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Features VINTAGE SPRINT CAR PIC THREAD, 1965 and older only please.

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by Joshua Shaw, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. Blacki-Suede
    Joined: May 19, 2008
    Posts: 202

    Blacki-Suede
    Member

    Since we like "first hand accounts": Roy, I was the PR guy, marketing guy, in today’s terms "media relations" guy for Hoffman Auto Racing at the time of Smiley’s fatal accident. I do not doubt that Pancho was the first driver to qualify after Smiley’s accident and I remember Whittington taking a few laps to check out the "Groove". But my recollection after that is: The track was opened for practice, as no one was in line to qualify, and why would they be? I believe any driver, including a skilled, brave, veteran like Pancho would want to take some laps through the area of the crash before attempting to qualify. With the track going to practice I was sent to the garage to ask our driver, Jerry Sneva, if he was ready to take some practice laps. I remember Jerry sitting in the corner of the garage, head between his hands, staring at the floor, it was a surreal situation. Making it even more difficult was the fact that the Hoffman car was not handling well, thus we needed the practice laps. Again, I believe Jerry was the first to go out in that practice session. Pancho might have then got in the qualifying line. The thing I remember most about that day is the odor that filled the air for hours after that accident. That day is impossible to erase from my memory.

    Blacki-Suede
    Bzneil's Dad
     
  2. Joshua Shaw
    Joined: Feb 7, 2007
    Posts: 2,191

    Joshua Shaw
    Member

    You bet! Thanks!!

    Couldn't EVER do it without you guys!

    J Shaw
     
  3. noresore
    Joined: Jan 13, 2011
    Posts: 24

    noresore
    Member
    from Peoria, AZ

    The 1957 "fence buster" race where Jimmy Bryan, who was leading the race on his way to another National championship was sent through a hole in the wood-rail fence by Jim Rathmann, who was actually leading the point chase coming into this last race of the season after finishing 2nd to now retired Sam Hanks in the Indy 500 (in those days points were determined by the length of the race 2 points per mile, Indy earned the winner 1,000 points) but deep in the field and getting lapped on the 96th lap of the 100-miler. Bryan turned the car around smashed through the fence and chased down race leader Pat O'Connor, passed him just before the white flag and won the race and the championship. O'Connor said afterwards, "I could hear him coming and if he wanted it that bad the sonofabitch could have it." Promoter Ernie Mohammed (left), Bryan, Clint Brawner and Phoenix Gazette Sports Editor Bob Allison (kneeling) are pictured. In Rathmann's defense he was at Phoenix in attempt to win the National Championship and was not known as a "dirt track driver" in an ill-handling car and a treacherous race track. There was no ill-intent on what happened, but it still made for a legend that lives on. It was Bryan's last win driving for Dean Van Lines and Brawner and ended one of the most incredible winning streak in racing annals.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2012
  4. carl s
    Joined: Mar 22, 2008
    Posts: 741

    carl s
    Member
    from Indio, CA

    Noresore, thanks for today's posting of the Jimmy Bryan Clint Brawner photo. I'm gonna pass it on to Kenny Surabian (one of our many non-computer vets) who fabricated for Clint from about 1968-early 80s.

    And your past post -below- discussing the Gabe and Tilly Ford and Billy Shuman-who went to great lengths to restore it-
    here's a photo of it from our Feb event at Havasu City Speedway
    and a link to more photos:
    http://s1011.photobucket.com/albums/af233/carl44s/Havasu Feb 2012/?start=all

    and of Billy -in red-
    http://i1011.photobucket.com/albums/af233/carl44s/Havasu Feb 2012/IMG_7439.jpg?t=1330112769

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

     
  5. mac miller
    Joined: Jan 13, 2007
    Posts: 522

    mac miller
    Member
    from INDY

    New "indy roadster" on the table at mac millers garage in INDY.
    This one will be going to Bonneville with a 270 OFFY.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. BZNEIL
    Joined: May 28, 2005
    Posts: 659

    BZNEIL
    Member

    Dang Mac! Just when I shake the urge to start a roadster project, you put some really cool pics up to spark my interest again!!

