Thursday, March 28, 2013

Vintage Friends

Through the cold-weather months, old racers and friends have been meeting for lunch periodically. The most recent of the lunches included this band of scoundrels and reprobates (Click the photo for a larger view):

From left-to-right they are:  Mike Trimble, Greg Klar (partially hidden, how does the tallest guy there get obscured in the photo?) Mike Osite, Robert Noll (smile, Robert!), Jim Maguire, Bill Force Sr., Gary Mondschein, Drew Fornoro (wearing a shirt which describes him), Ben Trimble, Art Lawshe Sr., Robert Hall, Jim Hemphill, Tom Berry and Ken Brenn.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Vintage Innovation

Through the years, the ATQMRA’s relatively basic race car rules left plenty of room for innovation.  This photo shows one such innovation.

This is a rear view of the Wehrle #02 from the 1970s, with the radiator mounted on the rear of the roll cage.  The car appeared in this configuration one winter for the indoor races in Atlantic City... and then never appeared this way again.  Not all innovations pan out.

The radiator placement affected both cooling, which was improved, and handling, which was not.  The car remained competitive but instead of staying at the front where it was usually seen, it ran mid-pack.  Driver Tony Romit praised the setup, but struggled.  The radiator was returned to the more conventional location come springtime.

Here’s another shot of the car at that time, with driver Romit in the seat:

Where the ATQMRA once had upright cars, offset cars, rear-engine cars and mid-engine cars, today most ATQMRA cars stick to a formula that has evolved over the years:  Engine dramatically offset to the left of the chassis, driver reclined in the center of the chassis.   But this evolution was not determined by rules, it was determined by trial and error.  For the most part, ATQMRA rules have boiled down to dimensions, displacement, weight, and safety.  It has never been specified where one must put the radiator, or the engine.  As a result, there have been some truly distinctive cars and some truly creative ideas through the years.

The Vintage Club is where these cars and ideas are being preserved.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Vintage Painted!

The color image shown below is not a photo, but a painting, based on the black & white photo shown below it.  It was painted by an artist named Joel Naprstek on behalf of a TQ racing fan named Wayne DeWald.  Mr. DeWald sent it to us along with the following information:

I really enjoy your website. I visited Pine Brook once in the mid-late '60s and greatly enjoyed the races.    I have the old Crocky Wright book about TQs at Pine Brook.  My Dad and I befriended Tony Romit while he was racing full midgets in Florida and I have a couple photos of him in his TQ.

My Dad, George DeWald, raced TQs in South Florida from about 1960 until 1972 or '73. The painting is from Florida City Speedway, a beautiful banked 1/8th mile oval south of Miami that opened in May, 1964.

The car is Crosley-powered and did pretty well at tracks throughout South Florida, always in the top ten in points.  My Dad bought the car and trailer as well as a few spare wheels/tires for $350!

Just as we are trying to preserve the history of the ATQMRA at this site and the history of Pine Brook on the Pine Brook site, some people who were involved with Florida City Speedway are doing a nice job of preserving that track’s history with their own web site, which you can see by clicking here.

Florida City Speedway was in south Florida, near Homestead, and there are a lot of parallels to be drawn with Pine Brook.  The track was purpose-built for TQ racing in the early 1960s.  Although larger than Pine Brook, the track was nonetheless relatively small, described as a 1/8-mile.  And while the mini-stocks that were born at Pine Brook failed to thrive at Pine Brook, the same class of cars was successful at Florida City Speedway.

Sadly, Florida City Speedway did experience something that thankfully never happened at Pine Brook, a fatal accident.

The TQs that raced there were not generally ATQMRA-legal cars, because the use of alcohol-nitro fuel mixtures was permitted.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Dapper Bob

Spring is not far off but we can't resist at least one more indoor racing photo.  Here is Doug Craig following a victory at Atlantic City's Convention Hall (today's Boardwalk Hall) 40-some years ago.

We don't know why Doug is holding two trophies.  Perhaps he also set Fast Time on this day?  Perhaps there were separate trophies for the winning driver and car owner?  (Doug was both.)   But check out the spiffy outfit on Bob Watkins.  Bob was the ATQMRA President at the time and he took seriously the need to project a professional image.  Slacks, sport coat, necktie, hair neatly combed.  When was the last time you saw that at a race track?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Vintage Quiz: Where?

UPDATED, see below.

This shot of Hank Rogers, Jr., taking a victory lap in the Boyd #43 was taken -- where?

We know.  Do you?  Do you recognize the race track?  If you do, or you just want to take a stab at it, submit your answer to us here.  We'll update this post with the answer once someone gets it right.

Hints: This victory lap is for a heat race win, not a feature.  The date was perhaps the only time the ATQMRA raced at this particular track.  And through the years, this race track has had a few different names.  We’ll accept any of those names as “correct.”

UPDATE:  So far, no one has gotten it right!  Well, one person has, but that person is Gary Mondschein, and since he gave us the photo we are disqualifying him.  (Cheating?  Unsportsmanlike conduct?  Actions detrimental to NASCAR?  We'll think of something.)  So you still have a chance -- at what track was this photo taken?  Even Ernie Saxton has a chance, he was present for this race and it's not Grandview!  Contact us via the link in the text above.

UPDATE:  Okay, we give up.  Only Gary got it right, everyone else guessed the incorrect track, with the old paved Fort Dix Speedway/New Egypt Speedway getting more votes than any other.  But the big clue is the absence of a guard rail in the photo.  It's Albany-Saratoga Speedway, in Malta, New York.  On the day this photo was taken there was a distinctive all-open-cockpit program at the upstate track:  ATQMRA TQs, ARDC Midgets, and URC Sprints.  Each division ran a 30-lap feature and there was not a single yellow flag in any of the three features!  It was also the only time in history that the three Eastern open-cockpit clubs ran together on the same card.