"Sammy... BEAVERS!"

Ace Lane Jr. composite photo - Ace Lane Jr. provided.

There was something about the way announcer Bill Singer would call out "Sammy BEAVERS...." that would stop everyone in their tracks.  When you heard that call, as only Bill could deliver it, you knew that it was time to take your seat and get ready to watch one of the best do his thing. 

My first recollection of Sam was driving the Jim Horton Sr. "Air Park Bowling" #43 coupe in the early 70's, however Sammy already had a decade of racing in by then.  Like many of you, I enjoyed watching Sammy on the track in such rides as the Horton "Corn Car", The Norcia #81 coupe, and "The Black Horse Racing #81 Gremlins" throughout the 70's.

In addition to being one of the most exciting drivers on the track, I think it's safe to say that Sammy might have been the most respected driver on the track too.  Sam's straightforward manner was clearly evident inside the car as it was outside of the car, and I'm sure that driver's knew that when Sammy pulled alongside, that he'd race them hard, but he'd always race them clean.  That was the respect that Sammy had, and that he deserved when behind the wheel or when walking through the pits.

Off the track, I have seen many driver's refer to Sammy as having been the driver that provided guidance and advice throughout their career.  As mentioned above, Sammy would race you tough on the track, but would be the first to help you out in the pits.

Of all of Sammy's great accomplishments behind the wheel, perhaps his greatest accomplishment is the idea that he had over 45 years ago to do something to help the kids at the Matheny School.  As many of you know, the Matheny School in Peapack NJ is a facility that provides care for those children and young adults who need it the most.  What some of you might not know is that it is because of Sammy Beavers that there is a connection between the school, and the local racing community.

Sammy had visited the school's original location in Far Hills on a school class trip when he was just a child.  The class would write cards/letters that they would then provide to the kids at the Matheny School.  Sammy visited that school, and it touched him.  He saw those that were less fortunate...  One of those kids he remembers from that early visit to the school, was a boy named "Chuck."  Sammy wished there was a way to help out those who he had met.

Sam never forgot about those kids.

Years later, Sammy would become one of the top modified racers in the area.  Folks from East Windsor to Reading would come to know the name "Sammy BEAVERS!"  Sammy's popularity made him a hit at the photo stand too.  One night when discussing the sale of photos, he and Ace Lane agreed that a percentage of the money that was generated from the sale of photos of Sammy would go to the Matheny School.  Sammy and Ace might not have realized it at the time, but it was from that agreement, that it all began.  From there, Ace and Sammy thought of additional ways that they could do more positive things for the kids at the school.  I'm not sure of the details, but I know that AARN writer Ken Kuhlman and modified driver Mike Grbac added their support as well.  The idea of providing donations from the sale of photos turned into an annual event with the purpose of supporting the school, and those students... like Chuck... that Sammy still remembered from that school class trip years before.

Through the years, the event, and the fund raising process has changed, but the goal to help the kids has always been the driving force.  Years past have seen gatherings and events that featured items for auction, and racing movies, where the proceeds went to the Matheny School.  It's my understanding that each year, there was always some type of event put on by the local racing community, and that tradition continues today in the form of a Christmas Party.

...So here it is 45+ years later, and each year, the local short track racing community reaches into their hearts and finds a way through good times and bad, to support what has now become known as the Matheny Christmas Party.  Each year, donations are collected from the generous fans of short track racing, and a group of dedicated volunteers do everything they can to see that each of the children/young adults receive their special gifts.  Those gifts are given out each year at the party, by Santa himself.  It is a powerful day for all who attend, and a day of joy for those who deserve it the most.

.... So here it was December 17th, 2016....  Another Matheny Christmas Party.  Gifts were being given out by Santa... Holiday music played in the background...  And there was Sammy watching on... and there was Ace making one of the students laugh....  and there was "Chuck", that boy that Sammy had seen on his class trip... so many years before... 

You just never know what an idea will lead to.

Sometimes we measure a man by his wins total... or by his championships... or by his daring feats behind the wheel.  Sometimes we measure a man by his accomplishments off the track, and how those accomplishments result in positive change for those around him.

When you size up Sammy Beavers, it doesn't matter which you choose.  By any measure, Sammy is "The Best."

Thank you for taking us on the ride Sammy.

(Special thanks to the photographers and to the providers of the images below, along with those who provided car owner/location/date information.)

Paul Popadiuk - Flemington - 1959

Owner:  Mike Wilczek (Wilczek Builders of Manville) - Nazareth - 1964

Owner:  Mike Wilczek (Wilczek Builders of Manville) - Location - 1964

Owner:  Mike Wilczek (Wilczek Builders of Manville) - Location? - 1965

Owner:  Mike Wilczek (Wilczek Builders of Manville) - Nazareth - 1965

Paul Deasey owned.  Flemington - Year (?) 

Tom Grbac owned - Harmony? - 1966

Tom Grbac owned - track unknown - 1966

Owner:  Jim Fodor - Flemington - 1968?

Owner:  Jim Horton - Flemington - 1969

Owner:  Don House - Langhorne Speedway - 1969

Owners:  Jim Horton - Flemington - 1969 or 1970

Owners:  Jim Horton - Flemington - 1970

Owner:  Tony Ruberti - East Windsor - 1970

John Burnett (modifications from Jim Horton)  Nazareth Big Track - (Year?)

