Author: Kevin Eckert

Checkered Past

Checkered Past: Seven Seasons of Sam

Sammy Swindell is an international treasure that rivals have buried both figuratively and professionally. Public relations were always an Achilles Heel and why his Simpson Safety shoes never took root at the Indianapolis 500 or Daytona 500. No one ever questioned his talent or acumen. Sammy would have modified and mastered those machines just as

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Checkered Past

Checkered Past: Kid from Apple Creek

Who is Brad Doty? Readers and racers born 32 years ago never feared the beard from Apple Creek, Ohio as he smashed track records for Bowers Coal and Coors Light beer. They never saw him grace victory lanes from Silver Dollar to Devil’s Bowl, Knoxville, Lernerville, Williams Grove and Volusia County, FL. Today’s generations see

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Checkered Past

Checkered Past: Stunners

Today we examine the word “upset.” Very versatile, it can be a verb as in “upset the apple cart” or an adjective like “upset stomach” to describe a queasy belly. It was likely an American who first attached the term “upset victory” to Cassius Clay in 1964 or the New York Jets of 1969 or

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Checkered Past

CHECKERED PAST: Johnny On the Spot

Two thousand? That’s a lot of beans. Two thousand dollars to win was what it took to book the World of Outlaws when it began 42 years ago. Two thousand work nights without one absence is amazing. Now consider how the place of employ floats from coast to coast 80 times in ten months. Some

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Checkered Past

CHECKERED PAST: Seven Nights in June

June 3, 1986 Weedsport, NY (0.337d) Race 30 of 82: It was rebranded as Cayuga County Speedway because “weedsport” sounded like boondocks. After wealthy Al Heinke sank several million dollars into the formerly fenceless oval one Thruway exit west of Syracuse, it bore scant resemblance to the Sunday Night anchor of Glenn Donnelly’s DIRT of

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Checkered Past

CHECKERED PAST: Crockett and The Dude

The World of Outlaws was only four months old when it first visited the Missouri State Fairgrounds in Sedalia. On that summer evening in 1978 “The Buckeye Traveler” Rick Ferkel toted Two Grand back to Bowling Green, Ohio. During its second season, the World of Outlaws did not race in Missouri at all. It was

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Checkered Past

CHECKERED PAST: Occasional Outlaws

Leland Vance May was as wild as the wind across El Paso, Texas. He left there in 1971 in a Corvette convertible towing a yellow Number 13 sprint car complete with chrome cage, Peace sign and photographer’s vest of Acapulco Gold. Van headed for Hanover, PA. He simply followed big brotherly advice from Walter “Dub”

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Checkered Past

CHECKERED PAST: Support System

No one wanted to watch a television show of fewer than 20 sprint cars. This was the executive wisdom behind the World of Outlaws Gumout Support Series. To launch a club for the expressed purpose of bolstering a bigger club was odd and only lasted three years or until the TV contract expired. In historical

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Checkered Past

CHECKERED PAST: World of Outlaws 1980

The year was 1980. Georgia peanut farmer Jimmy Carter was President. The Wall by Pink Floyd ruled the radio. The Empire Strikes Back was box office gold. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia were champions of football and baseball while Philly basketball and hockey topped all but Los Angeles and Long Island. U.S hostages heard the Super Bowl

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Checkered Past

Checkered Past: Racing Is Resilient

The World of Outlaws has paused many times. It has been rained out from Florida to Seattle and hammered by hurricanes in Houston and Santa Cruz. It was too windy in Oklahoma City, too rough to race in Nevada and New Mexico, and Michigan was too full of stones. Outlaw competition director for 12 years,

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