in Sunday’s NASCAR
Whelen Modified Tour round at Thompson, Conn. The Whelen Tour is revisit Wall May 6 as part of the
track’s Thunder at the Shore Weekend.
Blewett shared Wall victory lane with Robert Geibel, Jr., Charlie Kremer III, Rick Kopf, Vern McLaughlin
III and Bryan Gardella. Geibel, of Brick, repelled defending RMP Modified Affordable Division titlist Danny
Bohn all 20 laps of their feature. The Groundhawg Demolition Raceworks-RMP Chevrolet No. 97jr racer
paid tribute to the 32 victims of the April 16 Virginia Tech massacre.
Gardella, also of Brick, took advantage of Don Neuls’ slide to win the 25-lap INEX Legends Cars feature.
Kremer, of Toms River, added a record 24th sportsman main victory in flag-to-flag fashion. WTS officials
awarded the street stock feature victory to Kopf, of Keyport, after citing first finisher Rob Hyer for bumping
out longtime leader John McCormack with two laps to go.
McLaughlin, of Whitehouse Station, finished fourth in the Value Towing Factory Stock feature but received
the victory after technical inspectors found the top three finishers either underweight or using an unapproved
rear gear ratio.
All six regular divisions are to return to Wall 6 p.m. April 28. The American Three Quarter Midget Racing
Association and a 40-lap Value Towing Factory Stock feature are included in the May 5-6 Thunder at the
The first Wall Sunday Series is to meanwhile start at Noon April 29. Contact wallspeedway.com or (732)
681-6400 for details and updates.
WALL TOWNSHIP SPEEDWAY NJR HOME SERVICES
OPENING NIGHT RESULTS RUNDOWN
NASCAR WHELEN ALL-AMERICAN SERIES MODIFIED.
Heat Winners (10 laps): John Blewett III, Kevin Flockhart, Justin Gumley.
FEATURE FINISH (40 laps): JOHN BLEWETT III, HOWELL; Steve Reed, Tim Arre, Mike Carpenter,
Chas Okerson, Justin Gumley, Dave Michel, Shaun Carrig, Alan Creveling, Billy Weichert; (DNF) Jason
Hearne, Adam LaCicero, Jason Treat, Steve Voorhees, Nick Basquez, Michael Bohn, Dave Cranmer,
Tommy Farrell, Jimmy Blewett, Kevin Flockhart.
RMP MODIFIED AFFORDABLE DIVISION
FEATURE (20 laps): ROBERT GEIBEL, JR, BRICK; Danny Bohn, Ronnie Buck, Jr., Kevin Eyres, Robert
Sutphin, Scott Riggleman, Kevin Davidson, Keith Mullineaux, Mark Nappi, Dan Curtis, John Cornell II;
(DNF) Gordon Neil; (DNS) Thomas Kearns.
SPORTSMAN FEATURE (25 laps): CHARLIE KREMER III, TOMS RIVER; Chas Okerson, Kevin Eyres,
Elliott Wohl, Dave Green, Robby Gaiser, Dave Jennings, Rich Vanleer.
Heat Winners (8 laps): Joe Mongeau, Rick Kopf John McCormack.
FEATURE (25 laps): RICK KOPF, KEYPORT; Harry Schaefer, Elliott Wohl, Dave Bragg, Charlie
DiGiantomasso, Bill Vanderveen, Ron Frees, Shannon Mongeau, Raymond >Minieri, Gregg Miranda,
Jerry Stanzione, Rich Mongeau, John Kopf, John McCormack, Rob Hyer, Mike Tillett, Drew Gouveia,
Bob Boardwick, Ed McCarthy; (DNF) Joe Mongeau, Art Seeger, Rob Silver; (DNS) Richie DeSarno.
VALUE TOWING FACTORY STOCK
Heat Winners: Joe Constandi, Ted Walters.
FEATURE (20 LAPS): VERNON McLAUGHLIN III, WHITEHOUSE STATION, Bob Wyckoff, Tom
Fratesi, Nick Shaw, Bryan Flanagan, Tim Flanagan, Bob Anderton, Richard Petey, Mike McQueeny,
Ted Walters, Chris Felber, Joe Constandi, Jason Bundy, Felix Ciattarelli, John Lynch, Norman Lane;
(DNF) Robert Lane, Doug Bates, Jr.; (DNS) Gregg Clerico.
NOTE: First finisher Joe Constandi was set back 10 places for being underweight and using an
unapproved rear end gear ratio. Second and third place finishers Tim Flanagan and Bob Anderton
were each set back five places for being underweight.
INEX LEGENDS CARS
Heat Winners: Daniel Roslin, Bruce Roslin.
FEATURE (25 laps): BRYAN GARDELLA, BRICK; Don Neuls, Ron Poley, Daniel Roslin, Mike Stull,
Bruce Roslin, Mike Fulton, Mark Tischler, Steve Stull, Luke Marzano, Tony Alcaro, John Hugate,
Darrell Vance, Eric Gerchak, Bobby Baltera, Tom Catancaro, Malcolm Campbell, Jr., Matt Marring,
Kyle Graham; (DNF) Dennis Macri, Francis Cottrell, Ed Gobbo.
APRIL 28, 6 p.m.: All six divisions.
APRIL 29, Noon: WTS Sunday Series.
May 5-6: THUNDER AT THE SHORE WEEKEND
May 5 -- 40 lap Value Towing Factory Stock Feature, Wall Modified, RMP MAD, Sportsman, INEX
May 6 -- NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour plus American Three Quarter Midget Racing Association and
STORM RESETS WALL SUNDAY SERIES PRACTICE
TO 6 P.M. WEDNESDAY
By Walter Elliott
WALL TWP., N.J. -- Wall Township Speedway officials have scheduled a
special 6 p.m. Wednesday practice for its Sunday Series racers due to a
Nor'easter that washed away Sunday's intended noon warmup.
WTS Operations Manager Jim Morton called off Sunday's practice Friday
when weather forecasters predicted a major rain storm for Sunday and
Monday. A wet paved one-fifth-mile "inner" oval track had also cancelled
April 7 practice.
