Somemore photo's via facebook. Old Shangri-La pics that I'm guessing were taken by Bob Mosher...
photo 1) Nolan "Stretch" Johncock w/ Max Dowker#7
photo 2) Johnny Cederborg w/ the Eight -ball
photo 3) Fred DeGraff w/ the #1
Jeff Ackerman at the Mid-State Antique Stock Car Club graciously posted articles that I had written for the Gater Racing News. The first is about the early days of Chemung and the other is about the Atlantic Women's Racing Association that ran at Chemung and Towanda VFW Speedway in 1957.....Hope you can find the time to read them...they were a labor of love! http://midstateantiquestockcarclub.com/chemung_speedrome_bob_johnson.html
I just ran in to Jim Brink and he had been planning on posting some photos of his uncle, Fred Brink, but couldn't get them on. So...I'm going to post them and Jim will be adding commentary. They are numbered for easy reference
The other three photos. Picture #5 is of Ernie and Betty June's Rig which at the time was the "cat's pajamas"! According to Bobby June (Ernie's son) the truck was brand spanking new and when they pulled in to the track the first time, jaws dropped. Considering the fact that at this point in time most folks were bringing the car to the track on a tow bar, I can see how there would have been a sense of awe!
I remember that cartwheel down the back straight at Redline. People were saying that's the end of that car.....two weeks later I came within a few laps of winning the Street Stock portion of Five Mile Points National Quarter Mile Championships in the same car. Got second down there. After that the car won the Spooktacular at Afton so it doesn't matter if your frame is tweeked as long as it stays in place! As for Terry Hough he was driving his old Modified at Black Rock last Saturday!
Found a great photo of the Ernie June #59 @ Oswego. Talked to Bob June who shared this.... The driver at that time was Eldon Schrader from Sturgis, Michigan. He was about the wildest driver we had. He also made us the most money. 2nd on july 4th 1971=$1600, 4th in classic 200= $4000 in1971. The picture is of our 1st Oswego car and is dated 1970.
GREAT article on Dutch Hoag....
Donald Hoag: The King of Lang
Stock Car Racing Magazine February 24, 2009
If he'd never won the Race of Champions on the famed Langhorne mile in Pennsylvania, Donald "Dutch" Hoag would still be a legendary stock car driver, deserving of membership in the numerous halls of fame he's in. A weekend racer who always held a full-time job, the Bath, New York, resident pegs his win total at "about 400," then adds, "We counted up 100 just with the Turner Brothers car. But I never felt like a big deal. We picked on everybody, raised Cain after the races, and just had fun."
Hoag is best known for conquering Langhorne's treacherous near-circle and the brave men who raced there 5 of the 21 times the National Open/Race of Champions was held in the Philadelphia suburb. "Dutch owned Langhorne," says rival Kenny Shoemaker. "Before you could win there, you had to get his permission. When it was dirt, we could run with him, but when they paved it, it was a whole different story. "All that aside, he was also a classy guy. I can remember going to Rochester for a race at the Monroe County Fair when I was driving the 24 car. It came down to a shootout between Dutch and I. Neither of us gave an inch and when the white flag came out, I was leading. We caught a lapped car on the back, so I went high, but Dutch knew the guy always went high in the corners so he took the bottom and won it when the guy stuck me way out there. After he got his trophy, Dutch went over and chewed that guy out for costing me a race. That's the kind of guy he was."
Hoag, who retired and came back more times than any other driver, claimed the Race of Champions in 1956, 1960, and 1963 on dirt and twice more, 1967 and 1968, after the oval was paved. "We should have had two more wins," Hoag says matter of factly. "Twice we were ahead at the advertised distance, but they went yellow and at the end caution laps didn?t count. Both times we dropped out in the added laps before the race could be finished under green."
Not surprisingly, Hoag?s memories of Langhorne go back to the very first National Open, in 1951. "That was the race where they had the big fire. The car right behind me was the last one to get through. He hit a car and when it spun, the track was blocked. When we came around, there were 15 or 20 cars in there and Wally Campbell got burned really bad. They finally cleaned it up and we went on." Hoag?s first triumph came, like two later wins, in cars he didn?t normally run. "I won in 1956 driving Hal Kempeny?s car. It was a 1937 Ford coupe he?d bought from Pete Corey?s car owner. It had a Ford overhead V-8 and Bob Burns was the mechanic. As I remember, it wasn?t a very fancy car, but it was the same as everybody else had in those days."
The next two wins came in Dave McCredy's famed red, white, and black No. 33 coupes, renumbered No. 13 to avoid scoring conflicts with the team's primary car. "Dutch was one of the very best," says Bill Wimble, himself a two-time national NASCAR champion. "He was like Jeff Gordon. Things seemed to go his way, things you can't explain, plus he got around Langhorne just about as good as you could get around there. I can remember one year that he drove my team car where I lapped him and then broke the steering on my car. I went in, they welded it, and I went back out and passed Dutch again. Then the steering broke again and I dropped out. He won it."
