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Random Memories of OCFS. Got any?

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I've been going to OCFS since I was a baby.  I don't get to go as much these days but recently I've had a lot of random memories that pop up that most probably don't share...or haven't thought about in a long time.


Poster Night - Doing my best to color a modified of Sammy Rogers, Andy Belmont, Robbie Green, or Carl Collis and then getting to stand on the track!


Lucky Numbers in the program - we'd be standing by at intermission to hear the lucky number.


Mystery Driver - Dad kept a pair of scissors in my lunch box so he could cut it out and I'd deliver it downstairs.


Little Jimmy's Pizza - When I got older we'd pick heat races and loser had to buy pizza for the family.


Rain Delays - They'd play Charlie Rich's Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song (they'd play the same songs each time but this one always stuck with me).


Watching person after person slip and fall on their but walking across the track under the flaggers stand (if the track was wet and back when it had clay).



I'm sure more will come to mind but I was curious if anyone else had some OCFS memories.  I have tons of memories of drivers and great racing.


Nipper Wisnewski - A black modified #16 with gold/reflective numbers?  Quite a random driver to have pop in my head!



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The night Gary Balough in the 73 did something to piss off Bob Pickell (300). Under the yellow, Gary was rounding the 3rd turn, Bobby came flying down the back chute and centerpunched Balough into the wall. All Hell broke loose, I though the Ferrioulos (sp?) were going to kill someone, the fight spread quickly from their pits to what looked like a hundred guys all throwing haymakers. The NYS Troopers were called, they came in with their riot batons and started cracking coconuts, fighting to get to the center of the brawl. Once there, more head-busting with the batons, and the crowd then dispersed quickly. Whole thing took about an hour.
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My most vivid memory of Orange County was also the most traumatic thing I've ever had happen to me at a race track anywhere. This goes back a bunch of years... had to be in the early to mid 90's. 


The DIRT TV crew came down on a Friday morning to start laying cable and set up for the Eastern States 200. It started raining on Saturday night and continued into Sunday morning. When I got to the track on Sunday morning and saw the infield and back stretch under water, and then watching the water run down the hill behind the main grandstands and over the front stretch wall resembling Niagara Falls, I knew I was in for a long day.

Obviously they cancelled the races, but I still had to work. All of that camera cable we ran needed to get picked up and loaded in the truck. It took a lot longer than normal because it was all under water and you couldn't see it. And worse yet, the water in the infield near the back stretch ditch was chest high in spots. 


So why was it so traumatic? The water was so deep in the infield that it flooded the infield bathrooms. And here I am with Mel Thomas, fishing that cable out of the back stretch ditch in chest high water... with turds and tampons practically in your face. If you see Mel Thomas, ask him about it. That was by far the nastiest thing I've ever done.

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1983....  We rolled in for the eastern states with our new driver... after some adjusting and some new Marsh racing wheels we won the 200.  That was my best ever weekend at Orange County...


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Thanks , Bob I was eating my lunch as I read that , and now I don't seem so hungry!! HAHA!! Anyway have many memories of going to OCFS .The wrecks are some of the first memories that come to mind unfortunately . My family and I sat in the then green bleachers in the first turn , and alot of stuff happened in front of us . I remember in 91 ,Richie Tobias slamming the first turn outside wall , and Jimmy Horton hitting in just about the same spot. Both were separate incidents. I remember the dash for clash races that they used to have just before intermission . In one of them Frank Cozze driving the Reclamation 33 and Jeff Heotzler Sr . in the Dutchess Overhead Doors 87 got together infront of us and and had a massive wreck into the water barriers on the inside of the first turn . They both had fast cars that night , but had to go to back up cars and were not much of a factor in the feature that night . I remember Donnie Till taking one hell of a ride going into the third turn back when he had the Brioschi car . I don't remember ever seeing a car go so high in the air . Also I remember that whoever came out with a new TEO car in the 358 class was going to win the feature that night . Howie Finch and Jimmy Hauser both came out with new TEOs and won the first night with them . They both won alot of races back then too . I remember a wild Andy Bachetti when he first started out racing 358's , driving the outside all the time . I was there the night Brett Hearn won his 100th big block feature at OCFS . Then in 92 the DR was in the Freightliner car , and one night he won four features . Two heldover features and 2 regular scheduled features . What a night that was!!  Have more may post later.  

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I would say a big memory for me is winning the poster contest in 1990/1991 for Mark Huber in the No. 53 car. Mark was let go from the ride the week leading up to the contest and Don Shepherd filled the seat that night.  The poster was outdated, but it still won.