Gates are to open at 5 p.m. for the 6-9 p.m. practice. Grandstand
spectating is free although there will be an admission charge for the
cold pit area.
The Wall Sunday Series is to feature 12 classes of go karts, kart-based
racers, INEX Bandoleros and other scaled race cars. races are to start
noon Sundays over selected 16 dates through Oct. 21.
Sunday's storm also called off warmups for the 4 Cylinder Super
Modifieds. The Elkton, Md.-based 600cc.-engined, five-eighths scaled
racers is one of several scheduled Sunday Series visiting divisions.
Contact (732) 681-6400 or wallspeedway.com for details.
SIX WALL SPEEDWAY CHAMPIONS PREPARE FOR
APRIL 21 OPENER
By Walter Elliott
WALL TWP., N.J. -- 2006 Wall Township Speedway champions John
Blewett III, Danny Bohn, Chas Okerson, Bill Vanderveen, Mike Stull
and Keith Mullineaux prepared for the April 21 NJ Home Service
Opening Night by practicing here Saturday and April 7.
Blewett, of Howell, brought three of his modified stock cars to the
banked paved one-third-mile oval April 7. The reigning NASCAR
Whelen All-American Series WTS Modified Champion ran his No. 76
Troyer-Chevrolet plus two No. 66 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour
cars. Crew chief Andy Lynch said Blewett is to run both at Wall and
on the modified tour before deciding which circuit he will run
Blewett and his WTS colleagues are to start vying for WAAS
honors on NJ Home Service Opening Night 6 p.m. April 21 and
almost weekly through Oct. 6. The Whelen Modified Tour is to
headline Wall's May 5-6 Thunder at the Shore Weekend.
Bohn brought his familiar No. 659 RMP Modified Affordable
Division car Saturday - and Tommy Dancer's No. 26 Sunoco
Race of Champions tour modified April 7. The Freehold driver
is to defend his RMP MAD title plus the June 23 ROC tour
Last year's WTS Trucks titlist Mullineaux, of Egg Harbor City,
is to compete against Bohn in MAD full-time this season. They
plus the sportsman, Value Towing Factory Stock, street
stock and INEX Legends cars are Wall's almost weekly
Reigning top sportsman Okerson, of Freehold, brought his
No. 99 ScottKar-Chevy plus a new No. 99 Wall modified
both sessions. Okerson said he will run his new car
whenever his class crown defense allows.
Legends Cars champ Stull, of Hamilton, led brother Steve
and teammate Don Neuls both days. Legends - five-eighths
scaled, Yamaha-engined coupe bodied stock cars - have
been a Wall division since 1998.
Vanderveen, of Beechwood, brought his rebodied No. 19
Chevy Monte Carlo street stock for technical inspection
Saturday. He is to start his class defense April 21.
WTS spectator gates are to open for NJ Home Service
Opening Night at 4 p.m. April 21 for a 6 p.m. program
start. Contact (732) 681-6400 or wallspeedway.com for
details and updates.
WALL STOCK CAR PRACTICE SET FOR APRIL 7
57th WTS Season to Open April 21
WALL TWP., N.J. -- Race fans can take a free sneak peek of Wall
Township Speedway's 57th season by attending stock car practice
sessions 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday and April 14.
WTS Operations manager Jim Morton said that the public can see
some of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series modified drivers
put their cars though their paces from the grandstands. The WAAS
modifieds, Value Towing Factory Stocks, RMP Modified Affordable
Division, sportsmen, street stocks and INEX Legends Cars will also
pass on-site inspection.
The above are preparations for the April 21 Opening Night, where
WTS's six regular divisions are to start competing at 6 p.m. and
weekly through Oct. 6. Visits by the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour,
Race of Champions Tour, the Ford Focus Midgets, American Three
Quarter Midget Racing Association, the Garden State Vintage Stock
Car Club and SCCA Formula Drift are also set for the banked, paved
Contact (732) 681-6400 or www.wallspeedway.com for details.
14 SHARE GARDEN STATE CLASSIC QUARTER
Stockers set for Saturday Practice; Sunday Karters Rained Out
By Walter Elliott
WALL TWP., N.J. -- Carly Piazza, Sebastian Font and Derek Hopkinson were among the first 14
drivers to win features in Wall Township Speedway's 57th season here Sunday.
Font, of Parlin, won two features while Piazza, Font and 11 others won individual 20-lap features
during the Garden State Quarter Midget Racing Club's Garden State Classic Weekend. The fourth
annual non-points classic was held on the club's one-20th-mile "Little Wall" oval, ahead of the April
21 Opening Night for stock car classes on "Big Wall" and the April 29 Sunday Series.
Font won the weekend's concluding Half-midget main over Jacqueline Wolfram after winning the
Heavy 160 feature over Zachary Haspel. Quarter midgets are scaled race cars for driver
five-15-years-old. The GSQMRC racing covers 15 divisions based on driver age, car weight
and engine horsepower.
Piazza, of Lawrenceville, won the Junior Honda A Main and finished second to Kris Lederer
in the Junior Stock A Main. The eight-year-old normally calls the Oak Lane (Pa.) Quarter Midget
Club home although she has driven most recently in the GSQMRC Turkey Derby.
Representatives from Atco, N.J. and Meriden, Conn. clubs were also among the 97 drivers who
took up the classic invitation.
Hopkinson, of Toms River, annexed the Senior Honda A Main. Other feature
winners were: Griffin Ferrara and Branden Hyer, Junior Novice; Zachary Haspel, Heavy Honda; Joe
Ryan Osborne, Senior Stock; Jeremy Doll, Light Modified A; Stephen Bertino, Heavy Modified A;
Jonathan Mandato, Light 160; Kyle Reinhardt, Light B; Corey Anderson, Heavy B.
The GSQMRC starts its points racing season 8:30 a.m. April 15, concurrently
with practice for Wall's Sunday Series for karts and scaled racers. Sunday morning rain set back
Sunday racing on Wall's one-fifth-mile inner oval to noon April 29.
Wall's Saturday night NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series is to open 5:45 p.m.
