Michigan Short Track Racing Club: Memories of Ghosts from the past. - Michigan Short Track Racing Club

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Memories of Ghosts from the past. Fond memories of closed facilities

#1 User is offline   rexman24 Icon

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 08:26 PM

Avilla- Great sprint car races, Jac Haudenshield and Jack Hewitt dueling it out. One night Jac flipped out of the park in the heat and came back and won the feature.

Warsaw-Sprint cars pulling wheelies at the beautiful little track on the lake, too bad all the rich ****** that lived on the lake got together and closed the place.

South Bend-Went to race there one night with no crew, got a flat in the feature and pulled in the infield, just happened to park by the owner(Mike Byrd I think) and told him my sad story of towing a long ways(for me) by myself and having bad luck. When I got to the pay window he had taken care of me.

Bryan-Went to an Enduro and they had two guys in a station wagon that would go out on the track during the race and push the dead cars out of harms way or to the pits-hilarious.

Mottville-yes I know its still open(well manner of speaking at least). I remember 100+ cars in the pits every saturday and great side by side racing.

I hope some that are more seasoned than me have some stories of Hastings, GR, Jackson, Mount Clemens and others!
Attended-89 tracks in 14 states and 2 countries.
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2010-EastBay, Attica, Winston, Oakshade, Oakshade, Limaland, WaterfordHills, Eldora, Eldora, Oakshade, Plymouth
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#2 User is offline   way2kool Icon

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Posted 06 July 2009 - 08:35 PM

This goes WAY BACK, but would love to hear some stories about Pontiac M59 Speedway....got to spend an hour or so with Joy Fair a few years back at Toledo, and he shared a few tales from back in the day. My Dad was Rusty Kelley, and I was only 3 when he was killed at Toledo, so would appreciate any stories still out there.
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#3 User is offline   TJSlideways Icon

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 12:11 PM

I really miss Avilla and Warsaw. There were few tracks with better scenery than Warsaw. The entire atmosphere there was awesome. Avilla was a racey little joint. I only attended once after the blacktop went down, but really enjoyed the races on the dirt as I got older.
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#4 User is offline   MartyB Icon

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Posted 07 July 2009 - 09:19 PM

Jackson - The Sunday afternoon shows to start the season in the late 60's and very early 70's were as good, if not better than most invitationals of the day for regular admission prices. They were definately a who's who from the tristate area. On those shows, you could see the Senneker brothers, Bob Carnes, Joy Fair, Ed Howe, Tom Maier, Danny Byrd, Ed Hage, Ray Barnard, Jimmy Roberts, John Anderson, Johnny Logan and all the othr top stars from Michigan against The Indiana drivers such as "Moose" Myers, Dave Sorg, Jack Reiley, and Tom Wible as well as Harold Cook from Ohio.

Manchester- I remember the drive going back into the track. It was kind of spooky the way it went around turns 1 and 2 going to the parking lot. As you drove in, you could see the cars real close as they went around the turn and the thought often went through my head.."What if one goes over the bank" I don't know if any car ever did get to the access drive or not, but it was real close to the track. I remember reading and hearing about Harold Schill's terrible accident which ended his promising career back in 1967. Just a case of open wheel racing and hopping a wheel. From what I was told, his car shot up out of the range of the light at start of the series of flips. Many people expected to read in the paper the next day that he didn't survive. Harold did survive and normally comes to the Jackson reunion. Harold was off to a fantastic start that year while racing at Manchester, Butler and Angola winning 9 of the first 11 features that year along with a second at those 3 tracks. Race number 12 was the night of his accident. Who knows what kind of carreer he may have had.

Tim - Your father, Rusty Kelley, was another who may have gone on to bigger and better things. He won a lot of races at many different tracks during his short career while racing against the likes of the legendary Joy Fair, the Beale brothers (Al and Rollie), Mickey Katlin, and Jack Conley.

With the reunions like the long running one for Jackson, Toledo's reunion in April and the Mount Clemons get together, the tracks from the past are not forgotten. If you ever get the chance, attend any or all of these reunions. It 's a great way to learn about the heros from the past as well as a chance to visit with many of them . This year's Jackson reunion, which will be the 18th annual, will be on October 24. Thanks Marty Blume
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#5 User is offline   rjb Icon

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 06:50 AM

Owosso-THe Old high banked 1/2 mile dirt or pavement, the best track in the USA. I asked Gary Fedewa after he won a SOD feature if Owosso was faster than Eldora and he said HELL YA. Every show was awesome.

