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GREASE! Hosted By:  Cemetery Jim


The Time Machine !     by Cemetery Jim       September 6th, 2004

On Saturday night,  September 6th, I took a trip back in time.   A trip to the summer of 1957.   How did I do that? Well, I went to a speedway I haven't been to since 1957, and I watched the old coupes and coaches race, I watched the midgets race and it was like I was 12 again, traveling with the Raymer Ford Midget, on the NASCAR midget circuit, (Yes, NASCAR had a midget sanctioning division then).

I could almost see Johnny Coy Sr., in the black and red Vitucci Offy # 10 , Jim Whitman, and Tommy Elliott in the twin bright red Ken Brenn Offys, with their Gold Leaf numbers and lettering, #s 20 and 24, working their way from the back of the pack to the front in a line as they usually did. It always amazed me that Jim Whitman was a commercial artist from NY and could drive a race car like he did, too... some people have too much talent, c'mon share a little !

I imagined that the Ken Brenn teams were over in the pits, next to each other, each sporting a brand new Ford ranch wagon tow car, with a brand new "offy" engine sitting in the back of each wagon, just in case, as they were in 1957. Each of those Offy engines cost more than the New Ford wagons they were in.

I could almost picture the parking lot, filled with Fords and Chevys with skirts, continentals, duals with glass or steel pack mufflers, and Olds or Dodge spinners wheel covers, and wide whitewalls waiting to tear out of there and play the race cars on the way home.

I had a pit pass, but since I hadn't been there since 1957, and at that time, I was only 12, I couldn't go to the pits then, so Saturday night, I decided to sit in the stands, in the same place I always did back then, 47 years ago.

I gotta tell ya... it brought back some of the best memories of my life. I thought of the night that the midgets had finished their warm ups and were pulled down on the infield while the modifieds warmed up, and somehow Parker Bohn in the 659 got crossed up in turn 4 and went down in the infield and ran right up and over a midget with the driver sitting in it. No cages on midgets then, but, somehow the driver was OK.  I thought of Don Stumpf in his red and white #2, flying around that track, I thought of a lot of things, and... for a few hours... I wasn't 58 anymore, I was 12 again, and that was a really great feeling.

Where was I?  Racing heaven, you say?  No I was at Wall Stadium. Yeah I know they call it Wall Township Speedway NOW, but remember, I was back in 1957, and then it was Wall Stadium.   OK, the coupes and coaches were Legends Cars, BUT they WERE coupes and coaches, not the rubber stamped modifieds of today. Each car had it's own individual character. And the midgets,were really TQs, but the way they get around that speedway looks to me as fast as the offy full midgets did in '57 !  It was a great show. 

The track looked exactly as I remembered it, except maybe a little neater, and of course it now has the small go cart track in the infield.  Besides the Legends, and TQs, of course they ran NASCAR Dodge series (Rubber stamped) Modifieds, Pro Stocks, which as best I can figure are sportsman, ALLSTAR trucks, and Street Stocks, all of which seemed exciting on that high banked paved Bristol type track.  

It's a fairly long drive for me to go there, but, I'll go again, you just can't beat going back to being a 12 year old traveling with a real racing team. 

You know what???   Maybe it was "Racing heaven" after all!!! 

Cemetery Jim


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09/06/04  From 3 Wide:  I really enjoy the feeling that you get when you first catch the view from behind the top of the stands as you first enter the place!  It's just such a great setting to watch stock car races from.  My preference has always been a dirt surface, but I know that's not the case for all.  Truth is that as soon as my regular stop rains out on a Saturday night, we just point the truck toward 195 East and head over to Wall!
09/06/04  From Ned Stites III:   Weather permitting I will be attending at Wall Stadium (Twp.) this  week.   I really feel the deep sense of history when I am there.   I almost can see Tommie Elliott, Don Stumpf, and Joe Kelly doing  battle on the banked turns.  This sense of of the past is very important to  me.  I need this connection with the past to fully enjoy the event.   Now that I've read the latest entry of "Grease", I know I am not alone.   Certain tracks have that aura that brings to life the memories we all  cherish.  I almost feel like I'm 7 years old again!


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