April 21, Practice on the banked paved one-third-mile is set for Saturday and April 14. Call
(732) 681-6400 or visit www.wallspeedway.com for details or changes.
First Racing Promotional Day Reawakens
Wall Speedway's 57th Season
Quater Midgets' Garden State Classic Kicks Off Saturday-Sunday
By Walter Elliott
WALL TWP., N.J. -- Derek Hopkinson, of Trenton, N.J., helped open Wall Township Speedway's 57th season by leading 81 fellow newcoming drivers in the inaugural Race Promotional Day Sunday.
Hopkinson took to WTS's one-fifth-mile inner oval aboard Jim Van Sickle's No. 11 Bandolero at 10:40 a.m. Sunday. The Garden State Quarter Midget Racing Club veteran ran five scheduled laps in the Briggs & Stratton Vanguard V-Twin-powered half-scale stock car before Assistant Starter Gregg
McGowen flagged him into the infield.
Hopkinson would try out dealer John Hugate's No. 86 Legends Car - also for the first time - later that day. Justin Alicchio, of Jackson, however, was the first to take out one of the Yamaha-powered, five-eighths-sized copue-bodied stock cars. Apollo Schanz, of Toms River, was the first driver to pace the No. 33 Performance Racing Products-B&S go-kart.
Hopkinson, Alicchio, Schanz and 78 other eight - to 17 - year old tried out the karts and scaled stock cars until 7 p.m. The 81 drivers filled the 100 time slots, prompting WTS Track Operations Manager Jim Morton to start a waiting list for a prospective second promotional day.
Morton, WTS Office Administrator Sue Collins and event directors Bob Danka and Jill Forrester created the track's first promotion day to build a stronger stepladder for GSQMRC graduates who want to advance to the speedway's traditional Saturday night stock car classes. The State Police
Racing Control Unit recently lowered minimum driving ages of Legends Cars to 14, Bandoleros to 12 and karts or kart-based cars to eight.
The club, which has run 15 classes of scaled midget cars since 1992, annually graduates driver who turn 15. GSQMRC alumni were faced with largely driving out of state until Morton and Danka formed the North East Racing Association last June. Karts, Bandoleros and the like are to start their 18-
round Sunday series on the fifth-mile Noon April 15.
The GSQMRC has meanwhile preparing for their Fourth Annual Garden State Classic, set for Saturday and Sunday. Club President Wayne Wilson, of Hamilton, said he anticipates up to 120 quarter midgets from nearby states and clubs to take time trials on the one-20th "Little Wall" Saturday and features for Sunday. The club has been holding novice driver sessions since March 3.
The NASCAR Dodge Weekly Racing Series Modifieds and six other stock car classes are to practice on the traditional banked, paved one-third mile oval noon April 7 and 14.
"Big Wall" is to formally open at 5 p.m. April 24 for mostly weekly racing through Oct. 6.
GSQMRC's Wilson can be found at (609) 242-8880 or gsqmrc.org. Call (609)838-1258 for Sunday karting. All other information goes to (732) 681-6400 or www.wallspeedway.com.
Wall karters staar at Ledgewood Mall show
By Walter Elliott
LEDGEWOOD, N.J. -- Three exhibitors associated with Wall Township Speedway's go kart program brought at least six of their vehicles to the 20th Annual Ledgewood Mall Race car Show here Saturday and Sunday.
The two karts brought by Kirk Allen, three Performance Karting champ karts courtesy of Rich Hobatuck and Dan McCormick and the K&K Industries modified micro stock of Tom Ervin and John Kazmerski joined 59 other racing machines along the mall's aisles. While other karting, micro stock
and champ kart examples were found elsewhere, the above made up an unofficial WTS North East Racing Association delegation among machinery normally found at New Egypt Speedway, Snydersville (Pa.) Raceway, Island Dragway, Blue Mountain and Lehigh Valley quarter midgets and the American Power Boat Association vessles of Lake Hopatcong.
Allen put his own No. 34 Allen Trucking Briggs & Stratton-Topkart and his father Bruce's No. 66 edition to the mall. While B. Allen's kart remained on the floor, K. Allen put a mannequin in his machine and mounted it on an angled blackboard to simulate racing on WTS's banking.
Allen, of Knowlton, N.J., won the WTS NERA Senior B&S Heavy championship. Allen was one of seven karters who earned championships in 11 NERA classes last year on the WTS paved one-fifth-mile inner oval.
"That's Bob," said Allen of his stand-in. "Several people thought it was me and started talking to home while I was standing nearby."
Allen said he had been attending the Ledgewood Mall show since he used to run a dirt modified stock car in Flemington. He switched to karts at Flemington before that historic track closed on Labor Day 2000.
"I had been running at Wall and Snydersville last year - but I think I'll concentrate on Wall this year," said Allen. "There's a lot of interest about Wall and its karting program."
WTS Operations Manager Jim Morton and NERA President Bob Danka revived Wall karting last June, scheduling a 12-race Friday-night/Sunday afternoon schedule. That abbreviated calendar has expanded to 19 races this year, running concurrently with the Garden State Quarter Midget Racing Club's 1/20th-mile "Little Wall" Sunday afternoons.
The WTS karting interest followed at Hobatuck and McCormick's Performancing Karting booth.
Hobatuck, a former AMSRA micro stock president, said he had been giving out WTS/NERA schedules and WTS's inaugural Racing Promotional Day handbills. WTS is opening its property to families 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. March 25 in an intriduction to karting and INEX Legends Cars and Bandoleros.
"The interest is there," said Hobatuck, of Paramus. "I started with an inch thick stack of fliers Saturday morning and I'm almost out Saturday night. People have come up to ask me about getting incolved with Wall and karting."
The WTS Racing Promotional Day program calls for prospective drivers to being their birth certificates and either $20 or $30. If approved, WTS staffers will supply the safety equipment for drivers to run five laps in karts, Bandoleros and/or Legends Cars on the inner oval that day.
Morton and WTS management have pursued the State Police Racing Control Unit in lowering minimum racing ages. Drivers may start karting as early as eight years old with parental permission.
