Wednesday, February 13, 2013

February 1, 1958

In this photo from 55 years ago we connect three generations of racing enthusiasts.  (As always, you can click the photo for an enlarged view.)

It is February 1, 1958, the opening night of that year’s winter indoor races in the Teaneck Armory.  Driving car #4, which has a Harley-Davidson engine, is Tommy Shortino.  Shortino is en route to victory in the first heat over Chuck Arnold and Tony Bonadies.

The photo was given to us by Keith Majka, who along with his son is an active member of the Vintage Division.  The photo has special meaning to Majka because the car belonged to his father, Fred Majka, and this was perhaps the only time that it won a race.

“My father’s car was not fast,” Majka told us.  Indeed, Shortino’s name does not appear among the top 12 finishers listed for the feature that night.  Chuck Arnold, who finished second to Shortino in the heat, won the feature.  There were 32 cars in the pits on that evening, and a sellout crowd of fans on hand.

Keith Majka was among those fans, sort of.  His mother was in the stands, very pregnant with her son who was born two months later.  “I didn’t see the race,” Majka said, “but I was there!”