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GREASE! Hosted By:  Cemetery Jim

November 17th, 2007

The NEW Coupes and Coaches

Those of you who read this column regularly know that 3wide and I both would love to see the coupes and coaches come back. A long time ago I did an illustration which ran in this column of my perception of using some of the older bodies on the new chassis. I chose a Troyer dirt chassis, for no particular reason, (a Teo, Bicknell, Dirt Wheels, etc. would work just as well), and through computer magic put coupes, coaches, gremlins, etc. on it.

This illustration ran over a year ago. I just discovered that these cars are actually racing in New England. I was just perusing a copy of the August 24th Area Auto Racing News, and on page 53 there's a picture of a number of coupes coming out of a corner. (Picture #2 if you have that AARN) The pictures aren't individually captioned, so, I thought it was just a picture from the old days. A couple weeks ago I took the time to read the captions at the bottom of the page under all the pictures, and discovered these cars were running in 2004, at Cannaan Speedway, in New Hampshire.

I jumped on the phone and called Canaan Speedway, and discovered that they still run there, and at one other New England Speedway. They call them "Sportsman Coupes". As you may be able to see in the picture below, of the actual cars running in Canaan under that class, they are built on current Troyer, Teo, Buckle, etc chassis, but the bodies are the old coupes and coaches. They're VERY popular up there. Most of the guys, they told me, use the roof, and the back end from a 1930s car, and then form the rest of the body themselves out of sheet metal. The only other rule is they have to change the rear springs to leaf springs. Here they are... getting lined up and ready to go - OK, so we'll never see Jackie McLaughlin, Tas, Olsen, Buzzie, and so forth again, but it's as close as we can get.



They also have a 305 cu. in. limit, but I would go with a 358 limit since that's the current popular small block in this area, and there are plenty around.

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CRATE ENGINES - Great, if you're racing a crate !

I have no clue who's idea it was to start using "Crate Engines" for various classes. Personally, I think the old, "Here's a rule book, build a car and engine that complies with these rules" is the only way that makes any sense. The guy who can build the best engines should be allowed to build it, whether it's for his own car, or to sell to others. By the same token, If I want to build my own engine from a used block I pick up at the junkyard, why shouldn't I be allowed to do that, so long as the finished engine meets the specs in the rule book.

Interestingly, none of the tracks that require specific "Crate Engines" require you to run particular chassis, like you have to run a Teo, or Bicknell, etc. Why should any racer have to run a certain engine, purchased from a certain place, and so forth.

For one thing, to the best of my knowledge, all the "Crate Engines" are Chevys. So, what's wrong with the Mopar and Ford guys? Why can't they run their favorite brand engines?

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Ever get the feeling the whole world is going nuts?????

While I'm at it, I might as well get one more pet peeve off my mind. How many classes of cars do these promoters think they need, to draw a crowd? I don't think people want to sit there for 5 or 6 hours watching 5 different classes of cars race. Why not just have Big Block modifieds, and sportsmen?

I think the front gate would increase because of better quality racing, and shorter times sitting there in those uncomfortable seats. Plus they could come later, and get home earlier. Then, purses could be raised and more cars would go to your speedway because of the increased purse. Even more fans would then come because of having more, and better, cars and drivers. It's a win - win situation. (You may need to read the preceding paragraph several times to get what I was trying to say, I know I did).

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I recently attended the annual reunion that Ralph Richards, historian, and track photographer, puts on . As always it was great. It's always wonderful to see some of the guys I knew who were racing 40 years ago. Missing from the reunion this year was "The Wild Man" Elton Hildreth. We missed you Elton, hope you can make it next year.

As I wish you all a great Holiday Season, my prayers go out to the family of the late John Blewett III.

On the other hand, I sincerely hope that dope addict, NASCAR and Sprint Car driver Tyler Walker is banned from ever climbing in a race car, or even entering a pit again. Oh... I hope he has a rotten Holiday Season too!

This is just the kind of driver who gets high on dope, then drives out on the track and kills someone like John Blewett, Jackie McLaughlin, Otto Harwi, and on and on.

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Date Time Comment
11/18/07 Chris Pedersen The only sad part is that he, (Walker), threw it all away. I have known him for about 8 years. At the Eldora 4 crown in 06", i asked if he was clean. i told him this, (NASCAR CRAFTSMAN), truck deal would be his last chance. He told me he was, guess he wasn't.

It is like Aaron Fike getting busted for herion at Kings Island in Cincinnati. DUMB!!!!! These kids have no concept of value until they throw it all away. These two guys are a perfect example of what happens when you don't have to work for anything.They took it all for granted.

I know ten kids out here in Indiana, who would do all they could to get the chances these two had.  And they wouldn't take it for granted.
11/18/07 Cemetery Jim I agree completely. Tyler and Fike both had a lot of talent. I really don't know Fike's story, but for Walker, he never had to work and sweat for anything. I think that keeps you from appreciating what you've got. I remember when Tyler was about 18 he had a top notch. money is no object, Outlaw team. I believe his Daddy owned .