Drivers in their teens may also compete in INEX Bandoleros and Legends Cars. Bandoleros - half - scale sports cars powers by B&S Vanguard V-Twin engines - are for drivers 12 to 17 years old.
Legends Cars - five-eighths scaled coupe stock cars powered by four-cylinder Yamaha motorcycle engines - are open to 14-17 -year-old drivers.
WTS management is looking to bridge a car class gap between GSQMRC graduates and Saturday night racing classes normally open to those at least 18 years old. Quarter midget grads were faced with running in karts in New Jersey - or drive micro sprints or other categories out of state - until
If mall show attendees needed further incentive, McCormick placed a "Rent Me" sign on one of his three Performance Karting-B&S champ karts.
"People are suprised when they see the rental sign," said McCormick, of Brick. "They can't believe that they can start racing in one of the champ karts."
Champ karts are B&S-powered karts except that their full roll cage and bodywork resemble their midget and sprint car uncles.
Ervin and Kazmerski meanwhile entertained visitors by allowing them to sit in Ervin's No. 99 K&K-B&S micro stock. Ervin won his 100th career modified micro stock feature at WTS last summer on his and car builder Kazmeeski's way to the divisional crown. Ervin and Kazmerski, both of Ewing, amassed championships in Modified Outlaw Microstock, Microdirt and AMSRA competition on various tracks.
"The mall visitors are interested in Wall racing," said Ervin. "They've also expressed interest in Mahoning Valley, Oakland valley and other places MOM races."
MOM is to share NERA billing on selected Wall karting races. Modified TQs - three-quarter scaled modified stock cars from Florida - and the Four-cylinder Supermodifieds are to also feature in particular WTS/NERA programs this season.
Admission to Wall's Racing Promotional Day is $22 per person per ride in advance before March 22 and $30 at the door March 25. Wall is on NJ Route 34 South, off GSP Exit 98 and I-195. Call Morton at (732) 681-0851 and/or Danka at (609) 838-1258 for details.
PHILADELPHIA'S URBAN YOUTH RACING SCHOOL
CELEBRATES 8th ANNUAL BUILD A DREAM AWARDS
NASCAR President, Mike Helton, General Motors Chairman and CEO, Rick Wagoner, to Honor Youths in Motorsports & R&B Singer/Star, Mya, Will Host Awards
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE-March 9, 2007-The Philadelphia Urban Youth Racing School (UYRS) announced the 8th Annual Build a Dream Awards to be held March 19th in Philadelphia, PA. NASCAR President, Mike Helton will serve as the event's dinner chairman and General Motors Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner will be the keynote speaker. "More than one hundred youths, who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and success not only in motorsports, but in the UYRS classrooms, will be honored during the ceremony," said UYRS founder, Anthony Martin.
"The awards also celebrate education,
teamwork, trust and respect," continued Martin.
Representatives from the media, business, motorsports, educational and entertainment communities are expected to attend the dinner. "We are
pleased and delighted to have received confirmations of support from the various communities," said Jim Farmer, Chairman of UYRS' board of directors. "The growth and success of our racing school programs have been and will continue to be due to the outstanding support from the business and motorsports communities."
The Urban Youth Racing School was established in 1998 by sports marketing expert, Martin, with a generous contribution from Team Rensi Motorsports. This marked the birth of the first ever motor sports racing school for urban youth. UYRS is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to educating, training and preparing youngsters for adulthood by exposing them to the automotive and motor sports industry. During its first year of operation, the UYRS matriculated 150 students through the then eight-week course. By 2005, the program had grown in size and scope offering five weeks each of classroom/academic instruction and nonacademic training/activities to 1,200 plus students.
UYRS recently opened a school in Washington, DC in September of 2006 with additional expansion plans in Charlotte, NC (projected opening 2007); Detroit, MI (projected opening 2009); Miami, FL (projected opening 2011); Los Angeles, CA (projected opening 2013) and Chicago, IL (projected opening 2015). For more information on The Urban Youth Racing School visit www.uyrs.com.
TMS pulls April 12 IROC race
By Walter Elliott
TINTON FALLS, N.J. -- International Race of Champions President Jay Signore said his search for a title sponsor continues although IROC and Texas Motor Speedway cancelled their April 13 round Feb. 27.
TMS General Manager Eddie Gossage announced their replacing the IROC night race with a special movie screening of the "Dale" biography. IROC's missing TMS's NASCAR Nextel Cup Samsung 500 weekend program follows the sanctioning body's cancelling their traditional Daytona International
Speedway season opener before last month's Speedweeks.
"The cancellation was by mutual agreement," said Signore from IROC's headquarters here Monday morning. "I'm working for a series sponsor for this season but also for 2008. Once we have a sponsor, we can then decide what'll fit the sponsor's purpose."
IROC's current circumstance began when distiller Crown Royal decided not to renew its two-contract late last year. The decision not to continue without a title
sponsor has placed any sort of schedule into the realm of speculation.
IROC has featured invited titlists from stock car, Indy and Champ car, World of Outlaws sprint and sports car racing competing in identical production-based cars almost annually since 1973/74. Tony Stewart won IROC XXIX after he and 11 colleagues ran on Daytona's oval and road courses plus TMS and Atlanta Motor Speedway last year.
Some race observers conjectured that Signore would have taken up Stewart's invitation to race at the champion's Eldora Speedway, in Rossburg, Ohio, for the series' first dirt track event. That, and whether IROC replaces Daytona's road course for another right-left venue, remain open questions for now.
Signore said that there is no drop dead date for what would be IROC XXX in 2007. He said he will meanwhile continue to decide on whether to race at the next date based on securing sponsorship when that unpublished date approaches. He has been forced to lay off all but a skeleton crew to maintain the cars while he keeps searching.
Signore recalled that IROC raced three events one year. The inaugural season saw the then-Porsche 911s run two rounds in Riverside (Calif.) Int'l. Raceway and the other two on Daytona's road circuit. IROC went on a hiatus 1981-83 for the want of sponsorship.
