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Your Best Race Day Ever and Why? Please play along to kill some time...

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6 minutes ago, DaRooster said:

Please help me with the year, I still have the ticket somewhere.  ES 200, DIRT/Bridgeport scheduled against OCFS.  Bridgeport rained out, Hearn tows to OCFS, starts 38th, stop-and-go for fuel only, WINS!!!

2005

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Not really a particular race, but when I was a kid, opening day at Weedsport. They usually opened on a Sunday afternoon and it was before any other tracks opened so it was everybody's first chance to see all the new cars. Cars from all over New York and sometimes other states converging in the ( sometimes) bright early spring sun! I can still recall the smell of fresh paint (yes paint!!), race fuel, and hot dogs! And the sound of the unmuffled big block and late model engines!

A race that I wasn't involved in for me would have to be either Jack Johnson's first SDW win or Alan Johnson's first SDW win.

For me it would be two, 2002 SDS at Hagerstown, my first SDS win, or 2004 at Hagerstown in my first race for the Beachy team when we won the SDS race.

   

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13 minutes ago, DaRooster said:

Gary, did you finish 2nd that year?

 

No we didn't go to ESW that year. We did finish 3rd in 2004 to wrap up the Mr. DIRT title.

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 I have 3 memorable days being a crew member. Aug. 91 winning the Forrest Rogers Memorial at Grandview, Sept 91 winning the Grandview point championship and Sept 95 winning the Coalcracker at Big Diamond.

 

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1997 CMT100 at NHIS. Reggie Ruggiero started last 37th, and won. This was the first, and only time my father went to a race. We grew up in Norwood, Mass. and the Norwood Arena oval, and  drag strip was a major part of my teen, and early 20's years. Dad never wanted anything to do with the local racing. At the start of the feature I told dad to watch Reggie. By the end of the race he was jumping up and down, and cheering for Reggie. On the way home dad commented "what a race". The next year dad was getting radiation, and chemo for prostate cancer. His one and only race.

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The night Alan won driving Bobs backup car at Canandaigua. Or the 1st Friday night lights at Syracuse. 
Maybe 1994 at Syracuse. It was a long day with a lot of beverages. My wife tells me it was a good time & we’re still married. 

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For me it was the first time I won a heat race in the modified division at Fonda Speedway. 

RJ was second, Pat Ward 3rd, I was was well underfunded compared to the rest of the drivers. 

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Absolutely totally selfish but I guess that is the type of question.  But, when I drove Mark Zemcik's sprint car in a CRSA show at Afton/I88.   I raced go-carts and even street stocks a few times, even hot lapped Doug Emery's 360 sprint (And you should have seen the smile then)....but. 

To run an actual event in a real sprint car will probably be the biggest memory I will have in all the years of my racing.  To have my pops there as well as many friends and even had Emery as crew chief made for a special night.  

I wanted to do three things:

A.) Have Fun.

B.) Legitimately pass cars.

C.) Run the entire A-Main and bring it home in one piece (Started 23rd and finished 18th.) 

Hell, I even snucked in the victory lane picture (Jamie Cristian was lapping me coming for the checkered. Lol).

Just a real cool night and can't thank Mark enough for his trust!!   As far as watching, not to cop out, but there has just too many that these eyes have seen to pick just one. 

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May 2012....first Indianapolis 500 in person.  Watching something this big on TV your whole life and then finally seeing it in person is something I'll always remember.  People that know me know that I hate the heat, and it was mid 90's that day under a blazing sun.  But we stuck it out and enjoyed every second of it.  A last lap balls out go-for-it move by Takuma Sato came up just short and he wound up in the fence, giving Dario Franchitti the win.  Never thought I would hear a crowd loud enough to drown out the sound of Indy cars at speed, but that last lap they did it....

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1980 Fonda Speedway-Lou Lazzaro's 100th win at the track.   