Auto City-Back when both tracks were dirt, every Saturday night sounds like it is today. Fighting in the pits, stands, racing till early morning, and some of the best racing around. We loved it when Mt. Clemens would rain out and Sommers, and Baumgargner and the Detroit boys would come up and challannge the City boys.

THE MSPA Wednesday shows-Got a chance to visit tracks that we normally could not. Loved watching Patterson race on the tar with his modified dirt car and whip on the tar boys.
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#6 User is offline   speed8821 Icon

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 06:57 AM

I remember Capitol City Speedway on the SW side of Lansing. My uncle Art Babcock raced there for many years. I also remember Chuck Willits, Don "the nut" House,Jerry Brabbs,Art Newman.


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#7 User is offline   milegend45 Icon

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 07:42 AM

Where do I start with my memories from Mt. Clemens? Way too many of them come flooding back to me. I remember the first time I walked into the place in June of 1977 and walking through the archway to the track with the photographer's booth to the right of me. The Late Models were out at the time and the first car that went by was the school bus yellow #1 of Joy Fair, man o man, what a sound. Right behind him was a blue #43 Nova driven by the "Egg Man" Dyno Don Biederman, next came a bright orange #03 sponsored by Windsor Automotive with "Speedy" Jack Monaghan behind the wheel. I was hooked on the place right then and there.

I remember the night Junior Hanley went through the ARMCO on the backstretch and out into the woods, they put demo derby cars in the hole to finish off the night's races. I also remember a night when Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin, Bob Senneker and a few others from the old ASA series showed up on a regular Thursday night on thier way to Cayuga. The Mt. Clemens 200 and the twin 50's were great, especially when Trickle would show up with the Senneker Brothers, Rusty Wallace, Alan Kulwicki, Mark "The Kid" Martin, Tom Reffner, Tom Jones, Bruce VanDerlaan, Frank Gawlinski, Joe Ruttman in Ron Varney Sr's car. These guys would take on our regular stars like "The Magic Man" Dick Barker, Larry Lamay, Jack Monaghan, Wayne Monk, Don Mallott, Jack Varney Sr., Joy Fair, Chuck Roumell, Mark Johnson, Rick Sheppard, Harold Fair Sr., Tracy Leslie and so many more.

The best show of the day was the Double-O. I liked it even better when the sportsman cars were powered by in-line 6 cylinders and you had guys like Tommy Gullet, Jim Lucido, Harry Farr, Jeff Jagoda, Steve Lee, Tracy Leslie, Jim Brooks, Jim Britt, Ed Slawinski, Terry Bogusz Sr., Jim Murray, Pat Haywood, Frank Loving, Roger Delp, Bob Slizak and a few others puutin on the show.

We had some great street stock drivers like Dave DeSmith, Ron Bjornson, Chuckie Brodeur, "Big Al" Peltier, "Tic Toc" Rich Peltier, Al Hamilton, Scott Fow, Scott Farr, Dave Dobner (before moving up to the half mile), Dave Randa as well and Rod Carbone before moving up too.

Some of the girls like Karen Carbone, Shirley Russell, All of the Simko girls, Paulette Escalante, Cathy Tosto, Judy Harm, Michelle Morisette and so many more.

Made many of my racing friendships because of Mt. Clemens and still see alot of those people today. I remeber Ron Varney Jr. and his cousins as little nippers as well as Terry Bogusz Jr., Brian Bauman, "Shut Up" Roger Williams, and a few others that are out making a name for themselves in the racing world today.

I have way too many memories and ghosts from the past about Mt. Clemens to be able to post them on here in one post as it would be way too long and I need to get busy. Those Wednesday MSPA Shows were the best and it was really cool when ARCA came to town as I got see the Late Davey Allison and also another time Tim Richmond......
Dave DeHem
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#8 User is offline   TJSlideways Icon

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 08:13 AM

QUOTE (rjb @ Jul 8 2009, 07:50 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
THE MSPA Wednesday shows-Got a chance to visit tracks that we normally could not. Loved watching Patterson race on the tar with his modified dirt car and whip on the tar boys.


I agree on this. Its too bad everything is so fragmented now this wouldn't be possible anymore. The Wednesday MSPA shows I remember attending as a kid were huge events.
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#9 User is offline   BigEd Icon

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 09:50 AM

Ed Howe and Butch Miller stacking it up on top of each other on the backstretch of Tri City Speedway during the first lap of a 300 lap ASA race.

That's one of the most vivid memories, there are a million more.

Mt. Clemens is another one I miss terribly, I don't have Dave's recall or knowledge, but I do have many Mount memories also.