"We were running Camaros at the time and we're waiting for Chevrolet to unveil its new edition," said Signore. "Chevy didn't come out with the new Camaro until I think 1983. It was a different time, when we were sponsored by Chevy, Goodyear and ABC-Television; True Value came on as an associate sponsor, became our title sponsor for awhile and went back to associate sponsorship."
Updates may be found on www.irocracing.com.
Thunderbolt/Millville get N.J. tax zone
By Walter Elliott
MILLVILLE -- One of New Jersey Motorsports Park's partners said that groundbreaking for the Thunderbolt Raceway road course may be by mid-April here since Gov. Jon S. Corzine had signed the project's special sports and entertainment tax zone bill Feb. 16. NJMP LLC partner Lee Brahain said that he and his two colleagues are waiting for the Federal Aviation Adminsistration's signature to parcel off part of Millville Municipal Airport that is to be used for the 707-acre, $100 million motorsports park. The FAA recently completed an environmental assessment of the parcel.
"There's a small amount of environmental work that'll be done through (the state Department of Environmantal Protection) Brownfields funding on Phase One - that encompasses maybe six acres," said Brahin to "The Daily Journal" of Vineland Feb. 16. "Ideally, we'd like to close on the property and have those efforts take place during the course of construction. Nothing in the first phase seems to be major or expensive."
Phase One calls for building the 4.1-mile, 16-turn Thunderbolt Raceway road course. Thunderbolt, to be open a year after groundbreaking, will be the used for club racing and driving schools and be available for up to three professional road racing dates.
NJMP, once all three phases are completed over the next 10 years, is to include: a three-quarter- mile trioval, go kart tracks and off road courses, a hotel/convention center, a motorsports-based academy, between 149 and 199 vacation houses and accompanying retail and commercial areas.
Brahin talked with the local media before Gov. Corzine formally signed the sports and entertainment tax zone bill at the Wheaton Arts Event Center later that day. Corzine's signature created a two percent increase on the prevailing sales tax on NJMP property which would fund infrastructure construction and possible bonding.
Since NJMP is within Millville's Urban Enterprize Zone, the 3.5 percent sales tax goes up to 5.5 percent. Food consumers may pay a nine percent sales tax, however, since the UEZ's halving of the state sales tax does not apply to restaurants and groceries. "Over time, this legislation becomes more and more beneficial," said Brahin to "The Bridgeton News." "Without it, I don't know where we would be."
"This is going to be a true thunderbolt for the East Coast," said Corzine. "It's about economic and community development. It's about giving hope and opportunity in the days and years ahead – and I'm proud to sign this bill." Corzine signed the bill before Brahin, local assemblyman Jeff Van Drew and General Assembly Speaker Joseph Roberts, among others. He included Cumberland County officials Lou Magazzu and Doug Rainer and State Conference of Mayors Director/ARCA team owner Don Fauerbach in his thanks for bringing NJMP and the tax zone bill to reality.
Chris Economaki's "Let 'Em All Go!" is a
Great Read Worth the Wait
A Book Review By Walter Elliott Feb 12
"Let 'Em All Go! The Story of Auto Racing by the Man who was There."
By Chris Economaki with Dave Argabright
Books by Dave Argabright, Fishers, Ind.
2007, Print Communications, Inc.,
352 pgs. $30 from Coastal181.com
ORANGE, N.J. -- "Let 'Em All Go! The Story of Auto Racing by the man who was there," by Chris Economaki with Dave Argabright, is the closest most of us may get to having the legendary motorsports journalist tell his stories to us in person.
Anyone in racing with an appreciation of our sport's history - or at least a well-told story - stops to listen to the publisher emeritus and editor of "National Speed Sport News," and former "Auto Racing's Man in the Pits" reporter/announcer's recollections. A "Chris Story" can come from Mr.
Economaki anytime the occasion warrants: while on the air, in his "Editor's Notebook," at a public speaking function or a private dinner.
I've had listened to plenty of "Chris Stories" since I first listened to his pitside coverage of the 1972 Indianapolis 500 for ABC. I eventually became a rewrite specialist the last five years "NSSN" was in Ridgewood, N.J. and continue to file stories as a correspondent.
Although I recognized five Chris Stories among the 338 page text as having listened to or read elsewhere before, there are dozens more that were new to me. However, "Let 'Em All Go!" is part-autobiography and part-racing history as well as an an Economaki anthology Economaki, who considers himself more of a news finder than a writer, thanks Dave Argabright for his collaboration. The NSSN columnist and reporter has previously brought his shared short track oval racing background to his biographies of sprint car driver Jack Hewitt and longtime Eldora Speedway
promoter Earl Baltes.
Argabright drew Economaki's life story like an arc through the book, from his 1920 birth in Brooklyn to the present. Although Economaki remembered first watching an Atlantic City board track race in 1927, he started attending Ho-Ho-Kus Driving Park near their new Ridgewood home. Economaki soon became a crew member for several drivers at Paterson's Gasoilene Alley and started taking photos of area track action for East Paterson-based "National Auto Racing News" - as "NSSN" was first named.
Being a Garden State native, I particularly enjoyed Economaki's recollection of New Jersey people and places. I've met the late midget drivers Roscoe "Pappy" Hough and Lew Volk in the 1980s, for example, and passed Paterson's Hinchliffe Stadium regulary to local college and work.
There's plenty that a reader will find familiar in "Let 'Em All Go!" regardless of era, racing category, fanship or global location. Although Economaki comes from short track local and Championship/Indy car racing backgrounds, NASCAR stock car racing, World of Outlaws sprints, Formula One, Le Mans, other road racing, NHRA drag racing, the Carrera Panamericana and the Pikes Peak Hillclimb are given their press.
Then there's the parade of people, from Rudy Adams to John Zink - who happen to be car owners. There are drivers-turned industry leaders like Roger Penske and Bernie Ecclestone; promoters Baltes, Humpy Wheeler, Sam Nunis and A.J. Agajanian; fellow announcers Ken Squire and
Jim McKay; car builders George Bignotti and Junior Johnson.
