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|Photo ID #||f11.14.09_292_MIC_FLM_0074F_1|
|Driver (s) :||Al Michalchuk|
|Photo provided by:||3 Wide|
...just found these 2 "Kodak 110 Instamatic" photos that I took when
I was 13 years old in the pits at Flemington. I remember being too shy
to ask Al if I could take his photo, and Al being too shy to volunteer, so
Al's wife Peggy asked Al to pose for the pictures you see above.
Not only was it pretty cool to find these 35 year old photos, but it's pretty neat to read what I had written on the back of each at that time!
For those who can't read my writing, on the back of the photo it says, "Michalchuk at Flemington, NJ around August 1974. 1rst Modified car of his own. Pictured here after qualifying and running in feature. (He flipped this car about 1 month before this, and 2 weeks after.)
The second photo was taken on the same night. The writing on the back of that one says, "Michalchuk at Flemington. He totaled this car about 2 weeks later at East Windsor. He was passing on the outside on 1st lap of consi and was cut off by Dave Ruberti (#97) and the 292 flipped side over side. Michalchuk has a messed up back. Only motor, trans and seat was good."
Well, that's what I wrote then, and that's what I thought, but about 5 years ago I had a chance to talk to Al and he told me that the flip at East Windsor with the #97 of Dave Ruberti was all his fault. He said a piece broke in the front end and the frame dug into the track, launching the car side over side... and the #97 got into it after the fact. (My apologies to Dave Ruberti!) What's really sad about that one accident is that it destroyed 2 of my all time favorite cars... the #292 sedan that you see above, and the #97 bronze colored coupe that I think was driven a few years earlier by Sammy Beavers and by Al Tasnady....
The car was totally destroyed, with only the engine, trans and seat being salvageable. The car was scrapped. He did climb out of the car on his own after the flip, but his back bothered him for a while after the accident.
Al returned to racing a few weeks later with a red coupe from New England that I was told was a former Bobby Dragon asphalt car. The car had a #37 kinda written on it for the first week or two that he ran it... The car was kinda dated looking, but Al was getting around pretty good in it. Al decided to stencil his familiar #292 on the car and the very next week, he flipped it in spectacular fashion down the frontstretch at East Windsor, pretty much ending his first year in the modifieds...
Al would return the following year in a homebuilt Gremlin with a Mike Kostic frame. The first year the car would be dark blue... the following year it was light blue... and its final year (1977) the car was white.
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|11.15.09||Jack Kromer||Neat stuff Joe. It's so cool when you find those old racing treasures.|