Nobody ever gave anything to me. I had to work hard to earn every little advancement I got, so I was proud and thankful for everything. I would not have dreamed in a million years of doing anything to screw it up. Eventually I worked my way into a top notch Sprint car ride It took me about close to ten years, but I never left that team and we got a lot of wins

Human nature being what it is, sure, I envied the guys that were handed everything on a silver platter by Daddy, but when you really examine it closely we were the lucky ones, not them. We got a lot more out of our accomplishments than they ever could, because we did it ourselves!

Thanks for your comments Chris. Do you mind if I publish them in my column under comments?

Thanks a lot Chris, Stay in touch, I like the way you think ! Cemeteryjim
11/18/07 Chris Pedersen No Jim, go ahead. You are also right. Something earned always carries more value then something given. As for Fike, about 5 years ago he was in the Hemelgarn IRL program, but got caught doing drugs. He missed the deal because he had to go to rehab.

This year he was in the top ten in truck points. He went to Kings Island amusement park in ohio on an off day. While there he had a run in with a security guard. When the police arrived they found herion in his car.He claims it wasn't his, but he threw his career away. His father owns a lot of nursing homes in Illionis.He has spent more money on his kids racing , then i will make in my lifetime, but it still didn't get him anywhere.
11/18/07 Jan Games Jim , I just had to comment about how much I liked your 'retro coupe" renderings. They look fantastic! I've considred putting a Falcon body ala-Gerald Chamberlain on my small block Bicknell for the '09 season and wondered how it would look with the side pods, enclosed hood and longer doors. Now I have my answer! Here in W/Pa, we run under very loosely Interpereted DIRT body rules and the Falcon would be legal. I think it would be a real crowd pleaser, particularly since we consider Gerry one of our own. Thanks for giving my idea a fresh breath and have a good one..:)
11/24/07 3Wide Just a comment on the last sentence of this month's edition of Grease:   While I have no room in sports or in my personal life for drugs, I am concerned that the last paragraph may imply that drugs, or those under their influence may have contributed in anyway to the death of the drivers mentioned.  It is my understanding that the deaths of the individuals listed above, although tragic, were all racing accidents and nothing more.
12/17/07 CemeteryJim Thank you, 3 wide, for clarifying that last sentence in my column. As you so astutely deduced, I never meant to insinuate that any of those drivers, or any other particular driver was injured or killed due to an intoxicated driver, or by one who was high on some other drug at the time. I only meant to point out that the likelyhood of a serious accident is much higher when some drivers are less than clean and sober. Perhaps all drivers involved in serious accidents should be drug and alcohol tested immediately, just to be sure

Last year, in the URC sprints, Mares Stellfoox had led essentially the entire feature. The last few laps Curt Michael had been running the low line, and Mares the high line. Curt could get up along side her in the middle of the turns, but her momentum would carry her right past him when they hit the straights, and he couldn't get by.

On the 4th turn of the last lap, Curt intentially steered his car up the track, slammed his right rear tire into Stellfox's left rear tire, slamming her hard into the outside concrete wall and totalling her car. (Yes, after drilling him on it, and telling him I had a tape that proved he did it on purpose, Michael admitted he did it on purpose, and I have that on tape). The crowd was up in arms yelling for Michaels to be disqualified. URC did disqualify him until the crowd left, then reversed it and just set him back a position or two. The question is, would Curt have risked Mares's life just to win the race if he was clean and sober? I don't know ! If he would he should be banned from racing. If he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, he still should be banned, The difference is some drivers would never do that, or make bad mistakes out there if not on some substance, and we need to keep them off the track when under the influence, as well as those with no concience who would do it clean and sober.

12/17/07 3-Wide I was at Grandview that night, and I had a great view of the incident as I was sitting in the stands between 3 & 4.  In my opinion, it was a very agressive move... it was the last lap...  He took a chance.  I'll even bet that he knew there was a high probability that the two would make contact.  And he still made the move.

I just don't see why we need "drugs" and "being under the influence" needs to be brought into the discussion.  I think the opportunity to win a race on the last turn of an event is enough to make a lot of drivers take what others would call an unnecessary chance.  I'm not saying its right, but it happens.

I didn't like the move... I wanted Mares to win, but I think it was a move that wouldn't have been made if it was a battle for any other position, or if it was a different lap.   For that reason, I'm comfortable with filing it away in that catagory.

After all, when Earnhardt Sr. took out Terry Labonte about 10 years ago on the last turn of the last lap at Bristol, I didn't see an outcry to drug test him.
12/17/07 Al Torney (Tyler) Walker already has a ride for next year in a sprint, midget or Silver Crown from what I've read.

Al Torney
Maryland Stock Car Racing Hall of Fame
Annapolis, Md.
12/17/07 Cemeteryjim Al, I guess there are scumbag owners out there as well as drivers. As long as there car can win, the heck with everybody else. If they die, they die !

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