The roster of drivers Economaki mentions or features is a "Who's Who" by itself. He writes about the rivalry among Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt and Parnelli Jones. Economaki saw pre-World War Two Grand Prix master Tazio Nuvolari personally praising midget talent Bob Swanson as the finest driver he had raced against after the 1936 Vanderbilt Cup race at New York's Roosevelt Raceway.
Is it any wonder that many motorsports people - fans and insiders alike - had long desired such a book from Economaki? The decades long wait is comparable to baseball fans' yearning for Ray Robinson and Jonathan Eig to publish their respective biographies on Yankees great Lou Gehrig in
1990 and 2006.
"Let 'Em All Go!" has some laugh out loud moments, like when a car in the inaugural Daytona 500 crashes about 20 feet short of an elephant used for an earlier publicity opportunity. There are also several sad moments, like when a father took his driving son to a race in Middletown, N.Y. in 1934 - and bring his body back home to Maplewood, N.J. after a fatal accident.
Economaki compared how driver fatalities were treated circa 1930s to the aftermath of Dale Earnhardt's death in the 2001 Daytona 500. This is one of several examples on how he uses his decades of experience and observation to track the sport's various developments.
Some of Economaki's pulse-taking includes the increasing technology and costs. He considered International Speedway Corporation's proposed Staten Island, N.Y., oval a non-starter in April 2006, eight months before ISC withdrew their plan. Economaki also bemoans the lack of promotership in racing publicity.
Economaki's observations incluides aspects of the racing business and broadcasting.
Economaki and Argabright, concerning the last pages of "Let 'Em All Go!" must have taken the advice of New York track promoter Howie Commander. The Lebanon Valley Speedway chief once said he made his refreshment portions only so large that people would be a ttle hungry for more. I want more!
It appears, however, that Mssrs. Economaki and Argabright will acknowledge the encore calls - but say "That's All." Economaki himself has said there will not be a Volume Two.
Economaki is a matter of fact in his epilogue about mortality. He has been gradually yielding some of his duties to others since becoming NSSN Publisher Emeritus in the early 1990s. Although Economaki's seemingly perpetual motion drive is slowing - and will not stop except for incapacitation - his cutting back means fewer "Chris Story" opportunities.
My advice is to start recording and collecting Chris Stories. "Let 'Em All Go!" is an excellent book to start or sampler.
NOTE: There is some profanity scattered in the book. Most of the swearing comes as others' quotes, with Economaki/Argabright joining in a little at the end.
Wall NERA karting banquet results
By Walter Elliott Jan. 6
LAKEWOOD, N.J.. -- Jesse Macfarlan and Nandi Palmai, both of Allentown, N.J., Danielle Ostrander, of Wall, and Tom Ervin, of Ewing, were among the 12 drivers who personally accepted their 13 North East Racing Association Wall Township Speedway crowns here at the Crestwood Country Club
Macfarlan and Palmai were applauded by 65 of their family members, racing colleagues and NERA/WTS staff for splitting the Junior Champ Kart championship. Palmai and Macfarlan, both 11, each won two of the five NERA features on the WTS fifth-mile inner oval. The first time champs,
however, each amassed the same 750 points.
"What Jesse and Nandi have done are what NERA's about," said group president Bob Danka. "Those two fought each other down to the wire. They also became friends as the season went on."
Palmai and Macfarlan are 11 and are also in the same class in an Allentown public school. Champ karts are go karts outfitted with 5 hp Briggs & Stratton engines and a roll cage that makre them resemble more like midgets, spints and other traditional openwheeled speedway cars.
Kevin Smith, of Hamilton, won the Senior Champ Kart title.
NERA and WTS General Manager Jim Morton started the karting series midseason last year.
Weather conditions further limited NERA to six races. Morton said that he and Danka, among other changes, are scheduling 20 karting dates for 2007.
"The 20 races are to be held on Sunday afternoons," said Morton. "I'm about to sign a document that will lower the INEX Bandolero drivers' minimum age at Wall to 12 and the INEX Legends Cars to what the current Bandolero age is now."
Morton added that at least some of NERA's dates will be shared with the 4 Cylinder Super Modifieds. Both Morton and 4C Supermod President Wes Gilbert, of Preston, Md., confirmed that their cars will exclusively race on WTS's famous high banked one-third mile oval Sundays with NERA
staying with the inner fifth-mile.
Ostrander, who won four features on her way to the NERA Bandolero title, said she will drive a Legends on WTS's Saturday night card. Legends and Bandolero dealer John Hugate, of Ewing, is to field Ostrander's car.
Ervin collected his latest modified micro stock championship. "The Trenton Tornado," who also has Modified Outlaw Microstock, Microdirt and AMSRA titles to his credit, won his 100th modified micro stock feature while with WTS's NERA program last summer.
Ervin insisted, however, that points runner-up Nick Cattone join him for the awards and photos.
The former modified driver from Toms River won his first career feature from Ervin.
Andy Hiddeman, of Somerset, meanwhile won his
first sportsman micro stock championship.
Anthony Dalessio, of Howell, and Kirk Allen, of Columbia, were bestowed their respective Briggs & Stratton senior medium and heavy crowns. Neil Rutt, of Howell, and Kurt Labor, of Neptune, received their B&S junior sportsman and gold titles.
Senior Two Cycle champ Fred Hare and TAG titlist Doug Ottoro were also saluted despite their absences.
Danka thanked the following for their awards plaques, door prizes and support: John and Debbie Okolichany of John and Debbie O's Concessions; Angeloni's Wines & Spirits, of Mercerville; Area Auto Racing News, of Trenton; Mannino's 3 on 33, of Hamilton Square; Myers Speed shop, of Hamilton Square; Performance Karting, of Brick; Tompco and Worldwide Creations, of Mercerville.
The Crestwood Country Club is also to be the venue for the respective Garden State Quarter Midget Racing Club and WTS's stock car banquets Jan. 20 and Feb. 2. Visit www.gsqmrc.homestead.com or call (609) 242-8880 and/or wallspeedway.com/(732) 681-6400 for tickets and other details.