    Looks like it will be a great build.
     
  7. gearguy
    Joined: Jan 27, 2010
    Posts: 286

    gearguy
    Member

    Something addictive about those roadsters. Gregg Kishline is currently building THREE of them; 1/2 scale replicas true but probably more work than a full size car since he has to make every single part by hand.
    Any truth to the report that there are currently more roadsters [real & replicas] in existence than there were in the "glory days?"

    Chuck Schultz
    Winfield, Illinois

    PS: Had I won a share of the Mega Millions there would be a new Turbo Offy Roadster under construction.
     
  8. Joshua Shaw
    Joined: Feb 7, 2007
    Posts: 2,191

    Joshua Shaw
    Member

    I'm sitting here typing this NEXT TO the 270 Engine that's going in that beautiful radster Mac! Looking great! :D
     
  9. jmcintosh
    Joined: Mar 1, 2008
    Posts: 35

    jmcintosh
    Member

    [​IMG]
    Bill Mackey​

    [​IMG]
    Clay Corbitt​

    Our camera, in June of 1947, was an inexpensive model, but the photos show Sprint Car Racing as it was on "Opening Day" at the Salem Speedway, where Madison's Bill Cantrell raced with those shown in our photos.

    Clay Corbitt was a "Hot Shoe" -
    The title given to Drivers who stood-on-the-gas in Racing Cars from an early and dangerous era. Madison, Indiana Drivers, Jon Peddie & Bill Cantrell (each) earned "Hot Shoe" titles.

    A note about Clay Corbitt -
    This photo was taken at the line-up of the first Heat Race ever run at Salem, and on the first lap Clay Corbitt, from Cincinnati, Ohio, went over Salem's high bank and did not survive.

    This info came from madisoncamerunning.com
     
  10. indyrjc
    Joined: Nov 8, 2008
    Posts: 972

    indyrjc
    Member
    from Indiana


    Here's the official record of the events of that day from the press release that was given out to all media members. This is word for word what was given out by the Speedway in the press room and is taken from a copy of the 1982 IMS Media Trackside Report for the First Day of Time Trials.


    <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:time Hour="12" Minute="15">"12:15 PM--</st1:time> #35 Gordon Smiley, 33, Grapevine, TX
    Intermedics Innovator March/Cosworth

    Crash in Turn 3 on second warm-up lap. IMS announced at <st1:time Hour="12" Minute="30">12:30 PM</st1:time> that Smiley died instantly of massive head injuries, according to Dr. Henry Bock, <st1:City><st1:place>Speedway</st1:place></st1:City> medical director. The report was that Smiley lost control, overcorrected into a reverse slide, sideways to the right for 280 feet to the wall, got airborne for 50 feet, disintegrated into three major portions, with the engine, one wheel continuing 480 feet onward.
    <?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:eek:ffice" /><o:p></o:p>
    Track was shut down until <st1:time Hour="14" Minute="32">2:32 PM</st1:time> for cleanup of Smiley accident in Turn-3 and north short chute. At that time, Jerry Sneva in #69 and Don Whittington in #95 went out to test the track patching at the request of officials.
    <o:p></o:p>
    <st1:time Hour="15" Minute="17">3:17 PM</st1:time> Track opens for qualifications.
    <st1:time Hour="15" Minute="20">3:20PM--</st1:time> #3 Pancho Carter, 31, <st1:place><st1:City>Brownsburg</st1:City>, <st1:State>IN</st1:State></st1:place>
    Alex Foods March/Cosworth
    <o:p></o:p>
    QA-12 1&#8212;45.17---199.247
    2---45.27---198.807
    3---45.21---199.071
    4---45.30---198.675
    ________________
    T&#8212;3:00.95-198.950"


    The next qualifier out after Pancho Carter was Mario Andretti.