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The 1981 Dogwood 500 Classic at Martinsville VA modified portion of the 500. The race between Richie Evans and Geoff Bodine and the two of them crashing at the checkered flag with Richie up on two wheels on the wall getting the checkered flag and the win. The mods alway put on a great race at Martinsville and seeing they are returning again this year if the race is held I may just head back again.

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On 3/22/2020 at 12:43 PM, gary tomkins said:

Not really a particular race, but when I was a kid, opening day at Weedsport. They usually opened on a Sunday afternoon and it was before any other tracks opened so it was everybody's first chance to see all the new cars. Cars from all over New York and sometimes other states converging in the ( sometimes) bright early spring sun! I can still recall the smell of fresh paint (yes paint!!), race fuel, and hot dogs! And the sound of the unmuffled big block and late model engines!

A race that I wasn't involved in for me would have to be either Jack Johnson's first SDW win or Alan Johnson's first SDW win.

For me it would be two, 2002 SDS at Hagerstown, my first SDS win, or 2004 at Hagerstown in my first race for the Beachy team when we won the SDS race.

   

It's weird Gary...  I still remember the smell of the french fries cooking at Fonda from when i sat up in the stands as a kid...  We'd get the first fries dumped every week.... 

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I am sure Mike Mallett could guess mine!

It was the 1987 Miller 200 at Syracuse, after many years of trying Jimmy Horton finally won the 200! Having been a lifelong Horton fan it was a day I will always remember! It became even more special in later years due to the fact I missed his second 200 win in 1994 due to a family commitment.

Ken Bruce

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22 minutes ago, Outlaw Photos said:

It's weird Gary...  I still remember the smell of the french fries cooking at Fonda from when i sat up in the stands as a kid...  We'd get the first fries dumped every week.... 

I can remember the songs they played over the PA while the track was being packed in the late 50's......."Sleep Walk" by Johnny & Santo & "Yakety Yak" by  the oasters as well as "Sweet Nuthins" by Brenda Lee.....showing my age.....LOL 

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I have a couple of different ones as well.

As a kid I loved going to Fonda and the butterflies of excitement I got when coming across the bridge...it still sticks with me to this day.

My father, brother, and I were at a late season race at Fonda in the Fall of 1992 and Ronnie Holmes' street stock was flying around the track with a For Sale sign on it.  I was 23 and my brother was 17 at the time.  My brother nudged me and asked what I thought about buying the car and going racing.  We have an unspoken odds and even game and we threw to see who was going to ask our father.  I lost, so I nudged my father and asked him what he thought about buying the car and going racing.  We went into the pits afterward and struck a deal with Ronnie, and a month later we had his total street stock (now called Pro Stock) operation.  Cool side story; we raced out of Holmes' shop on race weekends and Ronnie's parents (Ralph and Chris) and my parents became very close friends, traveling to various places around the country and Caribbean together multiple times per year.

Racing wise my best memory is actually a 2nd place finish.  I struggled the two-thirds of my rookie year (1993) running the Outlaw Circuit, but I started getting it together late in the year.  We went up to the VT Dirt Track Championships at Devil's Bowl late that year to get some extra seat time and I almost won it.  I led a lot of the race from 5th place starting spot.  We had a red flag situation for a flip with 5 laps to go.  On the restart I slipped up the track a little in turn 1 (tires had sealed over, I am sure) and Dave Chenette snuck by underneath me.  I finished a close 2nd but realized "I could do this" and it gave me the confidence I needed going into the following year.

Jim Becker

J&J Racing

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On 3/22/2020 at 12:43 PM, gary tomkins said:

Not really a particular race, but when I was a kid, opening day at Weedsport. They usually opened on a Sunday afternoon and it was before any other tracks opened so it was everybody's first chance to see all the new cars. Cars from all over New York and sometimes other states converging in the ( sometimes) bright early spring sun! I can still recall the smell of fresh paint (yes paint!!), race fuel, and hot dogs! And the sound of the unmuffled big block and late model engines!