Fla. Sheriff estate sues New Smyrna owners
By Walter Elliott Jan. 8
ORLANDO, Fla. -- An attorney representing the estate and family of the late Lake County Sheriff Chris Daniels said he had filed a wrongful death suit against the owners of New Smyrna Speedway here at the Volusia County Court House Dec. 28. The suit is the latest development of an Oct. 14
charity school bus race at NSS in which Daniels was killed.
Orlando attorney James R. Provencher said that the suit accuses NSS owners Hart Land & Cattle Corp. of negligence in preparing the school buses and conducting the Fifth Annual Battle of the Badges. The eight-page document particulary cites the removal of outside mirrors, spraypainting over windows, failing to provide proper restraint, failing to provide front-door locking devices and not providing appropriate rules and driver training.
The suit seeks at least $15,000 in damages, including medical and funeral expenses, "mental pain and suffering" for Daniels' immediate family, and to prevent further racing accidents at NSS.
The "Orlando Sentinel" said the amount is the minimum for a civil complaint to be hear in county circuit court. Provenchier reprsents Daniels' widow, Michelle, their three children and their estate manager.
A second similar suit filed the same day against the Florida Association of Stock Car Auto Racing.
The filings came after the Florida Highway Patrol ruled Dec. 2 that Daniels' fatal accident was accidential and not of a criminal act. The FHP report stated that while Daniels' seat belt was functioning, he may have unbuckeled it during the scheduled 15-lap race. That and the open right front door were among the factors the report found to have contributed to Daniels' lethal injuries.
Daniels was ejected in a lap 12 collision with Seminole County Sheriff Don Eslinger and was run over by his own and Eslinger's buses. The first-time bus driver was celebrating his 47th birthday among family, colleagues and NSS spectators. Volusia County Sheriff and host Ben Johnson, who said no
one was seriously injured in the race's previous four runnings, cancelled future Battle of the Badges races - a fundraiser for the Florida Sheriffs Youth ranches.
Provencher, without discussing the Daniels bus belt's condition, keyed on the lack of a racing harnesses required on other classes in FASCAR races at NSS Dec. 29.
"We can't let this company continue to operate these events without rules and and properly equipped vehicles, " said Provencher to The Daytona Beach "News-Journal." "Any race on any level, whether amateur or professional," you'd have to have a four- to five-point harness. To take 20-year-
old buses and 20-year-old lap belts and call that properly equipped for racing, that's a bad idea."
NSS General Manager Terry Roberts said to the "News-Journal" Dec. 28 that he had no comment on continuing litigation. Ray Warren, an attorney for Hart land & Cattle, saide "Culture eats procedure for breakfast. All the rules in the world won't change an individual decision by a participant."
Inaugural NERA Wall karting awards banquet
By Walter Elliott Dec. 28
LAKEWOOD, N.J. -- Fourteen champions from 13 INEX Bandolero, micro stock, champ kart and karting categories are to be honored in the inaugural North East Racing Association at Wall Township Speedway awards banquet here at the Woodlake Country Club Jan. 6.
Danielle Ostrander, of Wall, who won four Bandolero races, is among those first-time champions.
Tom Ervin, of Ewing, adds his first NERA crown to modified micro stock titles he has earned in Modified Outlaw Microstocks, AMSRA, Microdirt and elsewhere.
Jesse MacFarlan and Nandi Palmai, both from Allentown, N.J., are to share the Junior Champ Kart title. Palmai and MacFarlan ended up with exact point totals. Kevin Smith, of Hamilton, meanwhile won the Senior Champ Kart division.
Anthony Delessio and Kirk Allen respectivrly commuted from Howell and Columbia to earn their Senior Briggs & Stratton Medium and Heavy crowns. Kurt Labor, of Neptune, commuted to the WTS one-fifth-mile inner oval for his Junior Briggs Gold title.
Other NERA titlists to be honored are: Andy Hiddeman, Sportsman Micro Stock; Neil Rutt, Jr. Sportsman Briggs; Fred Hare, Sr. Two-Stroke Cycle; Eric Green, Jr. Two-Cycle; and Doug Ottoro, TAG.
NERA's competitors ran races on selected Friday nights and Sunday afternoons last summer and autumn. NERA President Bob Danka and WTS Operations manager Jim Morton revived the karting series after a 15-month absence.
The awards banquet is to run 6 - 10 p.m. Jan. 6. Tickets, at $50 per person, are available from WTS office 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday - Friday. Call WTS at (732) 681-6400 or Danka at (609) 838-1258 for details.
Racers back Matheny Xmas party
By Walter Elliott Dec. 17
PEAPACK, N.J. -- The Committee of Auto Racing Supporters annual Christmas Party here at the Matheny Medical and Educational Center Dec. 16 was one of the largest in recent memory - if not the largest ever.
Auto racers who are normally identified with New Jersey's Wall Township, New Egypt and Flemington speedways or New York's Orange County Fairgrounds Speedway had lunch with and gave out presents to 78 of Matheny's in- and out- patients. Santa Claus - with assistance of CARS
volunteers, family members and Matheny employees - used half of the four-hour stay to individually distribute the gifts.
"What's special is that each of the gifts were personal requests," said Matheny spokeswoman Elizabeth Nelson. "Our patients range from four to 65 years old."
Nearly a third of the 90 people present in the school cafeteria were CARS members or volunteers.
The "Who's Who" of local automobilia included: Wall drivers Rob Longo, Rich Hallgring, Steve Sernichia and Chas Okerson; OCFS's Chuck Mckee; 3-Wide Racing Picture Vault Website founder Joe MacFarlan; WLAR phone line creator "Jalopy Jack;" racing photographer John "Ace" Lane, Jr.; former
Flemington public relations chief Wendy Kennedy and Wall/New Egypt/Flemington racer Kevin Eyres.
Members from the Garden State Vintage Car Club and at least two cruiser car clubs also attended.
Many of the CARS-drawn volunteers said they were at the party for the first time - and that Eyres asked them to help out.
"We've more presents to give out - and more people to give them out with and to," said Eyres. "I started asking around - and here they are."