When asked to describe a lap around the Langhorne mile, Hoag first explains how something that seems easy to one driver is sometimes hard for another, no matter how talented the driver might be. "I'll never forget Eddie Flemke. He wasn't getting around at all, so he came over and asked if I could tell him how to get around there. I said 'No, but if you're ready to go out, I can take you around. I'm going to practice a little, so follow me. And I'll tell you, I will not take you anyplace you'll be in trouble.' "We went out and when we came back in, he said 'I can see how you do it, but I'm still not sure I can do it by myself.' He went out and would have won the consy if the air cleaner didn't come off and short out the distributor, so I guess he remembered most of what I showed him." Warming to the task at hand, Hoag qualifies his description of a quick lap by saying, "I didn't drive it any different on the asphalt than I did on the dirt. I was never one to broadslide. The only time I got sideways was when there was trouble.
"Going past the flagstand, you knew there'd be holes down in one and two, where the water problem was. You just had to keep moving out as the holes got bigger. When it got too bad, then you had to keep the car straight and go through them. Then you had a little dogleg up around the back and you had to let the car go. It may have looked like a circle, but you didn't drive it that way. You had to hit three on the inside, then by the time you got over the tunnel turn you wanted to be back on the outside again. "It was an oiled, sandy surface. There was dirt in the air, but it never got really dusty. You could see OK and there was no problem knowing where you were. We had plastic sheets on the windshield to tear off, but I always ran a 3/4 windshield that I could see over if I had to. Normally, all you had to do was wipe your goggles off once in a while. "Besides running in the right place, the biggest factor at Langhorne was strategy. I never ran a car flat out if I didn't have to. I always tried to save it. People probably won't believe it, but I ran just as hard as I had to, no harder."
In 1967 Hoag parked the orange Turner Brothers coupe in Victory Lane for his fourth Langhorne win, one that didn't come as easily as it appeared. "I couldn't get around at all. It was just awful. We were in the motel that night and Donnie Turner got the idea to put a little wing on the back of the roof. So we built it and lettered 'Dutch's Restaurant' on the back of it and went back for the race. Al Tasnady had put something similar on the Piscopo car and he ended up second to us. The next year, the little wings weren't allowed." Hoag's final Langhorne win came in his own car with sponsorship from Gene DeWitt, who in later years would be nationally known for his support of perennial NASCAR Modified champion Richie Evans. "I didn't leave the Turners for any particular reason," recalls Hoag. "We're still good friends to this day. Lee was driving his own car at the time, so he got into the No. 18 for them."
For the uninitiated, "Lee" is Lee Osborne, the famed Sprint Car driver and fabricator who in his youth was Hoag's protege and today is his son-in-law. It's the years in between that make the story significant, a tale that unfolds after Hoag proudly displays a photo of his car on the pole at Langhorne with Ozzie's next to it, awaiting the start. "Lee and my daughter went together, years and years ago, when he was racing with us. Then each went their own way. Each got married and had their own lives and Lee ended up out in Indiana. After Donna lost her husband to cancer, they got together again after 30 years and got married. "I went out to Indiana with one of my tractor trailers and moved his shop equipment here and it's going great. He's got as much or more bull as I have and it's great having him around again." Hoag's final Langhorne win saw him take the checkers a full lap ahead of Bobby Gerhart. The most interesting momento of that race is a photo of his pit stop, with young Geoff Bodine holding the overflow can. "The first Modified Geoff ever drove was mine," recalls Dutch. "He'd been running out at his dad's track in Chemung and came to Shangri-La one night. I let him into my car and now he says it's all my fault, that he probably would have been a brain surgeon or something if I hadn't gotten him started.
"In 1969, Geoff handed the wrong tire over the wall on our stop and we had to come in again and change it. We laugh about that now too." In 1972, Bodine would win the first Race of Champions to be run at Trenton, New Jersey. While he was proud of Bodine, Hoag was also sad. "The Race of Champions was never the same after they dug up Langhorne. It never drew the crowd and never had the prestige it did then." Hoag?s memories of the final Langhorne event in 1971, won by Roger Treichler, are of a double-barreled struggle. He had Osborne in his new Valiant bodied creation and central Pennsylvania Sprint Car ace Mitch Smith in his coupe. "Lee got tapped from the rear and spun out and he flipped going into turn one. Mitch had problems from the day he started warming up. He just never did get going. He spun it, he stalled it, everything. I guess the problem was that he couldn?t let it hang out like he did his Sprint Car. "That?s my last memory of Langhorne, Ozzie down there in the ditch." Running well at the Race of Champions, never mind winning it, made you famous in the stock car world. It?s a good thing, because money alone wasn?t the attraction. "It was the final race of the year and it was a good time. You?d go down there with tents or a camper, because there weren?t many motels around then, and it was a get together. Everybody was there--Ray Tilley, Dick Tobias, Will Cagle, Budd Olsen, Wally Campbell, Wally Dallenbach--everybody.