 

Same here. I only remember missing one opening day at Weedsport from 1972-1984 (1978). Probably ran in to you at one time or another without knowing it.

As far as a single race, I'd have to say the USAC race at Syracuse in 1974. There was nothing like seeing Unser and Andretti go at it. For an 8 year old, there was nothing like it in the world. 

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It really isn't a race day, but it does have to do with everything about racing.

I was like 7 or 8 years old, bored out of my mind. So I decided I was going to do some snooping in my parents closet. I was actually looking for my brothers old drumming pad and drum sticks. What I found was an old racing trophy from the 50s. For the rest of the weekend I was asking my dad about his racing. Question after Question..  My dad hadn't been to a race track since he quit racing, but I begged him and my mom. My mom was all for it, she never got to go to the races back then cause my grand mother said proper ladies don't go to the races. But she always wanted to go. So that spring we drove up to Fonda for their season opener. I have like patches for memory. I remember CD won the show. But it was so awesome, later that year we started going to OCFS every few weeks. Then the next year we would go a little more and a little more. And we would travel to the Valley and up to Rolling Wheels, Syracuse, and then bought a camper in the 80s and started staying at the fair grounds during Super DIRT Week and ESW. I always loved getting to see drivers I usually never got a chance to. That is why I always loved Rolling Wheels. Thats when I would get to see all my favorites, Doug Hoffman, Kenny Brightbill, Joe Plazek, Bob McCreadie, Charlie Rudolph, Mike Romano and Frank Cozze. And a lot of others. So many.. I just love racing. Never had the opportunity do it myself cept on DTR and DTR2.. oh I loved that game. I played for hours and hours in the early 2000's

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Watching Billy Pauch set the 1 mile world record at Syracuse a bunch of years ago will always be near the top of things I'm glad I got to see. That was pretty special.

Danny Johnson won 2 of my most favorite events, but I am an Alan Johnson fan. The last to first show in the Bill Trout car at Rolling Wheels will always be one of my favorites. And then again at Syracuse when Danny squeezed he wall to get back by Jimmy Horton was another. That happened on my camera.

I was also one of the camera operators at Thompson when Reggie Ruggiero came out of retirement and blistered the field twice - only to get taken out by a lapped car near the end. Reggie really deserved that win and got robbed.

I remember going to Hagerstown in March one year and saw an EPIC battle for the lead with Gary Tomkins that lasted 75 to 80 laps of the scheduled 100.

I was also at the National Open at Williams Grove when Freddie Rahmer shocked the world and won his first and only Open on his last run there. Traditionally, Williams Grove fans don't care much for Freddie. But this night they were all squeezing for him and there wasn't a dry eye in the place when he pulled it off. I don't ever remember a race carrying that much emotion.

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1998 rolling wheels dr wins from last in bill trout #84 a car he never even sat in until feature time.

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1. 2010- CVD from 23rd to 1st at Grandview Super Dirt Car Series Race,

2. Anything from the Mile- lots of memorable races

3. Early 2000's at Black Rock when a 360 Sprint during the Bully Hill Nationals went out of turn 4 into the trees

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1 hour ago, jodyr said:

1. 2010- CVD from 23rd to 1st at Grandview Super Dirt Car Series Race, 

That's pretty much every other night at Grandview.

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Any sds pro stock race from the late 90’s though the early 2000’s. Dam that class was loaded with talent back then 

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Another favorite race that comes to mind was the 1977 Freedom 76 when Doug “The Ox” Carlyle came to town and showed the locals how to get it done and won the race.

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I have great memories from all of the Victoria 200 weekends. Mostly throughout the 90s and early 2000s. Unbelievable amount of cars and drivers from all over the northeast. The hill would be covered during the drivers meetings. Camping was awesome and usually had great racing. Tommy Kinsella winning running the infield, Pauchs tantrum afterwards will always be a memory. 

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