"I've been here seven years," said patient Shileena Tomassini with her family standing by. "The party is great for the younger people. Some of them are orphans or have no family."
Matheny, said Nelson and community services' Gail Cunningham, serves 99 resident patients and 30 adults plus another 36 adult day car participants and 18 day students from local school districts.
The school and hospital works with profoundly disabled people towards integrating them into the larger community at their best functioning level.
Teachers Walter and Marguerite Matheny started their school with three students and a $3,000 G.I. Bill loan in a Burnt Hills barn in 1946. The Matheny's started the school once their infant son Chuck was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy - and there was no school in New Jersey that had the orientation to rehabilitate and teach CP patients.
"Most of our patients have Cerebral Palsey," said Cunningham. "CP is usually caused when the baby's brain is damaged from not getting enough oxygen for several minutes during childbirth."
That barn became a modern school, rehab hospital and dormitory here on its 38 acre site in 1954.
Matheny took on patients with more severe developmental problems over time and became a state-funded facility in the 1970s.
Walter and Marguerite Matheny died in 1977 and 1988. Chuck Matheny, 65, remains a patient involved with hospital and school affairs.
Eyres, Lane and Kennedy explained that CARS was founded in 1973 to help Matheny's patients. It began after one Flemington driver visited the hospital over the holidays.
"One of the children reached out to the driver and asked if he can take him home for Christmas," said Kennedy. "It occurred to him that the patients wouldn't have a Christmas - especially if they didn't have families. He knew he had to do something and CARS was founded the next year."
CARS have held barbecues, picnics, movie parties and days at the races in support of Matheny's patients. The Christmas party, however, has been CARS' most consistent event. Support has fluctuated, particularly when Flemington closed in 2000 and its racers dispersed to other speedways.
"The number of participants goes in cycles," said Lane. "It has its ebb and flow. We do have people who've come consistently."
"One of my fellow Wall drivers does what he can by sending a check every year," said Eyres. "He came over one year but he couldn't take it - he kept breaking up."
Contact CARS via Kjeyres2@aol.com or (732) 580-3624.
Matheny assistance may be forwarded to:
Matheny School and Hospital
P.O. Box 339, Peapack, NJ 07977.
New Jersey legislators pass Millville
raceway tax zone
By Walter Elliott Dec. 17
TRENTON, N.J. -- A bill that would create a sports and entertainment tax district for Millville's New Jersey Motorsports Park is a penstroke from reality as of presstime.
Bill S313 has been on Gov. Jon Corzine's desk since the State Senate passed it, 36-6, Dec. 14.
Companion bill A1054 passed the General Assembly, 48-30, earlier that day.
The combined bills will still be there should Corzine defers on signing until after the Christmas holiday break. They will not expire since the State Legislature, whose last scheduled business day was Dec. 18, is midway through its 2006/07 session. Corzine has the power to sign, cut parts out
or veto the bills.
S313 and A1054 and similar bills the last two years were respectively sponsored by Sen. Nicholas Asselta (R-Vineland) and Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew (D-Dennis Twp.). Previous bills, however, died before reaching the Senate floor. The Senate's inability to make a final vote was one of the delays
that pushed NJMP's groundbreaking of Phase One - mainly the Thunderbolt Raceway road course - past Spring 2005.
Van Drew said "The Press of Atlantic City" that Senate President Richard Codey's cosponsorship of S313 made the breakthrough vote. Codey (D-West Orange) has been a longtime sports fan, from supporting the state's horse racing industry to taking interest in the Newark Prudential Arena and
the state Sports Authority Xanadu projects to coaching a home town youth basketball team. Codey is better known as being acting governor between James E. McGreevey's 2004 resignation and Corzine's 2005 election.
It's one of the biggest economic initiatives that've occurred, since some of the casino legislation," said Van Drew. "It will hopefully create thousands of jobs and increase Cumberland County's tax ratable base. This is the biggest thing to happen to South Jersey in a very long time."
Van Drew said to "the daily Journal" of Vineland that NJMP is a privately financed project but the SED "gives the developrs the tool to attract the private entrepenurer and business person."
"This creates the last piece of the revenue stream puzzle for the developer," said Asselta. "I'm glad it's done. It's a major piece of legislation."
The bill would turn a majority of the 707-acre NJMP site southeast of Millville Municipal Airport into a Sports and Entertainment District. All sales and rentals within the SED will carry a two percent tax on top of the 3.5 percent Urban Enterprize Zone sales tax rate Millville currently enjoys.
That two percent is construction and bonding collateral for NJMP LLC's three-phase, $100 million project over the next 10 years. The money, to be overseen by State Treasurer Bradley Abelow, will also defray infracture construction costs.
The SED also allows NJMP LLC to secure a $5 million loan from the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority and a $2 million loan fron the N.J. Economic Development Authority.
NJMP's developing partners and construction contractors are to break ground on Phase One - Thunderbolt and a karting track with related facilities - between January and March. Thunderbolt and the rest of the first phase is to use 217 acres and $20 million for a spring 2008 grand opening.
The other two phases are to be built out to 2015. Those phases include a .75-mile special events trioval speedway, an all terrain trail, an 800-room hotel, a 100,000-square-foot conference center, 400,000 square feet of industrial research and development space, between 149 and 199 seasonal
villa housing units, a motorsports academy, a retail/commercial center, a motorsports-themed academy and several restaurants.
NJMP is modeled after Virginia International Raceway, which the developers also own and operate.
While the developers will seek three or four professional road racing dates for Thunderbolt, NJMP is to mainly cater to the club-level racer and car enthusiast with nowhere near the fan volume of a NASCAR Nextel Cup weekend.
"It's not going to bring 150,000 people twice a year," said Millville Economic Development Director Don Ayres. "We're talking crowds of 5,000 to 10,000 45 weeks a year."
NJMP LLC recently hired Bertino Contractors, of West Atlantic City, as general contractor. Bertino is reviewing bid packages for Phase One work.
The developers are also waiting for the Federal Aviation Administration to transfer part of Millville Municipal Airport land to the project - as soon as the agency completes removal of unexploded ordinance dating to World War Two.
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