Another memory is ironically related to music, just like Little Jimmy's Pizza had said. I distinctly remember "Why Baby Why" by George Jones blaring over the PA before the races, week after week, when we arrived on Saturday nights.  There was always classic country on the PA prior to race time on those days.


I also remember the grief I gave my parents in 1994 when I had the chicken pox and couldn't go to the races on a Saturday.  Luckily for me (and for them), it rained out after warm-ups.

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I have a few that come to mind.  I was a produce mgr for the Grand Union food chain. There were a few fellow employees that worked with Bob Green on the "Green Machine"  It was a Wednesday, and I was off.  I stopped into the Washingtonville GU and spoke with Tom Wilson, a member of the Green crew.  As far as he knew, the Green Machine wasn't racing that night - a 100 lap Syracuse qualifier during the fair.  I loaded the kids into the car, had some food with us, and off we went to get a decent spot in the drive-in.  We walked over to the fair, which was free, since we paid to get into the races.  On the way back, who do we spot coming into the track - Bob Green, his truck, trailer and "Minerva" - his car.  Bob led that Syracuse qualifier for about 41 laps, then the engine swallowed a valve, basically destroying the engine. Bobby Bottcher had been trailing the "Green Machine" the whole race, and went on to get the win and the guaranteed Syracuse spot, driving the Higbie 97.


An other memory - Gary Balough was leading a feature in the 73.  There was a yellow, and then a re-start.  Balough took off as he entered the third turn, which was a no-no back then.  As he came down the front stretch, the starter threw the yellow. Balough got hard on his brakes, just about coming to a dead stop.  That cause mayhem behind him.  Buzzie, in the 00 was involved, and his RR hit the fence post where the gate was to cross the track, between the starters stand and the 4th turn, bending that metal pole into almost a half circle.   Buzzie damned near left the ball park, but his car continued to flip and roll down the front stretch, coming to a rest in the first turn.


And a third memory - Balough landing in the infield in a helicopter.  I've often wondered what he had in that copter.

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Brett Hearn while driving the #20 Wheels car (I believe) parked head in at the starter stand protesting some call getting towed off the track


Frank Cozze driving the 12t car running the high side and exploding a RR tire going for the lead a bunch of times


Brett and Danny fans heckeling each other in the stands, and in some (not so) rare cases fist fights breaking between them


Watching Tim Hindley in Little Black win all but like 5 races in the sportsman class in 1996


Barbera Luce running down and making a last lap pass to win her first feature


Sammy Rodgers on the cover of the program with a private jet behind it


Jerry Higbie in a brand new Teo holding off Brett, Jeff Heotzler, and I think Danny 


Tom Hall needing to use a provisional to get into the 93 Sportsman Eastern States in a Downtube Bicknell with no front brakes leading at half way and getting a flat with 2 to go and finishing 2nd to Chuck Bower   

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Eastern States 1975 or 76. Richie Smiths 555 flipped in turn four in a heat or consi and got so high he took a speaker off of a light pole. It was a very hard crash.


Gerry Chamberlain won that year in his Falcon bodied car. I think he started way back in a field of 53 cars IIRC.


I was 8 or 9 at the time.

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My Home Track from when I was born to 1984....  Soo Many Memories.  Good and Bad. Here Goes.


Buzzie Reutimann - my Idol

I had to hate anyone in the famed #73, Balough, Osmun as that was Buzzie's arch rival.

Any Eastern States 200.

First time Freddie White qualified.

Litlle Jimmy's Pizza!!!  Had to have 4 slices every Sat, night.

Stan Paduch's first win.

Carl Collis vs. Brett Hearn, Rich Eurich vs. Brett Hearn.

The Carl Van Horn pit crew and fans trying to block the track as they were pissed at Balough.

Dave Kneisel losing his life.

Glenn Donnelly taking over and making the track softer with better clay, it was rough but the racing was awesome.

Sitting with Mom Goranson and friends.

Ray Martin

The Tri-Track Series.

Charlie Castle switching to OCFS and finishing second in points the first year.

The small block clan, Heotzler's, Mackocy. Keiper, LaBagh, Ricci's. etc....

Going with dad every Saturday night.

The Covered Grandstands

The first World of Outlaws visit thanks to Donnelly.


There are just so many!!!


I hope that place stays a race track forever.  Say what you want about it, but OCFS is history...PERIOD!!