Owner:  Jim Horton - Flemington - 1971

Owners:  L Martin, S Beavers & E Perchel - Flemington (Year?)

Owner:  George "Uncle Forman" Butler - Flemington (Year?)

Owner:  Jim Horton - Flemington - Year?

Owner:  Jim Horton - East Windsor - 1972

Owner:  Jim Horton - Nazareth - 1972

Owner:  Paul Deasey - Reading - Year 1972

Owner:  Paul Deasey - Reading - Year 1972

Owner:  Kennedy-Machemer - Reading - 1972

Owner:  Augie Lieber -Track? - Year?

Owner:  Joe Scarmadella - Track? - Year 1972

Owner:  Joe Scarmadella - Flemington? - Year 1972

Owner:  Joe Scarmadella - Nazareth - Year 1973

Owner:  Jimmy Klim - Unknown - 1973

Owner:  Jim Horton - Flemington - 1974?

Owner:  Jim Horton - East Windsor - 1974?

Owner:  Jim Horton - Syracuse - 1974?

Owner:  Norcia - Flemington - 1975?

Owner:  Norcia - East Windsor - 1976

Owner:  Tony Sesely - Reading - 1977?

Owner:  Norcia - Syracuse - 1977/1978?

Owner:  Norcia - Flemington - 1979?

Owner:  Anthony Sessely - Nazareth - 1979

Owner:  George Thode - Flemington - 1979

Owner:  Jim Horton - Track? - 1980

Owner:  Jim Horton - East Winsor Speedway - 1980

Owner:  Ferriauolo - Syracuse - 1980

Owner:  Norcia - Flemington - Year?

Owner:  Norcia - Track? - Year?

Owner:  Norcia -Nazareth - 1983

Owner:  Dave Gaston - Flemington - 1983

Owner:  Joe Conti? - Syracuse - Year

Owner:  Jim Horton - Flemington - 1984

Owner:  David Graham - Flemington - Year

Owner:  Charlie Kingmen - Flemington - 1991?

Here's some of the cars that Sammy drove (by car # lowest to highest):

#XL-1 Don House owned - driven at Langhorne 1960's)

#1 sedan - Burnett owned/Horton modified big track car - early 70's

#1 - Jim Horton owned (white Gremlin like) - 1984

#3 coupe (L Martin, S Beavers, E Perchel owned) late 60's or early 70's

#5 maroon Coupe - George "Uncle Forman" Butler -  late 60's or early 70's

#7 - Grbac owned coupe (purple/yellow?) - 60's

#13 - white coupe - Jim Fodor owned 1960

#16 - Tony Sessely owned - 1979

#24 - Ken Brenn Sr owned - 1973

#28 white coupe owned by Mike Wilczek (Wilczek Builders of Manville) - 1964

#28 gray sedan owned by Mike Wilczek (Wilczek Builders of Manville) 1965

#29 sprint out of Wilkes-Barre sponsored by Flight 216

#33 - "Corn Car (offset)" cream colored/orange - owned by Jim Horton - 1977?

#33 - Blue and silver Weld car - owned by George Thoede - 1978?

#42 - Joe Conti yellow/orange (Syracuse) 1980's

#43 - Jim Horton Sr blue sedan - early 70's

#43 - Jim Horton Sr blue coupe - early 70's

#43 - Jim Horton owned blue Gremlin - early 70's

#43 - Jim Horton owned white & maroon #43 Gremlin - early 70's

#43 - Jim Horton owned white & maroon #43 Mustang - early 70's

#43 - Charlie Kingman's owned - Late Model at Flemington - 90's

#51M - Michel Brothers 51m at Bridgeport (80's)

#56 - blue coupe Kennedy-Machemer owned - Reading - early 1970's

#57 - Augie Lieber owned brown & white sedan - early 70's

#57 - Dave Graham owned (1980's)

#73 - Ferriaoulo King car (Syracuse) 1980?

#77 - Sena's Atlantic on the side (color?) - 60's

#81 - Norcia coupe -mid 70's.

#81 - Norcia Pinto -1976 or '77.

#81 - Norcia Gremlin - 78 and beyond

#81 - Norcia sheet metal "Gremlin Like" - early 80's

#97 - Ruberti owned coupe (copper color) - early 70's

#112 - Dave Gaston sprint

#121 - red & white King Chevrolet sedan - 1972?

#121 - white & gold King Chevrolet sedan - 1973?

#707 - Deasey owned  - mid 60's

#707 - Deasey owned (possibly Deasey's last coupe) - early 70's

#747 owned by Jimmy Klim - 1973

If you've got an original photo in your possession of a car with Sammy at the wheel, that does not appear in the table above, email it to us, along with your name and the photographer's name and we'll add it!
Sammy Beaver's photos can be emailed to:  Beavers@3WidesPictureVault.com

A few images of Sammy out of the car!

at Nazareth in the early 1960's

Sammy in his office - 1973?

Sammy in victory lane at Flemington - 1973?
More on the way...

and Jimmy Horton

Sammy with the Jim Horton owned "Corn Car" modified

Sammy next to Jim Horton owned modified

Sammy with Ken Brenn Sr (seated) at New Egypt Legends event

Billy Osmun (L), Tony Norcia (center) and Sammy (R) at New Egypt Legends

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Copyright 2002 by 3 Wide's Picture Vault - All Rights Reserved.  Born on date Novermber 13, 2002