Nothing was cooler then to go racing on a Thursday when I was a kid.

I also agree with the Wednesday MSPA shows. I was able to hit many new tracks back then, and I'd be a tired soul on Thursdays if they were ever to return, because I'd be there!!!!
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#10 User is offline   Voice Over Icon

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 09:51 AM

Jackson Motor Speedway is my all time favorite track. Amazing when the super modifieds raced there and had a chance to watch, Gordon Johncock, Nolan Johncock, Dick Good, Johnnie Logan, Art Bennet, Kenny Frye, Ralph Donaldson, Wayne Landon, Sammy Sessions, Wayne Brockman, Neil Penny, and one of my favorite drivers, Nelson Ward, on a weekly basis. Harry Jones, Dick Mulder, the list goes on and on. Even watched Mario Andretti race a midget there. Marty covered the great late model days. It was a unique track with turn one and two banked like Winchester and three and four banked like Spartan. The racing was incredible. Got to mention Rusty Kelley and "Big Bill Heeney as well. Had the chance to announce a Hoosier Fall classic at Avilla for Sprints, and Hewitt beat Haudenshield by a nerf bar in and amazing 40 lapper that went caution free and only one car dropped out. Fun Track. See Ya!
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#11 User is offline   rexman24 Icon

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 07:23 PM

Thanks everyone for sharing these were the kind of things I wanted to hear about!

Where was Manchester speedway?

What years did Capitol City operate?

I had all but forgotten the MSPA wednesday races, they were really good.
Attended-89 tracks in 14 states and 2 countries.
Raced-10 tracks in 2 states.
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2010-EastBay, Attica, Winston, Oakshade, Oakshade, Limaland, WaterfordHills, Eldora, Eldora, Oakshade, Plymouth
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#12 User is offline   needforlatemodelspeed Icon

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Posted 08 July 2009 - 07:51 PM

Ionia Fairgrounds, July 17th Sod Sprints and IMCA Modifieds during the Free Fair. Old School fair races
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#13 User is offline   MartyB Icon

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 04:08 PM

Manchester Speedway was located southeast of Manchester on Schelenwese Rd (teh spelling is messed up I know..sorry)about 2 or 3 miles out of town. It ran from 1962 through 1977. It was a big egg shaped 3/8 oiled clay track. The bleechers were on a side of a bank for about 2/3's of the front straight. then there was a double layer parking ramp coming out od turn 4. Dick crup won the first race back in 1962. The staple at the track were the sportsman modifieds that raced at Butler and Angola. For much of the 60's, the circuit was Friday night-Manchester, Satuday night-Butler, and Sunday night was Angola. In the mid sixties, super stocks were added to the show.
Capital City Speedway ran in 1949 as a half mile and then as a quarter mile from 1951through 1964. Both tracks were dirt. The quarter mile was at times refered to as "the dust bowl".
Thanks Marty Blume

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#14 User is offline   Jerry Icon

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Posted 10 July 2009 - 10:50 PM

Could someone elaborate a bit on Mickey Katlin's career. I remember seeing him when he dominated Tri-City when they opened the "trick track" and he was a big fan favorite. Then Howe started to dominate and he (Katlin) kind of faded away.

About all I can remember was he drove a car sponsored by a beer company (Strohe's?) and his number was something like 321? This was in the late 60's.
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#15 User is offline   Voice Over Icon

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Posted 11 July 2009 - 01:04 PM

Micky Katlin was an accomplished modified driver before he got into late models and had many great duels with Jack Conley. He raced with all the best of the day, Rollie and Al Beale, Rusty Kelley, Jim McCune, etc. He raced the Stroh's late models and the number we remember was 122. He was quite a character and worked at the Chrysler Proving grounds in Chelsea where he and "Big" Bill Heeney created a lot of mischief on the test track.. See Ya!
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#16 User is offline   rap77 Icon

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Posted 12 July 2009 - 08:56 PM

I remember watching Mike Eddy race at the old American Leigon (sp) in West Branch about 37 years ago.
That was sure one small track.But back when I was a kid it was just as good as going to Daytona for me.
Things were so much simpler back then.Also remember watching the old modifieds run there,
Bob Kingen.Gary Lutes,Rick Zettel,Gary Kaiser.
Forgot one more thing..Anyone remember the old "Carling Black Label Circut of Champions"
I seems to me they use to run on Wed nights way back then.
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#17 User is offline   taz69w Icon

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Posted 13 July 2009 - 11:55 PM

does anyone remember art weakley? jack sharp? big names back in the early super mod days
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