    BTW, Exactly one week earlier I was in on a conversation between Dick Ferguson and Gordon Smiley when someone came up to us and told us that Gilles Villeneuve had just been killed in qualifying at the Belgium Grand Prix which upset both drivers since they both thought highly of Villeneuve. Also, although Smiley's age was listed as 33 in reality he was near 40 years old. And because he had also listed this false age on his life insurance policy his widow was denied any death benefit.

     
  11. paddybuilt
    Joined: Mar 2, 2009
    Posts: 137

    paddybuilt
    Member
    from SoCal


    Steve, Did you run that roadster at Calif. speedway?
     
  12. SteveE
    Joined: Feb 16, 2008
    Posts: 74

    SteveE
    Member
    from Ohio

    The info we have is that Gordon, had just turned 36. That's too bad if Barbara received no insurance money.
     
  13. Love your work!
     
  14. Dick L
    Joined: Dec 21, 2010
    Posts: 138

    Dick L
    Member

  15. gtxrider
    Joined: Jan 3, 2010
    Posts: 74

    gtxrider
    Member


    I was impressed the night Toby Tobias was killed at Flemington in 1978 and the way the rest of USAC thunder and lightning drivers just kept racing.

    As an old car owner I knew said, "the only weight that is important in a race car is between the drivers legs!"
     
  16. Steve Bonesteel
    Joined: Aug 31, 2009
    Posts: 166

    Steve Bonesteel
    Member
    from Clovis, Ca

    Pat,
    If the car does not sell I will run the car with you guys with the hard tops here in the central valley this summer and I plan on going to Fontana in the middle of June and Calistoga late summer. We have had 2,388 hits on eBay and 125 watchers. Auction ends Mon. 7:00 PM, PST
     
  17. jimg12
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 307

    jimg12
    Member

    jmcintosh,
    Jimmy Sampson was leading the first lap of that heat race and got the red flag, but he got credit for leading the first racing lap ever at Salem. He was friends with my Dad and me untill he passed. He was from the same town that Charlie Masters is from and that is how Charlie got into racing.
    Bill Cantrell was from Louisville, Ky [drove my Dad's sprint car for several years] and after he quit driving cars moved to Detroit to drive and build unlimited hydros and when he retired he moved to Madison. The city adopted him and after he passed the put a bronze bust of him close to the river bank. He and Graham Heath had a shop together and ran an unlimited for a few years.
    Jon Petty drove sprints for several years [he drove my TQ a few times when I was on vacation] and ended up driving the Miss Madison. He still lives in Madison.
    Jim Graybeal
     
  18. Michael Ferner
    Joined: Nov 12, 2009
    Posts: 787

    Michael Ferner
    Member

    The driver of the Iddings Spl. is Johnny Shackleford, I believe. Bill Mackey didn't drive Sprint Cars for another two years.

    That should be Jackie Holmes in the #25 Dreyer "house car" in the background - Holmes finished second behind Tommy Hinnershitz that day, as a Sprint Car rookie! He also won the first heat, becoming the first ever winner at Salem Speedway.

    The spider and webb on the cowl of the Johnston Offy are for its regular driver, Spider Webb. Webb was not available because he drove owner Fred Johnston's Champ Car (the former Sparks-Weirick two-man car) at Langhorne the same day. It was not a good day for the Johnston team, as Spider was hurt when a mechanic pushed the car over his foot - ouch! Buster Warke drove instead, but retired early, as Bill Holland took his second consecutive win.
     
  19. carl s
    Joined: Mar 22, 2008
    Posts: 741

    carl s
    Member
    from Indio, CA

    [​IMG]
    Design on Helmet appears to be similar:
    One year later
    [​IMG]
    photo from Dayton Speedway

     
  20. Blacki-Suede
    Joined: May 19, 2008
    Posts: 202

    Blacki-Suede
    Member

    BTW, Exactly one week earlier I was in on a conversation between Dick Ferguson and Gordon Smiley when someone came up to us and told us that Gilles Villeneuve had just been killed in qualifying at the Belgium Grand Prix which upset both drivers since they both thought highly of Villeneuve. Also, although Smiley's age was listed as 33 in reality he was near 40 years old. And because he had also listed this false age on his life insurance policy his widow was denied any death benefit.