"I guess the big thing about Langhorne was the satisfaction. When you won, you knew you?d beaten the best. Sometimes you had to have some luck to do it, same as you do today. It seemed like most years we?d either win or fall out. The only wreck I remember was when I got into the wall with my Camaro when Ray Hendrick blew a transmission right in front of me and I got into the gear oil, but it wasn?t bad." The affection for the long-gone speedway is obvious. But how about bad tracks, places he didn?t like to race? "I never had a bad race track. I can tell you the easiest track I ever drove: Daytona. We went on a shoestring, with an ex-Ray Fox 1965 Dodge that Gene DeWitt and I owned together. We blew an engine so I called Jim Delaney, who was shop foreman for Ray Nichols Engineering out in Indiana. He said to get a hold of Paul Goldsmith?s mechanic and have him look in the truck and find us an engine. We got one and it was a good one. Donnie Allison and Pete Hamilton kept talking to me and helped a lot. Donnie said ?Don?t lift quick and don?t jerk the wheel? and Pete told me ?You will not have any trouble here, the way you ran Langhorne,? and I didn?t." Dutch Hoag had come a long ways from his first race, which he still remembers like it was yesterday.
"Don Cleveland opened a track up here in Naples. I thought I wanted to try it and Bob Ratcliffe had a car. He'd had a falling out with his driver, Wendy Clauson, so I asked if I could drive it. He said 'No, if you want to drive it, own it.' So I went to my wife and said 'Give me $175' and we went up with a chain, paid for it, and towed it down to the track. That was it. And it was the cheapest race car I ever had. "That was 1949 and it was later that year, at the Civic Stadium in Corning, that I got my first win."
Four decades and all those wins later, Dutch still goes to work at his trucking company every day and he and Doris are still going to the racetrack. Grandson Alex runs at nearby Black Rock Speedway Friday nights and until the 1999 season, son Dean, Alex?s father, competed each Saturday at the Oswego Speedway, where he was among the top drivers in the Limited Supermodified division. "Alex started in the four cylinder Bandit class, for kids 13 to 16 years old," says the proud grandfather. "He won a handful of races before moving up, which is pretty good considering that when he started, he didn?t know what a clutch was for."
"I called him 'Alexander the Great' when he won the Super Stock feature the second time he ran in the division," says Black Rock announcer Gary Montgomery. "Here's a kid that still has to ride his bike to soccer practice because, at 15, he doesn't have a driver's license, and he beat all these 40-year-old guys that dominate the class. His Bully Hill Vineyards Taurus is a good car with a Larry Shaw chassis, but the reason he passes so many cars is that he's smooth, just like his grandfather."
If Alex pursues his dream to "go all the way in racing" and collects even a tiny portion of the respect and golden memories his grandfather has amassed, he'll be a rich man.
"I met worlds and worlds of people I wouldn't have met if I hadn't raced," says Hoag. "Back then, outsiders said there weren't any good people in racing, but they were wrong."
I know several of the folks on here are always looking for info on defunct racetracks and I found a gem in my collection. Here's something I knew I had but didn't find it until today. This is an aerial photo of Addison Hill Speedway that the Addison Hill Racing Assoc. sent out as a postcard to invite racers to their meeting. If you look closely there's two cars racing around the track. The one on the backstraight blends in so it's hard to see. No idea on photo credit except that it was obviously commisioned by AHRA. The post mark on the back is obscured but it ends in a "3" so I'm thinking 1963. I also scanned the back with the invite to my Father to attend their meeting and to bring a "friend"....lunch will be served...they knew how to get people to an event in those days!
Addison Hill Racing Assoc Postcard_NEW (Small).jpg
I've been meaning to post this for a couple weeks. A discussion sprang up on Facebook in regards to an Elmira track and one thing led to another. Brian South posted an aerial photo from 1938 which shows Tri-City Speedway's location. It was located EXACTLY where the Warplane museum was (the circular drive is right in front of that building). The amazing thing is that it sat within a hundred yards or so from the race track that was built in the early fifties (Airport Speedway). The second photo is from 1944 and by this time the track was vacant. You can see part of a run way on the southern part of the photo.
There have been discussions about these tracks, and I agree that the bigger one is under the war plane museum. But the track that was built in the 50's is pretty much still there according to these pictures.
Here is a 1968 aerial photo showing Airport Speedway...
This photo is a split view of 1968 and 2006 to see where on the property it sat...
Very cool Bob. They have built more stuff in that area in the past couple of years. That area is off limits as it is on either Sikorsky property or airport property so it's not possible to go "dig in the dirt" if you will. Nice to be able to finally pin-point Tri-City (the 1/2 mile track)