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Forgot - the post above reminded me - the first WoO Sprint Car race back in '83, I believe, they also had a race for Karts that day on the big track.  Anyone remember who won it?  My son, Eric, was one of those in it, along with Chip Gross, the "Mighty Beb-Wah", Big Fred, Chuck LoPresti and others.

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Ray Martin, the search lights in the first turn,Sam Rosenberg's photo table, Frankies sausage bar, the old late model class, the cars in the drive-in flashing their headlights when the mod feature was on it's pace lap, Coville showing up one night during the regular season, saying he was there because Hearn was winning too much,and then going out and beating him, Gary Balough showing up out of nowhere,a total unknown driver and becoming the guy to beat within weeks........it was a great place once.It's a shame what happened to it..........
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When Cozze and Rusty Smith went through the bill board.  Watching Hearn hit the Light Pole,  I think it was Donnie Till who threw the Pace Cars Radio and smashed it.  Numerous wins by the HIndley's  Waiting to see how long Cozze would last rim riding.  And the standing by the fence when I was little on the back stretch getting the wave from all the drivers that you thought were waving to you lol 

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hey oilman...


I still have that video of our trip to NYC. I wish I had the camera rolling when we got pulled over in NJ.


Cop: Have you had anything to drink tonight?

Me: Nope. I don't drink.

Cop: What about your passengers?

Me: What difference does it make? They aren't driving.


Remember that humongous black female cop who was reading the riot act to that guy on the steps for tipping one of the girls a quarter in that all night nudie joint?

Good times, bud. 

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I can remember my first time at OCFS, it must have been 1997. My dad picked me up from kindergarden and we went to time trial day of Eastern States. That tradition lasted for many years until I lost interest in middle school and started again once I caught the racing bug again in high school. 


One driver I always remember was Earl Paules. My grandfather bought me one of his t-shirts when we were sitting in the drive-in section one night and I was a fan automatically. I'm pretty sure he's running asphalt mods in PA now. 


To this day I miss JP's Under the Grandstand and Frankie's Sausage bar. 


My father and Dr. Dirt Bill Boyle had a great relationship and one night we saw him during intermission and he must have given me 15 racing related baseball caps, many of which I still have and wear to this day. I haven't seen him in quite a while and I'm sure he wouldn't recognize me, but he was one person I always looked forward to seeing whenever we went to the track.


There was the one night where Carl Edwards was running a Joe Barbagallo car (I think, but could be wrong). The race wasn't that great from what I remember but my brother and I both caught DirtCar frizbees with Jack Roush, Carl Edwards and one other drivers autograph. I'd have to check and see who the local driver was that autographed each one.  


Does anybody remember when Joey Pozella (sp?) was running weekly and the night he flipped? On the belly pan of his car he had graphics that said "This Sucks!" I always got a kick out of that. 


For us regulars and those who grew up at Middletown, no matter how run down the place gets, it will always have a soft spot in our hearts. I can only hope that somebody comes along and breathes life into the old girl so that future generations can appreciate this history that's been passed down for decades. 

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BC- JP's awesome! wish Maxwell didn't have a say in them closing down!  Frankies outside of track, I can remember going there for cheese burger and French fries and looking at all the racing pictures and looking out the back window by the cash register over looking turn 1.  That literally was my childhood track until I had to play baseball and football on Saturday nights, but I still tried to get there each and every week.  How about the go cart races behind the track to pay to run, those were entertaining to say the least lol.


BTW it was David Reutimann #00 Dover Brake Car with Jack Roush and Carl Edwards that night.

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I remember being at Eastern States sometime in the late 80's/early 90's. I don't remember the exact year. Anyways, me and my dad were sitting down towards turn 4 and Danny Johnson straight up took Doug Hoffman out right in fron of us. My dad looks at me and says "I told you Danny would rather fight than race. Shame too, because when he feels like racing he's damn good."

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Jimmys Pizza.


Blue and white #97 with Bobby Bottcher Driving.

The upside down 151.

Cozze trying to go 3 wide on the outside in a school bus.

Hearn flipping the #6 and the crew covering the car in a tarp.

McKee winning the SDS and going home to watch the replay on tv.

My son was picked to draw numbers for SDS that Edwards and Reutimann were at. Funny that everyone walked past them to get Buzzies Autograph.

Bumper to bumper to bumper during street stocks.

406, 406r and the green machine. Small block racing was better then. No big block guys.

Tri Track series.

The funny noise from the Buick v6 10j of Hanelt.

Late models(bring them back)


Many more and hopefully many to come

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