    [/QUOTE]
    You mentioned Dick Ferguson, he replaced Jerry Sneva in the Hoffman #69, deal was if he could get the car to, I believe 189-190, MPH Dick Hoffman would pay for his USAC license. Whitewalled the tires coming out of four, but got the speed. Eventually got the car to low end of qualifyng speeds, but was left in line in the rain on the final day of qualifying. Everybody liked Dick.
     
  21. KK500
    Joined: Dec 29, 2006
    Posts: 354

    KK500
    Member

    A really nice piece on sale there Steve, good luck with the sale...hope there's another project in the wings. You do a nice job of those sprint car and midget restorations.

    Jim
     
  22. racer5c
    Joined: Nov 30, 2002
    Posts: 2,218

    racer5c
    Member

    Michael you never cease to amaze me!
     
  23. paddybuilt
    Joined: Mar 2, 2009
    Posts: 137

    paddybuilt
    Member
    from SoCal

    Check out item #320882737241 on ebay, Punky Grosso's Gilmore Lion Head Special. 270 Offy powered. Punky did a beautiful job restoring the car. I have a picture of him on the wall in my garage sliding it around the dirt track at Indian Dunes that Walt James built. Punky was one of the original founders of the WRA. owned the bunker at Burbank airport were every Sat. after working on the race cars some of the early members would go to Don's place a great burger beer joint in Burbank Then back to the Bunker for some bench racing. I was there the night at Sagus that Punky got killed in his midget. Great guy, with out Punky I don't think there would of been a WRA.
     
  24. mac miller
    Joined: Jan 13, 2007
    Posts: 522

    mac miller
    Member
    from INDY


    Hey Josh, Could you post a photo of that OFFY ??? I would like to check out the configuration of the rear end of that crankcase where it bolt to the motor plate.

    Thanks! mac miller in INDY
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Apr 5, 2012
  25. Steve Bonesteel
    Joined: Aug 31, 2009
    Posts: 166

    Steve Bonesteel
    Member
    from Clovis, Ca

    Jim Thanks for the good words, and if I can sell the roadster there are two cars I would like to restore. Where they are, I will never tell. Up to 3,052 hits on the listing
     
  26. 28dreyer
    Joined: Jan 23, 2008
    Posts: 1,167

    28dreyer
    Member
    from Minnesota

    The followintg contract was passed out at a luncheon in Indianapolis. It was not part of the Bench Racing Weekend program, but was a program put on by Race Chaser, a luncheon group of race fans. It was said that someone was going through old Bowes Seal Fast business files and found this.
     

    Attached Files:

  27. Jim Nise
    Joined: Oct 31, 2008
    Posts: 1,194

    Jim Nise
    Member

    28 Dryer,
    funny AJ didn't finish the 61 season with that car.
     
  28. TommyA19
    Joined: Dec 3, 2010
    Posts: 240

    TommyA19
    Member

    Sad thing is, the "contract" between Flemington and USAC called for a certain amount of races that night. USAC had a short field. Promoter insisted on USAC running the amount of races they had signed for, so they ran what could be called a "consi", maybe? It was in that race that Toby was fatally injured. Sometimes fate changes history and not for the better.
     
  29. easter
    Joined: Nov 25, 2010
    Posts: 554

    easter
    Member

    Happy Easter from an Easter everybody. You don't get to hear that often.
     
  30. PK
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 192

    PK
    Member
    from Ohio

    Happy Easter to you Bob, and your family. Happy Easter to everyone on the thread... may God bless you richly.
    PK
     

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