Tag: Checkered Past

Checkered Past

Checkered Past: Woodruff

Kenneth Keith Woodruff was born in Fort Dodge, Iowa on November 11, 1940. At age 19, he came to Sacramento, CA. By day, he repaired cars for neighbors. By night, he tinkered on race cars. West Capital Speedway was booming with sledgehammer square tails but Woodruff wanted a stallion. He wanted a sprint car and

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Checkered Past

Checkered Past: Two Winners

Halfway to Indianapolis from Fort Wayne is Fairmount, IN. It is an Indiana town like countless Indiana towns, home to fewer than 3000 folks and more churches than stoplights. Yet seven decades ago, the tiny town became “The Birthplace of Cool” because James Dean lived there. The iconic “Rebel Without a Cause” was born in

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Checkered Past

CHECKERED PAST: The Port

Port Royal, Pennsylvania’s sparkling “Speed Palace” is evidence that a beautiful swan can evolve from an ugly duckling. To say that such a beautiful woman scarcely reflects her rough origins is to compare splintered oak to polished steel. The old girl had plenty of personality and atmosphere but today’s heartbreaking half-mile is superior in every

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Checkered Past

Checkered Past: Shark Evolution

“Original Outlaw” is no token term. Originally, auto racing outlaws were those without membership in the austere Automobile Association of America and by proxy, no honest shot at the Indianapolis 500. AAA became USAC in 1956. Rear engines replaced roadsters and sprint car drivers were as welcome as rain. Sprint cars were no longer stepping

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Checkered Past

CHECKERED PAST: Chronicles of Kansas

Kansas conjures various images: “Wizard of Oz” courage, herds of cattle, staunch conservatives, amber waves of grain, “Carry On Wayward Son.” Sunflower State grows no pro sport but college basketball at the University of Kansas holds fanatical appeal and much ESPN money. NCAA championships in 1952, 1988 and 2008 fanned those flames. “Rock chalk, Jayhawk!”

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Checkered Past

CHECKERED PAST: Nine Seconds

To drive a lurching, snarling sprint car across a rutted dirt track has been compared to sitting on the back of a raging bull. Each is an attempt to control what sane people see as uncontrollable. Wichita, Kansas cowboy A.J Shepherd compared the two extreme sports. After busting broncos, Shepherd won CRA and IMCA sprint

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Checkered Past

Checkered Past: Bands of Brothers

Professional sports have seen its share of brothers. Football had Peyton and Eli Manning under center. Baseball had Pedro and Ramon Martinez on the mound. Basketball has Seth and Steph Curry well behind the arc. Auto racing runs on deeper bloodlines. Why else do proud fathers spend insane amounts of money just to learn if

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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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